Attorney Eric Nelson is still out here pulling out all the stops in an effort to free his murdering-ass client, ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted in the death George Floyd.
As The Root previously reported, Nelson has been seeking a new trial for Chauvin after a Black juror who helped convict his ass was seen in a photo wearing a Black Lives Matter cap and a Martin Luther King Jr. T-shirt at an MLK event in Washington, D.C., Nelson decided, based on the photo, that the juror must have lied in a questionnaire that jurors were required to fill out when he said that he had never been involved in a BLM protest. (How white do you have to be to assume that a Black man wearing a BLM hat and MLK shirt must be a protester?) Now, Nelson is taking things a step further by seeking a hearing to “impeach the verdict” by investigating potential juror misconduct.
According to the Mercury News, a request to impeach a jury verdict isn’t as common as a request for a new trial, which Nelson is apparently seeking for reasons beyond a single juror whose Black-ass apparel gives him the heebie-jeebies.
From the News:
Nelson’s request for a new trial covers everything from the extensive publicity of the case to allegations of prosecutorial misconduct, arguing the state “belittled” Nelson’s defense by calling his arguments “stories.”
He takes issue with the fact that records weren’t made of sidebar discussions between attorneys and the judge, and he says the court abused its discretion by not allowing a man who was with Floyd on the day he died to testify. He also takes issue with the addition of a third-degree murder charge and with the state’s cumulative evidence about the use of force.
Nelson alleges all of these factors deprived Chauvin of his right to a fair trial.
“It’s almost as if Eric is sort of repackaging all of the major objections he made throughout the trial into one brief and putting them back in front of (Judge Peter) Cahill one more time and asking him to reconsider,” said Brock Hunter, a Minneapolis defense attorney who has followed the case.
It’s unlikely a new trial will be granted. Since Cahill already ruled on most of these issues, Hunter and other experts said he probably won’t overturn himself. Still, experts say, Nelson has to try. He also has to present these issues in the trial court, if he wants to raise them on appeal.
As for the bid to impeach the verdict, under Minnesota’s Rules of Criminal Procedure, a convicted defendant can request what is known as a Schwartz hearing, which, according to the News, “gets its name from a 1960 Minnesota Supreme Court case that set up a procedure for examining jurors when their impartiality is questioned.”
The hearing is named for the court case, Schwartz v. Minneapolis Suburban Bus Co. The case revolved around a car accident, and a juror who served on the trial reportedly failed to disclose that his daughter had been in an accident while he was being interviewed to see if he could be fair and impartial. The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that if a juror is found to have lied under questioning and it is determined that said juror may have prevented a defendant from receiving a fair trial, the matter can be brought before a judge.
So, according to Ryan Pacyga, a Minneapolis defense attorney who has been following Chauvin’s case, requests for a Schwartz hearing are rare AF, “mainly because the judge and attorneys don’t usually know about issues like this unless they’re disclosed somehow,” the News reports. Pacyga said that even being granted the hearing would be an uphill battle and that hill gets even steeper when it comes to successfully having a judge rule in the defense’s favor—which would generally only mean that potentially biased jurors would be summoned for more questioning to determine whether the defendant got a fair trial.
In other words: This is a desperate-ass move from a desperate-ass attorney trying to turn things around for his desperate-ass murdering-ass client.
Hopefully, it doesn’t work.