The Corner

Law & the Courts

Chauvin Makes His First Court Appearance

Lots of media are reporting about today’s first scheduled court appearance by fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in connection with the killing of George Floyd.

As Rich and I discussed on The McCarthy Report podcast last week, Chauvin was arrested on a complaint, was amended last week (see my column, here). Neither he nor any of the other three officers involved in the killing of George Floyd has been indicted yet.

Under Minnesota law, in a first appearance on a complaint, no plea is entered. Rather, the defendant is advised of the charges and the court ensures that counsel is assigned, that bail is set, and that the defendant understands his rights.

Because it is a homicide case, the prosecutor may advise the court and counsel whether the prosecutor’s office (in this case, the State AG in conjunction with the Hennepin County Attorney) will be proceeding to the grand jury to seek an indictment. Ordinarily, though, that advisory does not happen until the defendant’s second appearance on the complaint.

It should be a brief hearing, and future proceeding of more consequence will be scheduled.

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