The jury in the Derek Chauvin’s murder trial has entered its second day of deliberations to determine whether the former Minneapolis police officer will be held responsible for George Floyd’s death in May.
Chauvin faces second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges after being captured on video kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly 10 minutes, which sparked protests around the globe.
The most serious charge carries up to 40 years in prison.
The jury was sequestered on Monday by Judge Peter Cahill, who advised jurors to “plan for long and hope for short” when packing.
Sequestering a jury is where jurors are separated from other people in order to prevent outside influences from swaying a decision.
Throughout the Chauvin trial, jurors have been partially sequestered and supervised in the courthouse at all times. However, according to KARE 11, the jurors have been free to return home at night.
Now, the jury will remain in an undisclosed hotel room, where they will deliberate every day until the early evening. A sequestered jury typically deliberates after the close of normal business hours to finish its work faster.
The jurors will not be allowed to carry phones or any electronic devices and have been told to avoid all news about the case.
The jurors, which consist of six White people and six people who are Black or multiracial, first select a foreperson to lead the group through deliberations.
University of St. Thomas School of Law professor Mark Osler told the Associated Press that jurors will typically take a straw poll to see where everyone stands.
If everyone is in agreement right off the bat, sometimes a case is over – but sometimes jurors decide to talk about it anyway. If there is disagreement, then the deliberations begin in earnest.
The group will then review audio and video evidence from the trial using a laptop provided to them and a large monitor to view the items. Under prior court rules, jurors had to return to court to play videos. But in this case, they will be able to view video evidence as they need to during deliberations.
Some of the evidence presented at trial, called demonstrative evidence, will not be provided. Those include items like legal definitions of terms brought up in court, or graphics used to explain expert analysis. But all other evidence, including the widely viewed bystander video, is fair game.
Jurors were also allowed to take notes during the trial, which may be used during deliberations to refresh their memories. They will not be provided a trial transcript and are told to rely on their collective memory.
Jurors can also submit any questions to the judge in writing. The jurors won’t get any new evidence. Typically, the jurors, defendant, attorneys for both sides and the judge return to the courtroom, where the jury’s questions are read and answered on the record. But in this case jury questions will be answered over Zoom.
Cahill said he doesn’t want to move the jury around and doesn’t want people coming and going from the courthouse. He didn’t say publicly if this was due to the pandemic, the high-profile nature of the case, or both.
Chauvin and the attorneys do not need to be at the courthouse during deliberations.
Cahill advised jurors to take all the time they need to reflect carefully and thoughtfully about the evidence.
He also urged the jurors to think about the decision they are making, examining it for bias and reconsidering their first impressions of the people and evidence in the case, and to help each other evaluate the evidence and resist any urge to reach a verdict imposed by bias for or against any party or witness.
“Each of you have different backgrounds and will be viewing this case in light of your own insights, assumptions and biases,” Cahill said. “Listening to different perspectives may help you to better identify the possible effects these hidden biases may have on decision making.”
Lastly, Cahill advised to resist jumping to conclusions based on personal likes or dislikes, generalizations, gut feelings, predjudices, sympathies, stereotypes or unconscious biases.
In order for the jury to reach a verdict, the judge said the group must reach a unanimous decision that’s based only on the evidence presented in court and the law as the judge provides.
“You must be absolutely fair,” Cahill told the jurors, adding, “This case is in your hands as judges of the facts. I am certain that you realize that this case is important and serious, and therefore, deserves your careful consideration.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report