The third-degree murder charge has been reinstated against Derek Chauvin. The charge carries a maximum penalty of up to 25 years in prison and adds on to Chauvin’s previous charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter.
Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill, who initially dismissed the charge in October, announced he would reinstate it on Thursday morning (March 11). The judge said he heard back from the Minnesota Court of Appeals, who ordered him to consider reinstating it last week.
As reported by REVOLT, a three-judge panel told Cahill he made a mistake by dismissing the charge and argued that the Court of Appeals set a precedent for the charge in the case of former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor.
In 2019, Noor was convicted of third-degree murder for fatally shooting a woman named Justine Ruszczyk Damond two years prior.
Although Chauvin’s defense lawyers claimed there were differences in Chauvin’s and Noor's cases, prosecutors and the panel argued that Cahill should be consistent with the charge after the Court of Appeals set the precedent.
“I feel bound by that and I feel it would be an abuse of discretion not to grant the motion,” Cahill said on Thursday.
The issue of the reinstated charge caused trial proceedings to be delayed on Monday (March 8), which is when jury selection was supposed to begin. Instead, prospective jurors were sent home and proceedings for the trial picked back up on Tuesday (March 9). Now that the charge has been reinstated, it’s unclear whether or not it will impact future proceedings or the trial’s expected start date of March 29.
Chauvin's second-degree murder charge carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison. The trials for the other three officers involved in George Floyd’s death are set for this August.
See Cahill announce his decision to reinstate the third-degree murder charge below.