The long-awaited trial of former Minneapolis police office Mohammed Noor for murder begins tomorrow in Hennepin County District Court before Judge Kathryn Quaintance. In an egregious example of police incompetence, Noor killed Justine Damond on July 15, 2017. Noor should not have been on the force. His killing of Damond represents an utterly needless tragedy that exposed Minneapolis’s kakistocracy for the world to see and now, in the words of the old antiwar left, the whole world is watching. The Star Tribune previews the trial in today’s paper.
For us, it is a local story. Indeed, one of Noor’s attorneys (Peter Wold) is a former law school classmate of mine and the Damond family is represented in its civil suit against Noor and the city by an old acquaintance whom I got to know in my first days in private practice (Robert Bennett). Last year I spoke with Bob about the law underlying his civil lawsuit against the Minneapolis authorities for the post “Notes on the Damond lawsuit.” I included a copy of the civil complaint at the bottom of that post.
The criminal case has been assigned to Hennepin County District Judge Kathryn Quaintance. Judge Quaintance and Chief Judge Ivy Bernhardson have issued a restrictive set of media guidelines for press coverage of the trial. The order is posted online here. I cannot even comprehend Judge Quaintance’s Friday order excluding bodycam footage from public viewing.
I first asked for media credentials to attend the trial on March 14. I was told by a court administrator that they were still sorting out the logistics and advised to keep checking this page, but I really needn’t have bothered. All of eight seats were allotted to the media in two courtrooms. They are long gone under a process that I have not found spelled out anywhere.
This is one aspect of the case that the Star Tribune has not been inclined to sugarcoat. They covered it in March 29 stories here and here. Certain of the media big boys have banded together to retain counsel and object via correspondence to the Chief Judge posted here by the Star Tribune. I will be following the case from a distance.