Jun 2, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Prosecutors seek 30 years for Chauvin as defense argues for retrial

Photo: Screenshot of CNN
Photo: Screenshot of CNN

Minnesota prosecutors said they are seeking a 30-year sentence for former police officer Derek Chauvin, who was found guilty of the murder of George Floyd in April, while his defense asked for a shorter sentence and argued for a retrial, according to court filings reviewed by the AP.

Why it matters: Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill ruled in May that evidence supports prosecutor's argument that there were aggravating factors involved in Floyd's death, which allow Cahill to sentence Chauvin above the range recommended by state guidelines.

Context: Because of Minnesota statutes, Chauvin will only be sentenced on the most serious charge he was found guilty of — second-degree murder — which carries a maximum sentence of 40 years.

  • State sentencing guidelines recommend a maximum of 15 years for a person with no criminal history, though evidence of aggravating factors may warrant a longer sentence.
  • Cahill agreed that prosecutors provided evidence to support four of the five aggravating factors they sought, ruling Chauvin treated Floyd with particular cruelty, abused his position of authority, committed his crime as part of a group of three or more people and that he pinned Floyd in the presence of children.

Chauvin's defense attorney Eric Nelson argued against Cahill's ruling on aggravating factors, saying evidence does not support the assertion that Chauvin’s assault on Floyd included gratuitous infliction of pain or cruelty, according to AP.

  • Nelson requested a sentence of probation and time already served, arguing Chauvin was the product of a “broken” system and had no criminal record.
  • The defense attorney also asked for a retrial. He said publicity around the trial tainted the jury pool and that Cahill should have granted the defense's requests to move the trial out of Minneapolis.

What's next: Chauvin, who is being held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day over fears for his safety in prison, is scheduled for sentencing on June 25.

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