Jun 25, 2021 - Politics

What to know ahead of Derek Chauvin's sentencing

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin listens as the judge reads a guilty verdict in George Floyd's murder.

Derek Chauvin listens as the judge reads a guilty verdict on April 20. Photo courtesy of Fox 9

Judge Peter Cahill will decide Friday how long ex-Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin should spend behind bars for murdering George Floyd.

State of play: Chauvin's attorney, Eric Nelson, has argued that his client should only receive probation as he was part of a "broken system." State prosecutors are asking for a 30-year sentence.

  • Minnesota's sentencing guidelines for second-degree murder recommend 12.5 years, though the maximum for the charge is 40 years. Since Cahill found four aggravating factors, he can depart upward from the 12.5-year guideline.
  • It's expected that two-thirds of the sentence will be served behind bars, with the other third on supervised release. Chauvin is 45.

What they're saying: Most legal experts predict the Hennepin County District Court judge will go well beyond 12.5 years, but not all the way to 40.

  • Criminal defense attorney Joe Tamburino of Caplan & Tamburino told Axios he expects 25-30 years.

The intrigue: Chauvin, who hasn't yet spoken publicly about what happened the day of Floyd's death, will have a chance to speak Friday on his own behalf.

Tamburino thinks Chauvin will make a statement, adding that he would advise the former officer to do so if he were his attorney. But don't expect an explanation.

  • "I think he will speak, but it'll be very, very short," Tamburino said. "If he does, he'll say that he's sorry, he didn't mean to do it and he's very sad about the whole situation ... Other than that I don't think he's going to say anything."

But many experts don't think he will speak, arguing that he doesn't want to say anything that could be used in his appeal or in the federal civil rights case against him.

  • "It's a difficult position because when people are convicted, they often want to maintain their innocence and prove their right to appeal," former Hennepin County chief public defender Mary Moriarity told USA Today. "But one of the things a judge is looking for in considering a sentence is whether the person convicted takes responsibility for their actions and expressed remorse."

Between the lines: Cahill already has a pretty good idea of how long he will sentence Chauvin, Tamburino said.

  • "Judge Cahill has spent an enormous amount of time on this case and knows the case up, down and sideways. There is no way that he hasn't made up his mind," Tamburino said.

Where to watch: CourtTV will again stream the proceedings, which begin at 1:30pm.


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