Derek Chauvin and the Myth of the Impartial Juror

As a space for democratic deliberation and decision-making, the jury box still has the potential to shift the criminal legal system. But, first, we must change who is able to serve on a jury. 

Did you, or someone close to you, participate in any of the demonstrations or marches against police brutality that took place in Minneapolis after George Floyd’s death?. . . If you participated, did you carry a sign? What did it say?

These questions were part of the questionnaire given to those summoned to serve as jurors in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd. Provided that judges and attorneys are willing to take these questions up, they could hold the key for beginning more nuanced conversations about race and the criminal legal system. READ MORE here …………


In 48 States and federal court, a single juror’s vote to acquit is enough to prevent a conviction. But two States, Louisiana and Oregon, have longpunished people based on 10-to-2 verdicts. In this case, petitionerEvangelisto Ramos was convicted of a serious crime in a Louisianacourt by a 10-to-2 jury verdict. Instead of the mistrial he would have received almost anywhere else, Ramos was sentenced to life without parole. He contests his conviction by a nonunanimous jury as an un-constitutional denial of the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial. Held: The judgment is reversed.

Syllabus HERE