Derek Chauvin’s lawyer asks the court to sentence Chauvin to time served, probation

Derek Chauvin Trial

In April, former police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter of George Floyd. Those were the three charges brought by the prosecution and the jury found Chauvin guilty on all three charges. Chauvin was taken back into custody and he’s been sitting in jail this whole time, awaiting his sentencing hearing which is scheduled for June 25th. Chauvin will not be sentenced by a jury, he’ll be sentenced by the judge. Which means the prosecution and defense have both submitted their memos arguing for what Chauvin’s sentence should be, given that he’s been found guilty of three major felonies, with a potential for forty years in prison. Chauvin’s lawyer thinks Chauvin should be released on time served, with probation.

While prosecutors in Minnesota have asked a judge to sentence Derek Chauvin 30 years in prison for the murder of George Floyd, the former police officer’s attorney is seeking probation and time served. In a memo filed with the District Court of Hennepin County on Wednesday, prosecutors requested 360 months for Chauvin, 45, who was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in April.

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.”

However, in a separate memo, defense attorney Eric J. 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. Nelson also 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.

[From People]

First off, Chauvin’s lawyer is doing his job, as despicable as it sounds. Of course Chauvin’s lawyer is arguing that his client should be released on probation, that’s what defense attorneys do. But that doesn’t make any of this less vile and offensive. I think so many people are having this gut-level reaction to the defense’s memo because there is a genuine fear that the judge might f–k over the Floyd family at the end of the day. Like, we all felt such a collective catharsis when Chauvin was found guilty on all charges, and it felt like justice. But it’s not over until they sentence Chauvin to decades in prison and that’s not assured.

Closing Argument and Jury Deliberation Protest: Derek Chauvin Trial

Photos courtesy of Backgrid, Avalon Red, NBC News.

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36 Responses to “Derek Chauvin’s lawyer asks the court to sentence Chauvin to time served, probation”

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  1. Noki says:

    US lawyers please explain,Time served? But this only happened last year in May,so are they saying a year is sufficient for the crimes he was found guilty of ?

    • Big Yikes says:

      Yes, that’s exactly what they’re arguing for – that the time he’s spent locked away so far is time enough.

      • Livvers says:

        And it’s not even a full year he was in custody. He was arrested May 29th, 2020 and released on bail on October 6th or 7th, 2020. In Canada (not sure if in the US) pre-trial detention is worth 2x its actual length of time. So according to the lawyer, 4 months in custody–equivalent to 8 months–is all he should have to serve.

        *Edit: I forgot to add the month he has been in prison since the trial verdict, but it still adds up to about 5 months in custody or less than 10 months credit for time served.

      • Lady D says:

        And here I thought that couldn’t possibly be right.

      • Elizabeth Rose says:

        How is that not deeply offensive to everyone involved in the trial. Wow, seems like we’re not outta the woods yet.

    • eml says:

      Yes “time-served” is essentially asking the judge to give him credit for the time he has been in jail since the incident (after arrest, awaiting trial, and now awaiting sentencing) as sufficient punishment for the crimes he was found guilty of.

  2. ThatgirlThere says:

    Galling. That murderer can rot and I hope that he does.

  3. OriginalLala says:

    I see he is going with the “it was only a momentary lapse in judgement, jail is too scary for me” – it sadly has worked well for white male rapists in the past. Chauvin should rot in prison…

  4. embo says:

    It’s so hard to read the defense lawyers comment. It just sounds like they are arguing for him to accept 0 responsiblity and that it is all on the “broken system”. I’d say there is definitely blame on both the system and him. But lets be real, you kill someone like that, and its on you. I don’t care what kind of “training” you have. I’m 100% sure the police rule book doesn’t say “hold someone down until they suffocate and die”. This guy is so evil, I hope he goes to jail for the full time he can.

    • Agirlandherdog says:

      There is so much to unpack in that memo. But okay, let’s look at his past actions… he has a LOOOOOONNNNG history of excessive use of force. This wasn’t a one-time “omg what have I done” thing. The guy likes to carry a gun, and he likes to use that gun. He likes the power a badge gives him. And the system is in fact broken, but he’s not a victim of it. He’s a willing participant. Because, again, he likes the power it gives him. He’s been taking advantage of the broken system for years. He’s not an unwitting victim of it. It’s also obscene that they’d use his “heart condition” as an argument against a prison system, after arguing during trial that his use of force wasn’t excessive and that George Floyd only died because of a heart condition. Sorry, Charlie, but you don’t get to murder someone then argue you shouldn’t have to serve a prison sentence because you’re sick. So sad Chauvin will lose the “healthier” years of his life in prison after depriving George Floyd of the entire rest of his life. Let me shed a tear for him… nope, no tears to be found.

      • Amy T says:

        “He’s been taking advantage of the broken system for years.”

        And this memo just keeps that move going. It worked for him for this long, and he’s got nothing to lose (except 30 years) by continuing to work that “broken system.”

        Kaiser is right about Chauvin’s attorney doing his job – like it or not, one reality of our justice system is that even the worst of us is entitled to a vigorous defense.

        Here’s to a nice, long sentence in which he gets decades to think about how he got there and his name becomes shorthand for “cautionary tale” in police parlance.

      • pottymouth pup says:

        “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. Mr. Chauvin respectfully requests that this Court grant his motion for a mitigated dispositional departure or, in the alternative, a downward durational departure.”

        his background includes a similar battery of a 14-year-old in 2017 for which he’s now under federal indictment (to be honest, I’m kinda surprised his lawyers didn’t use a bogus argument of “he grabbed the 14yr old by the throat and kneeled on his back for longer than he was on George Floyd’s neck and the kid didn’t die, so he couldn’t reasonably have expected kneeling on George Floyd’s neck could cause irreparable harm or death”)

        I believe Chauvin’s also been indicted indicted for felony tax fraud as well.

