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Thu Oct 22, 2020, 10:35 AM

Judge drops third-degree murder charge against former officer Derek Chauvin in George Floyd's death

Source: CNN

A Hennepin County judge has dropped a third-degree murder charge against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd.

Chauvin still faces charges of second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd's death on May 25, which sparked nationwide protests and a reckoning over race and policing this summer.

Chauvin, who was released on $1 million bond earlier this month, was seen in videos of the incident kneeling on Floyd's neck for almost eight minutes, while the Black man told Chauvin and three other officers that he couldn't breathe.

The other now-former Minneapolis officers have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. The judge upheld those charges.

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/22/us/derek-chauvin-george-floyd-charge-dropped/index.html

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Reply Judge drops third-degree murder charge against former officer Derek Chauvin in George Floyd's death (Original post)
Calista241 Oct 22 OP
LakeArenal Oct 22 #1
davsand Oct 22 #3
LakeArenal Oct 22 #9
stopdiggin Oct 22 #14
LakeArenal Oct 22 #19
stopdiggin Oct 22 #21
soldierant Oct 22 #22
yardwork Oct 22 #16
melm00se Oct 22 #2
Laelth Oct 22 #4
The Velveteen Ocelot Oct 22 #5
Laelth Oct 22 #6
mr_lebowski Oct 22 #7
The Velveteen Ocelot Oct 22 #8
mr_lebowski Oct 22 #10
RobinA Oct 22 #15
Ron Obvious Oct 22 #11
BamaRefugee Oct 22 #12
The Velveteen Ocelot Oct 22 #18
BamaRefugee Oct 23 #24
stopdiggin Oct 22 #13
The Velveteen Ocelot Oct 22 #17
stopdiggin Oct 22 #20
DFW Oct 22 #23

Response to Calista241 (Original post)

Thu Oct 22, 2020, 10:37 AM

1. Wow. That's Effed. Just wow.

Guess we have learned nothing. Sad. Unjust.

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Response to LakeArenal (Reply #1)

Thu Oct 22, 2020, 10:48 AM

3. Sounds like the judge dropped the lower murder charge.

The 2nd degree charge stands, still. Can you explain what it is you are disappointed by with the judge dropping the lesser charge?


Laura

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Response to davsand (Reply #3)

Thu Oct 22, 2020, 11:38 AM

9. Because it first degree murder to begin with.

And the others stood there and aided and abetted.

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Response to LakeArenal (Reply #9)

Thu Oct 22, 2020, 02:44 PM

14. 1st degree probably doesn't fly

premeditated intent probably won't pass with any jury. 2nd degree is really the proper charge here (IMO) -- and even that will require selling a jury on a certain amount of intent (or blatant disregard).

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Response to stopdiggin (Reply #14)

Thu Oct 22, 2020, 03:07 PM

19. Well isn't that just the shit folks are protesting.

Just cuz they can do it doesn’t make it right.

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Response to LakeArenal (Reply #19)

Thu Oct 22, 2020, 03:26 PM

21. I guess that's why it goes before a jury (nt)

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Response to davsand (Reply #3)

Thu Oct 22, 2020, 04:06 PM

22. Because it removes the chance that a jury might hesitate

to convict on the higher charge but still be willing to convict on the lower charge. Now, if they won't convict on the higher one, he's off the hook.

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Response to LakeArenal (Reply #1)

Thu Oct 22, 2020, 02:45 PM

16. Did you read the article?

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Response to Calista241 (Original post)

Thu Oct 22, 2020, 10:47 AM

2. Comparing and contrasting the 2nd and 3rd degree murder charges in MN

2nd degree murder is either:

Intentional murder; drive-by shootings. Whoever does either of the following is guilty of murder in the second degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 40 years:

(1) causes the death of a human being with intent to effect the death of that person or another, but without premeditation; or

(2) causes the death of a human being while committing or attempting to commit a drive-by shooting...yada yada yada

OR

Unintentional murder. Whoever does either of the following is guilty of unintentional murder in the second degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 40 years:
(1) causes the death of a human being, without intent to effect the death of any person, while committing or attempting to commit a felony offense other than criminal sexual conduct in the first or second degree with force or violence or a drive-by shooting; or

(2) causes the death of a human being without intent to effect the death of any person, while intentionally inflicting or attempting to inflict bodily harm upon the victim, when the perpetrator is restrained under an order for protection and the victim is a person designated to receive protection under the order. More yada yada yada.

3rd degree murder is

(a) Whoever, without intent to effect the death of any person, causes the death of another by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life, is guilty of murder in the third degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 25 years.

(b) Whoever, without intent to cause death, proximately causes the death of a human being by, directly or indirectly, unlawfully selling, giving away, bartering, delivering, exchanging, distributing, or administering a controlled substance classified in Schedule I or II, is guilty of murder in the third degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 25 years or to payment of a fine of not more than $40,000, or both.

=================

So the judge tossed the one that said the accused didn't intend to kill and/or sold the drugs that killed.

This could be read two ways:

1. Setting up a situation where if the state can't "prove" that Chauvin acted with intent so the jury would have to find "not guilty" (can't find someone guilty of a crime not charged).

2. The judge saw what evidence the state has and said: no way Chauvin didn't know what he was doing so he did it with intent.

