What does the current trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin have in common with the trials of George Zimmerman in 2013 and of O. J. Simpson in the 1990s? Each being broadcast live may be seen as “the trial of its decade” in terms of showing the American public how murder trials actually take place.
That makes for an extremely important learning experience.
Our friend Andrew Branca’s day by day reporting on the Zimmerman trial was, in my opinion, the gold standard for analytical commentary in that case. He will be covering the Chauvin trial in his own blog, www.lawofselfdefense.com, and also at www.legalinsurrection.com. I strongly recommend that you follow it.
The death of Chauvin’s arrestee, George Floyd, had profound repercussions in America. The general public seems to have been led by media reports to believe that Chauvin killed him. Chauvin supporters contend the official autopsy report shows that Floyd had up to three times the lethal dose of fentanyl in his system at time of death. The defense will contend that it was this, not then-Officer Chauvin kneeling on him, which caused Mr. Floyd’s death.
Here is an example. If you are one of my graduates, you’ll recall that under Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b), prior bad acts of the deceased if not known to you at the time of his death normally cannot be introduced on your behalf if you are accused of murder or manslaughter for killing him. It has been established that in a prior case about a year before his death, Mr. Floyd had swallowed a quantity of drugs (presumably to hide the evidence prior to arrest) and in that case was saved by medical intervention. Trace evidence in the Mercedes from which Mr. Floyd was extracted, and in the police car in which he was briefly placed, indicate that he did the same in this instance, in effect killing himself. However, there is a strong likelihood that this evidence favoring the defendant may not be allowed in front of the jury. See https://legalinsurrection.com/2021/03/chauvin-pre-trial-day-1-will-floyds-prior-arrest-related-drug-ingestion-be-admitted-as-evidence/.
Follow Branca’s reporting. There will be a lot to learn, that the mainstream media has not effectively conveyed to the public.