After failing to make any headway with Minnesota’s highest court, Derek Chauvin plans to head to the U.S. Supreme Court to appeal his 2021 conviction.
CBS Minnesota reports that lawyers for Derek Chauvin said Wednesday (July 19) that they filed documents asking the nation’s highest court to review Chauvin’s second-degree murder conviction after the Minnesota Supreme Court released a one-page order Tuesday (July 18) declining to hear the appeal.
The state supreme court’s decision means that Chauvin must continue serving his 22 ½ -year prison sentence.
Meanwhile, Chauvin has a slim chance of the U.S. Supreme Court reviewing his petition. According to CBS Minnesota, the nation’s highest court hears between 100 to 150 appeals out of more than 7,000 petitions filed each year.
A viral arrest video taken by a bystander captured the moment on May 25, 2020 when Chauvin, who is White, kneeled on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes.
Floyd was handcuffed and face down on the ground pleading for his life, saying, “I can’t breathe.” But Chauvin ignored Floyd and onlookers, kept at bay by fellow police officers at the scene. The gruesome video ignited global protests against police brutality and racism.
On April 20, 2021, a state jury convicted Chauvin of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Two months later, a judge sentenced him to 22 ½ years in prison.
In a separate federal case, Chauvin pleaded guilty in December 2021 to violating Floyd’s civil rights and was sentenced to 21 years in federal prison.
Chauvin’s failed appeals, first to a three-judge panel of the Minnesota Court of Appeals and then to the Minnesota Supreme Court, centered on the argument that he didn’t receive a fair trial because a judge declined to relocate the trial from Minneapolis where Chauvin killed Floyd.
“This criminal trial generated the most amount of pretrial publicity in history,” Chauvin’s attorney, William Mohrmann, told the Associated Press. “More concerning are the riots which occurred after George Floyd’s death (and) led the jurors to all express concerns for their safety in the event they acquitted Mr. Chauvin — safety concerns which were fully evidenced by surrounding the courthouse in barbed wire and National Guard troops during the trial and deploying the National Guard throughout Minneapolis prior to jury deliberations.”
Mohrmann said Chauvin’s defense team will raise the same issue about the right to a fair trial with the U.S. Supreme Court.
But the Minnesota attorney general disagrees. “Petitioner received a fair trial, and received the benefit of a fulsome appellate review. It is time to bring this case to a close,” the state prosecutor wrote in response to Chauvin’s appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court.