The Justice Department has brought charges against the four former Minneapolis police officers who were involved in George Floyd’s arrest and death. The indictment with three counts, which was unsealed on Friday, names Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao. The indictment creates a new front for the officers and some sort of insurance for prosecutors if they fail to convict the three remaining officers (or Derek), Chauvin will be brought to trial again.
I’ve previously written that the beliefs of officers like Lane could be challenging, unlike Chauvin, who was the lead actor. I stated from the start that Chauvin was rightly convicted, although I consider the heavier charge to be manslaughter rather than murder.
This enables officials to face federal changes based on the same behavior. For this reason, these securities have been challenged in the past as double risk claims.
The Court has taken an extremely frank approach which has fueled the increased use of parallel federal prosecutions. The foundation for this rule was laid in Blockburger v. The United States, 284 US 299 (1932), where the Supreme Court ruled that “If the same act or transaction is in violation of two different laws, the test should be used to determine whether there are two or only one offense is whether each provision requires evidence of an additional fact that the other does not. “The Supreme Court has also stressed that the federal government, as separate sovereign powers, retains proper prosecution for its own crimes. In the United States v. Cruikshank, 92, US 542 (1875), the following was emphasized:
“It is the natural consequence of a citizenship that is committed to two sovereignties and claims protection from both. Citizens cannot complain because they have voluntarily submitted to such a form of government. He is, so to speak, loyal to the two departments and has to pay the penalties in their respective areas that each demands for disobedience to his laws. “
The indictment comes after Chauvin filed a retrial motion, including allegations of disapproval of an unbiased jury. One problem could be a jury’s alleged false testimony about their prior participation in protests.
The federal indictment means that even if chauvin receives a new trial or the other former officials are acquitted, he will still be subject to federal indictment.