May 4, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Judge accepts Derek Chauvin's plea deal, will sentence him to 20-25 years

Photo of hands holding up a portrait of George Floyd against an orange background a an American flag flies in the distance
A demonstrator holds up an image of George Floyd during a protest outside the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis on March 29, 2021. Photo: Christian Monterrosa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The judge presiding over former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's federal civil rights case in the killing of George Floyd said Wednesday that he has accepted Chauvin's plea agreement and will sentence him to 20 to 25 years in prison, the Star Tribune reports.

Why it matters: Chauvin pleaded guilty in December to violating Floyd's civil rights. It was the first time he admitted that in keeping his knee on Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes, he used unreasonable and excessive force that posed significant risks to Floyd's life.

  • Chauvin faced up to life in prison on the federal count, but prosecutors said they would seek 25 years after he signed the plea deal.
  • Credit for good time in the federal system could make him eligible for release after 17 years to 21 years and three months in prison, per the Star Tribune.
  • He would serve the federal sentence concurrently with his 22.5-year sentence for his murder conviction in Minnesota court, though he is attempting to appeal the latter.

Worth noting: "The federal plea deal means Chauvin will probably spend more time in prison than he faced under his state sentence. State prisoners in Minnesota typically serve one-third of their sentence on parole, which for him would mean 15 years in prison," the Star Tribune writes.

The big picture: The three other former officers who were on the scene when Floyd died were also convicted of related federal civil rights charges in February.

What's next: U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson will set a sentencing date for Chauvin, who has waived the right to contest his federal conviction with the plea deal.

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