Derek Chauvin Verdict

height=It is in, we just do not know it yet. OJ aside, a verdict coming this soon is often, if not usually, a tell.

Honestly, I think the way the trial judge, Peter Cahill has been an absolute embarrassment to due process and fundamental fairness. The amount of appealable error (that does NOT mean successful appealable error) Cahill has injectect is deplorable and nuts. That guy should not be sitting on any important criminal trial bench.

But, while we do not yet know what it is, this is a thread to discuss it. Evidentiary infirmities and bullshit argument from both sides and all.

196 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    I think Technically Ron encapsulates the situation neatly:

    • bmaz says:

      I think that, “technically”, TechnicallyRon does not know his ass from a hole in the ground about criminal trials, and is just blowing shit out of his bloviating ass. You can be glad that Chauvin was convicted, and not be a dumb ass emotive dipshit like “TechnicallyRon”.

      • ducktree says:

        In the Rodney King trial there was also a Federal trial following the state trial. Will this also be available to George Floyd’s family members?

        • MB says:

          Rodney King’s state trial resulted in acquittal for all the defendants and the outcry from that resulted in the federal case afterwards.

        • Tracy Lynn says:

          Just a nit to pick: The trial was of the Los Angeles cops who beat Rodney King — Rodney King wasn’t the one on trial. Drives me nuts that the shorthand description is typically the “Rodney King trial.”

        • Rayne says:



      • Rayne says:

        Techically, I agree with Ron. We all saw a cop kneel on a man until he died, and many of us had no faith that this jury would find him guilty on any count, regardless of whether you think this court case was handled correctly.

        Why don’t many of us have faith in juries’ decisions about deaths by cops, regardless of how the case is prosecuted? Gee, I wonder why.

    • Krisy Gosney says:

      That’s what I thought too. Sad indeed. But the verdict does bring even the tiniest of hope.

    • Rayne says:

      I want to know what this murderer has on his left hand which he is flashing while wearing cuffs out of the courtroom. Did he ink himself with the III% symbol?

      Great, he’s exercising his First Amendment rights but if he’s involved in any conspiracy with III%rs this isn’t just personal expression.

          • bmaz says:

            Listen, once you are remanded to a jail (no, not prison) upon conviction, but before sentencing, you are swapped out of clothes and all things seized. Including notes and even business cards even from your lawyer. So, yeah, this is what Nelson stated and it is not all that uncommon or hard to believe. Not at all.

            • Rayne says:

              I get that. So use a permanent marker on a patch of skin which doesn’t sweat much and sees less friction. It’s as if this was a last second thing and it never occurred to Chauvin he was going to be taken into custody — assuming it’s a phone number. Protesters know better than this to write their lawyer’s number on their arms.

              • bmaz says:

                I honestly do not give a flying fuck how it is done, and think that irrelevant. The fact that people being remanded have to do this (and, again, it is not unheard of at all) is of far more concern. But, hey, shit like this doesn’t matter to most people because it is Chauvin. He is evil incarnate, so, who cares?

                I do. Process matters.

        • TooLoose LeTruck says:

          If it were his lawyer’s phone number…

          Wouldn’t it be ‘666’, in part?

          Just asking… for a friend, you see…

        • bmaz says:

          Yes. It is oh so SUCH a relief that, after insanely bad evidentiary rulings, by an over his head judge, propelled a case to fit the verdict YOU decided was right from some TV clips.

          The verdicts may be right in this case (they almost certainly were, but due to garbage we will never know), but they were arrived at via a bullshit and flawed process by people in media, including people commenting right here. I sincerely hope neither you nor yours ever get accused and convicted by complete manure as occurred here. Just because a verdict may ultimately be factually proper, and feels satisfying and good for the souls on the internet, does not make it legally sound, nor proper.

          • Rugger9 says:

            You had mentioned the evidentiary rulings were substandard. That point might need to be explained more fully for those of us not in the trade, especially since I’ve read in many places that these are the things that are most influential in a trial. Perry Mason’s and Matlock’s focus on the trial makes great theater, but the outcome is already tilted by the time it reaches that point because what can be said and claimed is subject to restrictions enforced by contempt rulings.

            If the rulings before and during the trial (i.e. jury sequestration seems to be a concern in that it was done too late) were substandard and appealed, would that also be a reason there were three overlapping charges, so that if the most severe were tossed on appeal the others would apply? Would it have been wiser to not permit the opportunity to raise such appeal points given how many RWNJ judges are in the courts, especially on the federal side due to DJT and the Federalist Society?

          • harpie says:

            Wow, bmaz.
            That is the reaction I had, so that is what I expressed.

            I knew you thought there were issues with the trial because I read what you had to say on twitter. I have no basis of knowledge to disagree with anything you wrote in that regard. I did not watch or read any other commentary about it.

            What I DID see:
            A police officer kneeling on a man’s neck for more than nine minutes.

            He was asked to stop.
            He was begged to stop.
            But he did not stop.

            It was the first time in my more than 60 years
            that I watched a person die.

            Police officer Derek Chauvin was the only person who could have stopped that death from happening.

            He made the decision to not stop that death from happening.

          • LuckyCat says:

            Yes sir. Sorry sir. Didn’t mean to express my opinion. It won’t happen again.

            I suppose it doesn’t matter that the jury was the one that decided the verdict. Not me. But again. Yes sir. So sorry sir.

            Didn’t mean to offend your sensibilities sir. Good day sir.

          • Rugger9 says:

            It wasn’t quite as convoluted as the acquittal verdict of Idgie in the movie Fried Green Tomatoes after the preacher was “leveraged” by her best friend (using Darwin’s “Origin of Species” as a personal bible to avoid sinning too much) into giving her an alibi when she was suspected of removing the best friend’s abusive husband and ditching his vehicle. It was interesting to see the judge pull the lawyers up to the bench to put a stop to the trial and highly irregular I’m sure.

  2. graham firchlis says:

    Considering “infirmities and bullshit argument” so broad in scope as to include even the likes of me, the judge was a disaster and counsel for the defense just as incompetent. Chauvin should dump this klutz for his appeals.

    Had my say, not interested in debate so I’ll excuse myself, but in for a dime I’ll just point out that in nearly every death in custody case that makes headlines some manner or another of overtly physically resisting arrest is involved.

    ACLU guidelines are clear. When dealing with police be polite and compliant, admit nothing. If the cops are in the wrong sort it out later, not violently in the street against fallible human beings who are both terrified and armed.

    If detainees stopped fighting the cops, there would be a dramatic drop in the frequency of deaths. Reducing police violence in the face of continued violent resistance is not humanly possible.

    • bmaz says:

      “If detainees stopped fighting the cops, there would be a dramatic drop in the frequency of deaths. Reducing police violence in the face of continued violent resistance is not humanly possible.”

      Seriously, what in the hell is wrong with you?

      “If detainees stopped fighting the cops, there would be a dramatic drop in the frequency of deaths. Reducing police violence in the face of continued violent resistance is not humanly possible.”

      I have friends at the ACLU that actually write this kind of guidance, and you are blowing shit out of your ass.

    • timbo says:

      Dude, what would you do if the cops were actively abusing your and/or trying to kill you WHEN YOU WERE DOING NOTHING WRONG? Stop with this nonsense already. You are not obligated to be polite while they abuse you or murder you. Period. It’s not my job to appease and abase myself to sociopath cops. In fact, the Bill of Rights and Equal Protection amendment(s) exist to stop that sort of abuse, not kowtow to it.

      • Rugger9 says:

        That is exactly the point, the definition of “resistance” lies in the attitude of an individual taught that POCs are the enemy and they are the aggrieved thin blue line holding civilization together against such animals. In this attitude they are supported by their unions who loudly resist any attempt to impose discipline and accountability, so they can act with complete impunity. The lack of accountability and poor training is what needs to be fixed. Since the cops want to be warriors, they need to remember that we warriors are subject to standards even in a weapons-free environment, starting with Geneva.

        Race is a key part of this determination of “resistance”, we saw yesterday that a 15-year-old girl was shot after she called the police to break up a fight in front of her house because they were told some female had a knife and she was Black. Contrast that with the white guy who dragged a cop with his vehicle, brandished weapons and was afterward arrested. Or, compare and contrast the deference shown to Rittenhouse in Kenosha to the summary execution of Reinoehl in Portland who had the chutzpah to support BLM and allegedly shot a RW protestor (which could have been self defense) and shot at police with a gun that still had a full magazine after it was fired.

