George Floyd Death: How Jurors Will Be Selected in Derek Chauvin Trial

The trial of Derek Chauvin over the death of George Floyd puts the US jury system under the spotlight. Each potential juror has already been asked to fill in a 16-page questionnaire about the case. The prosecution and defense can both ask Judge Peter Cahill to dismiss a potential juror “for cause” if they perceive bias. The prosecution can also dismiss nine potential jurors – and the defense team 15 – without giving any reason, although this can be objected to.

What’s in the questionnaire?

The main thrust is to determine familiarity with the case and issues such as a potential juror’s own interactions with law enforcement.

Key questions include:

  • How many times did you see the video of George Floyd’s death?
  • Did you participate in marches against police brutality and, if so, did you carry a sign?
  • What are your views of the group Blue Lives Matter (the movement supporting police) – favorable or unfavorable?
  • Do you believe our criminal justice system works?

How potential jurors respond can lead to either defense or prosecution dismissing them.

The jury pool in Hennepin County was 80% white and 8% black in the financial year to September 2020, the New York Times reported, a bigger gap than for Minneapolis as a whole (64% to 19%).

Three other dismissed officers will stand trial together later this year, but proceedings in Mr. Chauvin’s trial will start on Monday, when jury selection begins.

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Posted by Tom Williams

Born down on the farm in America's Midwest, my early life was spent climbing the ladder via a long career in information technology. Starting as a technician, and after earning a degree going to night school, I eventually found a place working at ATT Bell Laboratories as a software engineer.

Later moving into management and then a long stint in a major management consulting firm working with major banking, telecommunications, and retail companies. Working in various states in America, I also spent considerable time living and working in several European countries - currently expat in France. As a side career, I was heavily involved in real estate development and an avid futures trader. This experience can give one a unique view of the world.

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