How long will Derek Chauvin get in prison and what does the George Floyd verdict mean?

Chauvin’s maximum sentence could be 40 years for second-degree murder

Danielle Zoellner
New York
,Louise Hall
Friday 25 June 2021 13:30

Derek Chauvin is found guilty of all three charges

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Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer accused in the murder of George Floyd, was found guilty on all three counts he faced by a 12-person jury in April.

After hearing 15 days of court testimony and deliberating for about 10 hours, the jury was able to reach a unanimous decision on the three charges.

Chauvin, 45, was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the killing of Mr Floyd on 25 May, 2020 – after the former officer pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Police led Chauvin, who was out on bail, away from the courtroom in handcuffs following the jury's verdict – with Judge Peter Cahill revoking his bail. Chauvin will remain in police custody until his sentencing, which is scheduled for 25 June.

The sentencing was initially scheduled for 16 June but was later rescheduled by Mr Cahill. Court spokesman Spenser Bickett said the proceedings were moved due to a scheduling conflict.

How long will Chauvin be behind bars?

Chauvin was found guilty of two counts of murder – second-degree unintentional murder and third-degree murder.

The presumptive sentence for each murder charge was 12.5 years for a defendant like Chauvin, who has no prior criminal history, according to Minnesota's state guidelines.

But the state has asked for a stricter sentence for the former police officer due to several aggravating factors, including that the murder took place in front of children and that Mr Floyd was treated with “particular cruelty” by Chauvin.

The state also said an extended sentence was necessary because the former officer “abused his position of authority”.

However, state law also dictates that people are sentenced according to the top count for example for second-degree murder, which carries a maximum 40-year sentence.

Mr Cahill has already ruled that there were aggravating factors in the death of Floyd, paving the way for a longer sentence than 12.5 years for Chauvin.

Legal experts have said it is unlikely Chauvin will face 40 years and that the highest amount of time he would be handed is 30 years.

If Chauvin is sentenced to any more than 30 years it could risk being overturned on appeal. Prosecutors are seeking the maximum sentence. Defense attorney Eric Nelson requested probation.

Whatever the former police officer is sentenced to, it is likely that he will only serve two-thirds in prison on the presumption of good behaviour. The rest would likely be served on parole.

Chauvin had the opportunity to decide if he wanted the jury to determine if aggravating factors existed in the murder, but he waived that right.

Mr Cahill will now determine if aggravating factors exist and decide the length of prison sentence for Chauvin. In Minnesota, defendants serve about two-thirds of their prison sentences with the rest on parole.

Though Chauvin is widely expected to appeal, he also still faces trial on federal civil rights charges, along with three other fired officers who have yet to have their state trials.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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