        [FYI, your 8:32 am comment was deleted because it appeared to be identical but wasn’t attached as a reply. /~Rayne]

        • bmaz says:

          Yes. And when you say:

          “The lack of accountability and poor training is what needs to be fixed. Since the cops want to be warriors, they need to remember that we warriors are subject to standards even in a weapons-free environment, starting with Geneva.”

          Such is exactly right. While “defund the police” is one of the dumbest slogans ever, the police certainly can be reformed. It can’t, and won’t, happen overnight through any magical legislation or whatever. It will take a generation, at a minimum, and it starts with how officers are trained and supervised. But it can be done. Also, far less militarization, average cops do not need to look like they are on bomb disposal duty in Fallujah.

          Another thing I have noted is that, despite the emphasis so often placed on black/white race in these discussions, think the bigger issue may be blue versus others. Not that death is not more likely for blue versus POC interactions, it clearly is. But cops are imperious to all people.

          Which goes back to the training and supervision thing. It all can be reformed and changed for the better of all. Let’s hope the Floyd/Chauvin instant helps further that goal.

          • ApacheTrout says:

            Training needs to be much more substantial than passing a physical, Basic Training, and the MMPI. Do all three in Vermont and you can be a State Trooper in 16-weeks! WTF.

            About 5-6 years ago my local elementary school held a ‘career’ fair for the kids. Two state troopers were there, one fresh out of training, the other with one year under her belt. I asked how real life policing compared to the training, and both immediately said something to this effect:

            ‘We had to learn to stop being so fearful of the public.’

            My goodness.

          • Norskeflamthrower says:

            Well then Beeman, let’s all hope that this verdict gets us closer to where we need to be but, frankly, I don’t see how it can until there is a complete change in the militarized police forces, their political power at the local and state level and their symbiotic relationship with prosecutors.

          • timbo says:

            Yes, that’s right. The issue is whether or not we want the police in our country to be a special protected class that is above the regular legal restraints that most other folks must follow. The idea that somehow there’s a “qualified immunity” exception that permits bad police officers from being held responsible for terrorizing the rest of us is incredibly dangerous to the average citizen. In order to correct injustice, one must be able to hold those who abuse their power to account. Without that, one becomes fearful of the state in general to the point where more and more people may be cowed into staying silent as abuses by the state police organs grow…

          • Savage Librarian says:

            It can seep into employment issues, too. And general employee union officials can be in the pockets of politicians, as well. Truly a systemic problem.

            Returning to work after authorized leave, an administrator called me on the carpet and berated me for not being home to answer the door for a police officer he claimed to have sent there while I was on leave.

            In fact, I was home and no police officer came, to my knowledge. So, either the officer went to the wrong address. Or, the officer was incompetent, dishonest, or blowing off the administrator (because he knew it was wrong or he had better things to do.) To me, it just showed how out of control the autocratic administrator was. And how he assumed police would support him.

            The same administrator had another employee harass my mother on the telephone about a 45 cent copier fee he claimed I owed. So bizarre, but scary how entitled they felt to intimidate and harass citizens.

            • timbo says:

              That boss seems crazy. I wouldn’t be surprised if the police just shrugged and ignored the call… if it happened at all. If it did happen, then I hope they documented a call received and from who at the very least. That boss sounds incredibly weird at best.

          • cavenewt says:

            I think recruitment is important also. Some police departments seem to be attracting people who are, one could say, not well suited for the job.

    • Krisy Gosney says:

      In Floyd’s case, he was moving and pressing on the asphalt so he could find a way to bring oxygen in his lungs. Not even the Defense’s expert witness could call that resisting.
      But I think by your remarkably uninformed statement, you have not been paying attention to the Floyd case.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      You must not leave leafy Berkeley much, or spend time in nearby Oakland. In which case, we needn’t get into the plethora of cases of being shot while jogging, driving, sitting in your car in a fast food parking lot, or sleeping in your own bed while being Black in America. Lt. Navaro’s experience tells us that not even an Army uniform offers much protection from abusive police violence, regardless of having memorized the ACLU’s guidelines.

      Many police see people of color as the enemy. Shoot early, fast, and often. Lie, plant a gun, if necessary, the system will protect you. It usually does. Derek Chauvin’s case is the exception – attested to by its being the first since Minnesota became a state in 1858.

      • P J Evans says:

        Expect the retired ex-cop from out-of-state to be able to identify you when he was looking through a plate-glass window from half a block away and across a 6-lane street. If you’re not white enough.

    • Rayne says:

      Two words for you, Firchlis, in response to your utter bullshit: Adam Toledo.

      You want two more? Tamir Rice.

      How about Sandra Bland.

      How about contrast-and-compare with two more words? Brad Parscale.

      How about contrast-and-compare with just one word? Jerry.

      Seriously, Firchlis, just sit down and have a cup of shut-your-white-piehole.

    • Nord Dakota says:


      Someone told me once about a local deputy commenting in the jail how often they saw people brought in for “resisting” with no other charges. That’s a head scratcher.

      Friend of mine (he’s a rwnj himself but no matter) ended up in a face off with CPS (over a one time spanking of a 7 year old who had shoved his little brother down some steps and whispered to his teacher he was sad he’d gotten a spanking). Friend is required to sign a safety plan when he finds CPS at the school at pickup time. That night he goes out for a drink and meets some lawyers at the bar who assure him that he has the legal right to impose the kind of spanking he did, which he had to sign he would not do. Next day he calls CPS and tells them he is withdrawing his signature and he is keeping his kids home for the day and taking the 7 year old to the doctor to confirm he has no injury. CPS calls a local cop. State law saws that in order to remove children without an existing court order, exigent circumstances must be found by law enforcement. But en route to the home, the officer decides he needs to remove the kids based on the CPS call. Mind you, he has not seen the home or the children, all he knows is the guy told CPS he’s withdrawing the safety plan.

      The guy’s wife is property manager for the apartment complex where they live, and is showing a unit in a nearby building on the property. The guy and the kids are in the apartment along with the kids’ uncle. Officers come in and say they are taking the children. Guy pulls out his phone to call is wife and he is tackled. He is arrested, the kids are removed, he is charged with resisting and with interfering with law enforcement executing a lawful order.

      The emergency custody hearing finds that the children were removed because the dad was arrested and there was no available adult (uncle is at their home, mom is 100 yards away with no idea what is happening). Kids go into foster care for 3 weeks until they are placed with the guy’s mother in law for the next 3 months.

      Guy’s lawyer wants a plea deal out of him, he refuses. In the end, the judge finds the order the officers were executing was NOT lawful (removing the children). His instructions to the jury were that police executing an unlawful order is a defense in a resisting charge, and he was acquitted.

      This entailed a few weeks in the hoosegow before he made bail, severe trauma to the family, loss of work, etc etc, and did NOT improve relations with his MIL (guy is lack, married to a White woman, he’s right wing, she is semi liberal, and her parents are racist rednecks).

  3. PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

    Thank bog this went the right way.

    The militarized police buildup and presence in the past week was ridiculous.

    • TooLoose LeTruck says:

      “The MILITARIZED police”

      I think this phrase right here is a pretty good start into explaining what’s wrong w/ policing in this country right now… not the whole story, but certainly a part of it…

      When was it, in the wake of 9/11, that the US military started sharing its stash w/ local police?

      • bmaz says:

        9/11 was certainly a turning point. But the militarization really goes back to Daryl Gates, then a local commander, later Chief, of LAPD, who pretty much started SWAT squads. There is a fantastic book on all this, “Rise Of The Warrior Cop”, written by a good friend of this blog, Radley Balko. Highly recommended.

        • TooLoose LeTruck says:

          ‘Warrior Cop…’

          Sounds like the title of a bad d movie… starring someone well past their expiration date, like Dolph Lundgren…

          It’d be funny… but it’s not…

          I’ve heard that name – Radley Balko – before… if I get a chance, I’ll look up that book…

          Rambo Syndrome, indeed…

          Shit… I just looked at the cover of the book on Amazon…

          Rambo? Hell, it’s more like RoboCop Syndrome…

          • bmaz says:

            It is really a great book if interested. Radley is a friend, but the book is fantastic; even if a bit scary as to how bad the problem has become.

