MINNEAPOLIS – The prosecution and defense gave their closing statements Monday in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, accused in the death of George Floyd.
Now, the 12 members of the jury are sequestered as they deliberate a verdict.
Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death last Memorial Day. If convicted of the most serious charge, Chauvin faces 12 1/2 years or 150 months in prison under sentencing guidelines for a first-time offender. But, the prosecution argues there are aggravating factors that require a longer prison term. That means Chauvin may face a sentence longer than outlined in the guidelines.
The jury may convict Chauvin on any, all, or none of the charges.
Here’s what to know about the jury deliberations:
What happened Monday?
On Monday ,the jury heard closing arguments, where the prosecution and the defense summarized the respective evidence and witness testimony they presented during the trial.
Judge Peter Cahill dismissed two of the 14 members of the jury who were informed they were alternates and would not be part of deliberations. Cahill also instructed jurors on the laws they must follow during their deliberations.
Jurors must decide whether or not the government proved all of the elements of a given charge beyond a reasonable doubt. The defense bears no burden of proof, and Chauvin is deemed innocent unless convicted at trial.
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What are jury deliberations?
Jurors typically retire to a secure courthouse room where a court marshal keeps watch outside. Although they have been together in court since the trial began in March, this is the first time they are supposed to talk together about the case and discuss all the witness testimony and evidence.
They are allowed to review any of the exhibits that were entered into evidence. They are allowed to rehear specific testimony from any of the witnesses. The jurors may send written messages out to the judge with any questions that arise.
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What does it mean to sequester the jury?
During deliberations, the court provides meals for the jurors and puts them up for the night in a hotel, where marshals provide security, The jurors are not allowed to discuss the case with anyone else or even with each other when they’re outside the deliberation room.
Does the jury verdict have to be unanimous?
For a guilty verdict, yes. If jurors are unable to reach a verdict on any given charge, they will report this to Cahill. Judges typically instruct jurors to keep trying and to carefully listen to one another’s arguments and opinions.
What happens if the jury can’t reach a unanimous verdict?
If disagreements persist, the judge may declare a mistrial on one or more of the charges. The prosecution, in this case the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, would then regroup and decide whether to retry Chauvin.
How long will it take to reach a verdict?
Every trial is different, so accurately predicting the length of jury deliberations is difficult. Experienced legal observers told USA TODAY that Minnesota juries typically have returned verdicts with a few days, particularly if they are sequestered.
Last week, Cahill told jurors, “If I were you, I would plan for long (deliberations) and hope for short.” Earlier that week, he told them to “pack a bag” when they returned to court the following week.