Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin should only get probation, his lawyer said Wednesday, while prosecutors asserted he should be sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Chauvin was convicted in April of second-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter, and third-degree murder in the 2020 murder of George Floyd. Chauvin is due to be sentenced on June 25 at a courthouse in Minneapolis.
The former cop is particularly amenable to probation in part because of his age, 44, his lawyer argued in a memorandum.
“The life expectancy of police officers is generally shorter, and police officers have a significantly higher average probability of death from specific diseases than did males in the general population. Mr. Chauvin is now forty-four years old and is nearing the healthier years of his life. He has been preliminarily diagnosed with heart damage and may likely die at a younger age like many ex-law enforcement officers,” attorney Eric Nelson said in the 17-page filing.
“Independent of the long-term damage a prison sentence would inflict upon Mr. Chauvin’s life prospects, given his age, convictions for officer-involved offenses significantly increase the likelihood of him becoming a target in prison. Such safety concerns are evident by his presentence solitary confinement in a high-security prison. This is also a fact that the Court is permitted to consider in the context of a mitigated dispositional departure,” he added.
Chauvin is being held in solitary confinement in Minnesota’s only maximum-security lockup, the Oak Park Heights prison in Stillwater, because of safety concerns, a state official told The Epoch Times previously.
Additionally, Chauvin should receive a light sentence because he had no legal issues before his arrest in the case, his attorney said. Further, the former officer “has been completely cooperative with the Court” in the case despite facing “unparalleled public scorn and scrutiny,” Nelson argued.
Nelson asked Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill to impose a strict probationary sentence along with time in jail equal to the period that Chauvin has already served.
If Nelson does decide to sentence Chauvin to more time in prison, then the convicted asked that the court departs from the sentencing guidelines.
Minnesota prosecutors, though, in a competing memorandum requested that the judge hand down a 30-year sentence.
“This Court has already concluded that the facts proven beyond a reasonable doubt at trial support the existence of four separate aggravated sentencing factors: Defendant (i) abused a position of trust and authority; (ii) acted with particular cruelty; (iii) acted in concert with three other individuals who all actively participated in the crime; and (iv) committed the offenses in the presence of children,” prosecutors with Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office said.
“At sentencing, the Court should take the next step and hold that each of these aggravating factors supplies a ‘substantial and compelling reason’ for imposing an aggravated sentence.”
Under Minnesota law, Chauvin will be sentenced only for his most serious crime, second-degree murder. The presumptive sentencing range for the convicted is 128 to 180 months.
If Chauvin is sentenced to jail time, he will only spend two-thirds of the sentence behind bars. Per state law, he will be under supervised release for the rest of the time.
Cahill last month opened the door to a lengthier sentence in the case, agreeing with prosecutors that Chauvin treated Floyd “with particular cruelty,” that children were present during the time Chauvin was kneeling on Floyd’s neck and back, and that Chauvin committed the crime as a group with the active participation of at least three other persons.
“No sentence can undo Mr. Floyd’s death, and no sentence can undo the trauma Defendant’s actions have inflicted. But the sentence the Court imposes must show that no one is above the law, and no one is below it,” prosecutors wrote on Wednesday. “Defendant’s sentence must hold him fully accountable for his reprehensible conduct.”