Derek Chauvin Trial

Renzy

Pelican
Chauvin stated this morning he is not going to testify. It would have been interesting to have heard the discussion between Chauvin and Nelson (his attorney) that led to Chauvin's decision. From the exchange in court, it sounds like it was something they had many discussions about. In the end, it's Chauvin's call and not his attorney's. Although the jury will be instructed not to see this as a sign of guilt, I think it's just human nature to believe a guilty person would be more likely to invoke the 5th rather than an innocent one. Whether it's fair or not, I think many people will assume that an innocent person would want to the chance to explain their own actions. I'm not saying I agree with that conclusion, but that's how I see people reading it.
 

fokm

Woodpecker
Gold Member
Why wouldn't he testify? What does he have to lose?
You can be completely, 100% innocent, and a good prosecutor could make you lose your temper, or ask you questions that are so difficult to answer well that the jurors could say, "He's acting weird."

You do not give your enemy ammunition. If the state has not proved its case, there's absolutely no benefit to testifying.

If Chauvin testifies and says one wrong thing, his testimony could be used against him in a civil trial.

Think of every single high profile legal case in the past 30 years. Zimmerman, OJ, Casey Anthony, etc. The defendant never testifies. There's a good reason for it.
 

griffinmill

Kingfisher
Chauvin stated this morning he is not going to testify. It would have been interesting to have heard the discussion between Chauvin and Nelson (his attorney) that led to Chauvin's decision. From the exchange in court, it sounds like it was something they had many discussions about. In the end, it's Chauvin's call and not his attorney's. Although the jury will be instructed not to see this as a sign of guilt, I think it's just human nature to believe a guilty person would be more likely to invoke the 5th rather than an innocent one. Whether it's fair or not, I think many people will assume that an innocent person would want to the chance to explain their own actions. I'm not saying I agree with that conclusion, but that's how I see people reading it.

You can be 100% innocent of all charges but it's the same as talking to the cops. You have everything to lose. They can trip you up or make you contradict yourself or any number of things. It's a very risky move. Even I couldn't say that I would be willing to testify in a televised trial no matter how innocent I was of the accused crime. Especially with all the nuances of this particular case.
 

Renzy

Pelican
Why wouldn't he testify? What does he have to lose?

I agree. I think it was a mistake not to testify. I don't think it's an understatement to say that Chauvin is the most vilified man in America right now. Getting up on the stand would have given him the chance to show the world and the jury that he is an actual human being, and not just the racist white cop caricature the media has shown us on a video. Thus far he's just been mutely sitting in the court room while people around him decide his fate. It's hard to create any emotional connection with someone when all you know about them is what other people have told you. In this case, it's pretty much been entirely negative. He's essentially a moral monster who squashed the life out of another man because he's racist.

I think the world would have been interested in hearing his side of the story from his own mouth and at the very least it could have humanized a person who otherwise is seen a stand-in for everything wrong with whites, police, racism, etc. in America today.

But I'm not a lawyer and I'm not the one who'd have to get up there and be cross examined.
 

homersheineken

Kingfisher
Why wouldn't he testify? What does he have to lose?
Prosecution asks:

Have you, or anyone you know or associated with, ever, within the last 10 years of working at the police department ever seen or heard or was it inferred that racism, was the cause related to the how persons of color have ever been reprimanded or arrested; or unconscious bias was at least a portion of yours or you colleagues thoughts? Or is it not possible that you nor any of your colleagues have ever considered race to be involved in apprehending an alleged criminal?

Please answer yes or no.

===

What do you answer, knowing that you're under oath and must answer?

Know that both, based on the way the question was structured, would be wrong and the prosecutor would pounce. Not to mention if Chauvin had any prior reprimands, those are now fair game as well to be introduced since he agreed to testify.

The burden in on the prosecution, so make them prove their case, don't give them anything to work with.

He's a cop, so he knows this, but for Everyone else, please watch this and why the 5th Amendment is so important:

 

Handsome Creepy Eel

Owl
Gold Member
Prosecution asks:

Have you, or anyone you know or associated with, ever, within the last 10 years of working at the police department ever seen or heard or was it inferred that racism, was the cause related to the how persons of color have ever been reprimanded or arrested; or unconscious bias was at least a portion of yours or you colleagues thoughts? Or is it not possible that you nor any of your colleagues have ever considered race to be involved in apprehending an alleged criminal?

Please answer yes or no.

===

What do you answer, knowing that you're under oath and must answer?

