MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A former cop convicted of murder learns his fate Friday morning. That’s when a judge will punish Mohamed Noor for shooting and killing Justine Ruszczyk Damond in 2017.
A jury convicted the former Minneapolis police officer of murder and manslaughter in April. His lawyers will argue for no prison time.
Mohamed Noor’s attorneys filed a memorandum asking the judge to not follow Minnesota sentencing guidelines and impose a sentence they feel is more appropriate. They believe putting Noor behind bars, with his record of service, is not in the best interest of the community.
According to Minnesota sentencing guidelines, Mohamed Noor’s conviction of third degree murder and second degree manslaughter could mean 10 to 15 years in prison.
“The argument is that the guidelines are supposed to be guidelines, but the court is supposed to look at this individual case and this individual person– it’s supposed to be individualized,” said Marsh Halberg, an attorney not connected to the Noor case.
He believes the judge will feel pressure from both sides when it comes to sentencing.
“You got this very strong argument by the defense saying, ‘Don’t penalize Mr. Noor for who he is in this case. Don’t penalize him for all the media and the high-profile nature of this case. Look at the individual, and look at all these strong arguments for why it just doesn’t serve justice to send him to prison,’” said Halberg.
Court documents point to Noor’s lack of criminal history, good attitude in court, remorse for what he did, and support of family friends as reasons for asking for a stayed sentence.
“On the flip side, I fully expect the state to say, ‘You’re right, we don’t want to treat Mr. Noor any differently; we want to treat him the same as anyone else,’ and therefore the guidelines that are neutral are recommending the 150 month sentence, “ said Halberg.
Defense attorneys attached 44 letters of support for Noor with the court filings.
“I think the 44 letters are– it’s really a wide cross-section– we’re talking about from homeless people to politicians to powerful people, and I don’t think it’s being done at all in a way to say, look, I have connections, give me special treatment– this man really did serve the community, “Halberg said.
Halberg says he does expect Noor to address the court in a carefully crafted message about his remorse. He also believes whatever sentence the judge passes down, there will be an appeal.
In court documents, Noor’s attorneys say they would take the alternative of some period of jail time, during the weeks of Justine Ruszczyk Damond’s birth and death. Or if there has to be jail time, they ask it be reduced to one year and one day behind bars.
Sentencing begins Friday at 9 a.m.
WATCH: Rally Held For Mohamed Noor Ahead Of Sentencing