Before Judge Peter A. Cahill sent jurors in the Derek Chauvin trial home last week, he gave them short and vague instructions on what they might ne
Before Judge Peter A. Cahill sent jurors in the Derek Chauvin trial home last week, he gave them short and vague instructions on what they might need to pack for deliberations.
“If I were you, I would plan for long and hope for short,” he said. “Basically, it’s up to the jury how long you deliberate, how long you need to come to a unanimous decision on any count.”
So far, the 12 jurors — six white, four Black and two who identify as multiracial — have deliberated for four hours. A verdict could come as soon as Tuesday or stretch into next week or beyond.
On Monday, jurors began discussing the evidence surrounding the death of George Floyd after listening to closing arguments. Prosecutors told them to trust what they saw in a bystander video of Mr. Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, pinning a handcuffed Mr. Floyd to the ground for nine minutes and 29 seconds. The lawyer for Mr. Chauvin emphasized Mr. Floyd’s use of drugs and said the officer had followed department policies.
During deliberations, the jury will have access to the evidence and exhibits presented in court. The jurors will remain sequestered in a hotel, ideally secluded from outside influences, until reaching a unanimous verdict. If the jury is hung, or cannot reach a decision on one or more charges, the judge may declare a mistrial.
Eric Anderson, senior trial counsel at Early Sullivan Wright Gizer & McRae in California and a former prosecutor, said that jury deliberation lengths vary widely.
“There’s no way of telling how long this will take, particularly when I think that the jurors will try to do the right thing, whatever they think that is,” he said. “And to get to the right thing, they’re going to want to look very closely at the evidence. They’re going to want to look closely at every possible angle.”
It took a jury in Chicago less than eight hours in 2018 to convict Jason Van Dyke, a former Chicago police officer, of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm in the death of Laquan McDonald, a Black teenager who was carrying a knife but heading away from the police.