Legal experts weigh in on outcome of the Derek Chauvin trial

NOW: Legal experts weigh in on outcome of the Derek Chauvin trial

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Legal experts are weighing in on the outcome of the Derek Chauvin trial. 

We spoke with two Milwaukee attorneys following the verdict, including one who represented a former MPD officer in a deadly shooting.

They think what ultimately won the case for the state was that nine-minute, 29 second video that the defense just couldn't overcome.

Jonathan Smith says it's that video that ultimately cost the defense this case.

“It wasn’t just the depiction of Officer Chauvin, or former Officer Chauvin’s knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck and what other officers were doing, but you had sort of that real-time play by play,” said Smith.

Smith represented Milwaukee Police Officer Dominique Heaggan Brown, who was acquitted in the 2016 shooting of Sylville Smith that led to the Sherman Park unrest. 

“Certainly in the Heaggan Brown case, and if you watch some of the other body cams as it relates to officer-involved shootings and what not, those are usually split second sort of determinations, right? Person turns and the shot is fired, but those things will play out in court one way or another. Here we just sort of have this prolonged minute after minute after minute and the commentary from the general public who is our eyes and ears at that moment in time,” said Smith.

When the jury returned a verdict in 10 hours, Attorney Frank Gimbel anticipated guilty on all charges.

“I find that if the jury is not out for a minimum of one hour for every day of the trial, then the prosecution wins the case,” Gimbel said. 

Frank Gimbel, a Milwaukee attorney since 1963, says while the defense made some good points, they may have lost some jurors with a three-hour closing argument.

“An old federal judge told me when I was a young lawyer in the US Attorney’s Office, he says remember this Frank, a mind cannot understand what the seat cannot endure…so if you have a restless juror, you lose that person’s attention."

In addition to this, Jonathan Smith wondered if it would have made a difference to the jury to hear from Derek Chauvin himself, to hear his thoughts about what a reasonable police officer would do.


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