A lawyer for Derek Chauvin asked a judge to sentence him to probation, saying cops have shorter life expectancies

·2 min read
Derek Chauvin
Derek Chauvin watches as his attorney gives a closing argument in his murder trial. CourtTV/Pool camera
  • An lawyer for Derek Chauvin asked a judge to sentence the ex-cop convicted of murder to probation.

  • Attorney Eric Nelson cited Chauvin's lack of a prior criminal record and history as an officer.

  • Cops typically don't live as long as civilians, Nelson pointed out in his motion.

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Derek Chauvin's attorney has filed a motion requesting that a Minnesota judge only sentence him to probation and time served, arguing that a police officer's life expectancy is shorter than that of a civilian.

The motion, filed Wednesday, comes roughly three weeks ahead of Chauvin's sentencing hearing. The former officer faces up to 40 years in prison for the murder of George Floyd.

The state is requesting a sentence of 360 months, or 30 years, according a court document filed Wednesday.

"Chauvin's age weighs in his favor when determining a sentence," the attorney, Eric Nelson, wrote. "The life expectancy of police officers is generally shorter, and police officers have a significantly higher average probability of death from specific diseases than did males in the general population. He has been preliminary diagnosed with heart damage and may likely die at a younger age like many ex-law enforcement officers."

Prosecutors successfully argued that aggravating factors on the day of Floyd's death merit consideration of a lengthier sentence than the average 12 1/2 years that first-time offenders face when convicted of second-degree murder.

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill found a longer sentence was warranted on the following grounds:

  • Chauvin abused his authority during the killing

  • He killed Floyd in the presence of children as young as nine

  • Floyd was "particularly vulnerable" while handcuffed

  • Chauvin treated Floyd with "particular cruelty"

  • The other officers on scene acted as a group

Nelson is now asking Cahill to reverse that finding and impose a lower than average sentence. Chauvin should be sentenced only to the time that he already served, Nelson argued.

Chauvin was unaware he was committing a crime on the day he killed Floyd, his attorney wrote. And while Chauvin has been "painted as a dangerous man" in the eyes of the public, Nelson argued he is not an "average offender" because he led a "hard-working, law abiding life" and had no criminal history prior to Floyd's death.

Chauvin earned commendations and awards and received high scores on annual reviews during his 19 years working as an officer, Nelson added.

"Mr. Chauvin has also received thousands of letters of support since his arrest in 2020 from local and international communities," he wrote.

Chauvin is scheduled to be sentenced on June 25 - one year and one month after he he pinned Floyd to the ground for more than 9 minutes.

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