        • TooLoose LeTruck says:

          I remember the first time I saw two BART police get into a BART car packing AR-15 type rifles…

          My jaw… it dropped…

          Or the day I was down by the Oakland Estuary and saw an Oakland PD (I think) patrol boat go zipping by at high speed, out towards the bay, w/ what I think was likely a .30 caliber machine gun clearly mounted on the front of the boat.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          Balko is a remarkable font of insight. Not just the book (which is great) but also his columns in WaPo. He knows virtually everything about his subject, which has made his work a tremendous resource for me, and he writes beautifully, with sweep and clarity. While you’re waiting for the book to arrive, look him up on the Post website and check out all his columns.

        • elcajon64 says:

          If I recall correctly, Gates pushed hard for asset forfeiture (war on drugs) that in turn funded the purchase of military style hardware. That gave LAPD the infamous battering ram tank, etc.

          The moment that really stuck with me was watching Columbine. Cops outfitted like military seeming to wait for the shooters to run out of ammunition before making any move to intervene. It was like watching cosplayers being called upon to do something beyond LARP’ing. All the accoutrements but no training or leadership.

          • bmaz says:

            This is true as to Gates and forfeiture. There is a LOT wrong with modern policing that tracks back to Gates. In addition to SWAT, Gates is also the father of DARE, the results of which he used, as you note, to seize things.

        • chum'sfriend says:

          Policing changed after a 2/28/1997 N Hollywood bank robbery.  At this time most officers were equipped with pistols and some also had a 12 gauge shotgun in their vehicle.  The robbers were equipped with semi automatic and automatic rifles and wore body armor.  The police were totally outgunned.  Possibly up to 2,000 rounds of ammunition were fired in the shootout.  Police were reduced to acquiring semi automatic rifles from a nearby firearms dealer.

        • Leoghann says:

          I can attest to the quality of the book, both in writing and in coverage. I also understand that he has an updated version coming out in June. (The original is from 2013.)

      • madwand says:

        yeh back in the day a police department could get a huey for a dollar and a half track for the same. Not bad, now how do these dam things work?

  4. pasha says:

    and white-privileged frat boy tucker carlson had the temerity to call the chauvin trial “a lynching!”

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      As with most things in life, trust fund-baby Tucker Carlson has little experience with them. But he’s not trying to use the word lynching accurately. He is using it as propaganda, drawing on a history of white violence against Blacks, in an attempt to incite white fear and violence. All in a day’s work for a doughy multi-millionaire.

      Real lynchings were usually of Black men, often in a carnival-like atmosphere. Picture postcards – featuring smiling white faces in front of burnt corpses or Black men twisting on the hangman’s tree – were common keepsakes. Carlson wants his white viewers to imagine themselves as the innocent folk being lynched by a crowd of vengeful Blacks. Fuck him, and the Murdoch media he rode in on.

  5. Jenny says:

    Relief. Grateful to the young woman, Darnella who videotaped the entire incident. She testified, “It wasn’t right,” she said. “He was suffering, he was in pain.” Yes, the entire world saw the pain and suffering of George Floyd.

    • posaune says:

      Yes, this. A 17-year old gave the world George Floyd’s face and
      the opportunity for Dr. Tobin to explain his death second by second.
      Brave person, she was.

  6. Badger Robert says:

    If they weren’t arguing for a few days, they had a guilty verdict on at least one count. I was surprised to hear of the guilty verdict on all three counts.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      I’m guessing that when they first polled, they were unanimous or close on all three counts. The rest of the time was spent solidifying everything. The defense did next to nothing to create any doubt, and Nelson’s closing argument probably lost him anyone who might’ve acquitted on one or two counts; showing the video over and over again just reminded everyone of the elements and brutality of the crime. It rendered his repetition of the phrase “reasonable police officer” became annoying and ironic, since what we saw with our eyes was his client being anything but reasonable. Plus, his tic of ending every declarative sentence with “right?” got severely on my nerves. He sounded like he was flailing–as if he wanted to take his case back and defend a different one instead, one that would have focused on how reasonable police officers make decisions instead of Fentanyl and carbon monoxide.

  7. Badger Robert says:

    I don’t remember much about criminal appeals, but I suspect when there is a digital recording of the crime, all errors are non prejudicial.

  8. Badger Robert says:

    Maybe Chauvin should have pled to the lesser charge and taken his chances with the feds.
    Barr, in the chaos, helped get Chauvin convicted.

  9. joel fisher says:

    The Defendant was immediately taken into the custody of his brethren, taken out of downtown Minneapolis, and dropped off at an undisclosed location. He’s not in any danger as long as the “Chauvin was screwed” crowd runs every prison in the country. Apparent new definition of “screwed”: when a white cop is convicted of killing a black guy while on video. The trial wasn’t perfect–Maxine Waters was channeling Richard Nixon–but that doesn’t mean it was unfair and, more importantly, it doesn’t mean it will be overturned on appeal.

    • bmaz says:

      No, as to evidentiary rulings, it was completely unfair from pre-trial, through trial. And, yes, it does indeed mean it was unfair. No, it may not mean that it will be overturned on appeal, but the fact that it does not bother you because of personal emotions, is telling.

      What happened here was just nuts. Chauvin could have easily been (and would have been) convicted without inappropriate evidentiary garbage. So, next time you want to complain about “the rule of law” here, please remember this time you just did not give a shit about it because doing so fit your internal optics and thoughts. The sanctity and propriety of the process matters as much, if not far not more, than any individual verdict. Law over man. What about that concept do you not grok?

      • Marinela says:

        For people not aware of the details, what was the specifics you see being unfair? Just want to understand your concerns.
        Personally, to me looked the prosecutors were able to make their case, but I probably missed things. For me, the trial was hard to watch, so I ended up watching somewhat distant.
        Happy with the outcome.

        Are you concerned that Derek C. will win on appeal?

        • timbo says:

          Thanks. I’d like to hear about what was not kosher with regard to the evidence and witnesses too. I doubt Chauvin will walk with appeals but, if he does, would could possibly miff appeals and Federal court judges who might end up being dragged into this thing?

      • ducktree says:

        My Victorian era Granny (1872-1972) used to dandle me on her knee and coo

        Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross,
        To see a fine lady upon a white horse;
        Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,
        And she shall have music wherever she goes.

        We still have a wayz to go before we get to Banbury Cross if that is Lady Liberty on your fine horse of laws.

        • bmaz says:

          I have no idea what or why in the hell you think “the fine horse of laws” is, but I think it involves due process and fundamental fairness, which, due to absolutely ridiculous evidentiary rulings, was obliterated in this Chauvin prosecution.

          I am happy Chauvin got convicted, but if YOU are happy that it was done in this slipshod and infirm evidentiary way, please do not ever whine here about “the rule of law”, or fairness and protection, because that would then be a joke.

          Convict the man, but do it right. If you are celebrating this procedural farce, I have nothing for you. May be the right verdict, but it was a truly shit and sham process.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Your confidence in the ability of state prison managers to protect an inmate from harm is touching. Given that Chauvin is the first Minnesota police officer to be in this situation, I’m not sure there’s much experience to go on. He’s lucky, though, that Minnesota elects so many Democrats, because Repubicans do not have a good track record when it comes to properly funding prisons and inmate care.

      • joel fisher says:

        I don’t know how “touching” it is, but jails and prisons are run by correctional Iofficers who identify more with Chauvin than George Floyd; moreover, the Aryan Nation folk who infest prisons seem likely to provide protection for former Officer Chauvin. Also, Chauvin was not the first. Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor was convicted–3rd Degree Murder– of the 2017 shooting death of Justine Diamond.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Thanks for the correction about the officer who shot and killed Justine Damond. She was, of course, white and the officer, Mohamed Noor is a person of color, which is a different dynamic from Floyd-Chauvin.

          Chauvin and state prison officials might have common politics, but unless he’s in solitary – regarded by many as a form of torture – he’s gonna have a tough time. That’s a comment about state prison conditions, and frequently poor staffing and facilities, not an expression of sympathy.

  10. PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

    I asked a defense attorney I know who works in this district what he thought of your posts and he agreed with your assessment of grounds for appeal, but didn’t think they would be likely to succeed. Overall he thought the judge did a middling job but not terrible.

    I didn’t watch most of the trial live, what are some moments that stood out to you as inappropriate that the judge should have shut down?

    • bmaz says:

      I do not think any will win on appeal either. Discretion to a trial judge on evidentiary determinations is/are close to sacrosanct.

