Chauvin trial footnotes (8)

This continues and supplements part 7 of this series, mostly with respect to Chauvin’s sentencing this afternoon. I’m writing from the court’s Media Business Center across the street from the courthouse. I will add to this post until sentence is imposed.

• More than 100 pages of briefs were filed supporting and opposing Chauvin’s post-trial motions. After I posted part 7 this morning, Judge Cahill summarily denied all of Chauvin’s motions in a two-page order. The order is posted here.

• I have the impression that Judge Cahill has had it with this case. At least some of Chauvin’s motions — such as the one based on the issue of venue — deserve more than his high-handed kiss-off.

• The open space in front of the courthouse building on Seventh Street is full of cameras. The atmosphere is festive. Chauvin family attorney Ben Crump is doing interviews. The circus is back in town.

• The AP has updated its preview of the sentencing with quotes from Crump and others. The story is here. AP reporter Steve Karnowski tells me they will be updating the story as appropriate.

• The State has introduced four victim impact statements, leading with George Floyd’s seven-year-old daughter via video. Nephew Brandon Williams and two brothers followed with statements in court.

• Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank spoke on behalf of the State. The State seeks a “greatly increased” sentence over the presumptive sentence set forth tin the state sentencing guidelines. He reviewed the four aggravating factors that Judge Cahill has already ratified. He seeks a sentence of 30 years.

• Chauvin is in court and has the opportunity to address Judge Cahill before sentencing, but he is in a box. He has bona fide appellate issues and he remains in jeopardy in the duplicative federal civil rights case filed against him and his colleagues. Anything he says can be used against him in a hypothetical retrial in state court and in the very real federal case that is pending against him.

• Chauvin’s mother, Carolyn Pawlenty, addressed Judge Cahill on behalf of Chauvin’s family. The case has exacted a toll on her. She said Derek is her favorite son.

• Defense counsel Eric Nelson also addressed the court. He estimates that he has received 5,000 email and 1,000 voicemails from members of the public since he undertook Chauvin’s defense. Speaking to the impact of the case on the community, he expressed his hope that the case would ultimately have a positive impact on Minneapolis. I don’t think so.

• Nelson acknowledged Floyd’s death as a tragedy. He asked Judge Cahill to consider mitigating factors. He was• decorated for courage and service as a police officer. He has lived an honorable life. He wasn’t even scheduled to work on May 25, 2020 — he volunteered because his precinct was short-staffed. He urged the court to impose a sentence consistent with the guidelines — that would be 12-and-a-half years, although he asked for a sentence of time served and probation in the papers he filed with the court.

• Chauvin alluded to the federal case against him precluding a formal statement. He expressed his condolences to the Floyd family and referred vaguely to something additional that would give them comfort in the future. He can’t have spoken for more than 30 seconds.

• Judge Cahill is filing a 22-page memorandum with his written sentencing order. He is keeping his oral remarks brief. He refers us to his legal analysis in the memorandum. sentencing order and memorandum opinion are posted here.

• Judge Cahill sentenced Chauvin to prison for 270 months, a ten-year addition to the presumptive sentence. With that, the hearing was adjourned.

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