Friday, April 23, 2021

It Was Really Just A Matter Of Time

There are multiple articles out today about an interview given by a Chauvin alternate juror. This was always just a matter of time, and we can now probably expect more jurors to speak out in self-justification--but, who knows, possibly in self-doubt. The fact is, however, that due to the dynamics of this show trial their stance won't matter. They participated in a show trial and nothing said after the fact will change that perception.

Now, understand that the alternates were only informed of their status at the end of the trial. However, that means, in effect, that since the experience of the alternates was essentially the same as the experience of the jurors who voted, their reactions are likely a proxy for the attitudes of the jurors who voted. 

At Zerohedge--Alternate Juror On Chauvin Trial Says She Feared Riots, People Turning Up At Her Home. No sh*t? How unique do you think her attitude was, among the jurors? Duh! But the judge could have changed the venue and/or sequestered the jury. He didn't. And so ...

A woman who sat as an alternate juror on the Derek Chauvin trial told a local news station that she was concerned about “rioting and destruction” as well as people turning up at her house if they were angry at the verdict.

Lisa Christensen also revealed to KARE 11 how the riots that preceded the verdict were close to her house and that she routinely witnessed them after the trial had concluded for the day.

“When I came home, I could hear the helicopters flying over my house… I could hear the flash bangs going off,” Christensen said.

“If I stepped outside, I could see the smoke from the grenades. One day, the trial ran a little late, and I had trouble getting to my house, because the protesters were blocking the interstate, so I had to go way around.”

Christensen said she had no idea she would be dismissed by the judge and not be a part of deliberations, something that happened “right before the 12 jurors were sequestered.”

Christenson says the believed Chauvin was guilty. But she probably would say that, wouldn't she? Or is it really the case that, with the trial over and the verdict in, she doesn't mind if people turn up at her home now? Because if she said Chauvin was innocent, the rioters just might show--regardless of the verdict. We all know that, and so does she.

With that in mind, RedState--Derek Chauvin Juror Speaks out, Raises Questions:

Christensen did not know she was an alternate juror until it came time for deliberation. Thus, everything she had to deal with, the other jurors dealt with. Not being able to get home, seeing the protests and rioting, and the pressure she describes feeling were things all jurors had to experience and react to.

This raises a lot of questions for me. While the jury may have acted completely independently of everything they were seeing and hearing throughout the trial, human beings are human beings. This alternate juror specifically described not wanting to see more rioting if they didn’t reach a guilty verdict. And to reiterate, she did not know she was an alternate throughout the trial, which means there was no specific circumstance that made her experience different than the others who ultimately deliberated for 10 hours.

Now, none of this is completely dispositive in the sense that we know for sure the jurors came to a conclusion based on outside pressure. But it does make the judge look really inept for not granting the change of venue, in my opinion. These issues were readily apparent, and when you have jurors unable to even go home because there’s so much going on outside, that is going to weigh on at least some of them. These kinds of comments from a juror will also be more fodder during the appeal.

Put another way, while none of this is dispositive, taken as a whole it taints the entire proceeding--regardless of what happens on appeal. And there are many other issues regarding the fairness of this show trial--all of which could have been forcefully addressed but, largely, were not. The legal establishment can trash their reputation if they feel like it. The right thing could have been done. Perhaps it's a good thing for the nation to see this.

The other takeaway from Christenson's comments is that while, again, they are not dispositive with regard to the very short amount of time before the verdict, her expression of the pressures that the jurors faced inevitably calls that into question. Nothing can take that back now.


  1. At the outset, Judge Cahill should have approved the change of venue. When requested to do so, the judge should have declared a mistrial because the atmosphere did not allow for a fair verdict.

    None of that matters. No court in Minnesota is going to toss this conviction. Chauvin's only hope is that a Federal court toss it, and that is unlikely.

    1. Funny you should mention OJ.

      I distinctly remember that trial on tv. I worked at a big law firm at the time and during the final days and fir reading of the verdict, someone had the tv on. Most everyone watched at least parts. There was genuine disagreement about OJs guilt, some of ut breaking down by race, but wide agreement that he was entitled to due process and the state proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Not a single person i knew thought Oj should be convicted summarily or without some proof. By the end the consensus was that the state and judge had bungled it and failed to prove it. There wasn't any hint that people would burn down LA without a guilty verdict.

      Times change. Or rather, the insurgency flexes its muscles.


  2. Usually one uses the phrase 'show trial' when there is an opportunity for a trial to be either 'fair' or a 'show trial' - but in this case, given the weight of public expectation, it would have been impossible to have arranged a 'fair' trial. I didn't see this at the time, but your alternate juror comments made me see the light. The jurors would have had to have been anonymous, wouldn't they? They would have had to have seen the whole thing on video only, have been invited on some plausible 'alternative activity' for some period of time which did not correspond exactly to the actual trial. All so they could not be identified. Logically, I have to conclude that a jury trial was not the right solution...

  3. Judge Cahill wanted his 15 minutes of fame.

    At least he set up the appeal for a reversal and declaration of a mistrial.

  4. This interview from the BBC that Sundance posted on TCH nails the whole fiasco. I hadn't heard of Mr. Tatum before but damn!

    1. I saw it last night. I thought it was pretty good but that Tatum pulled his punches in some respects. I understand it's hard for him and appreciate what he did say.

    2. Here, I don't see Sundance as *nailing* a whole fiasco.
      Rather, I see the BBC guy, as being rather fairer to Tatum, than most US anchors would've been.

    3. OTOH, I thought Mr. Tatum threw and landed enough punches to make the 'liberal' (its not actually liberal) audience of the BBC wonder what happened...if they were actually listening.

      Because...human nature. You don't hear what you don't want to hear. Cf. The Emperor's New Clothes.

    4. @Mouse

      "Rather, I see the BBC guy, as being rather fairer to Tatum, than most US anchors would've been."

      I agree. He actually let Tatum speak.