ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — The Derek Chauvin trial has become a teaching tool this summer for aspiring lawyers.
A course called Advanced Criminal Law: Cops as Defendants is currently taking place at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law.READ MORE: NYC George Floyd Statue Vandalized, Cleaned Prior To Long-Planned Move To Union Square
John Radsan, one of the co-instructors, says the trial presents a unique teaching opportunity because it was the first in Minnesota history to be televised.
“It’s easier in the comfort of a classroom to play it, to rewind, but we ask ourselves, ‘Do we like how it’s going along? Should we have asked that question?'” Radsan said.
Radsan, a professor with a prosecutor background, is teaching with Rick Petry, a professor with a background on the defense side.
“There are a lot of legal skills that [students] can glean from this case because they had a lot of good lawyers in that courtroom,” Petry said.READ MORE: Minneapolis City Council Committee OK's Measure To Put Replacing MPD On November Ballot
Topics discussed and studied in the course include how to prep expert witnesses, the merits of putting Chauvin on the stand, and the defense’s strategy.
“I think the consensus has been that the prosecution team did better than Eric Nelson,” Radsan said. “Eric Nelson had a tough case. The criticism that I’ve heard, and I share, is I think that Nelson chased too many different theories of what the defense was in that case.”
The course is forward-looking, too. There was a debate Tuesday about what the students felt Chauvin’s sentence should be and what they predict it will be.
The students are who asked for the course to be created.
“How do you not take advantage of that for our law students and give them the opportunity to take a deep dive in all of these legal issues and social issues?” Petry said.MORE NEWS: Derek Chauvin Trial Cost Hennepin County $3.7M
The professors say it’s rare to devote a course to one trial.