Lawyers for former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor on Thursday filed court documents asking for leniency as he is sentenced next week for shooting Justine Ruszczyk Damond.
Defense attorneys Thomas Plunkett and Paul Engh have revealed several new details about Noor’s life behind bars in their appeal for a jail term of around 3.4 years, much of which has already been served.
“Mr. Noor turned out to be a model prisoner,” they wrote. “He has spent his time giving back to the community he has found himself in, as long as he is able to do so given the restrictions associated with the pandemic. Mr Noor has shown he is ready to return to a “normal” society and will continue to help those. in need around him. To continue to keep Mr. Noor in jail would be useless if the objective of this Court is reforming justice… “
Noor, 35, will be sentenced on October 21 after the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in September to overturn his murder conviction and return his case to court.
Jurors convicted Noor in 2019 of third degree murder and second degree manslaughter for shooting Damond as she answered her 911 call about a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her house to the south of Minneapolis.
Noor was sentenced to 12 and a half years in prison for murder and entered prison on May 2, 2019.
His attorneys appealed the murder count, which was upheld in February by the Minnesota Court of Appeals. They then asked the Minnesota Supreme Court to review that decision.
The High Court agreed with the defense that the count could not apply when a defendant’s actions are directed at a specific person because of the way the law is worded.
Noor will be punished for the lower number of manslaughter, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years. State sentencing guidelines recommend four years for counting defendants without a criminal record like Noor.
Plunkett and Engh ask for the lower end of the sentencing guideline range, citing “unexpected and particularly difficult conditions of his incarceration as well as his post-sentencing conduct” to support their request.
Hennepin County District Attorney’s Office Mike Freeman previously said he would seek the maximum sentence.
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