Judge Promises COVID Precautions In The Chauvin Trial

The judge in the Derek Chauvin trial has repeatedly told jurors the court is taking every precaution possible to protect them from COVID, however, the jurors will not get to go to the front of the line to get a vaccine, reports Esme Murphy (2:18). WCCO 4 News - March 24, 2021

Video Transcript

- The judge in the Derek Chauvin trial has repeatedly told jurors the court is taking every precaution possible to protect them from COVID. However, the jurors will not get to go to the front of the line to get a vaccine. They are being protected with social distancing and other protocols, as well as unprecedented security. Esme Murphy has a look at what the jurors will experience.

PETER CAHILL: And you are a juror 130, is that correct?

- Yep.

ESME MURPHY: The judge told all prospective jurors that despite unprecedented television coverage, they would be known only as a number.

PETER CAHILL: No video of you or any other juror will be taken at any time, now or during trial if you are selected. Also, your name will not be used in the courtroom. You will only be referred to by your random number to protect your privacy.

ESME MURPHY: Jurors' names will only be made public after the trial, something many prospective jurors didn't like.

- How do you feel about that?

- That makes me nervous.

ESME MURPHY: The COVID precautions in the courtroom are extensive. The jury box has been ripped out, and jurors will be sitting in school-type individual desks that are socially distanced. There's also Plexiglas around anyone who will be speaking, including the judge, the attorneys, and of course, the witnesses. A request to have the jurors vaccinated was vetoed earlier this month by state health officials.

TIM WALZ: The Minnesota Department of Health folks determined that there's other trials happening.

ESME MURPHY: Jurors will get paid $20 a day for their service, plus mileage. Their basic day will start at the courtroom at 9:15 AM. They will have an hour lunch break, and a lunch provided by the court. Their day in court will end at 4:30, and then they'll go home.

The judges said during deliberations, the jury will be sequestered, which means they'll be staying in a hotel. They won't be able to go home until they reach a verdict, or if they are deadlocked, until the judge declares a mistrial. Esme Murphy, WCCO 4 News.

- And with that in mind, the judge has also warned that more pretrial publicity may lead him to sequester the jury during the trial itself, which is expected to last around four weeks. The trial will begin Monday morning with jury instructions, followed by opening statements. You can watch it all live on CBSN Minnesota. Just grab your phone and scan the code on your screen right now to download our app. We'll also stream the trial live through WCCO.com.