Judge: 'Aggravating Factors' Proven in Chauvin Trial

Brenda Watkins
May 13, 2021

He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 25. For someone with no criminal history such as Chauvin, Minnesota sentencing guidelines suggest a range of just over 10 and a half years to 15 years in prison.

Prosecutors pushing for Chauvin to receive a harsher sentence presented five aggravating factors they believe justified a longer punishment. Second, Chauvin treated Floyd with particular cruelty.

Chauvin's three former co-workers - Tou Thao, 35, J. Alexander Kueng, 27, and Thomas Lane, 38 - who were involved in Floyd's fatal arrest, were to go on trial starting August 22 for being complicit in murder. "Not only was the danger of asphyxia theoretical, it was communicated to the defendant as actually occurring", Cahill wrote.

Mr Cahill agreed with the prosecutors on four of the five points.

Cahill found that the crime was committed "as a group with the active participation of at least three" other officers.

But Cahill disagreed with prosecutors who argued that Floyd was "particularly vulnerable" because he was handcuffed and held facedown on the street.

Thao's defense attorney also asked Cahill to drop all charges against Thao, and to rule that Andrew Baker, the Hennepin County medical examiner, was coerced into saying that Floyd died of asphyxiation.

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Civil-rights advocate and attorney Benjamin Crump, who has represented the families of several high-profile victims of police violence such as Michael Brown and George Floyd, was in Corpus Christi on Wednesday.

Chauvin's defense had argued the state had not proved any aggravating factors in Floyd's killing. The first, that Chauvin abused a position of trust and authority.

Chauvin's attorney, Eric Nelson, had no comment when asked for a response.

Nelson last week filed a motion for a new trial, alleging misconduct by the judge, prosecutors and jurors. If convicted, he would probably serve out the federal sentence at the same time as his state sentence.

Cahill said he pushed the date back so the federal case can move forward, and the state trial can be distanced from the publicity surrounding Chauvin's murder conviction.

Cameras were not allowed in the pre-trial hearing Thursday and the defendants did not appear in court.

"The application of justice in this case offers hope that we will see real change in the relationship between police and people of color by holding officers properly accountable for egregious behavior and for failing to honor the sanctity of all lives", the attorneys said in a statement.

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