The judge who presided over Derek Chauvin’s trial has stated that he will consider aggravating factors ahead of sentencing, which could result in an extended sentence.
Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill announced in a court document filed last week that multiple facts presented during trial support a departure from the standard presumptive sentencing guidelines, clearing the way for a longer sentence for Chauvin.
Last month, Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter for his role in the death of George Floyd, who died after Chauvin placed his knee on his neck for more than 9 minutes. We followed the case and the verdict on our blog, but we also covered what to expect during sentencing.
As we mentioned in that previous blog, Chauvin was only going to be sentenced for the most serious conviction, which was second-degree unintentional murder. Under Minnesota’s presumptive sentencing guidelines, which are often used to help set a baseline sentence for individuals without a previous criminal history, the expected sentence for unintentional second-degree murder is 12.5 years in prison.
However, we also noted that the presumptive amount could increase if the judge ruled that “compelling circumstances allowed for a significant upward departure of the presumptive sentencing limit.” Based on the judge’s filing last week, it does appear that he is leaning towards a departure from the standard guidelines. Some of the compelling factors he noted in his court filing include:
- Chauvin abused a position of trust and authority
- Chauvin treated Floyd with “particular cruelty”
- Several children witnessed everything unfold
So how will this all play out? Chauvin is set to be sentenced on June 25, and although judge Cahill has laid the foundation for going outside of the presumptive sentence range of 10 years and 8 months to 15 years (with 12.5 considered the standard within this range), it doesn’t mean that last week’s filing means he absolutely will go outside the standard range.
If he decides to go with a harsher sentence, he could go with 15 years, which is the upper limit of the presumptive sentence. He could also go higher than 15 years, but as mentioned in he 1981 case of State v. Evans, when an upward departure is justifiable, “the upper limit will be double the presumptive sentence length,” so we would not expect any sentence over 30 years.
We’ll see what happens on June 25, and in the meantime, if you need a lawyer for your legal issues, reach out to Avery and the team at Appelman Law Firm today at (952) 224-2277.