This story originally appeared on April 16, 2021
MINNEAPOLIS (TBEN) – The fate of Derek Chauvin should be in the hands of the jury by Monday afternoon. Monday morning, the two parties will give their closing arguments, then the jury will begin its deliberations. They will be sequestered, which means they will spend the night in a hotel and be escorted by deputies to and from the courthouse.
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If Chauvin is found not guilty on all counts, he will walk out of the courtroom as a free man. If he is found guilty of one of the three charges, he will be immediately taken into custody.
“From the court, he will go to jail and he will remain in jail until sentencing. If there was a prison sentence, which of course it would be, he would go to jail, ”lawyer Joe Tamburino said.
Chauvin is charged with second degree murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death. Under the sentencing guidelines, he could get 12 and a half years for unintentional second degree murder or third degree murder. Second degree manslaughter would last four years.
In the event of a conviction, the jury will have a second job to do. The jury will have to go back and deliberate on the existence of aggravating factors.
The first possible aggravating factor is whether the victim has been “treated with particular cruelty”. The second is if a child was present. Witnesses at the scene who testified included two teenagers who were 17 at the time, as well as a 9-year-old child.
“If they find aggravating factors, the judge could go up to the legal maximum, which for the first count is 40 years, count from two to 25 years and count from three to 10 years,” Tamburino said.
If Chauvin is in fact acquitted, he could still face federal criminal civil rights charges. A grand jury has convened to consider these charges, and if he were to be indicted and convicted in federal court, that sentence could go up to life in prison.
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Since the trial began last month, the prosecution has called 38 people. This week, the defense took over and called seven people to testify in court. Derek Chauvin was not one of them. On Thursday, he invoked his constitutional right not to testify. It was a decision made without the presence of the jury.
Jurors will hear an instruction that they cannot accept Chauvin’s decision not to testify against him.
The first defense witnesses testified about Floyd’s arrest in May 2019, in which video showed he initially did not comply. He also swallowed pills which he later said were Percocet.
The defense has repeatedly pointed out that Chauvin was distracted and feared spectators at the scene. The defense called Minneapolis Park Police Officer Peter Chang, who said the crowd was intimidating.
“I was concerned about the safety of the officers because of the crowds. I just wanted to make sure the officers were okay, ”he said.
During their case, the prosecution called in experts and a half-dozen Minneapolis police officers, including Chief Medaria Arradondo, to testify that Chauvin used excessive, even fatal, force against Floyd. The defense responded with a single expert Barry Brodd.
“I thought Derek Chauvin was justified in acting with objective reasonableness following Minneapolis Police Department policy and current law enforcement standards,” Brodd said.
Finally, the defense called its own medical expert to testify that there were so many factors involved in Floyd’s death – including his drug use, heart problems, possible carbon monoxide poisoning as well as police restraint – that the mode of death simply could not be determined.
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The defense hopes to create a reasonable doubt in the minds of at least one juror.