George Floyd’s murderer dodges death penalty — Analysis

A federal civil rights judge accepts a plea agreement against Derek Chauvin. He was convicted in state court of murder.

After a plea deal was reached, Derek Chauvin (an ex-police officer from Minneapolis) has been spared death sentence on federal civil rights charges.

US District Court Judge Paul Magnuson approved Chauvin’s December plea deal on Wednesday, confirming that the ex-officer will be sentenced to 20-25 years in prison. Chauvin could have faced a life sentence or even the death penalty – though the latter was considered unlikely – if he had been convicted at trial.

Magnuson hasn’t set a sentencing date for Chauvin, who infamously kneeled on the back of Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes. The 19-year veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department was convicted of murder and manslaughter charges last year in state court and was sentenced to 22 ½ years in prison.

Ex-cop Derek Chauvin pleads guilty to violating George Floyd's civil rights

Chauvin, in the federal case against his, pleaded guilty to violating civil rights. He entered his plea in December, forgoing trial. His condition was that he would spend his time in federal prison and not a state penitentiary. This will most likely resulted to a prolonged time behind bars. Federal prisons are less crowded than US state prisons and more secure.

Chauvin will serve his state and federal sentences concurrently, meaning he won’t have to start over on one after finishing the other. He could have been released in Minnesota within 15 years if he had shown maximum good conduct. However, his federal plea bargain requires that he remain behind bars for at most 17 years.

Ben Crump, a lawyer representing Floyd’s family, had called for Chauvin to get the maximum sentence in his federal civil rights case.


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