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June 2, 2021

In latest sentencing filings, Derek Chauvin requests probation while prosecutors ask for him to get 30 years in prison

As detailed in this CBS News piece, the parties in the case of Minnesota v. Chauvin are making very different sentencing requests:

Derek Chauvin asked a judge to sentence him to a term of probation or a shorter prison term than suggested by Minnesota guidelines in a sentencing memorandum filed Wednesday.  The memo cites Chauvin's lack of previous criminal history, his previous work as a police officer and the risk he could be victimized in prison as factors the judge should consider as he weighs a sentence.

But in another memorandum filed Wednesday, prosecutors asked for a sentence of 30 years for the convicted former Minneapolis officer, a term they said would "properly account for the profound impact of [Chauvin's] conduct on the victim, the victim's family, and the community."...

Last month, Judge Peter Cahill found "aggravating factors" exist that allow for him to sentence Chauvin to a term longer than the suggested 15 years. Cahill agreed with prosecutors that four such factors exist: that Chauvin committed a crime in front of a child, that Chauvin acted with particular cruelty, that he acted as part of a group, and that he abused his position of trust and authority as a police officer.  Cahill found that Chauvin acted with particular cruelty because he killed Floyd slowly despite Floyd's pleas that he couldn't breathe.  Floyd was "begging for his life and obviously terrified by the knowledge that he was likely to die" but Chauvin "objectively remained indifferent to Floyd's pleas," Cahill wrote.

Wednesday, prosecutors said the aggravating factors support their recommendation of double the 15-year upper end of the sentencing range, or 30 years.  Chauvin, they said, "brutally murdered Mr. Floyd, abusing the authority conferred by his badge."  "His actions traumatized Mr. Floyd's family, the bystanders who watched Mr. Floyd die, and the community. And his conduct shocked the Nation's conscience," the prosecution's memo read. "No sentence can undo the damage [Chauvin's] actions have inflicted.  But the sentence the Court imposes must hold [Chauvin] fully accountable for his reprehensible conduct."

But in the defense memo, Chauvin's attorney Eric Nelson asked Cahill to discount his finding that aggravating factors apply, and rule instead that mitigating factors allow either for a term of probation or a shorter sentence than guidelines suggest.  Nelson asked the judge to "look beyond" his findings to Chauvin's "background, his lack of criminal history, his amenability to probation, to the unusual facts of this case, and to his being a product of a 'broken' system."

Nelson said that Chauvin has been "painted as a dangerous man," but argued that "behind the politics, Mr. Chauvin is still a human being."  He cited Chauvin's 19-year history with the Minneapolis police department, several on-the-job commendations and the support of his family and friends.  "In spite of his mistakes, Mr. Chauvin has demonstrated that he has a capacity for good and that he has the discipline to consistently work toward worthwhile goals," the memo reads.

The defense memo says Chauvin, 44, has been diagnosed with heart damage and that he may be likely to die at a younger age like other ex-law enforcement officers.  It also says Chauvin may be more likely to be victimized in prison because he was convicted as a police officer, pointing to the fact that he is being segregated from the general prison population before his sentencing over safety concerns.  It also says Chauvin has no previous criminal convictions and complied with pre-trial release conditions and court procedures. "Throughout these proceedings, and in the face of unparalleled public scorn and scrutiny, Mr. Chauvin has been very respectful to the judicial process, the Court, and the State," the memo said.

These new sentencing filings are available at these links:

Prior related posts:

June 2, 2021 at 06:39 PM | Permalink



So generous!

I saw references to a couple plea deals for the 1/6 defendants.

Posted by: Joe | Jun 2, 2021 9:37:36 PM

Because of the public nature of this homicide by a police officer, I don't see him getting anything less than 15 years in prison. He slowly killed a handcuffed black man in public while the man was handcuffed behind his back and laying on the ground. It is a heinous and reprehensible crime. That said, I doubt that Minnesota can safely keep this former police officer in its prison system. I see them doing something that is occasionally done, but that the public has almost no awareness of: the various states and the Federal BOP sometimes swap off inmates with one another that they cannot or do not want to keep in their own prison systems. One example is North Dakota inmate Donald Lee McNair, who was swapped off to the Feds after he twice escaped from the North Dakota state penitentiary. McNair is serving 2 life sentences, for murder and attempted murder during a burglary. In April 2006, he became the first inmate to escape from a Federal maximum security prison (in Pollock, Louisiana). Upon being recaptured, he is now incarcerated at the federal "Supermax" prison (ADX) in Colorado. Another example is former Galveston, Texas Federal Judge Samuel B. Kent, who was convicted of Federal crimes and eventually resigned his Judgeship, after Congress commenced impeachment proceedings. The BOP eventually decided that they could not properly protect Mr. Kent, so the BOP swapped him off to the Florida Department of Corrections, where he served his sentence in solitary confinement, in protective custody in a Florida prison (where there is no air conditioning!). I expect Minnesota to swap off the former police officer to the Feds or to another state's prison system. A favorite for swapping off is North Dakota, because the population of their penitentiary is only about 600 inmates and 2/3 of them are Native American Indians from reservations.

Posted by: Jim Gormley | Jun 3, 2021 8:49:08 AM

Per a reference, be interested if there are any studies of police in prison.

Posted by: Joe | Jun 3, 2021 11:00:53 AM



Posted by: hardreaders | Jun 3, 2021 12:40:47 PM

Joe: Take a look at the article, "Ex-cops who end up in prison" (8/31/2020), which can be viewed at www.ranker.com/list/ex-cops-in-prison/ranker-crime. There is also an interesting 2016 "Washington Post" article, "Study Finds Police Officers Arrested 1,100 Times Per Year, 3 a Day", which is viewed at washingtonpost.com/news/2016/06/22. There are many good stories about cops who end up in jail and prison, some for serious crimes and others for stupidity. One former Sheriff out West even served 30 days in the county jail which had been named for him!

Posted by: Jim Gormley | Jun 3, 2021 3:43:01 PM

Thanks for the links.

Posted by: Joe | Jun 3, 2021 4:22:37 PM

The prosecutors deserve 30 years in prison for their disgraceful manipulation and collusion in regard to the autopsy and their over charging. They have damaged US Law beyond its ability to recover and should pay a stiff penalty.

Posted by: restless94110 | Jun 3, 2021 10:50:05 PM

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