Harvard Law School Emeritus Professor Alan Dershowitz suggested on “The Ingraham Angle” Friday that Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of George Floyd, cannot get a fair trial in the city after the case judge rebuffed calls by the defense for a venue change.
DERSHOWITZ: It’s a serious constitutional mistake. The judge is focusing on the wrong issue: The issue of prejudice. What he should be focusing on is that jurors are going to be frightened that if they render an acquittal or they fail to convict on murder there may be violence. Their own homes, their own stores, their own family may be affected.
Not only is the thumb on the scale, but the elbow is on the scale. No juror should have to worry that if they acquit there will be consequences to them outside of the courtroom. That’s why this trial should be held in a rural area, far away from where there may be violence.
It should be put off several months, and everything that the defendant might have known about the victim should be known to the jury. You have to see this case through the prism — through the eyes of the defendant. If the defendant knew that he [Floyd] was violent, if he knew he took drugs, then it’s admissible. If he didn’t know it, then it comes in on a different theory.
My defense would be this: Number one, the knee on the neck — although we now know it was wrong — was [police] policy in Minneapolis. Not only that, it was used dozens of times and nobody ever died. Why did this person die? The defense would be, not because of the knee on the neck, but because of his preexisting conditions, his high blood pressure, his drugs in the body. That was the proximate cause and the best proof of that is the knee on the neck had been used in the past without any fatalities.