Live Updates: George Floyd Murder Trial: NPR

Defense attorney Eric Nelson (left) and accused former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin speak to Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during his trial.

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Defense attorney Eric Nelson (left) and accused former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin speak to Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during his trial.

TV / AP Court

MINNEAPOLIS – Prosecutors seek 30-year sentence for former Minneapolis cop convicted of murder in George Floyd’s death, but a defense lawyer is asking that Derek Chauvin be sentenced to probation and a sentence already served, according to court documents filed Wednesday.

Chauvin is due to be sentenced on June 25 following his conviction for murder and manslaughter. Judge Peter Cahill previously judged that there were aggravating factors in Floyd’s death. This gives him the discretion to sentence Chauvin above the range recommended by state guidelines, which cap at 15 years.

Prosecutors said Chauvin’s actions were egregious and that a 30-year sentence “would take due account of the profound impact of the accused’s conduct on the victim, the victim’s family and the community.” They said Chauvin’s actions “shocked the conscience of the nation.”

“No sentence can reverse Mr. Floyd’s death, and no sentence can reverse the trauma the accused’s actions have inflicted. But the sentence handed down by the court must show that no one is above the law and that no one is below, ”prosecutors wrote. “The accused’s sentence must hold him fully responsible for his reprehensible conduct.”

Defense attorney Eric Nelson cited Chauvin’s age, lack of a criminal record and the support of family and friends to seek probation and the length of his sentence. He said Chauvin, 45, was the product of a “broken” system.

Mark Osler, a former federal prosecutor and now a professor at the University of St. Thomas Law School, said that it is not uncommon for lawyers to make these kinds of requests as a sort of “offer to” opening “. He said there is no chance Chauvin will get probation, and prosecutors are also unlikely to get the 30 years they are asking for.

He said Nelson’s attempts to present Chauvin as a good candidate for probation and a law-abiding citizen would likely face “a fierce backlash from the government,” given that Chauvin is also accused of tax evasion. He added that Nelson’s reference to Chauvin being the product of a failed system is “fascinating – most Americans seem to think Chauvin embodies what is broken in our criminal justice system.”

Chauvin was sentenced in april of unintentional second degree murder, third degree murder, and second degree manslaughter for resting his knee against Floyd’s neck for about 9 and a half minutes as the black man said he didn’t could not breathe and remained still. Floyd’s death, captured on widely viewed spectator video, sparked protests across the United States and beyond as protesters demanded changes in policing.

Even though Chauvin has been convicted of three counts, he will only be convicted of the most serious – second degree murder. Under the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines, without a criminal record, he faces an alleged sentence of 12 and a half years on this count. Cahill can sentence him to as little as 10 years and eight months or up to 15 years and stay within the guidelines range.

But prosecutors called for what is called an upward gap, saying there were several aggravating factors that warranted a heavier sentence. Cahill agreed, finding that Chauvin treated Floyd with particular cruelty, abused his position of authority as a police officer, committed his crime as part of a group of three or more and that he immobilized Floyd in the presence of children.

Prosecutors said even one of those factors would justify a heavier sentence.

Nelson wrote that although this incident describes Chauvin as a “dangerous man,” he served his community as an officer and has loving family and close friends. He also challenged the court’s finding that aggravating factors existed, saying there was no evidence that Chauvin’s assault on Floyd included the gratuitous imposition of pain or cruelty.

“Here Mr. Chauvin was unaware that he was even committing a crime. In fact, in his mind, he was simply doing his rightful duty in helping other officers arrest George Floyd,” Nelson wrote, adding that the offense of Chauvin can best be described as a bona fide mistake based on his experience and the training he received – and did not amount to the intentional commission of a crime.

“Despite the notoriety surrounding this case, the Court must address the facts. They all point to the most important fact: Mr. Chauvin did not intend to cause the death of George Floyd. work, ”he added. wrote.

Regardless of the sentence imposed on Chauvin, Minnesota, it is presumed that a well-behaved defendant will serve two-thirds of the sentence in jail and the remainder on supervised release, commonly known as parole.

Nelson is also asking for a new trial for Chauvin – which is a pretty routine request after a conviction. He argued that extensive pre-trial publicity tainted the jury and denied Chauvin his right to a fair trial. He also said Cahill also abused his authority by refusing defense requests to move the trial out of Minneapolis and sequester the jury. And, he said the state had committed professional misconduct.

Nelson is also requesting a hearing to determine whether there was juror misconduct. Nelson alleged that a deputy juror who made public comments indicated that she felt compelled to return a guilty verdict, and that another juror who deliberated did not follow the jury’s instructions and did not was not forthright when selecting the jury. That juror, Brandon Mitchell, did not mention that he participated in an August 28 march in Washington, DC, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

Nelson alleged that Mitchell made comments to the media indicating that he based his verdict on outside influence.

Prosecutors have one week to submit a written response to these arguments.

Chauvin was also charged with federal charges alleging that he violated Floyd’s civil rights, as well as the civil rights of a 14-year-old boy he detained during an arrest in 2017. The other three elders officers involved in Floyd’s death have also been charged with federal civil rights violations; they are awaiting trial in a state court for complicity.

A federal trial date has not been set. Federal prosecutors ask for more time to prepare for trial, saying the case is complex due to the sheer volume of evidence and separate but coordinated state and federal investigations.

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