One of the keys behind the viability of jury trials is the concept that jurors should be impartial when they’re seated. Coming into a case with preconceived notions of a defendant’s guilt skews the outcome of the trial. And that’s why prosecutors and defense attorneys go through such great motions to ensure impartial juries.
In the trial of former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin, that impartiality was already difficult to achieve given the fact that the trial was held in Minneapolis. It would have been or should have been far easier to get an impartial jury in another county. But that’s probably something that will come up in appeal.
What is far more concerning is the fact that one of the jurors in the case, Brandon Mitchell, has since come forth to comment on the case and, as a result, we’ve discovered that he may not be impartial after all. It began with Mitchell’s comments that the jury deliberations could have taken 20 minutes. If that’s all it would have taken, it brings into question whether the jury really listened to all the evidence or whether they already had their minds made up before the trial was even over.
Then there’s the fact that Mitchell was photographed at a rally in Washington, DC last year with a shirt saying “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks,” a clear reference to George Floyd. The rally featured Floyd’s family speaking out against police brutality, leading to questions about whether Mitchell lied to get onto the jury. Mitchell claims not to remember wearing that shirt, but he was seen wearing it on at least one other occasion when he was hosting a podcast. Evidently Mitchell either has a bad memory or is an inveterate liar.
While it’s unclear whether or not Mitchell’s bad memory is enough to get Chauvin’s conviction overturned or order a new trial, combined with other factors that came up during the trial, it’s certainly possible that Chauvin’s conviction is in jeopardy. Any time someone is railroaded like he is, prosecutors get sloppy, and that sloppiness could cost them.
There’s certainly every indication that Chauvin was a dirty cop, and a manslaughter conviction should have been easy to get. But the bloodthirst on the part of Democrats was so great that they got greedy and sloppy, and as a result Chauvin may get another day in court.