      Middling job by Judge Cahill is being kind, but that is a judgment call, and okay, can see someone else thinking that. I do not, I thought Cahill was horrid.

      • Leoghann says:

        Your background in criminal defense, mixed with your innate nature, have made you a perfectionist, just as I am about work in my own field. I can see your points about it having been a flawed proceeding. But at this time, it’s the only proceeding we’ve got. It’s similar to the reason that the Senatorial election results in Maine and Iowa (and others) have not been questioned. At least Judge Cahill wasn’t Lance Ito, preening for the camera.

  11. OldTulsaDude says:

    I thought a guilty verdict would please me. Instead I just feel ill that it was necessary and, I believe, also right.

    • Rayne says:

      If you still feel ill, it’s likely because this verdict is only accountability and not justice. There will never really be justice because Floyd’s life can’t be restored.

      • OldTulsaDude says:

        You’re right. I felt for everyone forced to be involved in trying to find justice. It is hard to imagine a more imbecilic notion than that skin color can make one person superior or inferior to another.

        • Rayne says:

          That jury…the bystanders…the other public servants who tried to help Floyd, like the EMS…all of them were deeply traumatized by watching a man murdered over the course of nine and a half minutes. The trauma repeated again and again through the trial, news coverage, people of color having to live with this re-traumatization ever day on top of trying to get on with living.

          The unending trauma is part of the sensation we share even if we might not be most affected.

  12. Skilly says:

    It is disappointing that BMAZ does not believe this crowd can handle his analysis of what specific rulings he finds offensive. He seems adamant that the rulings were horrible, but does not say which or why. I am trying to think of who I am reminded of who makes absolute sweeping declarations without support?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      If you want to be spoon-fed, this is the wrong blog for you. It is not bmaz’s job to respond to every question or elaborate on every point he thinks the judge got wrong in a case lasting over two weeks.

      He is a practicing criminal defense attorney, unlike most of the talking heads in the media, which seemed to spend its time cheering for the prosecution, in hopes of improved audience ratings, instead of analyzing how well the prosecution, defense, and trial court were doing their jobs.

      • Max404 says:

        Give me a break. For such a prolific and profoundly intelligent contributor here as you are, this comment of yours is truly stupid. There, my bmaz moment.

        Just because bmaz is a working criminal attorney does not put him in some god-like category, or make him a Delphic oracle. I for one would like to learn why he believes what he does, exactly because he is a working criminal attorney.

        • bmaz says:

          Nobody said I was a “Delphic oracle”, and certainly not Earl. I have consistently related what I thought, and why, maybe more on twitter, but also in previous comments here. I may, or may not, come back to it in further detail.

          For now, suffice it to say that the trial judge, Cahill, let prosecutors (not normal prosecutors understand you, but led by private attys Schleicher and Blackwell pinch hitting for the state as obtained by Keith Ellison) roam wild with inappropriate comments on the evidence, inappropriate vouching for witnesses (Hey, you can trust this guy look at how he shines his shoes!), and, above and beyond all, the allowance of repetitive and cumulative inappropriate expert opinion testimony by lay witnesses from the MPD and Hennepin County that not only were not certified as experts, but should not have even been on the stand to start with (for instance, the MPD Chief appearing in his finest dress uniform with the shiniest fucking giant badge in history).

          The right verdict may have been reached, and it was, but the trial process was pretty ugly garbage. Yes, I have long done this for a living, so maybe I am overly sensitive to some of it. But I will never be able to explain it fully to people that have never stood in that court well with a client defendant.

          Adding that I do not have access to the pleadings and transcripts of the various pre-trial motions in limine that were argued. And, trust me, they were, but the press will never cover and report that fully, and I am not motivated enough to go pay for the same personally. Was that a calm enough response for your ask?

              • posaune says:

                bmaz, (7:02 am):

                You made me laugh with this:

                ‘Nobody said I was a “Delphic oracle”, and certainly not Earl.’
                I love it. Thanks for all you do here.

            • Ginevra diBenci says:

              Thanks for that link, Max404. Gerstein laid out the potential appellate issues very clearly. I was especially interested in the “Minnesota nice” addendum–I sure didn’t know that “belittling the defense” was against actual rules there!

          • Skilly says:

            Well said sir. Thank you for being more clear about your concerns. Honestly, from reading your early statements I was not entirely clear as to which side you felt had been denied a fair trial. I agree with you to the extent of my understanding of the rulings. As a former prosecutor, one must be mindful of the potential rulings in the process which might undo a perfectly good jury verdict. As you have set forth, I better understand (and share) your concerns about the array of rulings by the trial judge which may give the defendant legitimate, authoritative grounds for his request to overturn his conviction.

            • bmaz says:

              Right. And, to be clear, in spite of there being a multitude of problems, I do not think any are likely to upset this applecart on appeal. I never put much stock in the venue argument, the case was infamous nationally, even more so in MN. There was no better venue that could have alleviated that issue.

              The jury might, might, should have been sequestered from the start, not just during deliberations. The fact that another horrible instance of police action, and immediate police termination, and obviously seen by the jurors before deliberation, was unfortunate, to be kind. But that will never fly on appeal either.

              Most all of my issues are evidentiary, and there is simply too great of deference given to trial court determinations in that regard, and no appellate court, especially a MN state level one, will ever want to wade into that, irrespective of the improprieties.

              It will be sloughed off as “harmless error” and, frankly, were I an appellate judge there, I would not want to wade into all that either. This is why I kept whining during the trial. Process matters. This is a seminal case, conviction was going to, almost certainly, going to be the case (though juries occasionally do the darnedest things as Art Linkletter used to intone). I just wish it had been far cleaner.

              • boba says:

                Thank you much, appreciate the commentary. Quite the powerful force there, harmless error; one as strong as qualified immunity. Human endeavors have human strengths and flaws, it’s good we focus on increasing the former by acknowledging the latter.

              • holdingsteady says:

                Did Art also intone that defense attorneys say the darnedest things? Such as Nelson for example.

              • timbo says:

                Thanks for clarifying things more, Bmaz. For those of us who don’t do this for a living, it’s good to see some opinions from someone who cares deeply about the rule of law, the proper way of protecting all of our rights in our courts, and not just theoretically.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Your frustration is not a measure of the stupidity of a comment. Besides, bmaz probably does not speak Greek, avoids Oracle products when he can, and probably prefers not to be caught dead in a vehicle that uses Delphi parts, which one would normally find on the side of a road.

          • bmaz says:

            Meh, Max is fine. I did, however, grow up with Chevrolets (and one particular Hurst Olds) so have had more than my share of Delphi electronics. They were okay, if sometimes sketchy, but a lot better than Lucas electronics!

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              I’ll remember your casual calmness next time I pop the corn using your steam, after someone describes your comment as truly stupid.

              The reference to Oracle and Delphi products was meant to take the edge off. But favorably comparing Delphi electrical parts to those made by the man who invented darkness is even funnier. Many of those parts were pretty good, though, in their earlier American-made GM iterations.

            • John Lehman says:

              “ I did, however, grow up with Chevrolets ”

              Jogged a memory of a poem my father wrote as a seven year old during the era of Model T’s.

              Once upon a time
              I wrote a little rhyme

              And this is how it went
              A Ford I want to rent

              I do not want a Chevrolet
              And that is all I have to say

              -Carl Lehman
              Berne Indiana

          • Max404 says:

            Bmaz you are so kind. A youth spent scarfing Schreiner’s Fine Sausage made me into the happy person I am today; it seemed to have worked for you too. Katz’s Deli Salami (N. Central, across from the H.S.) as well?

            As for the Earl, I am not frustrated, rather I am curious, mellow. The measure of stupidity must be an independent variable. Classic Bosch logic. Your charges are shocking.

    • joel fisher says:

      Certainty is a wonderful thing and I am certain BMAZ doesn’t need–or want–my help, but if one were to criticize the trial court’s rulings, one might mention at least these two things:
      –No change of venue;
      –No sequestration.

      • vvv says:

        Because I always look for the funny, my fave potential basis for appeal noted by Mr. Gerstein at Politico as cited above:
        “In a uniquely Minnesota twist to the case, Chauvin may even have a ground for appeal on the basis that prosecutors were too mean to his defense lawyer.”

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          That would be the apotheosis of irony: overturning this verdict because prosecutors “belittled” the defense. (I don’t expect this, but I don’t know how seriously Minnesotans police niceness as a jurisprudential matter.)

