Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Kiernan Lane
A Minnesota judge has declined requests from the former Minneapolis police officers charged in the death of George Floyd, ruling that all four will be tried in a single proceeding which will be televised despite state prosecutors not consenting to any audio or visual coverage in the courtroom.
The Wednesday night order, from Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill, also denied requests from defendants Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Kiernan Lane to have the trial moved out of Minneapolis. The defendants had previously argued that remaining in the city would violate their Sixth Amendment right to a fair proceeding due to the amount of pre-trial exposure.
In allowing the proceedings to be televised, Cahill reasoned that the defendants’ Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial ran concurrent with “the general public’s First Amendment right of access to public trials.”
“The interests promoted by this First Amendment right of public assess are similar to those promoted by the defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to a public trial,” the judge said.
Under Cahill’s order, “audio and video recording, broadcasting, and livestreaming will be allowed” in the courtroom, with “only matters that are on the record” being subject to audio coverage. “Up to three video cameras may be installed in the trial courtroom: one in the back of the courtroom facing the witness stand, one on the wall behind the jury box, and one on or near the bench facing the lectern where counsel examines witnesses.”
The cameras cannot be moved from their fixed positions once the trial commences.
As noted by Law&Crime Network anchor Aaron Keller, the decision is a departure from previous decisions concerning courtroom access, which barred cameras and livestreaming.
Cahill also ruled that the names of the jurors selected in the case will be kept confidential.
Chauvin is charged with third-degree assault, second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Kueng, Lane, and Thao, meanwhile, are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Many judicial rules concerning broadcast coverage date back decades and do not take into account modern technology, which is far less obtrusive. That the judge considered advances in technology is commendable.
— Aaron Keller (@Aaron_Keller_) November 5, 2020
[images via Minnesota Department of Corrections]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]