State files motion to ensure district court has jurisdiction to hear Derek Chauvin’s trial

Comes in wake of district court’s intention to move forward with jury selection despite Chauvin’s decision to appeal ruling from last Friday

March 8, 2020 (SAINT PAUL) — The prosecution in State of Minnesota vs. Derek Chauvin, led by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, filed a motion with the Minnesota Court of Appeals today to keep the trial from proceeding on substantive matters, including jury selection, until the district court regains full jurisdiction over the case.   

"The State is fully ready to go to trial, but the trial must be conducted in accordance with the rules and the law,” Attorney General Ellison said. “Now that Mr. Chauvin has stated his intention to appeal Friday’s Court of Appeals ruling to the Minnesota Supreme Court, as is his right, the district court does not have jurisdiction to conduct jury selection or hear and rule on other substantive matters in the trial. We have filed motion with the Court of Appeals to ensure that justice is pursued properly.” 

Court lacks jurisdiction until Supreme Court acts

On Friday, March 5, the Court of Appeals ruled that the district court erred in not granting the State’s motion to reinstate the charge of 3rd-degree murder against Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd. Until judgment is formally entered, however, the district court does not have jurisdiction over many substantive matters in the case, notably including jury selection. The district court continues to have jurisdiction to hear and rule on supplemental or ancillary matters, but not those involved in or central to the appeal. 

According to Rule 136.02 of Minnesota Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure, “Unless the parties stipulate to an immediate entry of judgment, the clerk of the appellate courts shall enter judgment pursuant to the decision or order not less than 30 days after the filing of the decision or order. The service and filing of a petition for review to, or rehearing in, the Supreme Court shall stay the entry of the judgment. Judgment shall be entered upon the denial of a petition for review or rehearing.” 

In court today, defendant Chauvin’s counsel stated his intention to file a petition for review of last Friday’s Court of Appeals ruling to the Minnesota Supreme Court. Although the Court of Appeals judgment has not been entered — and will not be entered for the pendency of the defendant’s appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court — the court stated its opinion that it has jurisdiction to take up jury selection. In response, the State informed the court that it had filed a motion with the Court of Appeals to halt the district court from taking up jury selection and matters central to the pending appeal while it lacks jurisdiction to do so.