Derek Chauvin: how has he been charged and when will he be sentenced?

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Bethany Dawson
·3 min read
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Officer Derek Chauvin has been found guilty for the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man whose neck Chauvin knelt on for nine minutes and 29 seconds.

It isn’t often that you see an officer charged or convicted for the death of someone in custody. The Floyd family’s lawyer, Ben Crump, said it marked a "turning point in history" for the US.

After just one day of deliberation on the verdict, the 12-member jury in Minnesota found Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.

Chauvin’s bail was immediately revoked and the disgraced officer will remain in custody until his sentencing.

What do these charges mean?

Derek Chauvin has been found guilty on three different charges, all with slightly different meanings.

In Minnesota, second-degree murder is defined as a killing that was not premeditated, or is caused by reckless conduct without obvious concern for human life.

Third-degree murder is known as a “depraved-heart murder”, that is caused without intent to kill but is inherently dangerous and thus conducted without consideration for human life.

The final charge that Chauvin has been found guilty of is second-degree manslaughter, which occurs when a person continues an act that they know is reckless, despite potentially fatal risks. A manslaughter charge, however, comes when there is no intention to take a life.

It is expected that Chauvin will appeal the jury, arguing that the jury was not impartial, but rather prejudiced by media coverage and a $27 million (£19.3 million) settlement to the Floyd family from the Minneapolis government.

Judge Peter Cahill, who was residing on the case, has previously rejected a request from Chauvin’s attorney to Nelson’s to delay the trial because of the settlement.

Chauvin’s attorneys will have to notify the trial court within 60 days if they plan to appeal.

His lawyers then have months to review transcripts and court filings dating from the start of the case to build their arguments.

Legal experts have however said that Chauvin’s chance of overturning this verdict is slim.

How will Chauvin be sentenced?

In Minnesota, the state wherein Floyd died and Chauvin has been on trial for his death, second-degree murder carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison. Third-degree can see someone have 25 years in prison, and Second-degree manslaughter is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Theoretically, these charges could see Chauvin get 75 years in prison. However, state law dictates that the convicted is sentenced only to the most severe count against them - in this case, that would be a maximum of 40-years for second-degree murder. . In this instance, Judge Cahill could opt to ignore state law, but this would be unusual.

However, sentencing is set to happen in roughly two months, so we will have to wait a period of time to know exactly how Chauvin will be sentenced.

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