Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, has filed a motion seeking a lesser sentence in the murder of George Floyd ahead of his June 25th sentencing hearing.
In April, Derek Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd.
In a memo filed on Tuesday, Nelson argued that Chauvin should be given probation and time served, or a lighter sentence.
“Mr. Chauvin asks the Court to look beyond its findings, to his background, his lack of criminal history, his amenability to probation, to the unusual facts of this case, and to his being a product of a ‘broken’ system,” Nelson wrote in the memo.
In the filing, Nelson said Chauvin was “unaware that he was even committing a crime” and “in his mind, he was simply performing his lawful duty in assisting other officers in the arrest of George Floyd.”
“Mr. Chauvin’s offense is best described as an error made in good faith reliance his own experience as a police officer and the training he had received—not intentional commission of an illegal act,” Nelson wrote.
He claimed that Chauvin has been preliminarily diagnosed with heart damage and his client “is nearing the healthier years of his life.”
“Independent of the long-term damage a prison sentence would inflict upon Mr. Chauvin’s life prospects, given his age, convictions for officer-involved offenses significantly increase the likelihood of him becoming a target in prison,” Nelson wrote.
However, a separate memo by prosecutors with the District Court of Hennepin County on Wednesday, requested 30 years for Chauvin.
According to the filing, a 30-year sentence is “double the upper limit of the presumptive range” and “would properly account for the profound impact of Defendant’s conduct on the victim, the victim’s family, and the community.”
“Defendant brutally murdered Mr. Floyd, abusing the authority conferred by his badge. His actions traumatized Mr. Floyd’s family, the bystanders who watched Mr. Floyd die, and the community. And his conduct shocked the Nation’s conscience,” the filing read.
“No sentence can undo the damage Defendant’s actions have inflicted. But the sentence the Court imposes must hold Defendant fully accountable for his reprehensible conduct.”
Derek Chauvin is scheduled sentenced on June 25. As a first-time offender in Minnesota, Chauvin faces a recommended penalty of 12-and-a-half years in prison.
He could receive a higher sentence, however, and the most serious crime carries a maximum of 40 years.