What to know about sentencing for murder of George Floyd

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MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota judge on Friday denied a defense attorney’s request for a new trial for Derek Chauvin, who faces up to 30 years in prison for the death of George Floyd.

Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s attorney, filed a motion claiming the former Minneapolis police officer was deprived of his Constitutional right to a fair trial, but Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill said Nelson failed to prove any of the allegations.

Chauvin has been in a maximum-security prison since April, when a jury convicted him of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, nearly a year after Floyd died in police custody.

Latest updates: George Floyd’s 7-year-old daughter, family testify ahead of Derek Chauvin sentencing

Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes in May 2020 as Floyd said he couldn’t breathe. Floyd’s death, which was captured on a widely seen video, sparked nationwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism.

Minneapolis has been on edge since Floyd’s death and the fatal police shootings of Daunte Wright during Chauvin’s trial and Winston Smith Jr., a 32-year-old Black father of three, on June 3.

Here’s what you need to know about the sentencing of Derek Chauvin:

How to watch the sentencing of Derek Chauvin

The hearing at the Hennepin County Government Center, which is set to begin at 1:30 p.m. CT, will be broadcast by Court TV and USA TODAY will be livestreaming the proceedings.

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 denies defense’s request for new trial

On Friday, Cahill denied motions by Chauvin’s attorney for a new trial and for a separate hearing to examine possible juror misconduct.

Nelson argued that Cahill should have allowed Chauvin’s trial to take place in a different venue and jurors should have been sequestered for the entirety of the trial due to the significant public interest in the case. Instead, Cahill ordered them sequestered solely for their deliberations, which took less than a day.

Nelson also argued that the state engaged in prosecutorial 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.More: Chauvin faces up to 30 years in prison in Friday sentencing

The state opposed these arguments, which most legal observers said had to be filed by Nelson as Chauvin’s attorney but were unlikely to succeed.

Cahill said that Nelson failed to demonstrate any of the allegations.

How long will Derek Chauvin be in prison?

Although Chauvin was found guilty of three charges, he’ll only be sentenced on the most serious count because all the charges stem from one act, carried out against one person.

For first time-offenders who have committed second-degree murder, sentencing guidelines recommend 150 months or 12½ years in prison. Prosecutors asked that Chauvin be given a more severe prison sentence because of the aggravating factors in Floyd’s death, including that Chauvin abused his authority as a police officer and the crime was committed in the presence of children.

Cahill ruled last month there were four aggravating factors, which means Chauvin may face up to 30 years in prison. But Cahill could still sentence him to less.

Defense attorney Eric Nelson opposed a tougher sentence, saying the state failed to prove the aggravating factors, among others, existed when Chauvin arrested Floyd on May 25, 2020. Nelson requested a new trial and a hearing to have the verdict impeached because of what he called jury misconduct.

Most legal observers think Chauvin will get substantial prison time that’s near or at 30 years. If Cahill were to sentence Chauvin to anything above that, he risks having his decision reversed on appeal, experts told the Associated Press.

In another high-profile case in Minnesota, former officer Mohamed Noor was sentenced in 2019 to 12 1/2 years in prison after he was convicted of third-degree murder and manslaughter in the 2017 shooting death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond.

No matter the sentence, a defendant on good behavior will likely serve two-thirds of the penalty in prison and the rest on supervised release called parole. Chauvin will also get credit for time served since he went to prison in April.

What are the charges against Derek Chauvin: Here’s what the jury convicted the officer of

When will the other officers face trial?

Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao, the three former Minneapolis police officers accused of aiding and abetting in Floyd’s death, will face trial in March.

Federal indictment could add prison time

Meanwhile, a federal grand jury indicted Chauvin, Lane, Keung and Thao for violating Floyd’s civil rights, which could add time to the sentences the former officers may face. Those charges accuse them of violating a federal law forbidding government officials from abusing their authority.

Chauvin faces another federal indictment stemming from a confrontation with a 14-year-old in 2017.

Violating someone’s civil rights is punishable “by a range of imprisonment up to a life term, or the death penalty,” depending on the circumstances and injuries resulting from the crime, according to the Department of Justice.

From April: These are some of the key moments leading up to the Derek Chauvin guilty verdict in George Floyd’s death

Contributing: Tami Abdollah, USA TODAY; The Associated Press

Follow N’dea Yancey-Bragg on Twitter: @NdeaYanceyBragg

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Derek Chauvin denied new trial by judge; sentencing is on Friday





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