Judge Peter Cahill sentenced former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin to 22.5 years –270 months — behind bars on Friday for the murder of George Floyd.
Chauvin was facing up to 40 years after he was convicted in April of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death. The former officer has been held in solitary confinement at a state prison since the conviction.
As highlighted by The Washington Post, under typical circumstances, Chauvin should have been facing 11 to 12 years behind bars per state sentencing guidelines for someone with no criminal history. However, Judge Cahill ruled last month that “prosecutors had proven there were aggravating factors in the case that called for a tougher sentence.”
The prosecution asked for Chauvin to serve 30 years behind bars, while Chauvin attorney Eric Nelson argued his client should be placed on probation and time-served.
“Mr. Chauvin is not the average offender,” Nelson argued. “Prior to this incident, Mr. Chauvin led a hard-working, law-abiding life and has experienced no legal issues until the point of his arrest.”
“Mr. Chauvin was unaware he was even committing a crime,” the attorney added. “In fact, in his mind, he was simply performing his lawful duty assisting other officers in the arrest of George Floyd.”
Nelson formally filed for a new trial on May 4, but his motion was rejected by Judge Cahill one day before sentencing.
In the court filing, Nelson said the “court violated Chauvin’s right to due process and fair trial when the court decided against sequestering the jury and granting a venue change,” The Daily Wire reported.
“The Court abused its discretion when it failed to sequester the jury for the duration of the trial, or in the least, admonish them to avoid all media, which resulted in jury exposure to prejudicial publicity regarding the trial during the proceedings, as well as jury intimidation and potential fear of retribution among jurors, which violated Mr. Chauvin’s constitutional rights to due process and to a fair trial,” the filing reads in part.
“Nelson also argued that the court violated Chauvin’s rights by not ordering Morries Hall — the man in the car with Floyd before his death — to testify at the trial or to submit into evidence ‘his statements to law enforcement regarding his’ interaction with Floyd,” The Daily Wire noted. “According to The New York Times, Hall invoked the Fifth Amendment during the trial after his lawyer argued that Hall’s testimony could expose him to drug-related charges.”
During the trial, Nelson argued that Floyd’s drug use and bad heart were crucial factors in his death and that Chauvin used reasonable force through an authorized prone hold. The Hennepin County medical examiner revealed that Floyd’s autopsy showed the deceased had potentially lethal levels of drugs in his system.