Chauvin juror wore BLM shirt in 2020, now says people should join juries 'to spark some change'
The impartiality of one of the jurors who convicted Derek Chauvin on all charges now is highly questionable, thanks to the discovery of a (now deleted) tweet from August last year and his own words in an interview one week ago, April 27. Ian Miles Cheong sums it up in the Post Millennial:
A juror on the Derek Chauvin trial who told the court that he had no prior knowledge of the George Floyd civil case was photographed last August wearing a shirt that read "Get your knee off our necks" and "BLM." He stated last week that he saw jury duty as a means to "spark some change."
The juror, whose name is Brandon Mitchell and whose juror number was 52, may have perjured himself during the voir dire examination of his suitability for the jury by claiming little knowledge of the case.
Judge Cahill asked Juror #52, whether he heard anything about the #GeorgeFloyd civil case. He says, no. He explained hearing some basic info about trial dates, etc from the news in recent months, but nothing that would keep him from serving as impartial juror. #ChauvinTrial— Paul Blume (@PaulBlume_FOX9) March 15, 2021
You can hear his voir dire here:
#52/6— Serene 𓅓 (@MythSerene) April 18, 2021
-Black male: 30's
-In banking, coaches kids' sports
-Has witnessed police excessive force
-Discrimination is beyond what media can even report
-Police don't necessarily make him feel safe, but there are officers at his gym who are "great guys"#DerekChauvinTrial pic.twitter.com/C0KhYln9F9
That claim of having heard little about the case and being able to render an impartial verdict is inconsistent with him wearing a BLM shirt reading "Get your knee off our necks" last August. His uncle posted a tweet of him wearing the shirt and then attempted to hide the evidence by deleting the tweet, which had been captured in a screengrab:
I mean it's important if we wanna see some change, we wanna see some things going different, we gotta into these avenues, get into these rooms to try to spark some change[.] ... Jury duty is one of those things. Jury duty. Voting. All of those things we gotta do.
My friend Lauri Regan, a lawyer, thinks Mitchell may be subject to prosecution for perjury during voir dire, which is conducted under oath:
[H]e intentionally lied as an activist looking to use [jury membership] as a tactic going forward. He intentionally tried to manipulate a verdict through lying under oath. That's criminal and if it's not shut down and quickly, it will become a serious problem in our judicial system. Imagine all of the Black jurors ... and white freak jurors who lie in order to convict people with whom they have ideological differences — the law be damned. One more nail in the coffin of our democracy.
Chauvin's lawyers may well raise the issue of a tainted jury on appeal. Of course, given all the intimidation, including the extensive destruction in the riots following the death of George Floyd, one wonders if any appellate court would have the courage to overturn any of the verdicts.
John Hinderaker, a lawyer himself, writes at Powerline:
It seems clear that Derek Chauvin was convicted by a jury that included some who never should have been selected because their minds were already made up — not surprising, given the pervasive and uniformly anti-Chauvin publicity that went on for nearly a year before the trial — and others, like the alternate who gave interviews last week, who were sensitive to the fact that if they delivered the "wrong" verdict, their houses may be burned down and their families' lives could be in danger.
Whether Chauvin was guilty, I don't know. We all know what he did, we saw it on video. But what was the cause or causes of death? And what was Chauvin's intent and state of mind? The videos can't tell us.
I don't think Chauvin got the kind of aggressive defense he deserved, but I also think, given the overwhelming pretrial publicity and the inhuman pressures on jurors, that it probably didn't make any difference.
Whatever his conduct, it seems clear to me that Derek Chauvin did not receive a fair trial, and that stands as a historic blot on our system of justice. As Lauri Regan put it, "one more nail in the coffin of our democracy."
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