          • bmaz says:

            It will never happen as an overturn on appeal, but it is NOT just a MN thing, that kind of argument is improper, formally or informally, almost everywhere and should be jeered, not cheered and supported.

            • vvv says:

              While I agree that absolute professionalism is the best and most-desired approach,
              ” After a prosecutor called the defense’s arguments “nonsense,” defense attorney Eric Nelson objected.” – well, let’s say I’ve argued worse and am willing to bet you might have, too.

              In the end, IMO, Nelson had a very tough case he handled about as best he could, and the prosecution had a much better case they beat into the ground with the aid of unusually cooperative police witnesses and a mostly hands-off judge, and to the cheers of seemingly most of the press and public.

              FWiW, I agree with the verdicts, also.

              • Ginevra diBenci says:

                Why didn’t Nelson put the department that arguably encouraged Chauvin’s behavior on trial? I found his defense unimaginative. He could have gone after all those pious MPD cops and confronted them with the true history.

            • Ginevra diBenci says:

              Not cheering/supporting it. I was stunned by the latitude Cahill gave the prosecution. As far as “Minnesota nice” goes, I was going by what Josh Gerstein wrote, and from my own research, which has shown that I can rarely predict which (if any) appellate arguments will succeed. Often it seems to be the one with the least predicate.

  13. skua says:

    From memory bmaz has already exampled some of what he found unfair.
    I’m remembering the space given to statement by George’s family members as one such.
    We demand of Trumpists that they, at times, set aside their heightened emotions and consider reasonably what they say and do.

    I trust bmaz’ approach and legal skills enough to think that this is a time when we need to do what we demand of Trumpists.

    • Rayne says:

      Do not tell an oppressed minority to shut up.

      If bmaz has a problem with the way the case was prosecuted he can make his points but it doesn’t mean the oppressed should stop their protest. Because while you’re trying to police their voice, the police continue to kill.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        The officer’s body camera footage shows the officer exiting their vehicle, approaching a crowd on a suburban front lawn on a sunny afternoon, pulling their sidearm, and firing it at someone rolling on the ground – in about 8 seconds. No attempt to use any other force or device – a Taser, a collapsible steel or night stick, nothing.

        This is systemic, a trained reflex response. Surely, there’s a better approach than shoot first. Immediately firing a high-powered sidearm at point blank range lethally escalates the violence.

        • Rayne says:

          Not to mention the fact the officer killed a child.

          This is the second Black child extrajudicially executed by police inside a week.

          Police who kill children are begging us to tear down American policing and plow it into the ground, salt the earth, start over from scratch with a focus on community services.

          • Eureka says:

            There were screenshots circulating last week of a Reason article wherein it is explained that in order to overcome “hesitancy” at shooting children or other vulnerable individuals, an LEO blew up photos of his own children to use at the shooting range. [A commenter or few noted: ~ hope his wife gets everything in the divorce.]

          • Leoghann says:

            Not to mention the other cops on the scene, loudly chanting “blue lives matter” at the upset family members and neighbors after the shooting. And this is the third questionable police shooting of young black people in Columbus in less than a year, that I can call to mind. It’s as though they’re really wanting their city to burn.

            • Rugger9 says:

              It’s one of the reasons the power of police unions needs to be curtailed, because it sure looks to me as well that instead of telling their rank and file to think twice it seems that they’re trying to get their licks in while they can. All it will do is get more calls for reform which will be followed through when cities get tired of paying the millions of dollars in civil suit damages.

              This is why Waters was telling us to document the behavior and not look away (that is what she means in part by “confrontational”). Otherwise, the long-overdue Chauvin verdict would probably have gone the other way.

              Note that several appeals courts have already laid down the marker to protect videotaping police activities (Glik v Cunniffe in the First circuit, but the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th and 11th have also ruled this way in other cases) and so far SCOTUS has not overruled them. Sunshine is the best disinfectant.

          • 200Toros says:

            Oh Lord, I am literally sick to my stomach to have to say this and take the flak I know is forthcoming. I have been in knife-fights, I have been in gunfights, and in many, many fistfights. I have faced down the Banditos motorcycle gang at gunpoint, and I’m still here. This Columbus Police officer acted completely appropriately, to save the lives of multiple people, from a completely out-of-control individual who was competently wielding a large knife to deadly effect. Age doesn’t matter, race doesn’t matter, she was a large (bigger than me), strong, fast individual who showed clear intent to kill, attempting to decapitate her first victim with a large blade, knocking her victim to the ground when her blow was blocked, and immediately attacked another teen, pinning her to the car and clearly attempted to kill her with a large blade. The officer saved two lives at minimum. Anyone trained in combatives can see that this teen was clearly comfortable and experienced with a knife, and a seasoned fighter in general. This was not her first fight, by any long shot. We must stand up and call it like it is, she was no angel, she was attempting to KILL two women (hello women’s rights?), and the police officer saved them from death.Tasers are not always effective, and had he not acted instantly, the teen in pink pinned up against the car would likely be dead, or grievously injured. Best case scenario, she is tased and in jail for 2 capital murder charges. Being 15 or 16 doesn’t make you an “angel”, I know, I was 15 once myself, and definitely no angel. The family of the teen girl in pink should be thanking the police officer for saving her life, that would be true moral courage. If you watched that video and thought, “oh that was just a little altercation, just kids being kids” then I don’t want to know you. Those of you who have never been in life-and-death situations, which require instant responses, take heed, and pause before replying. Those of us who have, know the reality of it, and those who don’t ; your opinions carry many, many grains of salt. I know what it is like to fight for my life, against a gun, a knife, or a fist. Think hard on whether you do too, before replying.

            • Rayne says:

              Nope. Nope. Nope. Total bullshit, absolutely not. When you take the position that shooting a child on sight is acceptable, you’ve failed.

              U.S. military are trained to deal with this kind of situation using firearms only as a last resort. The problem: we do not expect police to place a premium on de-escalation like the military does with its rules of engagement.


            • Ginevra diBenci says:

              How could you tell the girl was “a seasoned fighter”? On what evidence did you base your judgment that she was “no angel”? Either you are privy to a significantly longer, more detailed video than the rest of us or you are exhibiting the same biases and over-confidence that have led over and over to people of color bleeding out on the pavement or in cars or even in their own beds.

              Take your self-awarded street cred and shut up. You need to listen for a change.

            • Eureka says:

              I’d like to take your fancy, prized — dare I say favorite — lure here:

              Those of you who have never been in life-and-death situations, which require instant responses, take heed, and pause before replying.

              and swim away with it to the mundane waters most of us humans inhabit. By “mundane” of course I mean the mortal combat which can arise by merely existing on a daily basis, going about one’s day — as opposed to the knife and gun club.

              Lacking time, I’ll instead leave it glint in the sunlight.


              “(hello women’s rights?)

              There’s not enough bandwidth on this blog for the women (even limiting it to them) to rundown the lifetime of “life and death” microdecisions (truthfully, none of us could recall them all) that have enabled the presence of our very pixels here.

          • posaune says:

            The child killed was a foster child and I believe the house in the film was the actual foster home. This deserves more than an investigation of her death. The foster home, its license & contract, every person residing there, all need to be investigated. Why was the child in danger in a foster home? Where was the licensed adult in charge? Did the child have an advocate at the Child and Family Services agency? There are supposed to be reporting of monthly home visits with EACH child in a foster home.

            This really makes me sad — a child who already has endured trauma (and/or domestic violence), cries out for help and gets killed by alleged protectors. America.

            • nord dakota says:

              I would assume there will be investigation regarding the foster home, because a foster child died. On the surface–preparations for a birthday party which former foster children were attending–there is no glaring issue. It has been reported she was due to return home. The placement could well have been for “therapeutic” reasons. (I know some things about that from my personal life, although I was pretty appalled with what passed for therapeutic foster care when my “special needs” son spent nearly 2 years in such homes.) I am amazed, though, that the girl she was attacking by the car escaped unscathed when the shooting happened.

    • scribe says:

      The one unarguably positive thing Krasner did was to lower the threshold for prosecuting those who steal houses from 20 houses to 7. Because of the way PA law is, people who inherit houses often don’t bother to record a deed into the descendent who’s the new owner. (All inheritances, even parent to child, are taxed at 4+%. Rather than pay the tax, the descendents don’t record a deed. No record, no tax.) Enterprising thieves who decided they could steal more, and more safely, with a pen take to forging deeds from dead people into straw men, recording them, flipping the house to a developer and absconding with the proceeds. Problem is, prosecuting those cases is quite a bit more difficult than a store robbery, so you really had to steal a lot of houses before the law would come after you.

