Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz says a judge’s decision to reinstate a third-degree murder charge against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the case of George Floyd likely won’t be justified by prosecutors.
“It’s back in because the appellate courts came up with a new decision between the time it was taken out and now, redefining what third degree murder means,” Dershowitz said Thursday during an appearance on Newsmax TV’s “John Bachman Now.”
“The government is gonna have to come up with a theory whether it's under part one or part two. I don't see any theory under which they could justify third degree murder on the claim that it endangered the lives of others. That's the primary definition of third-degree murder.
“The other definition really makes it in many respects parallel to second degree murder, so I think there's a lot of good lawyering to be done here – a bill of particulars request asking them to specify which provision of third-degree murder they're relying on, an argument that it's duplicitous if it's the second provision – it duplicates second degree murder.
“If it's the first provision, what's the evidence that anybody else was ever in danger? It's not like shooting. When you shoot at somebody, there's always the possibility the bullet will ricochet and hit somebody else. When you do the horrible thing that was done here – the knee on the neck – there's only one person who is in danger, and that is the ultimate victim.”
The case began Tuesday with jury selection at the Hennepin County Government Center. Chauvin, who is already charged with second-degree murder as well as second-degree manslaughter, was initially charged with third-degree murder after Floyd’s death. Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill granted the request from prosecutors to reinstate the charge after Chauvin failed to get the Supreme Court to block it.
Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes on May 25, an incident that prosecutors argue led to Floyd’s death and set off nationwide protests on police brutality.
“This is going to be a very, very hard case to try fairly,” said Dershowitz. “It's gonna be a hard case to get fair jurors. And the judge has to make sure that he gives proper instructions. Otherwise, there's a substantial chance of appellate reversal either in the state court or in a federal court based on violations of constitutional rights.
“I think everybody has an interest in making this a fair trial so that everybody understands that the results were not dictated by the crowds on either side. Justice has to not only be done but it has to be seen to be done in this case.”
Important: See Newsmax TV now carried in 70 million cable homes, on DirecTV Ch. 349, Dish Network Ch. 216, Xfinity Ch. 1115, Spectrum, U-verse Ch. 1220, FiOS Ch. 615, Frontier Ch. 115, Optimum Ch. 102, Cox cable, Suddenlink Ch. 102, Mediacom Ch. 277, AT&T TV Ch 349, Sling, TVision, and Fubo or Find More Cable Systems – Click Here.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.