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As everyone knows, we have a guilty verdict in the George Floyd case. It appears to me that there is clearly evidence to support the jury’s verdict. Officer Chauvin did something he shouldn’t have and the jury held him accountable. The system worked. I do not agree with those who want to use this verdict to condemn all, or even most law enforcement, however. This was an isolated case. The vast majority of law enforcement personnel follow the law as they do their jobs. We cannot have a civilized society without them. 

Having said that, the case is not over. I can see several possible grounds for appeal. First is the fact that the judge did not grant a change of venue. In high profile cases such as this one, it is not uncommon to move the trial to an area where the media coverage has not been quite so intense, in an attempt to minimize as much as possible, the influence of the media on the jurors.  That was not done in this case. Jurors are supposed to base their verdict solely on the evidence presented at the trial.

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Secondly, the jury was not sequestered during the trial. That is done in some cases again, to minimize outside influences on the jury.

Third, Congresswoman Maxine Waters traveled to Minnesota and before the jury was sequestered, urged the demonstrators to be more confrontational if there was a verdict of not guilty. Her quote, according to CNN was: 

‘”We’re looking for a guilty verdict and we’re looking to see if all of the talk that took place and has been taking place after they saw what happened to George Floyd. If nothing does not happen, then we know that we got to not only stay in the street, but we have got to fight for justice,’ she added.” ‘“We got to stay on the street. And we’ve got to be more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business,’ she said.” The judge even stated that her statement might be grounds for an appeals court to declare a mistrial. 

Finally, President Biden expressed his opinion that Chauvin was guilty before the verdict. His excuse for doing that was that the jury by then was sequestered and supposedly would not be aware of his statement. I don’t know if the jury could have heard about his statement. 

I am not predicting that the appeals court will declare a mistrial but I do think it is possible. I would have hoped that everyone would have gone out of their way not to create grounds for that to happen. 

Author: Julian Garrett

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