The Heavy Burden Placed on High Profile Jurors

So much has been said about the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin – and so little has been mentioned about the jurors who decided the case.

Let’s take a walk in their shoes.

At first, you are allowed to go home every night and while you really want to talk to your loved ones about this most important time in your life the judge has ordered you not to discuss the case with anyone. Further, Judge Peter Cahill has instructed you not to “watch the news” about the case.

But information about the death of George Floyd isn’t just on the news. It penetrates your favorite evening TV shows when teases for upcoming newscasts interrupt programming. Information about the high-profile murder trial pop up on your phone and car radio. Commentary on the case floods every café and social media platform.

Memorials to Floyd Helped Shape Public Opinion in Minneapolis

It is hard to follow the judge’s orders, and to sit through so much horrific testimony shoulder-to-shoulder with fellow jurors who are total strangers, but you do your best to pay attention.

And every day you come to court you can’t help but notice the war-like transformation of the area: the new chain link fence around the courthouse, the boarded-up store and office windows, the concrete barriers and barbed wire on rooftops and the sudden presence of the National Guard. You know in your bones that something awful could happen after your and the other jurors render a verdict.

Then Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Ca) swoops into Minneapolis (after making a request that a U.S. Capitol police detail escort her) to persuade protestors to continue to “fight” police brutality and to protest if the verdict isn’t “guilty, guilty, guilty.”

“We’ve got to stay on the street and we’ve got to get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational,” she said amongst the already agitated crowd. “We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business!”

Maxine Waters photo via Flickr - by Gage Skidmore
Waters at the 2019 California Democratic Party State Convention at the George R. Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California.
With a Police escort Waters Flew in to Protest Police Brutality

As a juror on the city’s most headline-grabbing murder case you can’t help but have heard about Congresswoman Waters’ comments and it adds to the enormous stress you already feel.

When it comes time to deliberate the judge decides the jury should be sequestered in a hotel, held under tight security and with no communication to the outside world. So, presumably, you don’t hear President Biden say he’s “praying the verdict is the right verdict, which is — I think it’s overwhelming, in my view.”

At least I hope you didn’t hear that and feel more pressure.

Then, after ten hours of secret discussions your jury foreman sends word that you’ve reached a decision. That must have been the most anxious time of all. That walk back into the courtroom knowing that people around the globe were glued to the outcome. Did you look over at the defendant? Were your hands shaking? Did you feel like crying? I can’t imagine what it was like for you at that point, realizing the ordeal of judging another human being was almost over.

A Judge Accepts the Jury’s Verdict

I’m sure Judge Cahill met with the jury afterward to thank you for your service. I wonder if he told you that the local newspaper, the Star Tribune, had already published a detailed but unnamed bio of each juror that was sure to identify you. Henceforth, there is no way for you to escape this episode of your life. You will always be known as “that George Floyd juror” and whether you like it or not that exposure could put you in danger.

Concerned readers like @Junebotprolly took to Twitter to lambast the newspaper. “Holy crap. ARE YOU INSANE? When one of these jurors dies at the hands of an angry mob, I hope you’re willing to take responsibility for your part in doxxing them. This is despicable,” she wrote.

Newsmax anchor Heather Childers tweeted, “How is this allowed? Clearly enough information to identify the jurors in the Chauvin trial. Could this not be used as juror intimidation? Does this add to grounds for appeal?”

National Media Criticized the Local Newspaper

The saga of former officer Derek Chauvin is not over as there will most certainly be an appeal. But for the jurors who just performed this vital civil duty we should offer great thanks and hopes that they all stay safe.



  1. Diane Dimond on April 26, 2021 at 9:57 am

    Lanita Harris writes:

    Thank you for your intelligent insights. Your column is always a reminder there are people among us who still think! I appreciate your talents and that you appear in the Albuquerque Journal.

  2. Diane Dimond on April 26, 2021 at 9:57 am

    semcgowanjr writes:

    The judge’s failure to sequester the jury is going to be a major reason for appeal. Don’t tell me those jurors didn’t discuss the case and didn’t watch TV!!! They had already decided the verdict before the trial had even concluded. By the way, the evidence the prosecution introduced the last day to show that Floyd didn’t die of CO2 poisoning because his O2 level was 98% demonstrated that he didn’t die of strangulation.

  3. Diane Dimond on April 26, 2021 at 9:58 am

    Gladys C writes:

    Missing info. during the trial. Chauvin didn’t get complete due process. He was tried by the mob as a racially motivated killing. But, this wasn’t evidenced nor talked in the trial. So, he got the mob pressure.

    The senator who said incisive words should be expelled from Congress. Pelosi double standard poo-pooed the idea/situation. Hopefully, the judge will have courage to sentence Chauvin correctly. It’s about right and wrong based on evidence/facts.

    Bad police should be fired, but the mob is saying that all police are bad and racists. Then, in all fairness, the mob is also all bad and racists too. Double standard shouldn’t exist.

