Judge in Chauvin trial to release names of jurors

Published 5:29 pm Tuesday, October 26, 2021

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MINNEAPOLIS — The judge who oversaw the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin said Monday that he will make the names of 15 jurors and alternates who sat in the courtroom public next week.

Judge Peter Cahill’s order said he will make the list of jurors public on Nov. 1. The written questionnaires of all 109 potential jurors who were formally evaluated will also be made public..

Chauvin, who is white, was convicted in April of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter in the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd. He was sentenced to 22 1/2 years for kneeling on Floyd’s neck for 9 1/2 minutes as the Black man said he couldn’t breathe.

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Cahill initially kept the names of the jurors sealed, citing the high-profile nature of the case, and had ordered that their identities remain secret for at least 180 days after the verdict. A media coalition, which includes The Associated Press, had asked Cahill to release the jurors’ identities, saying the media and public have a right to the information and there was no known threat to juror safety that would warrant keeping their names sealed.

Prosecutors had asked the court to keep the names secret, saying releasing them could subject jurors to harassment and make it harder to seat a jury for the trial of Chauvin’s three codefendants next year.

Cahill acknowledged the jurors were called upon to carry out their duties in a case that “played out on a stage of unprecedented public interest and press coverage in wake of tremendous social upheaval and civic unrest” in Minneapolis and beyond.

But he said the law presumes that the names and questionnaires of jurors will be made available, absent a strong reason. At this point, he said, there is no strong reason to believe that jurors need protection from any external treats to safety, or that releasing their names would interfere with the fair and impartial administration of justice.

Two Chauvin jurors and one alternate have identified themselves and come forward to tell their stories since the trial, while the remaining 10 jurors and two alternates have not.