- Derek Chauvin’s sentencing hearing is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. CT
- Prosecutors asked for a harsher prison sentence while the defense asked for probation.
- Chauvin also faces a federal indictment for violating George Floyd’s civil rights which could add a jail term.
MINNEAPOLIS – A Minnesota judge on Friday dismissed a defense attorney’s request for a retrial for Derek Chauvin, who faces up to 30 years in prison for the death of George Floyd.
Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s attorney, filed a petition claiming the former Minneapolis police officer was deprived of his constitutional right to a fair trial, but Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill said that Nelson had not proven any of the allegations.
Chauvin has been in a maximum security prison since April, when a jury found him guilty of second degree murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter, nearly a year after the death of Floyd in police custody.
Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes in May 2020 as Floyd said he couldn’t breathe. Floyd’s death, which was captured on a widely viewed video, sparked nationwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism.
Minneapolis has been on edge since Floyd’s death and the fatal police shootings against Daunte Wright in the trial of Chauvin and Winston Smith Jr., a 32-year-old black father of three, on June 3.
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The hearing at the Hennepin County Government Center, which is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. PT, will be broadcast on Court TV and USA TODAY will broadcast the proceedings live.
The court is expected to hear statements from Floyd’s family and loved ones, who will provide victim impact statements to the judge. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has also asked the public to submit community impact statements online. Chauvin will have the opportunity to speak.
Judge rejects defense request for retrial
On Friday, Cahill dismissed Chauvin’s attorney’s motions for a new trial and a separate hearing to consider possible juror misconduct.
Nelson argued that Cahill should have allowed Chauvin’s trial to take place at a different location and that the jurors should have been sequestered for the entire trial due to the important public interest in the case. Instead, Cahill ordered their receivership only for their deliberations, which took less than a day.
Nelson also argued that the state engaged in prosecution misconduct and that a juror gave false testimony during the selection process. All of these conditions deprived Chauvin of his constitutional right to a fair trial, the defense attorney wrote.
The state objected to these arguments, which most legal observers believed had to be filed by Nelson as Chauvin’s lawyer, but were unlikely to succeed.
Cahill said Nelson failed to prove any of the allegations.
How long will Derek Chauvin be in prison?
Although Chauvin has been found guilty on three counts, he will only be convicted on the most serious count as all the charges stem from a single act, committed against a single person.
For first-time offenders who have committed second degree murder, the sentencing guidelines recommend 150 months or 12 and a half years in prison. Prosecutors have called for Chauvin to receive a harsher prison sentence due to aggravating factors in Floyd’s death, including that Chauvin abused his authority as a police officer and that the crime was committed in the presence of children.
Cahill ruled last month that there were four aggravating factors, meaning Chauvin could face up to 30 years in prison. But Cahill could still condemn him to less.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson objected to a harsher sentence, saying the state had failed to prove that aggravating factors, among others, existed when Chauvin arrested Floyd on May 25, 2020. Nelson called for a new trial and a hearing to have the verdict overturned because of what he called jury misconduct.
Most legal observers believe Chauvin will get a substantial prison sentence of nearly 30 years. If Cahill were to sentence Chauvin to anything above that, he risks having his decision overturned on appeal, experts told The Associated Press.
In another high-profile Minnesota case, former officer Mohamed Noor was sentenced in 2019 to 12.5 years in prison after being convicted of third degree murder and manslaughter in the shooting death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond in 2017.
Regardless of the sentence, a good conduct accused will likely serve two-thirds of the sentence in prison and the remainder on supervised release called parole. Chauvin will also get credit for time spent since going to jail in April.
What are the charges against Derek Chauvin:Here is what the jury condemned the officer of
When will the other officers be tried?
Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao, the three former Minneapolis police officers accused of aiding and abetting Floyd’s death, will stand trial in March.
Federal indictment could add jail time
Meanwhile, a federal grand jury has indicted Chauvin, Lane, Keung and Thao for violating Floyd’s civil rights, which could extend the sentences to which the former officers could be sentenced. These charges accuse them of violating a federal law prohibiting government officials from abusing their authority.
Chauvin faces another federal indictment resulting from a confrontation with a 14-year-old teenager in 2017.
Violation of a person’s civil rights is punishable by “up to life imprisonment or the death penalty”, depending on the circumstances and the injuries resulting from the crime, according to the Justice Department. .
From April:These are some of the key moments that led to Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict in the death of George Floyd
Contribution: Tami Abdollah, USA TODAY; The Associated Press
Follow N’dea Yancey-Bragg on Twitter: @NdeaYanceyBragg