Has An Activist ‘Juror 52’ Deep-Sixed The Conviction Of Derek Chauvin, Or Nah?

Written by Wes Walker on May 5, 2021

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As if there wasn’t already enough red meat for his lawyer to pursue an appeal or even a retrial. Now we’ve got Juror 52 running his mouth on a media tour?

How does anyone think that would look if the same juror had been attending ‘back the blue’ rallies, and was celebrating an acquittal?

Because if we want justice — actual justice that condemns the guilty and acquits the innocent — jurors need to leave all their biases at the door. And now this punk is encouraging others to embrace jury duty as an opportunity to push social activism? Has it occurred to him that’s a knife that can cut both ways, in which the wrong verdicts can be handed down to deny other people justice as well — for purely political reasons?

Juror 52 has since dropped his anonymity and identified himself as Brandon Mitchell. Not a big deal. He has also done the TV circuit. But that’s not what’s raising concerns, so much as something he did back in August.

The photo trending on social media was originally posted on Facebook in August 2020 and shows Mitchell wearing a hat that says “Black Lives Matter” and a T-shirt that says “BLM” with the words, “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks,” a common reference to the death of Floyd. The photo was posted by his uncle Travis Mitchell with the caption “The next Generation being socially active representing in DC my son Marzell, my nephew Brandon Rene Mitchell, and brotha Maurice Jauntiness Johnson.” —JonathanTurley

Why is that a problem? He has every right, as a citizen, to attend any demonstration he wants to attend. But when questions were asked of the potential jurors to weed out jurors with biases that would impact the fair hearing of the case, he was asked whether he had attended any such protests.

Not only did he attend BLM protests, but he attended one where Floyd’s family members were the speakers. That does not lend itself to dispassionate hearings. And it explicitly contradicts questions he answered while under oath.

This will add one more data point that can be thrown in with other reasons for appeal, including ones the judge himself acknowledged — looking at YOU, Maxine Waters.

Eric Nelson argued in the document to the Hennepin County District Court that it “abused its discretion” on a number of matters, depriving Chauvin of a “fair trial.” Last month, Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in connection with the May 2020 death of George Floyd.

Chauvin’s legal team took issue with the court’s denial of their request to have a change of venue, its decision to not sequester the jury, and the fact that it reportedly “failed to accurately reflect the law” when it instructed the jury on the meanings of “second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and authorized use of force.” —WashingtonExaminer

His lawyers have filed a motion requesting a new trial. But will it be enough to send everyone back to square one?

That depends, in part, on whether any judge is willing to stick his neck out on such a controversial case, or whether said judge will look for ways to massage the facts so they can fit within the bounds of acceptability.

You might hope that we might have confidence in the Sixth Amendment, but in today’s politicized society, who are we kidding, really? We just covered the OJ juror admitting THAT jury let a guilty man walk as a political reply to the Rodney King case.

Using the recent incident of the activist juror in the Roger Stone trial, Turley does not hold up much confidence that the right of the accused to have unbiased jurors will be the guiding principle in what happens here.

It is still not clear the extent of any bias in the case of Mitchell. Some reports indicate that he may have done podcasts on police brutality and the George Floyd case. That would be particularly serious, though we saw in the Stone trial the lengths that courts will go to avoid the obvious.

The defense will have the same uphill battle in the Chauvin appeal and the question is whether there is anything in addition to to photo. It will also have to be prepared to answer, as in the Stone case, why it did not perform a full Internet search on prospective jurors. —JonathanTurley

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