Bruce Rivers, a Certified Criminal Trial Specialist and criminal attorney from Minnesota, exclusively told Hollywood Life that, if convicted, Derek Chauvin would “likely” serve 10 to 15 years in prison.
The former Minneapolis police officer has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for the death of an unarmed black man named George Floyd.
Video footage and photographs of the arrest went viral on May 26. The footage showed Chauvin kneeling on the back of Floyd’s neck while he was handcuffed and lying facedown on the ground. The cop allegedly kept his knee in place for at least eight minutes despite Floyd saying he could not breathe. The viral video has ignited protests across the country.
Rivers spoke with the outlet about how the criminal trial might play out over the coming months. The maximum sentence for Chauvin’s charges is 25 years, but the attorney specified that it was unlikely he would receive the maximum as a first time offender.
“He was charged with 3rd degree murder as perpetrating eminently dangerous act and evincing depraved mind. Although the maximum sentence is 25 years, first time offenders usually don’t get the statutory maximum.”
However, he said it was possible for things to “go the other way.”
Rivers noted that the judge could “sentence above the guidelines because the conduct is so bad or egregious.”
That said, he acknowledged that Chauvin’s case could be handled differently because he is a police officer.
Despite the fact everyone is supposed to be viewed as equal under the law, he stated that there is often a “higher standard to prove guilt in cops with juries.”
“Some people give police officers the benefit of the doubt because they are police officers. Some people do the opposite,” he continued.
It falls on the prosecutor to ensure they have all of their “ducks in a row” to “make sure everything is really solid before proceeding.”
Rivers seemed confident that Chauvin would ultimately spend at least some time in jail due to everything being captured on video. He believes it will be difficult for a jury to ignore the evidence due to all the publicity and the footage.
His estimation of Chauvin’s potential prison sentence was between “128 to 180 months.”
He went on to say that he could be sentenced to about 48 months for the 2nd-degree manslaughter charge. Still, in that situation, he would likely only serve 32 months because practicing good behavior could help him get time shaved off of his sentencing.
According to Rivers, while the jury could find the police officer guilty of more than one crime, he would only be sentenced for one of them.