Prosecutors ask a judge to give Derek Chauvin will demand a more severe sentence than state guidelines when convicted in June George Floyd’s death, arguing in court documents filed Friday that Floyd was particularly vulnerable and that Chauvin was abusing his authority as a police officer.
Attorney Eric Nelson opposes a more severe sentence, saying the state has failed to prove that those aggravating factors existed, among other things, when Chauvin arrested Floyd on May 25.
Chauvin, who is white, was convicted last week of accidental second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree homicide because he pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for 9 1/2 minutes when the black man said he couldn’t breathe and became motionless.
Even though he was found guilty of three counts, below Minnesota By statute, he will only be convicted of the most serious – second-degree murder. While that count has a maximum sentence of 40 years, experts say he won’t get that much.
Prosecutors did not specify how much time they would be looking for Chauvin.
According to Minnesota guidelines, the presumed sentence for second degree unintentional murder for someone with no criminal record like Chauvin would be 12 1/2 years. Judges can sentence someone to 10 years and 8 months or even 15 years and still be within the scope of the advisory guidelines. To get over that, Judge Peter Cahill would have to find out that there were “aggravating factors,” and even if they are found, legal experts have said Chauvin is unlikely to wait more than 30 years.
In legal notes filed Friday, prosecutors said Chauvin should be convicted over the guideline because Floyd was particularly vulnerable with his hands handcuffed behind his back while lying face down on the floor, and that he was drunk . They noted that Chauvin held his position even after Floyd became unresponsive and officers knew he had no pulse.
Prosecutors also said that Chauvin treated Floyd with particular cruelty during the prolonged restraint, saying that Chauvin was causing unnecessary pain and psychological distress to Floyd and bystanders.
Suspect continued to maintain his position over Mr Floyd even when Mr Floyd exclaimed that he was in pain, even as Mr Floyd exclaimed 27 times that he could not breathe, and even when Mr Floyd said the suspect’s actions were deadly were. him, “the prosecutors wrote, adding that he remained in position while Floyd screamed for his mother, stopped talking, and lost consciousness.
“So the defendant did not only inflict physical pain. He caused Mr. Floyd psychological distress during the last moments of his life, leaving Mr. Floyd helpless as he squeezed the last vestiges of life from Mr. Floyd’s body.” the prosecutors wrote.
They also said that Chauvin had 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 held Floyd in front of children – including a 9-year-old girl who testified at trial that watching the restraint made her ‘sad and a little angry’.
Nelson disagreed, writing that “Mr. Chauvin entered into the officers’ meeting with Mr. Floyd with the legal authority to assist in bringing about the lawful arrest of a criminal suspect who is actively resisting.” to do. “
Nelson said Floyd was not particularly vulnerable, saying he was a great man struggling with officers. He wrote that courts are typically particularly vulnerable when the victims are young, or perhaps asleep, when a crime occurs.
Nelson also said that Floyd was not treated with particular cruelty, saying there is no evidence that Chauvin’s sexual assault involved unnecessary pain not usually associated with second-degree murder.
“Mr. Floyd’s attack took place over a very short period of time, without threat or mockery, such as putting a gun to his head and pulling the trigger … and ended when EMS finally responded to agents’ 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 has been convicted. Those officers will face charges in August for complicity in charges. He also wrote that the presence of children in this case is different from cases where children may witness a crime in a home and are unable to leave.
And, he said, the state failed to prove that Chauvin’s role as a police officer was an aggravating factor, saying that Floyd’s wrestling with officers showed that Chauvin’s authority was irrelevant to Floyd.
Cahill has said he will review the lawyers’ written arguments before determining whether there are aggravating factors that warrant a more severe sentence.
Whatever sentence Chauvin receives, in Minnesota it is believed that a well-behaved suspect will serve two-thirds of the sentence in prison and the remainder released under supervision, commonly known as parole.