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Derek Chauvin's lawyer asks judge to limit his prison sentence

Derek Chauvin’s lawyer asks judge to limit his prison sentence to time-served saying his fatal chokehold on George Floyd was merely an ‘ERROR’: Prosecutors hit back by demanding he get 30 YEARS

  • Derek Chauvin’s attorney Eric Nelson filed a motion to limit his sentence in Hennepin County District Court on Wednesday 
  • He argued that Chauvin deserves ‘downward departure’ from the presumptive prison term he could face for George Floyd’s murder  
  • Nelson also described Chauvin’s actions during Floyd’s arrest as an ‘error’ 
  • Shortly after Nelson’s motion, the state filed its own asking that Chauvin be sentenced to 30 years 

Derek Chauvin on Wednesday made a bid to have his prison time limited to time served and sit out the rest of any sentence on probation. Chauvin is pictured a mugshot taken after he arrived at MCF – Oak Park

Derek Chauvin has made a bid to have his prison time limited to time served and sit out the rest of any sentence on probation, has learned.

Chauvin’s attorney Eric Nelson filed a motion with Hennepin County District Court on Wednesday, in which he asked Judge Peter Cahill to hand down the lenient terms when he sentences Chauvin on June 25.

In the document seen by, Nelson argued that Chauvin deserves a probationary sentence or ‘downward departure’ from the presumptive prison term he could face for the murder of George Floyd, 46. 

Nelson asserted that Chauvin merely committed an ‘error’ when he pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes during an arrest in May 2020 – and said his client did not believe his actions were criminal. 

Just moments after Chauvin’s lawyer filed his motion the State hit back and filed one of their own, asking for the judge to deliver the maximum prison term possible and put Chauvin away for 30 years.

Attorney General Keith Ellison reminded the judge that he had already found there to be four aggravating sentencing factors: that the defendant abused a position of trust and authority, acted with particular cruelty, acted in concert with three other individuals who all actively participated in the crime and committed the offense in the presence of children.

According to Ellison, Chauvin’s act was not just an abuse of his position, but an ‘egregious abuse,’ as well as ‘particularly cruel.’ Floyd begged for his life, he noted, and, ‘was obviously terrified by the knowledge that he was likely to die.’

In light of this, Ellison argued, the court, ‘should order a sentence that is “twice the upper end of the presumptive sentencing range.”’ 

In a motion asking for a more lenient sentence, Chauvin’s attorney described his fatal chokehold on George Floyd (pictured) as an ‘error’

As it stands Chauvin, 45, could be looking at more than 15 years in jail for the second-degree murder conviction. The presumptive sentence in Minnesota is 12 and a half years.

But Judge Cahill has already found in favor of all four aggravating factors brought by the prosecution in their bid to secure an ‘upward departure’ in sentencing.

Now, Nelson has argued that Chauvin is ‘the product of a broken system,’ and that he should be sentenced leniently as a result.

Chauvin is being held in solitary confinement in the maximum security facility of Oak Park Heights.

In his motion Nelson pointed to this as evidence of safety concerns and proof of the the fact that ‘officer-involved offenses significantly increase the likelihood of him becoming a target in prison’.

According to Nelson, Chauvin is ‘not the average offender.’ He stated, ‘Prior to this incident Mr Chauvin led a hard-working, law-abiding life, and has experienced no legal issues.’

His criminal record score at his Pre Sentence Investigation was zero.

More than that, he has claimed that Chauvin, ‘was not even aware that he was committing a crime.’

Nelson wrote, ‘In his mind he was simply performing his lawful duty in assisting other officers in the arrest of George Floyd. Mr Chauvin’s is not a typical case in which a person commits an assault that results in the death of another.

‘As is clear from Mr Chauvin’s actions had he believed he was committing a crime, as a licensed police officer, Mr Chauvin simply would not have done so.’

Chauvin is being held in solitary confinement in the maximum security facility of Oak Park Heights (pictured)

In a provocative move Nelson attempted to minimize the crime of which Chauvin was convicted stating, ‘Mr Chauvin’s offense is best described as an error made in good faith reliance his own [sic] experience as a police officer and the training he had received – not intentional commission of an illegal act.’

Later he noted that the court found that Floyd was, ‘not a particularly vulnerable victim,’ and described the 9minutes 29 second during which Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck as ‘a very short time,’ that, ‘involved no threats or taunting, such as putting a gun to his head and pulling the trigger and ended when EMS finally responded to officers’ calls.’

In the eyes of the public, Nelson argued, ‘Chauvin has been reduced to this incident, and has been painted as a dangerous man…However, behind the politics, Mr Chauvin is still a human being.’

Before Floyd’s death Chauvin was a ‘husband, stepfather, uncle, brother and son.’

According to Nelson he continues to enjoy a close relationship with his family and, although they divorced, Nelson states that he is ‘still supported by his ex-wife.’

Nelson also noted that, at 45, Chauvin has been diagnosed with heart damage and ‘may likely die at a younger age like many ex-law enforcement officers.’

But he went onto describe Chauvin’s age as a ‘substantial and compelling factor,’ in his bid for a probationary sentence as, ‘he still has the ability to positively impact his family and community.’

Judge Cahill will hand down his sentence at a hearing on June 25. 

Chauvin is pictured during his murder trial for the death of George Floyd

The twin motions from the defense and the prosecution came a day after Chauvin appeared in federal court from prison via video-link to face charges for violating Floyd’s civil rights. 

Chauvin was asked by the judge whether he understood that he could legally contest his being held in detention on the federal charges, while the trial continued. 

‘In light of my current circumstances, I believe that would be a moot point,’ Chauvin replied.

The judge said the next step was Chauvin being formally arraigned, and said a date would be issued soon. 

The federal charges allege Chauvin violated Floyd’s rights as he restrained him face-down while he was handcuffed, not resisting and gasping for air. 

Three other former officers – J. Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao – face similar federal charges. 

Chauvin is also charged in a separate indictment alleging he violated the rights of a 14-year-old boy in 2017.

Read excerpts from Nelson’s Wednesday motion: 

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