ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A local legal expert says they were surprised to see the jury come back from the trial of Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd so early. “Expected tomorrow, maybe the day after. The fact the jury had no questions for the judge, after very complicated jury instructions, let us know that they were definitely leaning towards a guilty verdict,” said University of New Mexico School of Law Assistant Professor Sonia Gipson Rankin.
Gipson Rankin says the verdict marked a historic moment in American history but the legal proceedings are far from over. In the near term, the judge still needs to pass sentencing.
There is also Chauvin’s right to appeal. Gipson Rankin says he almost certainly will, but she doesn’t expect him to be successful.
Meanwhile, the professor says she is looking forward to the conversation about criminal justice reform that will come in the wake of the trial. “Not just in more training for law enforcement, but a culture shift towards actual justice and fairness in our criminal justice system,” said Gipson Rankin.
Minnesota law allowed the jury to convict Chauvin in all three charges, second and third-degree murder and manslaughter if they believed Chauvin’s actions met the definitions for all three crimes.