- The Minnesota Supreme Court overturned a third-degree conviction for the murder of a former Minneapolis police officer.
- The decision will likely not have serious consequences for Derek Choven, who was convicted of the same crime.
- Chauvin was also found guilty of second degree murder.
The Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned the conviction for the murder of former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor, who was found guilty of murder and manslaughter by Justine Ruschik in 2017.
The decision could have repercussions for Derek Choven, a former Minneapolis police officer convicted in April for the murder of George Floyd.
Noor was first charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in 2018, a few months after Ruschik’s death. Ruschik, an Australian American who lives in Minneapolis in 2017, called emergency services to report possible sexual assault near her home. Nur, who later testified that he was struck by the sound, while answering the call, shot through the window of his patrol car and killed Ruschik.
A jury found Noor guilty of both murder and manslaughter in 2019. Noor was sentenced to 12 and a half years in prison on murder charges, but the judge did not convict him on manslaughter charges. The City of Minneapolis separately paid the Ruschik family $ 20 million in settlement.
In his opinion released on WednesdayThe Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that Noor did not kill Ruschik with “the mental state necessary to kill with a twisted mind,” and that the evidence was “insufficient to support his conviction” on the murder charge.
The court ordered the Minnesota District Court to sentence Noor on charges of third-degree manslaughter. According to Associated PressNoor’s estimated conviction for manslaughter, which Noor did not challenge in his appeal, would be four years and would allow him to qualify for supervised release by the end of 2021.
The prosecutor’s office referred to the Court of Appeal ruling in the Noor case to provide legal grounds for charging Chauvin with third-degree murder. In June, Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter.
A state Supreme Court ruling on Wednesday gives Chauvin the opportunity to challenge his third-degree murder conviction in court. But in order to challenge his entire 22 and a half years in prison, Chauvin would have to successfully overturn the second-degree murder conviction, which carries the harshest sentence. Legal experts told The Associated Press that such an appeal has little chance of success.
However, the ruling may limit additional charges against Chauvin’s police colleagues who were present at Floyd’s murder. Prosecutors charged Thomas Lane, J. Quen, Tou Tao with aiding second-degree murder and manslaughter and considered adding a charge of aiding and abetting third-degree murder. According to the Associated Press, prosecutors are now less likely to add additional charges.
Lane, Keung and Tao pleaded not guilty to the charges against them and are expected to stand trial in March 2022.