Derek Chauvin trial verdict: How long do juries typically deliberate?

on Apr20
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A panel of jurors is deliberating the fate of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was charged in the May 2020 death of George Floyd, but there’s no clear answer as to how long it will take for the panel to deliberate charges against Chauvin.

After more than two weeks of witness testimony and hours of attorney arguments, Chauvin’s fate is now in the hands of a 12-person jury, which has been sequestered during deliberations, and the jurors’ whereabouts have been kept secret throughout the process.

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The jury began deliberating midday Monday and is expected to mull a possible conviction every day from 10 a.m. to approximately 8:30 p.m. ET until a verdict is reached. That said, Judge Peter Cahill has told the jurors he wants them to make their own schedules, which means deliberation times are subject to change.

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Speaking generally about the length of time a jury deliberation typically takes, Poynter cited a 2009 study titled, “Factors Affecting the Length of Time a Jury Deliberates: Case Characteristics and Jury Composition,” in reporting that trials involving crimes against individuals and those pertaining to severe crimes often result in longer deliberation times. Shorter deliberation times, according to the report, often result in a verdict that is favorable toward the defendant. 

“Since the burden of proof is on the prosecution in a criminal trial and on the plaintiff in a civil dispute, juries that find in favor of the state (in criminal trials) or the plaintiff (in civil trials) may take longer on average,” according to the study, via Poynter. “As a result, we suspect that cases that end up with a criminal conviction or a finding in favor of the plaintiff ought to take longer than those that end in an acquittal or a civil finding for the respondent.”

This sketch shows Derek Chauvin in Hennepin County court.

This sketch shows Derek Chauvin in Hennepin County court.
(Reuters Connect)

The jury is made up of seven women and five men. Six jurors are White, four are Black and two identify as multiracial.

Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died on May 25, 2020, after Chauvin held his knee against his neck or upper body for nine minutes and 29 seconds despite Floyd being handcuffed and repeatedly shouting that he could not breathe.

His death prompted widespread protests that lasted months and calls for an end to police brutality and systemic racism. 

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In Texas, a jury found Amber Guyger, a White former Dallas police officer, guilty in the September 2018 death of her upstairs neighbor, Botham Jean, after only hours of deliberation. Guyger shot Jean, her unarmed Black neighbor, to death after, she said, she mistook his apartment for her own.

A Chicago jury convicted former police officer Jason Van Dyke of second-degree murder after less than eight hours for the 2014 fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald, according to The New York Times.

As noted in the Poynter report, jurors in Pennsylvania deliberated for over 20 hours and ultimately convicted former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on 45 counts of child sexual abuse in 2012.

And in California, a jury convicted Scott Peterson in 2004 after a week of deliberating, according to the report.

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More recently, just last year a New York City jury found Harvey Weinstein guilty of third-degree rape, criminal sex act during its fifth day of deliberation.

In terms of how long the deliberations in the Chauvin trial will carry on, Cahill previously said: “It’s up to the jury.”

Earlier in the trial, in planning for deliberations to begin, Cahill told jurors that when packing for sequestration that they should “plan for long and hope for short.”

Fox News’ Ruth Ravve and the Associated Press contributed to this report.



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