State, Defense Fight Whether Derek Chauvin Acted Using’Specific Cruelty’ in Fight to Discover Appropriate Sentence

Derek Chauvin

Minnesota prosecutors are pressing on a judge to issue a”aggravated sentence” from Derek Chauvin.  But his defense has countered that the state is extending the law by seeking a harder sentence for the now-convicted former police officer.
The Prosecution’s Argument
In papers filed Friday, prosecutors used by working with the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office termed five variables that they consider support a higher than normal sentence. Those details are (1) that sufferer George Floyd”was an especially vulnerable victim,” (2) that Floyd”was treated with particular cruelty,” (3) that Chauvin”abused his position of authority,” (4 ) ) that Chauvin acted as part of”a group of three or more persons who all actively participated” (which is applicable under Minnesota law); and (5) that Chauvin”committed the crime in the existence of numerous kids.”
“Any one of these five crucial factors are enough on its own to justify an upward sentencing departure,” prosecutors asserted. “Here, all five employ. The State therefore respectfully asks that the Court discover the details necessary to confirm the existence of these five significant factors, and that the Court impose an aggravated sentence on that basis.”
As to the first variable, prosecutors argued as followed:
Defendant’s criminal conduct occurred while Mr. Floyd had been at a vulnerable position on the ground: The evidence at trial showed that the officers shot Mr. Floyd’s arms behind his back and held him down at the prone position, with his chest against the sidewalk. Defendant was educated that this position posed a substantial risk of positional asphyxia.
As to the second variable alleging”certain cruelty”:
Despite Mr. Floyd’s repeated pleas that he could not breathe, despite the repeated pleas of all bystanders on the scene, even Defendant pressed his knee into Mr. Floyd’s neck and upper back for 2 minutes and 29 seconds. As noted, Defendant maintained that position–again, for a couple of minutes, not seconds–even after Mr. Floyd went silent, and even after officers knew that Mr. Floyd no longer had a heartbeat. Mr. Floyd also continued substantial facial abrasions and swelling as a result of being pressed forcibly into the sidewalk. Defendant’s actions inflicted unnecessary pain, and caused emotional distress into Mr. Floyd and to the bystanders. Moreover, despite Mr. Floyd’s obvious signals of medical distress, despite Defendant’s training, Defendant made no effort to perform CPR or contribute Mr. Floyd medical care, and discouraged others on the scene from providing Mr. Floyd with medical care.
The court papers don’t ask a specific term of years for Chauvin’s sentence.
The Defense’s Argument
The defense countered that all of the variables that the country is pressing are inside the statutethe next — that Chauvin abused his authority is not. The defense said Chauvin waived his right to possess the variables established by a jury,”as is his prerogative, leaving it to the Court to determine whether the State has met its burden”
“Mr. Chauvin entered into the officers’ encounter with Mr. Floyd with lawful authority to assist in effecting the legal arrest of an actively-resisting criminal defendant,” the defense lasted. “Mr. Chauvin was approved, under Minnesota lawenforcement, to use reasonable force to achieve that. Early in the encounter with Mr. Floyd, officers had called for emergency health care services (“EMS”). The telephone to EMS was upgraded after Mr. Chauvin’s coming on scene. The entire time period in which the crime of conviction was committed was a matter of moments — perhaps no more than three, but certainly less than half an hour.”
The defense subsequently said Floyd wasn’t”particularly vulnerable”:
Facts establishing that a victim was particularly vulnerable, and that the offender knew or should have known about the vulnerability, must be established beyond a reasonable doubt. The State appears to assert that the fact that Mr. Floyd was rendered him particularly vulnerable. The facts clearly show that simply being handcuffed failed to leave Mr. Floyd”particularly vulnerable”
Mr. Floyd was well over six feet tall, muscle, and weighed in more than two hundred lbs. He had been handcuffed at the beginning of the encounter and, as Officers Lane and Kueng attempted to place Floyd within their squad car, he started to consciously resist arrest. Once Mr. Chauvin joined in the struggle, Mr. Floyd managed to prevent himself from being subdued until officers were finally able to control him on the ground, in which he continued to fight. He had been on the ground for a total of about nine minutes before EMS arrived. Floyd was able to continue struggling during some of his restraint.
The factual situation is considerably different from different instances in Minnesota law by which a victim was discovered to be particularly vulnerable when jump.
Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, proceeded to argue that Chauvin wasn’t”particularly unkind” toward Floyd.  He explained other cases which did locate”special cruelty” but that were factually distinct from Chauvin’s case on the following grounds:
In these instances, the witnesses of the defendants’ conduct either endured incapacity, which makes them particularly vulnerable, or were closely related to the sufferer as both relatives or family members.
[ … ]
Here, none of the witnesses were relatives or friends of George Floyd, nor did some of the witnesses claim to understand George Floyd. Significantly, none of the witnesses’ observation of the episode was involuntary, unlike individuals in relevant caselaw: ” They were all free — and in reality, supported by Officer Thao — to depart anytime they wished.
The defense further refuted the country’s other arguments by asserting, in part, that the state can’t establish beyond a reasonable doubt that others”actively participated” in the crime because the three other officers — J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, along with Tou Thao — have been convicted. 
The most recent debate for an upward sentencing death — that isa sentence higher than that considered by the typical grid used by Minnesota judges are, essentially, an extension of court documents filed beginning annually. The state filed notice on August 28, 2020, that it would look for out a harder sentence. 
Why Does It Matter?
The typical grid for Chauvin’s greatest count, accidental second-degree murder for a defendant who has no criminal history, is 150 weeks (12.5 years). 
Chauvin was convicted of third-degree murder.  With this particular count, the sentencing calls for the same potential sentence as result murder (12.5 years), but the maximum is 25 decades.
Finally, Chauvin was convicted of second-degree manslaughter.  Sentencing guidelines call for a Level 8 sentence of four decades, but the statute authorizes around ten decades.
Read the prosecution arguments below:
MN v Chauvin — State’s Memo to Aggravated Sentence by Law&Crime on Scribd

Read the defense rebuttal below:
MN v Chauvin — Def Memo Opp Upward Sentencing by Law&Crime on Scribd

[Editor’s note:  Legal citations have been omitted from several quotes.]
[Picture via screengrab in the Law&Crime Network.] The post State, Defense Fight Whether Derek Chauvin Acted using’Particular Cruelty’ in War to Identify Proper Sentence first appeared Law & Crime.