Local legal expert weighs in on Chauvin trial

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – Former police officer Derek Chauvin exited a Minneapolis courtroom in handcuffs after a jury returned guilty verdicts in all three counts in his murder trial.

“This is a resounding, watershed moment and this water is going to flow throughout the country, throughout the world really, seeking its own level for people that are thirsty for real justice,” said Sacramento attorney Mark Reichel.

Chauvin is now a convicted killer, found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.

Jurors only took 10 hours to decide his fate, a surprise to some legal experts.

“They took their job very seriously. I knew when they got into the jury room they weren’t just going to come back right away,” Reichel said. “I predicted it was going to take a little longer than this because there was a lot to sift through, but I guess what happened, if you asked me after 30 years of doing this, they got in there and asked if anyone had any real dissension from the view that he was guilty on count one. They didn’t get a lot of dissension so they said ‘well, let’s just justify and explain why,’ and that’s why they came out so quickly.”

But the outcome is one Reichel predicted given the mountain of evidence against Chauvin.

What’s not so clear is how many years Judge Peter Cahill will put the former officer behind bars.

“There’s going to be a lot of pressure on this judge because he knows the whole world is watching,” Reichel explained.

The second-degree murder charge carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison, but Reichel says Chauvin’s punishment will likely be much lower because he had no criminal history.

Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines set his punishment at 12-and-a-half years for the top charge, but Reichel predicts prosecutors will argue aggravating factors to keep Chauvin locked away longer.

“He’s going to do his job to do justice, but he’s going to be pushed by the prosecution to say, ‘look, children were there watching. People were urging this person not to commit the crime and finally, they were doing it while acting as a police officer,” Reichel told FOX40.

Chauvin’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for eight weeks from now.

He also has the right to appeal his conviction.

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