Appeals court: Judge in Chauvin trial must consider reinstating 3rd-degree murder charge

Updated: March 05, 2021 10:52 PM
Created: March 05, 2021 11:47 AM

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has ordered a judge to reconsider adding a third-degree murder charge against a former Minneapolis police officer accused in George Floyd's death, who also faces other charges.

A three-judge panel said Friday that the trial judge erred when he rejected a motion to reinstate the third-degree murder charge against Derek Chauvin.

Chauvin is currently charged with manslaughter and second-degree murder in the death of George Floyd.

Last October, Judge Peter Cahill dismissed a third-degree murder charge, saying prosecutors would have to show Chauvin’s intentional conduct was “eminently dangerous to others” and not just Floyd.

The appeals court panel says Cahill should have followed the precedent set by the appeals court last month when it affirmed the third-degree murder conviction of another former officer, Mohamed Noor, in a different case. The appeals court sent Chauvin's case back for a ruling consistent with its decision on Noor.

In the decision issued by the Court of Appeals Friday, the judge ruled the opinion in the Noor case became a precedent on the day it was issued.

"The district court therefore erred by concluding that it was not bound by the principles of law set forth in Noor and by denying the state's motion to reinstate the charge of third-degree murder on that basis," the decision reads.

With the decision, it is now up to Judge Peter Cahill whether the third-degree charge will be reinstated.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday in Chauvin's trial on charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter.

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