How long will Derek Chauvin’s prison sentence be? What new ruling from judge suggests

A Minnesota judge has ruled that Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of murder in the death of George Floyd, could face a longer prison sentence than what’s recommended by state guidelines.

Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, was found guilty in April of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Judge Peter Cahill ruled Wednesday that “aggravated durational departure” has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt for four factors, which will allow for Chauvin to receive a longer sentence than recommended by Minnesota state guidelines.

Aggravated durational departure is when a person’s prison sentence is at least 20 percent higher than what is usually recommended.

Chauvin will only be sentenced for the most serious charge for which he was convicted — second-degree murder — under Minnesota statutes, CBS reported. Chauvin could serve up to 40 years for that charge. But because he has no prior criminal record, guidelines recommend around 10 and a half to 15 years for sentencing.

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Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died while in police custody on May 25, and his death sparked an avalanche of protests across the nation. He died after Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, as three other officers didn’t intervene.

Cahill ruled that four of the five factors for aggravated durational departure were proven beyond a reasonable doubt, including: abusing a position of trust, treating Floyd with “particular cruelty,” children witnessing the incident and committing “the crime as a group with the active participation of at least three other persons.”

“The slow death of George Floyd occurring over approximately six minutes of his positional asphyxia was particularly cruel in that Mr. Floyd was begging for his life and obviously terrified by the knowledge that he was likely to die but during which the defendant objectively remained indifferent to Mr. Floyd’s pleas,” Cahill wrote.

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A 9-year-old girl testified during Chauvin’s trial that she witnessed Floyd being restrained and that it made her feel “sad and kinda mad,” NPR reported.

Officers J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao were fired and arrested, charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

Cahill rejected the fifth factor that Floyd was “particularly vulnerable” because he had “still been able to resist arrest and to prevent three police officers from seating him in a squad car.” Cahill wrote that restraining Floyd “with the weight of three police officers on him” didn’t create a vulnerability but was “the actual mechanism causing death.”

Chauvin waived the right of having a jury decide on the aggravating factors, choosing instead for Cahill to decide. Chauvin’s sentencing is scheduled for June 25 and he is being held at the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Oak Park Heights.

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