  14. Raoul says:

    Bmaz: please elucidate on bad evidentiary findings by the judge. I did not follow the case on a daily basis but the one finding by the judge which I found in error was prior bad acts by the victim. I’m posting here (regular reader) just to know your opinion.

  15. Philip Jones says:

    I’ve followed this robust discussion with great interest. I don’t know the details of the trial but BMAZ’s insistence on the principle of a properly conducted trial is surely compelling. As an aside, the most illuminating book I have read on the law (but I am not widely read on this) is Tom Bingham’s short book “The Rule of Law”. Obviously written from an English perspective but ranging more widely over equality, accessibility, human rights, international law, and terrorism. I’ve just re-read the chapter “A Fair Trial” which has helped me to reflect on the discussion.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Excellent primer by Lord Bingham. By its nature, it scratches the surface and has little about the actual practice of law.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      BTW, Tom Bingham was posthumously awarded the Orwell Prize for that book. Widely considered the great lawyer of his generation (1933-2010), he was the recipient of many honors and awards, including, unusually for a judge, being made a Knight of the Garter.

      He held the most senior judicial posts in England and Wales, and helped establish the Supreme Court as an independent institution, finally separating it from the upper legislative chamber, the House of Lords. That was a major constitutional reform, as was his successful advocacy to incorporate into English law the European Convention on Human Rights, something today’s Tory Party would vigorously oppose.

      Most importantly for him, I think, Tom Bingham was exceptionally humane and down to earth. His judgments in human rights cases attest to his belief that the law is meant to serve ordinary people, not just those in power. His inclusiveness and joy in life came out in a small way at his memorial service in 2011. Inside the austere medieval walls of Westminster Abbey, his service ended with the Adamant New Orleans Marching Band performing, When he Saints Go Marching In.

      A useful summary of his life is here:,_Baron_Bingham_of_Cornhill

  16. jaango says:

    For this past year, I have adopted my self-restraint for posting on this trial, but now that the verdict has been rendered, my self-restraint need no longer apply.

    And I come at this from the standpoint that any person, charged with “Murder” should be accorded a trial via a three-judge panel, with the expectation that the defendant is being provided a non-temperamental judge, seeking to further, write a book, at some future date. Additionally, the news media outlets have delved deeply into this click bait behavior in order to increase the media outlets’ entertainment value.

    • ThoughtMail says:

      Go ahead. Change all the laws that don’t suit you. Provided that you have the force of law to effect the change, and overwhelming democratic support.

      BTW, he wasn’t tried by a judge (or three); he was tried by a jury (grand and petit). The jury, as finders of fact, did find all the elements of the offense as true.

      By law and practice, any appeal of factual findings would normally fail (courts of appeal would, only in very limited circumstances, overturn findings of fact by a jury); an appeal of law MIGHT succeed, but only in very limited circumstances (of counsel’s and judiciary’s shared intellectual gymnastics). Here, there was plenty of defense on the facts, though argued to no effect; very little on the law. There doesn’t even appear to be enough, even to get to cert.

      • Rugger9 says:

        The RWNM is making Chauvin a martyr so I would expect serious pressure on the appeals court process, both within the MN system (as bmaz noted, this is not a federal case, but a state one) and the federal side where some activist Trumpist FedSoc judge decides that the trial was unfair and intervenes. We’ll know by where Nelson files his appeals and what he argues. Arguing that “norms” will hold by themselves ignores all of the dreck emanating from defense of GOP darlings, including the 60+ cases over the 2020 election. Once again, when given the opportunity to claim vote fraud in all of the cases, the Trump campaign said there wasn’t any, even when asked directly. I would expect some attempt to shanghai this out of state court and into federal court (like was done in the Florida election in 2000) but I hope it will fail.

        Nelson’s failure to go after the Minneapolis PD leadership is interesting, because otherwise Nelson essentially tried on that topic to claim that Chauvin was just following orders and procedure (indeed, he was a training officer that day, which is not a role one normally gives to substandard officers). While I am sure the prosecution would argue correctly that Chauvin did the deed and we did learn that it was outside of the procedures, Chauvin was still there as the scene leader in his training officer role and that point needs more exploration. The MPD thought he was qualified and ready. Yet, Nelson did not try to spread the blame as far as I can tell to anyone in the city organization, why?

        While the “one bad apple” defense is being used here, it will also mean the city doesn’t change training which is why AG Garland is looking at them.

  17. John McManus says:

    Not either a lawyer or a miscreant with a lot of appearances, but my experience with court is that everybody is lying. The defendant , if testifying, lies as does counsel. The prosecution lies as do its witnesses. Jurors lie when asked if they can be impartial and the judge lies when implying ability to run fair proceedings.

  18. madwand says:

    Not a lawyer, but glad Chauvin got convicted, MSNBC says he’s in a Federal Holding Facility, other than that no hard facts. We should not forget there are three more cops in this incident to be prosecuted. I don’t think they will plead, but it would be nice if one did.

    People may remember the incident in LA a number of years ago where police confronted a man dressed in armor and armed and returning fire. The first cop to respond was a twenty five year veteran who had never fired his weapon while on duty. I was struck by that as we are lead to believe inner cities are war zones and police are regularly discharging their weapons against the bad guys. I am sure this particular policeman had a different story. Before I get jumped on here this doesn’t mean policing in the US shouldn’t be reformed. Merrick Garland was on TV this morning announcing an investigation into the MPD. People may recall Sessions as AG did away with most of these investigations as part of the policy of the Trump Administration. It good to see a return to sanity.

    When I lived on the West Coast, I was invited to the annual police golf outing every year. They always positioned a military vehicle just outside the clubhouse to impress everyone with their hardware. I remember thinking, what the fuck do they need that for. It’s kind of overkill for a small town in California. Then again the the police foursome always won the contest and the rest of the competing foursomes were competing for second place. It kind of gave me the impression that the police were rigging the game as their scores were so low as to be almost improbable for the handicaps they claimed.

    • Rayne says:

      Chauvin didn’t fire his weapon to kill Floyd. Firing a weapon isn’t necessarily the measure you may think it is.

      The entire system needs a thorough hosing if 3-4 cops can stand by and let a co-worker extrajudicially execute someone over the course of nine and a half minutes. They didn’t fire weapons, either.

      • madwand says:

        Yeah quite obvious that Chauvin sat on Floyds neck, and I get your point they didn’t need a weapon in this case, they were the weapon. We hear the plea, “quit killing us” which means by any means. I’m on your side lady and it is white people who need to change, at least that is my take on it.

    • bmaz says:

      I do not know positively, but it is highly unlikely Chauvin is in a Fed facility. This was a straight up state law case from start to finish, he is most likely in a state facility. Ah, here it is, he is at Oak Park, a MN facility.

  19. The Old Redneck says:

    I think a little humility is in order whenever we discuss a verdict from the outside. Unless you were in the courtroom the whole time, you don’t know everything the jury heard and considered. Most coverage focuses on the more sensational aspects of the trial. Stuff that is important to the verdict but less glamorous may not even get mentioned.
    We should generally give juries the benefit of the doubt regardless of what they decide. Jurors are not perfect but they usually work pretty hard to get it right. So I’m not a fan of that “how could they have done that” blather coming from uninformed loudmouths. I stuck up for the jury which refused to convict Casey Anthony – a result you could see coming if you were paying attention to what they heard.
    Wait . . . did I actually just kinda sorta agree with bmaz?

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Who is questioning this jury? I agree with you about Casey Anthony, but that was a very different case, one with a high level of reasonable doubt. She was lucky not to be tried in a court of public opinion, where Nancy Grace served as judge.

      • The Old Redneck says:

        Every right-wing pundit there is, it seems. Tucker Carlson, Rudy Guliani, and many others. They’re claiming the verdict was rigged or the result of mob rule. It’s just not possible that it could have been based on the evidence, which the rest of the world found overwhelming.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Some people would rather return to the Matrix than deal with reality. For others, helping them want to do that is just a big paycheck.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          Oh, okay. I thought you meant people *here* were passing judgment on the jury. Yes, I think what Tucker Carlson is spewing is dangerous garbage, and insulting to the twelve people who actually did the work (along with the alternates who were ready).