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Response to Calista241 (Original post)

Thu Oct 22, 2020, 10:54 AM

4. Looks like 3rd Degree is a lesser included offense.

Why drop it? Unless the Judge is saying, “You can’t imprison this person unless you prove intent.” Why would the Judge shield the accused in this way?

Something, here, STINKS.

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #4)

Thu Oct 22, 2020, 11:02 AM

5. It takes away from the jury the option of letting him off the hook somewhat.

I don't see it as a bad thing at all.

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #5)

Thu Oct 22, 2020, 11:06 AM

6. Thanks for the reply.

Criminal law has never been my specialty. I will rely on your experience, here.

-Laelth

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #5)

Thu Oct 22, 2020, 11:25 AM

7. I didn't even know you could charge both 2nd and 3rd degree, the latter as like a 'fallback'

They don't ever do it on the cop shows on TV, so

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Response to mr_lebowski (Reply #7)

Thu Oct 22, 2020, 11:31 AM

8. You can. They are called lesser included offenses.

The jury will be instructed separately on the elements of each offense, so if a defendant is charged with both first and second-degree murder, they could convict him for second-degree murder if they find evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that he acted intentionally but without premeditation. So the prosecution still gets a conviction even if it's not first-degree murder. Happens all the time.

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #8)

Thu Oct 22, 2020, 12:02 PM

10. Huh. Okay ...

So do judges also unilaterally reject such fallback charges in cases on the regular as well?

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #5)

Thu Oct 22, 2020, 02:44 PM

15. But On The Other Hand

it takes away the jury's ability to back off from 2nd degree to 3rd. Personally, reading this with no other info I lean towards 3rd degree. So if, at the end of the trial and I'm on the jury feeling the way I do now, I have nowhere to go except to a much lesser charge. Seems like a gamble.

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Response to Calista241 (Original post)

Thu Oct 22, 2020, 12:27 PM

11. I suspect that increases the chance of him getting off altogether

Some jury members might have been willing to vote for 3d degree but unwilling to vote for 2d.

But I've not followed this close enough to have an informed opinion.

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Response to Calista241 (Original post)

Thu Oct 22, 2020, 02:23 PM

12. Wait til other charges are dropped, probably 24 hours or so before election day. I predicted this

would happen months ago.
First Chauvin gets to leave Minnesota.
Next, a charge is dropped.
Soon, something even worse, creating civil unrest all over the country right at Election Day, with all the associated Trumpian skullduggery that will ensue.

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Response to BamaRefugee (Reply #12)

Thu Oct 22, 2020, 02:56 PM

18. That will not happen.

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #18)

Fri Oct 23, 2020, 02:11 PM

24. Everybody told me "it won't happen" when I predicted Chauvin would be released.

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Response to Calista241 (Original post)

Thu Oct 22, 2020, 02:34 PM

13. apparently the judge determined that 3rd degree

simply didn't fit the facts of the case. (see #2 for that definition) It would seem that 3rd degree refers (in MN statute) to some action showing disregard tangential to the person actually killed. And Chauvin's actions were anything but disconnected or tangential to the victim.

I doubt this is a move to shield the defendant -- but that's just my interpretation.

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Response to stopdiggin (Reply #13)

Thu Oct 22, 2020, 02:55 PM

17. The jury instructions for third-degree murder, used in the Mohamed Noor case:

MURDER IN THE THIRD DEGREE—DEPRAVED MlND—ELEMENTS

The elements of murder in the third degree as alleged in this case are:

First, the death of Justine Ruszczyk must be proven.

Second, the defendant Mohamed Noor caused the death of Justine Ruszczyk.

Third, the defendant Mohamed Noor's intentional act, which caused the death of Justine Ruszczyk, was eminently dangerous to human beings and was performed without regard for human life. Such an act may not be specifically intended to cause death, and may not be specifically directed at the particular person whose death occurred, but it is committed in reckless or wanton manner with the knowledge that someone may be killed and with heedless disregard of that happening.

This was a case in which a police officer sitting in the passenger seat of a squad car, shot past his partner, through the car's driver's side window, and killed an innocent woman who had run up to the car after reporting having heard what she thought was an assault in progress. The charges submitted to the jury were second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He was convicted of the two lesser charges but not of second-degree murder. The complete jury instructions are here: https://mncourts.gov/mncourtsgov/media/High-Profile-Cases/27-CR-18-6859/JuryInstructions042919.pdf

It might be that because Chauvin's actions were specifically directed at Floyd and only at him, the judge thought this charge didn't apply, whereas in the case of Noor, his firing his gun past his partner and at someone he had only glimpsed and didn't know who it was or what they were doing, endangered his partner as well as the person he actually shot and anyone else who might have been in range of the shot.

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #17)

Thu Oct 22, 2020, 03:21 PM

20. thank you. that is certainly NOT tangential

and thus my understanding of the critical elements obviously wrong. Apparently the distinction here is wanton disregard -- and not, as I had supposed, a disconnect from action and actual victim.

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Response to Calista241 (Original post)

Thu Oct 22, 2020, 04:16 PM

23. There are numerous reports (not all identical) that Chauvin and Floyd had had a run-in before

That would make it clear that Chauvin's behavior was particularly rough because he harbored a grudge. He Held Floyd down for way longer than it takes to suffocate a human. As a cop, he knew that.

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