Chauvin trial: What the jury process will look like

Published: Mar. 9, 2021 at 10:29 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 9, 2021 at 11:05 PM CST

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - A jury is being hand-picked to decide the fate of a former Minneapolis police officer facing murder charges in the death of George Floyd.

After day two of Derek Chauvin’s trial, three jurors were officially selected. But, 11 more are still needed.

While jury selection normally takes a day or two, this high-profile case is different.

“Asking a juror to sit on any felony case and especially a murder case is a grueling process,” said Scott Abdallah.

As an attorney with nearly 20 years of private practice and seven years as a prosecutor, Abdallah has first-hand experience in the jury selection process.

“The judge will work with the attorneys on the case to develop a questionnaire that is sent out to all the potential jurors. Those jurors will then answer that questionnaire and I think in the Chauvin case it was a 13-page questionnaire,” he said.

Based on their answers, only select people are brought in individually for questioning.

“Did you see a video of Mr. Floyd being arrested by the Minneapolis Police Department?” asked Defense Attorney Eric Nelson in the trial Tuesday.

The potential Juror responded, “Oh yes.”

The lawyers and judge ultimately have to find 12 jurors and two alternates that seem fair and unbiased.

“The goal is to find people who say, ‘You know what, I can set those preconceived feelings aside and I promise you I will hear all of the evidence and wait before I make a final decision,’” said Abdallah.

Both the prosecution and the defense are able to exercise a right that’s called peremptory challenges, a right the defense exercised Tuesday.

“That means that they can excuse potential jurors for any reason other than race, ethnicity, and sex,” Abdallah explained.

Because of the intense amount of pre-trial publicity, this is where things could take a while.

“It’s probably going to take that week to two. You’re going to have to question all these jurors individually and you’re undoubtedly going to come across a lot who say I just simply can’t be fair.”

The Judge, Peter Cahill, has set aside three weeks for this jury selection process. Opening arguments for this trial are currently set for March 29th.

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