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What can you learn about Chauvin's sentence in Floyd's death?

In April , Chauvin, 45 was convicted of second-degree unintentional killing, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. He pressed his knee against Floyd's neck, for approximately 9 1/2 minutes, until the Black man claimed he couldn’t breathe. This was captured on bystander footage, prompting protests across the globe.

These are the things to look out for during a hearing that can last up to two hours.


According to Minnesota law, Chauvin is only going to be sentenced for the most serious charge of second-degree murder. This is because all the charges against him stemmed from one act with one victim.

Although the maximum sentence for this charge is 40 years in prison, legal experts say that there's no way that he will get that long. The maximum Chauvin could face is 30 year, which is double the sentence guidelines. Anything beyond that risk being overturned by appeal.

Judge Peter Cahill could, however, sentence Chauvin to a lesser term. While the prosecution has asked for 30 years of imprisonment, Eric Nelson, defense attorney, is asking for probation.

Mark Osler, University of St. Thomas School of Law professor, stated that both sides have taken extreme positions and that the "gulf between them is enormous." I doubt either side will get what they want.


Minnesota has sentencing guidelines. These were developed to ensure consistent sentences that do not consider race or gender. The guideline range for second-degree unintentional killing is 10 years, eight months, up to 15 years. At 12 1/2 years, the presumptive sentence falls in the middle.

Cahill agreed last month with prosecutors that Floyd's death was caused by aggravating factors beyond the guidelines. The judge concluded that Chauvin had abused his authority and treated Floyd with cruelty. He also stated that several children witnessed the crime. He stated that Chauvin knew Floyd's restraint was dangerous.

Cahill wrote last month that George Floyd was unable breathe after prolonged use of the technique. He also expressed concern that the officers had stopped him from breathing.

Osler stated that Cahill's discovery of aggravating factors was evidence of his willingness to push the boundaries. He said that the guidelines function as a tether and that Cahill's deviation from them is indicative of his willingness to go beyond the guidelines. He stated that a sentence of 20 or 25 years is more likely than a sentence of 30.

Joe Friedberg, a Minneapolis defense lawyer who had been following the case closely, agreed. He cited Koon v. United States as an example of a U.S. Supreme Court decision in which the court stated that a judge might consider that a former officer of the police would spend a large portion of his sentence in isolation to ensure his safety. Friedberg suggested that Cahill may take the tougher time and give Chauvin a bit less.


Minnesota sentencing data from the five years to 2019 shows that only two people were sentenced for the same crime as Chauvin. Both cases involved victims of abuse, children who died from the effects of abuse. Both defendants had previous criminal records and reached plea agreements.

Chauvin, a person with no criminal record like Chauvin, was sentenced to 36 years in a case that involved the death of a child because of abuse. Appeal was made but the sentence was upheld. An appellate court found that it was not excessive because a 13-month old child had been beaten to death.


Both sides will likely present brief arguments. Victims and family members of victims are also allowed to make statements, although none has publicly stated that they would.

Chauvin is free to talk, but it is not clear if this will happen. Experts warn that it may be difficult for Chauvin to speak without being implicated in a federal case accusing Floyd of violating his civil rights.

Although some experts believe Chauvin will not speak, Mike Brandt, another defense lawyer, stated that he believes Chauvin will speak and can communicate a few words without getting into trouble. "If I were him, I think that I would try to let people know I'm not a monster."

Online submissions of impact statements by community members are possible. These statements may be made public.


Cahill will review arguments from both sides. He will also examine victim impact statements and community impact statements. A pre-sentence investigation of Chauvin's past will be conducted. Chauvin may also make statements.

Judges hear from defendants to determine if they take responsibility or show remorse. Friedberg, the defense lawyer, stated that he doubts that any statement by Chauvin would have an impact on Cahill's sentence.

Friedberg stated that "In Minnesota state court sentencing, it doesn't seem like it matters to the judges who are sentencing them." "They will already have decided the sentence when they stand up on the bench."


It doesn't matter what sentence Chauvin receives, it is presumed that in Minnesota, a defendant who displays good behavior will serve two thirds of his sentence in prison and the remainder on supervised release. This is commonly called parole.

This means that Chauvin would serve 20 years behind bars if he is sentenced to 30. As long as he does not cause any problems in prison. If he violates his parole conditions, he can be sent back to prison once he is on supervised release.

Chauvin was convicted in April and has been kept at Oak Park Heights' maximum security prison. This is unusual, people rarely go to prison while they wait for sentencing. But Chauvin is there for security purposes. For his safety, he has been placed in "administrative segregation", a 10-foot-by-10-foot cell away from the rest of the population. He is fed in his own room and allowed to exercise alone for about an hour per day.

His sentence was not yet clear. After Cahill's formal sentencing, Chauvin will be placed in the custody of the Department of Corrections.

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