Derek Chauvin: killer of George Floyd’s appeal explained, did he have a mistrial – and when will he be sentenced?

Defence attorneys are arguing that the trial was influenced by media publicity – but will the request be granted?

On Tuesday 20 April, Derek Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter following a three-week trial in Minneapolis.

Chauvin pinned George Floyd to the ground and kneeled on his neck for more than nine minutes in Minneapolis last May, causing Floyd’s death and sparking global protests against police brutality and racism.

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But now the defence attorney for the convicted former police officer has requested a new trial, according to a court document filed on Tuesday.

People in Minneapolis react after the verdict was read in the Derek Chauvin trial (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)
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Here is everything you need to know about it.

Why has a new trial been requested?

Defence attorney Eric Nelson cited many reasons in his request for a new trial in the court document.

Derek Chauvin's booking photo after his conviction (Photo: Minnesota Department of Corrections via Getty Images)

He said Judge Peter Cahill abused the discretion of the court and violated Chauvin's right to due process and a fair trial when he denied Nelson's request to move the trial to another county due to pretrial publicity.

Nelson also said Cahill abused his discretion when he denied an earlier request for a new trial based on publicity during the proceedings, which Nelson said threatened the fairness of the trial.

He also took issue with Cahill's refusal to sequester the jury for the trial or admonish them to avoid all media, and with his refusal to allow a man who was with Floyd at the time of his arrest to testify.

Nelson asked the judge to impeach the verdict on the grounds that the jury committed misconduct, felt pressured, and/or failed to adhere to jury instructions, though the filing did not include details about that assertion.

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Nelson has also complained that the trial brief did not mention recent reports that one of the jurors participated in an 28 August march in Washington DC to honour Martin Luther King Jr.

Floyd's brother and sister, Philonise and Bridgett Floyd, and relatives of others who had been shot by police addressed the crowd at the march.

That juror, Brandon Mitchell, has defended his actions, saying the event was to commemorate the 1963 March on Washington and was not a protest over Floyd's death.

Will his request be granted?

US media had already reported that an appeal on Chauvin’s part was “a certainty”.

However, 90 percent of appeals are rejected, so the convicted officer faces an uphill struggle to overturn his conviction.

What happens next?

The sentencing of Chauvin will take place in June.

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Both of his murder charges carry a presumptive sentence of 12.5 years for someone with no criminal history, while the manslaughter charge carries a presumptive sentence of four years.

The three charges each carry a different maximum sentence: second-degree unintentional murder carries 40 years; third-degree murder carries 25; and second degree manslaughter carries 10 years.

Per state law, Chauvin is to be sentenced on the second-degree murder charge as it is the most serious of the three charges.

Minnesota sentencing guidelines suggest Chauvin will receive a sentence of around 15 years, but it is expected that the state will push for the maximum 40 year sentence.

On 1 May, prosecutors asked a judge to give the former police officer a more severe penalty than state guidelines call for when he is sentenced, and will likely cite aggravating factors such as the presence of minors at the scene to push for a lengthier sentence.

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