  4. Diane Dimond on April 26, 2021 at 9:58 am

    plawton0926 writes

    All jurors names etc should not be revealed and court cases need to be far far from where the incidents happen. This is totally ridiculous. Chavin did not get a fair trial.

  5. Diane Dimond on April 26, 2021 at 9:58 am

    We R Concerned writes:

    Should have been a mistrial because of Waters comments and threats clearly.

  6. Diane Dimond on April 26, 2021 at 1:15 pm

    Julie Burnett writes:

    I was a juror on a high profile murder case with three defendants. It lasted 9 months with 9 days of deliberations. It changes your life in many ways. I love true crime but no longer find violence entertaining. I ended up going through the police academy after the trial and went back to college attending juvenile and criminal justice classes. I already worked for the State of CA so I took an appointment working for the Supreme Court of the State of CA, AOC and Appellate Courts. I used to sit and watch the appeals.

  7. Diane Dimond on April 26, 2021 at 2:14 pm

    Pat Kelley Wittorf writes:

    I started watching the trial believing this is a bad cop and that he is guilty of murder. After watching the testimony though I came to feel that if I were a juror there is no way I could find him guilty. I look forward to an appeal and new trial where, perhaps, mob hysteria won’t be a factor and California politicians don’t incite more hatred.

  8. Diane Dimond on April 26, 2021 at 2:17 pm

    pattip1956 writes:

    I learned a great lesson about what jurors go through when I was with you for the Casey Anthony jury business in Pinellas. Fascinating, but it was torture in the end for many of them.

  9. Diane Dimond on April 26, 2021 at 2:18 pm

    onealapts writes:

    So very true. It can change their lives forever.

  10. Diane Dimond on April 26, 2021 at 2:18 pm


    imagine it’s also difficult to just consider the facts presented in court and not let their emotions influence in their decisions.

  11. bob on April 26, 2021 at 5:42 pm

    you are spot on!

  12. Donna R. Gore on April 27, 2021 at 10:08 am

    As a 40 year advocate for a murdered father and having actively advocated for change in the Board of Pardons & Parole as well as Victim Services in Connecticut, as well as actively participating in two parole hearings in front of a two time murderer, I can relate to how the jury must feel. They, too are victims! Thanks for standing up for them. Publishing names truly is insane and far stretches the boundaries of a ‘free press.’

  13. Julie on April 27, 2021 at 11:53 pm

    Besides what I already commented on your LinkedIn post, I believe my most difficult moment was when each of us jurors were polled on every count. Everyone in the court room waiting for you to stall, stutter or show doubt. Being hurried out a back entrance by bailiffs to avoid the media was stressful as well. Believe me, I followed the rules as I lived with a law enforcement officer during the three defendant murder trial I served on. A friend had saved every newspaper article and gave me the box after the trial was over. I read them all and then burned them in the fireplace. A life changing experience but no doubt equaled never looking back or second guessing my decision.

  14. Diane Dimond on April 28, 2021 at 10:29 am

    Donna R. Gore writes: (about juror bios in paper)

    Absolutely irresponsible! They become victims as well!

  15. Diane Dimond on April 28, 2021 at 10:31 am

    Junie Bugg writes:

    I agree Diane. I was glued to my chair for the Derek Chauvin trial, but i often said to myself “no thank you” would never want to be a juror.

  16. Diane Dimond on April 28, 2021 at 10:38 am

    gooshtavu writes:

    Not only puts jurors in danger but opens the door for a lot of other issues.

  17. Diane Dimond on April 28, 2021 at 10:38 am

    tokraaz writes:

    No they shouldn’t but jury selection (for that trial) was live online. They were not shown, their voices were heard and bios already out before news reported on them. I don’t think that was a good decision at all.
    Read less

  18. Diane Dimond on April 28, 2021 at 10:39 am

    tokraaz writes:

    No they shouldn’t but jury selection (for that trial) was live online. They were not shown, their voices were heard and bios already out before news reported on them. I don’t think that was a good decision at all.

  19. Diane Dimond on April 28, 2021 at 10:39 am

    shellmartinewe writes:

    So can threatening jurors before the verdict is settled on. We all suffer when juries are intimidated. It’s against US law (no one cares anymore!) & God’s Law (bearing false witness). This is a decaying nation!

  20. Elbert Householder on May 1, 2021 at 12:36 pm

    If a group of soldiers were in desperate need of help and one soldier could easily save them but still they all died because the soldier was too afraid to cross enemy lines, would you be making excuses for that soldier? When someone takes on a responsibility they are obligated to follow through with it, there are no good excuses not to do what is right. Being a member of the jury was a decision, they could have easily refused even if by taking a biased opinion when interviewed. Any time you are a member of a jury you are taking the risk of violent repercussions. They completely ignored the facts that prove The Defense, science and medical facts are on the side of Chauvin, and instead sucked up to violent and uneducated cry babies. I have my own idea on how to deal with these violent protests and if someone would just give me the authority they would be too afraid to pull their shit again. I really want to know something, after trying to impeach President Trump for supposedly inciting violence why is there no trial against Maxine Waters for trying to incite violence? This was a complete miscarriage of justice!

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