Today we’re expecting to hear the closing arguments from the prosecution and the defense (likely with a follow-up rebuttal closing by the prosecution), as well as to have the jury given the final instructions intended to guide them in their application of Minnesota law to the facts of this case as they alone determine those facts to have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
So far, that’s the normal course of business in any criminal trial in America.
What’s not normal, of course, is the judicial terrorism raging around this case.
Terrorism, of course, is the use of non-state violence to achieve political ends. What we are seeing currently in America is the use of violence to achieve purported “justice,” in the twisted and profoundly anti-American view of “justice” that is held by militant factions of such groups as Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and other proponents of mob rage and violence and destruction, in which “justice” is defined not by the process but by the outcome.
As one example, the UK-based Daily Mail is reporting that the former home of defense use-of-force expert witness Barry Brodd was vandalized with blood last night—and in case there was any ambiguity in the messaging, a severed pig’s head was also left behind. Although this act of judicial terrorism has gone largely unreported by the US press, it’s certainly been noted on platforms like Twitter, by Jack Posobiec and others:
Given that Brodd’s testimony in this case is long since over, this cannot be a message targeted at him personally, as there’s nothing to left intimidate him about.
No, this can only be understood as a chilling message for the jurors in the Chauvin case, who were not sequestered over the weekend, and thus fully exposed to the “push” news of social media.
Even worse, of course, is that such acts of judicial terrorism have ripple effects that reach to every other high-profile case that may occur anytime in the living memory of anyone aware of this case. Every prospective witness, juror, even defense counsel in the next high-profile case—perhaps the rapidly approaching Rittenhouse trial?—will be fully aware of what they can expect if they play any role in the defense whatever.
This would all be bad enough if the acts of judicial terrorism were limited to a handful of fringe wackos, but it’s not. Apparently, such conduct is gleefully embraced even by America’s fringe national-level politicians.
The UK-based The Guardian is reporting that US Congresswoman Maxine Waters has crossed state lines to incite violence among protestors in Minneapolis, urging the mob to “get more confrontational.”
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) April 18, 2021
Those words said in the midst of a peaceful protest could be interpreted as merely urging further peaceful efforts—when said in the midst of a protest already violent, it can only be interpreted as a call for more violence.
And, sure enough, shortly after Waters’ comments, shots were fired at Minnesota National Guardsman present to secure public safety from the violent mob.
In that same video clip, Waters can be heard demanding that the chaos occurring in the streets of Minneapolis and all over the country around the trial of Derek Chauvin continue, and intensify, unless Chauvin is found guilty of first-degree (pre-meditated) murder—an intentional killing charge not even the state of Minnesota thought appropriate to bring against him, and obviously one not even on the table for the jury’s consideration.
A routine question for criminal defense attorneys at cocktail parties is, how can you defend people in court whom you know to be among society’s worst criminal predators.
And the fundamental answer to that question, at least for this criminal defense attorney, is because I care desperately about the process of justice generally, and American criminal due process in particular.
Denial of the criminal due process to the worst of us can only lead to denial of criminal due process to the rest of us—and therein lies mob “justice” and judicial, or even literal, lynching.
The American vision of justice has always been based on that process, and not on the particular outcome in any specific case, a view which helped ensure that process for all us, from best to worst, and prioritized process justice over the mob justice.
In contrast, the mob vision of justice is based entirely on outcome, and process be damned. No judicial or criminal due process can be permitted to interfere with the “justice” demanded by the mob.
Of course, this is precisely the view of “justice” that led to the infamous lynching of Emmitt Till in 1955 Mississippi, a black 14-year-old, for the purported crime of offending a white woman in a grocery store.
And this is precisely the mob justice that the militant factions of Black Lives Matter and Antifa want to bring to 2021 America.
Give us guilty, on all counts, even on counts not actually being argued in this trial, or we burn it all down generally, and target defense witnesses and, by implication, the trial jurors specifically.
Good luck with that, America.
Frankly, at this point it’s absolutely apparent that Derek Chauvin can receive nothing like a fair trial in this case. When I write that, by the way, I’m defining “fair trial” as one involving a process we’d want for ourselves or a loved one, or even a friend or neighbor.
No one would want to be on trial, or have anyone they cared about on trial, in a courthouse surrounded by a violent, raging mob, being exhorted to further violence by government officials, with militant factions of political groups terrorizing the witness for the defense, and by extension the jury itself.
Yet that is what’s been offered to Derek Chauvin as “justice.”
Regardless of what anyone may think of Derek Chauvin, it is absolute truth that the criminal due process we offer to the worst of us is precisely what any of the rest of us should expect to also receive should we find ourselves having to account in a criminal court. And not one bit more.
If you would not want to be tried under these circumstances, then you ought not want anyone tried under these circumstances, including Derek Chauvin, or worse.
One reason that Judge Cahill has denied every defense motion for a continuance or a change of venue in this case has been, in effect, what could would it do? How long would you delay? Where would you go? This chaos, in effect, will follow this defendant everywhere, so he’s no more likely to get a fair trial elsewhere in Minnesota than he is here.
I think Judge Cahill is right about that—but I think his reasoning has led him to the wrong conclusion.
If it cannot be expected that Chauvin can get any fairer a trial elsewhere in Minnesota than he can in the rage-mob surrounded Hennepin County Courthouse, the solution consistent with the “justice” any of us would want for ourselves or anyone we care about is not to compel him to endure an unfair trial where he is.
Rather, the solution consistent with “justice” is to dismiss these charges, with prejudice.
And if the rationale for not doing so is anticipated rioting, looting, and arson—and I expect that will be the rationale—then all we’re doing is admitting that we’ve already handed over “justice” in America to the mob, and adopted the “Emmett Till lynching model” of “justice” for anyone targeted by the mob.
If that’s the case, enjoy the ride.
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