Opinion: Derek Chauvin Did Not Receive A Fair Trial
Derek Chauvin was convicted on three charges on April 21st 2021 for the death of George Floyd. In my opinion, Chauvin was not given a fair trial as promised in the sixth amendment to the U.S. constitution. If he was, he would not have been found guilty on two out of three of the charges.
I am in no way defending the actions of Derek Chauvin or saying he deserved to be acquitted of the conviction. I am not here to pick the side of George Floyd or Derek Chauvin, but simply the side of our constitutional protections. My opinion is that if Chauvin received a fair trial, the outcome would have been different.
Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder, third degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. I fully believe it is not possible to come to the conclusion beyond reasonable doubt as required in a criminal trial that Chauvin was guilty of second and third-degree murder.
I do believe a case could be made for involuntary manslaughter, however.
Third degree murder is essentially a charge for what is called depraved heart murder. An example of third degree murder would be shooting a gun into a crowd with no targeted person in mind, killing someone in the end. They are unable to prove beyond reasonable doubt Chauvin’s intentions were to kill.
Second-degree murder is felony assault that turns into murder. An example would be you robbed a bank and your gun goes off unintentionally, consequently killing someone. This would mean there was a burden on proving Chauvin intended to commit a felony against George Floyd.
Involuntary manslaughter is the only charge that should have been on the docket. Involuntary manslaughter is reckless disregard. They could argue that even if Chauvin did not intend to kill Floyd, by not getting up sooner than he did, his recklessness led to Floyd’s death.
Causation is the common denominator in all three charges, and although it is hard to argue across the board, the elements were clearly not met to convict Chauvin of second and third-degree murder. Was Floyd’s death a direct cause of Chauvin’s actions? There was no trauma to Floyd’s trachea, nor any trauma to his arteries that would have cut oxygen to the brain. There were signs of asphyxia, but Floyd’s system had three times the deadly level of Fentanyl as well as 75% arterial blockage which can cause chemical asphyxia (drug overdose).
With all of this in mind, causation is extremely hard to prove with a fair trial. However, when given a bias jury, it is very easy. This is what I believe happened. This case reached national recognition. President Biden and Maxine Waters felt it was appropriate to comment on this case before a verdict was reached, yet somehow, we believe this wouldn’t sway the jury’s opinion?
People were threatening to riot if Chauvin was not convicted. The jury was fully aware if they did not convict Chauvin, there would be an uproar, and their names could be leaked, threatening their safety. The jury only had one option: to declare Chauvin guilty. Therefore, Chauvin did not receive a fair trial on the two counts.
Peyton MacKenzie is an Opinion Writer. Follow her on Twitter at @PeytMacK.