Thursday, April 22, 2021
PMT: The Verdict
I've been talking about the Chauvin verdict, a lot: at CNN (go to the bottom), the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, a lot of places like the North Platte Journal, the "Talking Feds" podcast, WBZ in Boston, Almanac here in Minnesota, and some others.
But I still have more to say about it. Here are three key points:
1) As always with criminal law, it is all tragedy. The verdict will not un-murder George Floyd. The best we can hope for is that it will inspire better choices and deter bad policing in the future.
2) Three unusual factors were in play here. There was an unusually young and diverse jury. The case was turned over to the state Attorney General. And tremendous resources were used to get a conviction-- including the retention of great experts like Dr. Tobin. Those things were unusual, but they shouldn't be in these important cases.
3) The sentencing will also be important-- don't stop paying attention! The judge must decide whether or not to enhance the sentence above the guideline range (128-180 months), and if so, by how much. That will be a very difficult task.
Finally, the world owes a debt to these jurors, who took on a difficult and perhaps dangerous talk for $20 a day. That's public service!