Due process would demand Chauvin be granted a robust defense and proper trial so that justice can be done in the death of George Floyd. But the entire country knows all the facts about the case.

How could you get an unbiased jury to try this case?

  • 3
    "But the entire country knows all the facts about the case" Do they though? There's so much conflicting information "in the wild" that it's difficult to know what is fact or conjecture. Even if they know the "facts", they may lack context given by testimony that isn't publicly available...
    – Ron Beyer
    Jun 6, 2020 at 15:35
  • There is complete video out in public which I have to imagine by this time the entire country has seen. Jun 6, 2020 at 16:06
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    There have been plenty of cases like this before and they've always managed to find an unbiased jury. Plenty of people will have not have seen the video, for example. More people than you might think have no interest in following the news, whether from traditional sources or social media.
    – Ross Ridge
    Jun 7, 2020 at 0:08
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    @NonPartisanObserver the video cannot portray all the facts, for example the accused's state of mind, events that preceded the beginning of the video recording, and things that happened behind the vehicle or outside the image frame and were not loud enough to be picked up by the microphone. The idea that video portrays all the facts is dangerous.
    – phoog
    Jun 7, 2020 at 5:54

2 Answers 2


The legal standard for jury selection is not complete ignorance of the facts surrounding the case, it is the ability to impartially apply the law (as specified by the judge) to the facts admitted in court. During voir dire, the judge and attorneys can ask questions of jurors designed to discern a juror's inability to do this, including looking for evidence that the person has already reached a conclusion, or that they are willing to rely on inadmissible evidence (tweets, blogs, the nightly news, whatever is out there). The attorneys also have a number of peremptory challenges available, in cases where an attorney concludes that a prospective has a bias which is not clearly demonstrable to the court. In extreme cases, the defense could petition for a change of venue (though the trial would have to remain in the state of Minnesota), though change of venue requests are not generally granted.

The probability that it would be impossible to find a set of jurors who fail the voir dire filter is so low that it is not worth considering. The law does not require absolute certainty that every juror will strictly apply the law as instructed and only consider the admissible facts.


First of all, it will be possible to find a few jurors who say they have not seen the media coverage.

How could you get an unbiased jury to try this case?

You're making an unforced error. There's no such thing as an unbiased jury. Juries are made of people, and no one is unbiased (ask about that in https://philosophy.stackexchange.com ).

As for jurors themselves: potential jurors may lie about not seeing the video, lie about being unbiased, or have other motives to try and get on the jury. But the court and its officers are involved in jury selection and try to mitigate those issues.

The best we can hope for - and what the court system aims for - is a group of people who can set aside bias and opinions and look at a case based on objective facts and evidence and the breadth of the law that the defendant is being prosecuted under.

Juries are groups for a reason - if some members refuse to deal with facts and evidence, then other members can reason with them and try to bring them around to a consensus and a vote for conviction or acquittal (which may or may not have to be unanimous, depending on criminal or civil and jurisdiction). The judge is there to conduct the trail and help the jury with instructions in following the law to deliberate and get to a verdict.

Worst case, there is a hung jury and the case is retried with a new jury. Or there is an objectively wrongful conviction or objectively wrongful acquittal. The court system isn't perfect, and things can go wrong.

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    There is no retrial or appeal on a wrong acquittal
    – Dale M
    Jun 6, 2020 at 23:22
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    "a vote for conviction or acquittal (which may or may not have to be unanimous, depending on criminal or civil and jurisdiction)". Didn't the Supreme court rule in Ramos v. Louisiana that conviction in state trials has to be unanimous? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramos_v._Louisiana Jun 6, 2020 at 23:32

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