Court Battles

Minnesota Supreme Court denies Chauvin request for public defender in George Floyd murder appeal

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The Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday denied Derek Chauvin’s request for a public defender as the former Minneapolis police officer prepares to appeal his murder conviction in the death of George Floyd.

Chief Justice Lorie Gildea signed an order that said Chauvin failed to prove that he qualifies for representation from a public defender.

The court determined that Chauvin did not illustrate that he did not have the means to pay for a private attorney. Gildea did not, however, reveal further details regarding his assets or debts.

The chief justice wrote in the order, citing state law, that a defendant is considered too poor to provide their own lawyer if they, “through any combination of liquid assets and current income,” are not able to finance their own attorney.

The former police officer claimed in an affidavit that he has no earnings other than nominal prison wages he has received, according to The Associated Press. He contended that his debts are larger than his assets.

Chauvin also said he does not currently have legal representation for his appeal.

The Minnesota Supreme Court’s decision upheld that of Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill, who presided over Chauvin’s trial in the spring, according to the news outlets.

Chauvin, however, is permitted to file another request for a public defender if he is not able to cover expenses for a lawyer, the AP reported.

A jury found Chauvin guilty of all three criminal counts against him in April, including second-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter and third-degree murder. He was sentenced to 22 ½ years in prison and is currently being held at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Oak Park Heights.

Chauvin is now appealing that decision. He filed documents last month in which he wrote that he found 14 problems with the court proceedings, including that the district court abused its authority when it rejected a motion from the former police officer to change the venue of the trial.

He also took issue with the court denying his request to sequester the jury.

Chauvin, during his trial in the spring, was represented by Eric Nelson. According to the Star Tribune, that representation was paid for by the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association.

The group, however, will not finance Chauvin’s legal representation for the appeal, according to the newspaper.

“I have been informed that their obligation to pay for my representation terminated upon my conviction and sentencing,” Chauvin wrote in his affidavit, according to the AP.

–Updated 4:42 p.m.

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