MINNEAPOLIS — Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of killing George Floyd, appealed his murder conviction ahead of the 90-day deadline on Thursday.
Chauvin was convicted last April of third-degree murder, second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter after Floyd died during his arrest in May 2020. As a result, the former officer was sentenced to 22 ½ years in prison.
Chauvin said he is representing himself during the appeal since he was denied a public defender. The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association paid for his legal fees during the trial, but that ceased after his conviction. He said he has no income beyond prison wages. Therefore, he asked for a stay on the appeal until he can get an attorney, according to FOX 9 in Minneapolis.
Judge Peter Cahill, who presided over Chauvin’s trial, granted Chauvin “pauper status” on Thursday. This exempts him from having to pay court costs and filing fees, CBS Minnesota reported.
It’s unclear how someone can be granted “pauper status” yet denied a public defender during an appeal.
Joe Tamburino, an attorney who is not affiliated with the case, told the news outlet Thursday evening that it’s very unusual Chauvin would not have his trial attorney file the appeal on his behalf.
“He’s been denied a public defender. He’s in prison. He’s in Oak Park Heights for the next 22-plus years,” Tamburino said. “I don’t know why that was denied.”
Chauvin cited 14 arguments for his appeal, which include:
- The court allegedly “abused its discretion” when denying the defense’s motion for both a change of venue, sequestration of the jury for the entire trial, a continuance, and a new trial.
- The alleged “prejudicial prosecutorial misconduct” committed by state prosecutors.
- The court’s decision to allow Morries Hall, who was with Floyd the night of his death, to not testify.
- The court’s decision to deny the presentation of “cumulative evidence with respect to use of force.”
- The court’s order for state prosecutors “to lead witnesses on direct examination.”
- The court’s alleged failure of making an official record of sidebar conferences throughout the trial.
- The court’s alleged failure of not allowing the defense to strike “clearly biased jurors during voir dire.”
- The court’s allowance of the added third-degree murder charge.
- The court’s decision to limit and “undercut” the admission of Floyd’s May 6, 2019 arrest.
- The court’s denial of the defense’s motion for a Schwartz hearing.
- The court’s denial of the defense’s “post-verdict motion for a new trial due to juror misconduct.”
It’s noteworthy that last week the Minneapolis Supreme Court reversed the third-degree murder conviction of Mohamed Noor, a former Minneapolis officer who fatally shot Australian woman Justine Ruszczyk Damond. He is currently serving 12 ½ years for the offense, Law Officer reported. As a result of the court’s ruling, he will be resentenced for manslaughter.
Chauvin is also charged with violating Floyd’s civil rights. He has pleaded not guilty. Moreover, he was charged last week to violating the civil rights of a teenager in a separate 2017 incident using a similar restraint technique to the one used on Floyd, according to FOX News. He also pleaded not guilty in that case.