Know that both, based on the way the question was structured, would be wrong and the prosecutor would pounce. Not to mention if Chauvin had any prior reprimands, those are now fair game as well to be introduced since he agreed to testify.

The burden in on the prosecution, so make them prove their case, don't give them anything to work with.

He's a cop, so he knows this, but for Everyone else, please watch this and why the 5th Amendment is so important:

That's a great argument, but just to play the devil's advocate here, why can't you just say "no"? You're not a racist and don't entertain racist thoughts, and there's no way for them to prove otherwise because the entire concept of racism is an intangible, imaginary societal construct. In fact, they would look ridiculous if they started claiming "well everyone is subconsciously racist we know what's in your heard better than you do".
 

fokm

Woodpecker
Gold Member
That's a great argument, but just to play the devil's advocate here, why can't you just say "no"? You're not a racist and don't entertain racist thoughts, and there's no way for them to prove otherwise...
"Ladies and Gentleman of the Jury, please see state exhibit 1234A, which shows the defendant once 'liked' a Facebook post that said George Zimmerman did nothing wrong."
 

Dusty

Peacock
Gold Member
Chauvin testifying would be a Hail Mary if they thought they were losing.

Chauvin won this trial based on the merits-based on the evidence or lack thereof.

Sure, there could be biased jurists who are going to vote to confict evidence be damned. Would Chauvin testifying do anything to pursuade those biased jurors? I think not.

Chauvin has to play don’t eff up game at this point and hope there is at least one juror with integrity who will decide this case on the merits.
 

Sam Malone

Ostrich
Gold Member
Prosecution "Mr Chauvin were you a white man when you restrained Mr Floyd?"

Chauvin "Uhhh...yes ?"

Prosecution "The prosecution rests !"
Pretty much.

This was Furman in the OJ Trial. While he pleads the Fifth (I'm not suggesting this is what Chauvin would do), the Furman clip illustrates how a competent attorney can manipulate what the witness is saying.

0:54 is the pinnacle of how even invoking his Fifth Amendment right painted Furman as a liar.

 

Renzy

Pelican
You can be completely, 100% innocent, and a good prosecutor could make you lose your temper, or ask you questions that are so difficult to answer well that the jurors could say, "He's acting weird."

You do not give your enemy ammunition. If the state has not proved its case, there's absolutely no benefit to testifying.

If Chauvin testifies and says one wrong thing, his testimony could be used against him in a civil trial.

Think of every single high profile legal case in the past 30 years. Zimmerman, OJ, Casey Anthony, etc. The defendant never testifies. There's a good reason for it.

These are all good points and it sounds like I was wrong then about his lack of testimony being a mistake on his part. It sounds like it was better for him not to get up on the stand. It makes sense that the more you say the higher the chances you'll just give the other side something that can be used against you.
 

homersheineken

Kingfisher
That's a great argument, but just to play the devil's advocate here, why can't you just say "no"? You're not a racist and don't entertain racist thoughts, and there's no way for them to prove otherwise because the entire concept of racism is an intangible, imaginary societal construct. In fact, they would look ridiculous if they started claiming "well everyone is subconsciously racist we know what's in your heard better than you do".
Prosecutor replies:

"No, it's not possible you've considered race? Why haven't you been thoughtful to other races based on the systematic racism in the county? Are you then denying that there is racism in this country? ***Shows Graph with the number of blacks dead from police in the last 5 years.***
You haven't taken any steps to combat racism?" turns to the jury "It's ignorance like this that lead to the tragic death of George Floyd because of police brutality" ***shows picture of you kneeling on his 'neck' ***

You're defending a position, that you doesn't need to be defended. You're already in his frame and he can continue to attack that, showing jurors, that you aren't caring and compassionate about race relations and this lead to "you" killing him. This isn't a case based on a preponderance of evidence, but rather emotion.

Avoid giving the prosecution any angle to attack you, your character or your 'perceived intentions'. The burden is on him. They have a very weak case, no need to give him an out.

Likewise if you had said race was a factor, you'd be crucified. It's a gotcha question as intended.

This is how they busted Gen Flynn so that he 'lied' to the feds. Ask a complicated enough, multi-question sentence with conflicting positive/negative connotations and you can spin it any way you want in front of a jury that is already thinking about systematic racism, the LA riots, the continuing riots in MN.... Keep it based on the facts of the case, and not let him delve into the emotions of it, which he can really only get to by questioning Chauvin.
 
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