Security measures take shape days before jury selection scheduled to begin in Derek Chauvin trial

Eric Chaloux
Updated: March 03, 2021 06:06 PM
Created: March 03, 2021 03:43 PM

Security has been tightened around the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis as the trial of ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, charged in the death of George Floyd, nears.

Only people involved in the trial along with very few other individuals who need to be in the building will be allowed, according to county officials.

The Hennepin County Court announced that jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday at 9 a.m.

"Jury selection is just so much more art than science," said Brad Colbert, a law professor at Mitchell-Hamline School of Law.

Colbert said the Chauvin case's high publicity will require attorneys to fine-tune their questions before settling on a juror.

"You're not going to get people who haven't heard of it, you want people who will make a decision based on the evidence at trial, and they'll set aside what they've heard prior," Colbert said.

A questionnaire was sent out last year to potential jurors and required 69 responses to various questions.

Questionnaire goes out to potential jurors in case against former MPD officers charged in George Floyd's death

Attorneys from both sides have been going over the forms to decide what follow-up questions to ask potential jurors called before the court.

"The community isn't always highly polarized like it is in this case," Diane Wiley, president of the National Jury Project-Midwest, said.

For decades, Wiley has worked as a trial consultant. She said it could take some time to seat a jury in the Chauvin case.

"It's going to be very difficult, it's going to be one of the most difficult they've seen,” Wiley said. “I believe that they can get a jury though, I do think they can get a jury."

The Hennepin County judge overseeing the case has set aside most of March for jury selection.

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