Last year, St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez shot and killed Philando
Castile after stopping his vehicle in search of a robbery suspect. The
driver of the vehicle, Ms. Reynolds, filmed Castile in her passenger seat,
bloodied and rapidly expiring from his injuries. Moments later, she posted
it to Facebook, where the incident exploding into national headlines and
sparked major controversy and fears of police brutality.
Now, Mr. Yanez is going to trial in Minneapolis on
manslaughter charges filed by state prosecutors. The question that is on every prosecutor’s
and criminal defense attorney’s mind in Minnesota, however, is whether
or not Yanez can receive a fair trial.
CBS Minnesota news group recently talked to
Attorney Joseph Tamburino – note: he is not handling this case to any extent – of Caplan
& Tamburino Law Firm, P.A. about the case and the concern of a fair
trial’s likelihood. As Tamburino pointed out, jury selection, which
is set to begin today, has to be intensive and thorough, weeding out anyone
who might have had negative experiences with the police in the past. He
also expressed that jurors need to be able to try to understand Yanez’s
decision to fire upon the seated Castile, who had stated he wanted to
reach for his license to carry. Yanez allegedly shot Castile thinking
that the man intended to grab his gun, not the license.
The prevalence of the aftermath video all across social media has also
undoubtedly tampered with preconceived notions of the officer. There could
very well be no one in Minneapolis who has not seen the footage and already
formed a strong opinion, one way or another, as to what happened. The
video is also difficult to assess as evidence for either side, as Tamburino
mentioned, due to the fact that it does not actually show the officer’s
weapon firing, nor does it show the events immediately prior.
If interested, you can read the full
CBS Minnesota article and interview by
clicking here. If you require a Minneapolis criminal defense attorney for a case of
your own, then you are encouraged to
contact our firm to request a
free case evaluation. We take calls 24/7 because we know that an arrest or criminal accusation
can happen at any time – just dial
612.444.5020 when you need us.