Derek Chauvin trial: How will the jury be selected?

Jury selection in the Derek Chauvin trial is scheduled to begin on Monday, March 8 and is expected to last three weeks. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd

During jury selection, until all the preliminary motions are heard by Judge Peter Cahill, court will start at 8 a.m. with a hearing on preliminary motions, before moving on to jury selection at 9 a.m. The Chauvin trial will be live streamed, gavel to gavel, at

Potential jurors and jurors will be escorted to the courtroom each day by deputies or security. No one can have contact with the jurors except the judge, court personnel and deputies. Any attorney contact with jurors is limited to the jury selection process when court is in session.

Jury selection process

To decide the jury, prosecutors and Chauvin’s defense attorneys will question each potential juror one at a time, separately from the others. 

Each potential juror has already filled out a questionnaire asking about their knowledge of the case, police connections and attitudes towards the justice system as well as their media habits, which will be provided to the attorneys and the judge before jury selection.

There are two ways to dismiss a potential juror: "for cause" or with a "peremptory challenge." 

During the questioning, either side can ask the judge to dismiss a potential juror for cause, meaning they have a reason to believe the juror is unfit for a fair trial. There is no limit on the number of jurors who can be removed for cause. 

If a potential juror is not dismissed for cause, each side can decide whether they want to use one of their peremptory challenges, which allows them to remove a juror for almost any reason. Chauvin’s defense team has 15 peremptory challenges and the prosecution has nine.

The other side can object to a peremptory strike if they believe the juror was removed because of their race, gender, ethnicity or religion. This is called a Batson challenge. 

Prosecutors and defense attorneys will question and challenge potential jurors until they can seat a 12-person jury, with two alternates. Judge Cahill had originally said he was looking for up to four alternates, but based on courtroom size and COVID-19 concerns, he now wants 14 total.

Jury to remain anonymous

Potential jurors and jurors will only be referred to by a random, previously assigned number because Judge Cahill has ordered their identities to remain a secret for the duration of the trial. At the conclusion of the trial, Judge Cahill will decide when the jurors’ identities can be made public.  

Jury sequestration

The jury will be partially sequestered during the trial and fully sequestered while they are deliberating, which means they cannot go home until they reach a verdict or the judge determines they are hung. 

However, the judge can order full sequestration of the jury at any time if the partial sequestration proves ineffective in keeping the jurors free from outside influence. 

Opening statements in the trial are scheduled to begin on March 29. A verdict is not expected until mid to late April.