        • timbo says:

          Are these the same pundits that America doesn’t have a race problem… yet fail to explain why Chauvin then has to be kept in a segregated area of the Minnesota state prison?

    • Terry Sawyer says:

      No need to rely on this discussion to fill out bmaz’s criticism of the trial. Chauvin has lawyers who will scour the transcript and highlight the worst errors on apoeal.
      The reason I read this blog is precisely because EW thoroughly reviews the original sources i.e. pleadings and analysis them with detailed quotes.

      • timbo says:

        Oh yes, let’s hope that Chauvin’s lawyers are so competent that when the appeals process fails to overturn the jury verdict and/or stiff sentence that there will be no further conceivable way of appeal after that. And then the country can get on with cleaning out the bad cops like it should have been doing better along.

    • Eureka says:

      Yeah, at a Wawa no less [which, besides one’s home/work/school, is probably the most-frequented neighborhood haunt for folks in the ~ (south-) eastern part of the state]. In other words, News at 4, 5, 6, and 11; while yet another act of someone’s idiosyncratic rage, the location is broadly personalizing. For now.

      Relatedly, I was surprised to see so many more LEOs, from multiple jurisdictions, at the vaccine site second time around — until I was reminded of the uptick/contagion spurt of mass shootings, the target vulnerability of such a site, and that they’d probably had warnings-chatter.

  20. Epicurus says:

    Chauvin and the other three policemen were/are agents of the state, the government. The Declaration of Independence says it most simply. Governments are instituted among men to secure their rights, governments deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. The four policemen, agents of the government, actively and specifically deprived George Floyd of his right to life without consent from anyone else. George Floyd would have played a central role in Isabel Wilkerson’s book Caste had his killing happened before publication. His killing is beyond racism in Wilkerson’s world.

    Per bmaz above “Peter Cahill has been an absolute embarrassment to due process and fundamental fairness.” What is interesting about that conclusion is it is 180 out from Wilkerson’s observation that in a caste system the caste itself doesn’t/can never receive due process and fundamental fairness. Cahill has sought essential due process and fundamental fairness for a caste member if not the caste itself by using the system in a way, intentionally or subliminally, that benefited the caste when it has been used against essential due process and fundamental fairness to disbenefit the caste since day one in this country. Why take Cahill to task for it, as if we cannot achieve true due process and fundamental fairness unless we follow the rules of due process strictly, i.e. we can only get to the correct ends if we follow the means specifically and correctly. It seems a byzantine or Russian logic. It hasn’t worked for any caste historically. Ed Walker has been arguing for some form of Dewey’s pragmatism especially in a democratic expression and what better example is there than Cahill’s decision-making. The justice world isn’t going to end with due process and fundamental fairness going down the tubes because of Judge Cahill’s actions and neither are Judge Cahill’s judicial actions going to be commonly expressed and adopted throughout the country by other courts or taught by law schools.

    On a far different note the whole situation is a human tragedy. It falls under the advice I have given many times. You don’t want to be the ex post facto subject of the question “What did you think was going to happen?” So George Floyd, you passed a counterfeit bill. You have priors. What did you think was going to happen? So Derek Chauvin, you are going to kneel on a person’s neck for nine plus minutes. What do you think is going to happen? What do you think is going to happen if he is injured and there is a person taking photos of the incident? Chauvin’s fellow officers, you are watching Chauvin kneel on a guy’s neck for nine minutes and you don’t intercede. What do you think is going to happen if something happens to the guy? MPD, you are teaching neck restraints to officers with unknown emotional or psychological profiles. What do you think is going to happen? The question isn’t taught in schools or at home or in training. It needs to be internalized because what is going to happen is usually something with far greater unexpected consequences for a number of people than a person can conceive.

    • Rayne says:

      I had to walk away and cool off because of your last graf and this bit of claptrap: “What did you think was going to happen?”

      You’re a woman who wore a skirt to the store. “What did you think was going to happen?”
      You’re Korean running a grocery store. “What did you think was going to happen?”
      You’re Black while driving. “What did you think was going to happen?”
      And so the fuck on and on and on.

      No. This isn’t about us getting into our own heads and asking, “What did you think was going to happen?” because we can’t get into the head of privileged, entitled assholes whose psychopathy has been encouraged and rewarded. We cannot know when one of them is going to flip on us like Chauvin who’ll extrajudicially execute us on the spot for having the temerity to exist, or kidnap and rape us like Erich Fritz for simply presenting the nonconsensual opportunity.

      This is about a social contract which was written primarily by white men, to serve white men, which is at a minimum supposed assume we’re all of us white men anyhow; what is supposed to happen is in that social contract called law.

      And it means when you’re a woman who wore a skirt to the store, you can buy your necessities without having your person assaulted by anyone, with or without a badge.
      It means when you’re a Korean running a grocery store you won’t have to be shaken down by both thieves and then the cops.
      It means when you’re Black while driving, you won’t be stopped if you haven’t committed a moving violation or your tail light isn’t out, and you won’t end up dead in a jail cell three days later.

      Really goddamned tired of blaming victims for not thinking all the time (although they already do), “What did you think was going to happen?” when the core problem is white dudes not holding their own to account all the way through the system, from police to the White House.

      • Epicurus says:

        The graf as you put it was aimed at people who do something wrong or would consider doing something wrong, not at victims. Because of the way this society operates once the commission happens they open themselves to all levels of unknown consequences some of them unusually harsh or life-threatening. I used it lot with kids. Don’t drink or do drugs and certainly don’t carry the stuff in a car or truck. Sorry if you think I intended it in any way for victims. I didn’t. I am as saddened as anyone for people who are harmed for simply living their lives and doing nothing wrong. Not my desire, intent, or style.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          epicuris, the problem with your reductivist prescription for living is this: in our culture, when someone becomes a victim there is a sliding scale of presumption that it is BECAUSE they “did something wrong.” That scale starts with the familiar presumption of innocent victimhood, generally granted to white men, and extends across a spectrum to guilty victims, those responsible for whatever wrong thing happened. To wit: George Floyd. You yourself just made him guilty, in a fashion typical of our cultural moment, as Rayne pointed out. Those of us whose lives are fated to play out towards the presumed guilty end of the spectrum (people of color, women) fear being victims of crime because we know it will be construed by power structure as our fault.

          For a white man, it seems, nothing is “wrong” enough to earn the designation of guilt. To wit: Kyle Rittenhouse. For a Black person, no absence of wrongdoing–not even being asleep in your own apartment–is pure enough to render you innocent.

          I’m glad you’re reading Isabel Wilkerson’s brilliant book Caste. I am too, and I plan to read it again so her lessons sink in.

          • Epicurus says:

            Ginevra, I understand the accusation and profiling of me. I get it. You get to answer these questions though. What was the probability that the storeowner would have called the police on George Floyd if he gave them a real twenty rather than a counterfeit twenty? Do you think George Floyd knew what he was doing, that it might have repercussions, and he did it anyway regardless of potential consequence? Do you approve of people acting in that manner in general society including your family members and friends? Do you approve of people passing counterfeit bills? If you don’t approve of it how do you suggest storeowners respond when faced with the situation?

            I called it a tragedy above. It was absolutely tragic for George Floyd, those that knew and loved him, for society large and small that something so meaningless resulted in his death. it is just as tragic when elements of society turn on other elements of society for reasons of hate and power. But If you think George Floyd was blameless in putting this situation into action with his own actions let me know in your answers to the question above and please tell me your answer as to how we insure over-reaction by responding parties will never occur again.

            • Rayne says:

              You’re totally okay with the presumption of guilt without investigation. You’re okay with denying habeas corpus.

              I mean, you’re still on this line of commentary, posting another 213 words insisting Floyd was guilty of something and Chauvin’s response could have been expected if an “over-reaction.”

              This is not at all how this nation of laws is supposed to work. If there was a complaint it should have been investigated. The suspect should have been taken into custody if there had been enough evidence showing sufficient cause. The suspect should have been allowed to have an attorney and to make their case in response to the state’s case. And then, only then, after due process, should Floyd have been punished by incarceration.

              Not a summary execution in the street by a rogue officer because you and Chauvin think Floyd had it coming for one arbitrary reason or another.

              Fuck all the way off. Seriously.

              • timbo says:

                thank you, Rayne. I can only imagine how bad some of the posts and that we blessedly never see are… Thanks for being so dedicated to making our society a better place for equality and egalitarianism rather than the unsubtle alternatives that we are all so frequently reminded of/subjected to.

