Prosecutors are asking a judge to give Derek Chauvin a harsher sentence than state guidelines require when he is convicted of George Floyd’s death in June, arguing in court documents filed Friday that Floyd was particularly vulnerable and that Chauvin abused his authority as a police officer. .
Defense attorney Eric Nelson opposes a harsher sentence, saying the state has failed to prove that these aggravating factors existed, among others, when Chauvin arrested Floyd on May 25.
Chauvin, who is white, was convicted last week of second-degree manslaughter, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck for 9 1
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Although he was found guilty on three counts, under the Minnesota Statute, he will only be convicted of the most serious – second-degree murder. While this count has a maximum penalty of 40 years, experts say he does not get that much.
Prosecutors did not specify how much time they would search for Chauvin.
Under the Minnesota Penal Code, the presumed sentence for second-degree unintentional homicide of a person without a criminal record like Chauvin would be 12 1/2 years. Judges can sentence someone to as little as 10 years and eight months or as much as 15 years and still be within the advisory guideline. To go beyond this, Judge Peter Cahill had to find out that there were “aggravating factors”, and although these exist, legal experts have said that Chauvin is unlikely to stand for more than 30 years.
In prosecutors filed Friday, prosecutors said Chauvin should be convicted over the guidelines because Floyd was particularly vulnerable with his hands tied behind his back when he was with the bottom on the ground and that he was drunk. They noted that Chauvin held his position even after Floyd did not respond, and officers knew he had no pulse.
Prosecutors also said Chauvin treated Floyd with particular cruelty during the long restraint, saying Chauvin inflicted unmotivated pain and caused psychological distress to Floyd and spectators.
“Defendant continued to maintain his position on top of Mr. Floyd, even though Mr. Floyd shouted that he was in pain, just as Mr. Floyd exclaimed 27 times that he could not breathe, and even when Mr. Floyd said that Defendant actions killed him, “prosecutors wrote. They added that he remained in position when Floyd shouted at his mother, stopped talking and lost consciousness.
“The defendant thus inflicted not only physical pain. He caused Mr. Floyd mental suffering in the last moments of his life and left Mr. Floyd helpless as he squeezed the last remnants of life out of Mr. Floyd’s body,” prosecutors wrote.
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They also said that Chauvin abused his position of authority as a police officer, committed his crime as part of a group of three or more people, and that he arrested Floyd in the presence of children – including a 9-year-old girl who testified during the trial that looking at the restraint made her “sad and a little mad.”
Nelson disagreed, writing that “Mr. Chauvin was part of the officers’ meeting with Mr. Floyd with legal authority to help carry out the lawful arrest of an actively resilient criminal suspect. Mr. Chauvin was authorized under the Minnesota Act to to use reasonable force to do so. “
Nelson said Floyd was not particularly vulnerable and said he was a big man fighting with officers. He wrote that courts have typically found particular vulnerability if the victims are young or perhaps asleep when a crime occurs.
Nelson also said Floyd was not treated with particular cruelty, saying there is no evidence that the attack committed by Chauvin involved free pain that is not usually associated with second-degree murder.
“The assault on Mr. Floyd took place in a very short time, involved no threats or mockery, such as putting a gun to his head and pulling the trigger … and ended when the EMS finally responded to officer calls,” Nelson wrote.
He also said the state has not proven that any of the other officers actively participated in the crime for which Chauvin was convicted. These officers are scheduled to be prosecuted for aiding and abetting charges in August. He also wrote that the presence of children in this case is different from cases where children may be witnessing a crime in a home and are unable to leave it.
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And, he said, the state failed to prove that Chauvin’s role as a police officer was an aggravating factor, saying that Floyd’s fight with officers showed that Chauvin’s authority was irrelevant to Floyd.
Cahill has said he will review the lawyers’ written arguments before deciding whether there are aggravating factors that could justify a harsher sentence.
Regardless of the sentence Chauvin receives, it is assumed in Minnesota that a defendant with good behavior will serve two-thirds of the sentence in prison and the remainder by supervised release, commonly known as probation.