New information on a juror in the Chauvin trial could shake things up

May 5 – Brandon Mitchell, a 31-year-old high school basketball coach in Minneapolis, was a juror for the Derek Chauvin trial and he’s been making the talk show rounds.

Since he jumped into the spotlight, media outlets were able to uncover some interesting information.

He attended a Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration last August in DC wearing a BLM shirt and on the shirt it says, “Get your knee off our necks.”

One of many questions is how did Mitchell make it on the jury?

As anyone who has been called to jury duty knows, there’s a screening process to select jurors. The technical term is voir dire and a jury pool is asked questions, likely, in this case, do you have any connection to Black Lives Matter or have you attended rallies?

Mitchell said no to those questions.

While he may be able to say attending a Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration is not the same as a BLM rally, there’s still the matter of the t-shirt he was wearing.

The judge from the trial may likely call Mitchell in for a process where jurors are interviewed on the record to see if there’s enough evidence to suggest he may have tainted the jury.

In an interview from a few weeks ago, Mitchell claimed the decision had been unanimous from the start. He said when they went into deliberations it was an 11-1 vote to convict on all three charges and the one hold out was not for not guilty, but rather someone who just wanted some more time to consider the case.

So even if Mitchell was some kind of activist, there may be no evidence that his presence on the jury was influential.

Additionally, Chauvin’s attorneys are working on an appeal for what would be expected – the weight of the evidence wasn’t enough to convict, the jury was not sequestered and there was no change of venue for this case.

The appeal would be in front of a panel of judges, likely three to five, that would review the issues raised.

Attorney Clint Barkdoll, Pat Ryan and Michele Jansen discussed the Chauvin appeal this morning on First News. 

Jansen noted, “There’s so much here that points to this was not an individual’s actions and judgment on individual’s actions in any way shape or form. Everything that happened with where it was held, how they didn’t change venue, you have to have the idea that I’m in my own community that might be destroyed if I don’t give a guilty verdict on this guy. Then this guy that obviously lied about his knowledge of the case and his involvement with understanding details. Going out and giving these interviews claiming this is a legacy case, making it very clear that his mindset and now from the swiftness in which this verdict was rendered, maybe the mindset of all the jurors, that this was never about the individual in this case, that this always was about sending a message about and to and the United States.”

Barkdoll added, “I am surprised. There were a lot of resources available to the prosecution and to the defense in this case. How is it that a guy like this slips through the process? Once he did the interviews, it took media outlets an hour to find these pictures and to find all these postings that he made. It is puzzling to me that in this process, I would imagine there were teams of people on the defense and the prosecution, doing deep dives into these juror’s backgrounds, knowing everything about them. How this slipped through I think is a real question and it would be interesting to hear more about this if it goes to a separate hearing when they interview this juror.”

Jansen asked, “Does Chauvin have that as a defense then? My defense attorneys didn’t even meet a reasonable standard of looking into this stuff?”

Barkdoll said, “I think this is part two to this. If the appeal is not successful, if he is not granted a new trial – and I still think it’s a longshot, it is hard to get a successful appeal remanded for a whole new trial – I think you’re going to see Chauvin file a PCRA, Post-Conviction Relief Act, claiming that he had ineffective assistance of counsel for failing to intercept this juror information when the process started.”