Judge grants media request to unseal names of jurors in Chauvin trial

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted in April of murdering George Floyd last year and was subsequently sentenced to more than 22 years behind bars.

In response to a request from a group of media sources, the judge who presided over the trial agreed this week to allow the names of 15 jurors and alternates — along with the completed questionnaires of all 109 prospective jurors and the final verdict form — be made public after Nov. 1. 

“Protection from any external threats”

According to Fox News, the information had been sealed by Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill for at least 180 days due to the high-profile nature of the case and the harassment of individuals involved in various aspects of the trial itself.

As KMSP explained, a joint motion filed by multiple media organizations asked Cahill to reconsider his decision and unseal the requested documents.

Cahill responded with a 31-page order on Monday in which he determined that the court “cannot assay any strong reason to believe the jurors continue to need protection from any external threats to their safety” four months after Chauvin’s conviction.

Releasing the information, he determined, is not likely to “interfere with the fair and impartial administration of justice.

Nevertheless, Cahill did note that the unusual intensity of the trial generated threats directed at participants on all sides.

Judge’s order includes caveats

He went on to urge the media companies involved to abide by their own promises to respect the privacy and interests of the selected and prospective jurors after their names are made public — particularly those individuals who wish to remain as anonymous as possible.

The judge’s order only partially granted the requests, opting not to make public the addresses and contact information of the selected and prospective jurors.

Furthermore, his order reserved the right to redact any private information deemed necessary, such as the identity of the jury foreperson who signed the final verdict form.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune, which was among the outlets involved in the request, reported that the information would not be posted online but would be made available for viewing in person at the Hennepin County Government Center.

Prosecutors argued against making the information public out of fear that doing so might make it more difficult to find an impartial jury for the upcoming trials of three other former officers facing charges related to Floyd’s death. Everyone involved is sure to share in the hope that Cahill’s decision will not result in even more harassment and threats against those selected to fulfill their civic duty by serving on the jury for this high-profile trial.

Share on facebook
Share To Facebook

Welcome to our comments section. We want to hear from you!

Any comments with profanity, advocacy of violence, harassment, personally identifiable information or other violations will be removed. If you feel your comment has been removed in error please contact us!

Latest Posts