            • nord dakota says:

              From what I have been able to find out, the $20 was never taken into evidence or confirmed to be counterfeit.

              I once, unbeknownst to myself, passed a counterfeit $20 when I bought gas. The cashier was sort of perplexed, we looked at the $20, it did look funny on close inspection (this was a long time ago, before they upgraded currency) and literally nothing happened to me–far as I can remember, I didn’t even have to provide different money for the gas.

              My mom and my sister (both deceased) were bingo addicts who played at a local bar, where the bar owner owned the ATM. There was a month when 3 counterfeit 20s turned up in the ATM.

      • rip says:

        Thank you, Rayne. That was such a great synopsis of the problems that everyone has to deal with. And especially if they are not of the WASP/entitled persuasion.

  21. Badger Robert says:

    There is a digital recording of the criminal killing the victim, made in broad daylight. There were several eyewitnesses.
    By the time the convict is sentenced there will probably be extensive evidence that his misuse of force has been tolerated by the police department for many years.
    The likelihood that an appellate court is going to over turn a jury verdict is near -0-. Could they address a few issues about best practices for future cases? Sure.

    • PieIsDamnGood says:

      He was a training officer for fucks sake. I think we need Anne Milgram to go department to department burning them down and rebuilding without the police union.

      • bmaz says:

        Anne Milgram is great. But she is Biden’s nominee to lead the DEA, so her plate is likely to be very full. And she is an excellent call for DEA, they need someone like that.

  22. madwand says:

    From WAPO

    The authors take:

    This week, I knew better. All the evidence was there, on video. Just like last time. But I worried, the nation worried, President Biden said he prayed.
    And when the guilty, guilty, guilty verdict came, I saw Black people embrace, rejoice and break into tears.
    And I felt sick to my stomach that they had waited so long and were so relieved that what should’ve been inevitable finally happened: accountability.
    It shoudn’t have been an exhale moment. It should’ve been an “of course” moment.
    This is White America’s big opportunity to get it. Only then, only when justice isn’t a surprise to anyone, can the whole nation move ahead.
    Got it?

    • bmaz says:

      Nope, sorry Ms. Dvorak, I do not “get it” as you so blithely demand. Dvorak’s piece is specious and naive. A video alone is never conclusive, and there is a reason that judgments like this are given to juries and not blathering and conclusory jackasses on the local DC beat (hey, that is her own language, not mine).

      “I’ll admit, I had my go-bag ready — the riot backpack with ski goggles, masks, hand sanitizer, water, saline solution, notepads, pens and powerbanks — expecting the worst, expecting so little of our justice system that American grief, anger and frustration would fill the streets and I’d be out there all night to witness and document it.”


      • posaune says:

        Ms. Dvorak used to be on the local land-use beat in metro DC area. She covered a number of my cases — ineptly I have to say. She never seemed to understand zoning (density, height, massing, FAR or plane of inclination) or the legal implications of lot lines. After a few of these, I stopped returning calls. LOL.

  23. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Police in North Carolina, “executing a warrant,” fatally shot a Black man of forty, who allegedly attempted to flee in his car. A father of ten is dead. “Shot while trying to escape,” used to be a trope in films about WWII, like Ugarte in Casablanca. I must have missed the lecture where fleeing the police was deemed a capital offense.

    This systemic problem does not seem to be about protecting public safety. So, what harm was avoided through immediate execution? Is this a survivor from a period where the job was to keep a slaveholder’s property from running away, out of fear the runaway would justifiably come back and murder you in your bed? Is it about not being regarded as a fuck-up, not being deemed man enough for the work and hence, a societal failure? Is it about making your stats? Or is it simply about venting anger at someone who refuses to obey your command?

    • Leoghann says:

      And, as of today, the sheriff says three of his officers who were involved in the shooting, and seven others who were at the raid have been temporarily relieved of duty. All ten are under investigation.

    • cavenewt says:

      “Or is it simply about venting anger at someone who refuses to obey your command?”

      That’s what a lot of these cases seem like to me. One would think police would be trained to deal with stuff like that, without shooting people.

      One of my favorite fiction book series is written from the perspective of a London police officer. Their only physical weapon is the extendable baton. It has always struck me how humane they are trained to be.

  24. Savage Librarian says:

    I’ve followed the example of the “In-Basket Test,” an infamous element of some supervisory promotional exams. The trick is to go through all the items before taking action. The lesson is that some things become moot or resolved by subsequent things in the basket. So, after reading comments in this post, now I know more about the importance of certain actions in a courtroom.

    Although I don’t remember the specifics, I do recall being very concerned about some evidentiary rulings in the civil proceedings of my labor dispute with the city. As l’ve shared before, the case involved a white supremacist group, a rifle bag policy, not pledging to a Confederate flag, and a demotion that violated my Constitutionally protected rights. So, I appreciate bmaz emphasizing the importance of process.

    Recently, I read an article about Merrick Garland and the OKC bombing case. The takeaway for me was that he earned a great deal of respect because he insisted on doing everything by the book. As I understand it, evidence rules are not the same as evidentiary rulings.
    But both are critical to outcomes.

    Legal terminology and process feels a lot like hearing a church service in Latin to me. The codes, rituals and rules obviously bear weight but are intimidating to folks who don’t live in that world. If the language could be geared more to reasonable people, I wonder if the system might work better by virtue of being better understood.

    While not directly related, I came across this today and found it interesting:

    “Why you think you’re right — even if you’re wrong”| Julia Galef

  25. Cwolf says:

    What fascinates me is the parade of peace officers who jumped the Blue Line.
    If This becomes a trend then maybe some real change can happen. If not then Pffftt.
    I think the Judge did a decent job. He was certainly no Judge Ito level disaster..

    • bmaz says:

      That “parade of police officers” was neither admirable nor appropriate. It was absolutely horseshit. If courts are to commonly allow that nonsense, they will truly then be broken. But, hey, thanks for cheerleading denial of evidentiary propriety, fundamental fairness and due process. YAY!

    • timbo says:

      Re: “the parade of peace officers who jumped the Blue Line”

      Cwolf, can you explain exactly what you mean by that for clarity?

  26. IANAL on UWS says:

    Thank you to everyone, beginning with the good doctor and contributors through to all submitting comments, for creating such an informative, insightful community.

    The many observations by bmaz about this trial’s procedures (much appreciated!) sparked questions about the three other officers, scheduled for trial in August.

    —If the defense wanted to request a sequestered jury throughout the trial, might it have a better chance of the judge agreeing because of what happened during Chauvin? Thinking of “better” here relative to if the August trial were unrelated to Chauvin and/or not preceded by it.

    —If any Chauvin procedures are appealed before the August trial, might existence of those appeals influence the August judge in considering similar/identical evidentiary situations?

    Thanks for the continuing edification.

    • bmaz says:

      1) No real idea, but the cat is kind of out of the bag as to jury pool contamination. It was going into Chauvin voir dire, and it will be on these defendants in August, if they really ever get to trial. Better question is whether they really get to trial.

      2) Chauvin will not even be sentenced until mid June, so, no, no appeals therefrom are likely to infringe on the others’ August trial. Neither may actually even happen per the current schedule. Nobody knows that either.

  27. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Wealthy Trump propagandist Ric Grenell argues that no one state should have “all the federal jobs.” So, giving DC statehood would mean unemploying thousands of people in DC, or moving their jobs across the country. LOL.

    Rachel Kurzius has to remind Grenell that DC is home to only about 7.6% of federal jobs. Congress has for generations ensured that the feds employ people across the country. Keeping – or threatening to withdraw – jobs in the home districts of members of Congress is how congressional leaders ensure their control. It’s how the Pentagon has extorted its massive budgets since the dawn of the military-industrial-congressional complex.

    No one can work in DC, for example, without feeling the looming presence of the Pentagon, across the Potomac. Neighboring Arlington, McLean, and Langley – like the rest of Northern Virginia – are dominated by federal employers. So, too, is the 50-mile corridor between DC and Annapolis, MD. Hence, the phrase, Metro DC. Trump, when Grenell “worked” for him, dispersed thousands of federal jobs across flyover country. He wanted to force employees to quit, to break the power of their unions, and to further dismantle the regulatory state. Like Tucker Carlson, Ric Grenell is spewing propaganda he doesn’t bother to dress up as fact. Also like Carlson, Grenell is a lying putz.

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