Court reinstates 3rd-degree murder charge against Derek Chauvin
Comes in wake of March 5 Court of Appeals ruling and Supreme Court denial yesterday of Chauvin’s petition to review Court of Appeals ruling
March 12, 2021
March 11, 2020 (SAINT PAUL) — Today, the court in the trial of State of Minnesota vs. Derek Chauvin reinstated the charge of 3rd-degree murder against Mr. Chauvin. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, who is leading the prosecution, issued the following statement:
“The charge of 3rd-degree murder, in addition to manslaughter and felony murder, reflects the gravity of the allegations against Mr. Chauvin. We look forward to presenting all three charges to the jury.”
History of 3rd-degree murder charge against Derek Chauvin
Days after the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office charged Mr. Chauvin with 3rd-degree murder and 2nd-degree manslaughter. On June 3, 2020, Attorney General Ellison added a charge of 2nd-degree murder against Mr. Chauvin.
On October 22, 2020, the district court upheld the charges of 2nd-degree murder and 2nd-degree manslaughter against Mr. Chauvin (and the charges of aiding and abetting 2nd-degree murder and 2nd-degree manslaughter against his co-defendants), but dismissed the charge of 3rd-degree murder against Mr. Chauvin.
In a precedential opinion on February 1, 2021, the Court of Appeals upheld the conviction for 3rd-degree murder of former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor in the 2017 death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond. The court also ruled that Minnesota’s 3rd-degree murder statute is applicable in the case of force being applied to a single person. In response, on February 4, the State moved to reinstate the charge of 3rd-degree murder against Derek Chauvin. On February 11, the district court denied the motion. The State filed a notice of appeal to the Minnesota Court of Appeals on February 12. The Court of Appeals held oral arguments on March 1.
Last Friday, March 5, the Court of Appeals ruled that the district court erred in not granting the State’s motion to reinstate the charge of 3rd-degree murder against Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd. Yesterday, March 10, the Supreme Court denied Mr. Chauvin’s petition for review of the Court of Appeals decision. In response, the Court of Appeals late yesterday ordered judgment in its March 5 ruling to be immediately entered.
Subsequently, this morning the district court reinstated the 3rd-degree murder charge.