    • Mac says:

      Chauvin is proof monsters exist. Look under the bed tonight.

  5. Maida says:

    “The long-term damage a prison sentence would inflict upon Mr. Chauvin’s life prospects”?

    I know Chauvin’s lawyer is doing what’s supposed to be done in a sentencing hearing. But wow, Chauvin sure ended George Floyd’s “life prospects” definitively. And the whole “thought he was doing his job” thing is insane, given the number of people around who were pleading with him to let Floyd up.


    • embo says:

      Ugh I know. Its so sickening. 100% agree! Yes, it SHOULD affect your life prospect when you kill someone and take their ENTIRE POTENTIAL TO DO ANYTHING EVER AGAIN! What a loser, sicko, evil, ugly inside and out, horrible person. Having a pretty bad morning in real life, so maybe that is making me extra angry, but man reading stuff like that defense statement is really, really rough; I can’t imagine how hard it is to defend that POS.

    • goofpuff says:

      This is the same defense the white male rapists get, especially the younger ones. And sad to say, it works EVERY TIME. I can’t think of a time when the women or girls got justice.

  6. Southern Fried says:

    This makes me want to vomit.

    • Lady D says:

      It makes my stomach, head, and heart hurt. I can’t imagine what his family is going through. I hope they can find some peace.

  7. AmyB says:

    I understand too, that this is what defense lawyers do (which is utterly vile and disgusting to me, this case being a prime example). But to release Chauvin now, and simply put him on probation, would literally seem to me – undermining the jury’s deliberations and decision. They found him guilty of all three charges. There is punishment for that. And these arguments by Chauvin’s lawyer that 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.” THAT SHIT was proven to be false in the court trial!! That is WHY he was found guilty of 2nd degree murder – (causes the death of a human being with intent to effect the death of that person or another, but without premeditation)

    I don’t get it. How can they just turn around and then say this stuff? I realize I am not a trained lawyer here, but it feels like it is completely negating the findings of the jury? Maybe someone with legal experience can comment?

    In the end, obviously, it is up to the Judge, and he can just dismiss these arguments. But, yes truly revolting indeed.

  8. Mimi says:


  9. Seraphina says:

    This is some what off topic but I wanted to ask. My daughter is a rising Sophmore in HS and they have an assignment to read a book on discrimination. The first one that comes to mind is To Kill a Mockingbird and I loved the autobiography: Incident in the Life of a Slave Girl. Any other titles people know of???? I am drawing a blank.

    • Aang says:

      Absolutely True Story of a Part Time Indian, Reservation Blues, or others by Sherman Alexi for a Native American perspective. If non fiction is possible Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is good. Parrotfish or I am J are good for a trans perspective on discrimination.

    • Arralethe says:

      Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale (gender discrimination). Assuming it isn’t an assignment just on discrimination on the grounds of race/colour. Plus every young woman should read it, in case they ever consider voting Republican.

      • Arralethe says:

        Or even Shakespeare’s Othello. Gender and race discrimination, plus English Lit credit.

    • Amy T says:

      This is a bit of a different take, but I just finished “Home Fire” by Kamila Shamsie and am still reeling from it. Highly recommend.

      (I run a library book club about American identity and immigration, and this is our July title – the first one that is only partly set in the US, but which touches on some major-league third-rail issues.)

  10. psl says:

    They have GOT to be kidding.
    Guy is afraid he is going to die young? And wants SYMPATHY?
    How old was George Floyd, Chauvin when you KILLED HIM?


  11. Feebee says:

    As you suggest, he’s just doing his job but he could really ball up his memo and stick it up his arse. I’ll remain nervous about this judge until the sentencing. Got a bad feeling from him from the trial clips I saw but hoping he sets a sensible sentence, one that does not include any time served nonsense.

  12. NotSoSocialButterfly says:

    ‘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’

    Yeah, except that’s not what the jury decided. Not what experts testified to , nor what prosecution PROVED.
    What a loathsome ass.

  13. Cheslsea says:

    Chauvin had a history of abuse. There were numerous complaints filed against him and nothing was ever done. He deserves to rot in prison.

  14. Cat C says:

    Could we stop using his picture? I get so sick of seeing murderers faces being plastered about time and time again. & time served? Bullshit.

  15. Marla Singer says:

    Derek has killed 4 people prior to Floyd! Lock him up for life!!!

  16. MissMarirose says:

    This may not work for Chauvin, but I can almost guarantee you that if any of the other cops who stood by are convicted, the judge will almost certainly give them probation. Prepare yourselves.

  17. jferber says:

    In my gut, I feel that Chauvin should get the death penalty. He knew DAMN well what he was doing, knew it so well that he had a far-away, meditative expression on his face as he killed George, as if killing a black man is akin to a really good yoga workout. Fuck Chauvin. He should have been stopped a LONG time ago. You are not the victim, asshole. You are a murderer in a blue uniform who ignored 27 pleas from your victim as you tortured and killed him. Probation? You deserve the death penalty.

  18. Kh says:

    He was “unaware he was commiting a crime” ?!?!!! With his prior record of excessive force complaints? And a whole crowd of people telling him Floyd wasn’t breathing? That is on of the most disingenuous things I’ve read. I can’t even read any more of that statement it makes me so mad all over again.

  19. khaveman says:

    If I had to go with my gut he’ll get 20 years. Ain’t no probation happening unless something goes very wrong. And he may be in physical jeopardy in jail, like Dahmer.