The Case Before Us, Part 5: The New Improved Enhanced Due Process.

I have watched with great interest the matter of State of Minnesota v. Derek Chauvin and the process known to lawyers as voir dire. In English, that means jury selection.

I have also watched the unfortunate impact of the precipitous announcement of settlement in a civil rights lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Minnesota District.

In this criminal case, the defendant has already been treated to an enhanced level of due process inasmuch as the Court has treated this case like a First Degree Homicide case. It is not.

In Minnesota, a defendant facing life in prison receives 15 peremptory strikes (for no reason) and 9 peremptory strikes (for no reason) to the prosecution. Mr. Chauvin faces no such penalty.

No known provisions in the Rules provide for this “enhancement.” Indeed, only if a defendant is facing an actual “joint trial“ would the Court be authorized to increase the strikes in a non-life imprisonment case.

And while there is case law allowing a judge to consider a request for additional peremptory challenges where a Defendant believes he was forced to EXHAUST his available peremptory challenges because of the refusal of the Court to grant motions for cause, nothing I see authorizes ab initio additional strikes like those granted now.

Only a trial involving First Degree Murder or a joint trial allows for anything approaching this procedure and enhanced level of due process.

My question now is will every defendant receive such an advantage in the future?

-Albert Turner Goins



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