The court in the trial of State of Minnesota vs. Derek Chauvin this morning reinstated the charge of 3rd-degree murder against Chauvin.
“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,” said Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison who is leading the trial.
Days after the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office charged Chauvin with 3rd-degree murder and 2nd-degree manslaughter. On June 3, 2020, 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 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 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 Chauvin in the death of Floyd. Yesterday, March 10, the Supreme Court denied 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.