MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In an unusual move, the Minnesota attorney general is asking the public to submit impact statements ahead of Derek Chauvin’s sentencing on murder charges Friday.
It’s been two months since Chauvin was convicted on all counts for murdering George Floyd. While victim impact statements are common during sentencing, comments from the community are not.READ MORE: Derek Chauvin To Be Sentenced Friday For George Floyd's Murder: Here's How To Watch
Minnesota law says “representatives of the community affected by the crime may submit an impact statement.” Attorney General Keith Ellison’s website currently goes to a submission page, which asks for a statement and where the person lives — including whether that’s in Minnesota or even outside the U.S.
“I would imagine the judge would consider it on how much greater the sentence should be on Mr. Chauvin,” Joe Tamburino, a criminal attorney not affiliated with the Floyd case, said.
The law, under 611A of Minnesota’s statutes, does allow to have community impact, but it says nothing about whether the entire state or nation can come in.
Family members are also expected to give victim impact statements, likely similar to the one made by Floyd’s brother Philonise at the trial this spring. Testifying for the prosecution on April 12, he said, “(George Floyd) was so much a leader to us in the household.”
Ellison’s website says it is accepting community impact statements through Thursday. At George Floyd Square, most everyone WCCO talked with agreed the case has had a profound impact.READ MORE: Derek Chauvin’s Attorney Seeks To Probe Jury Misconduct: What Does That Mean?
“It’s affected me personally and the whole community in so many ways,” resident Kestrel Feiner-Homer said.
That sentiment was shared by KMOJ Radio journalist Bridgitte Stewart.
“Having to cover the story from May 26 of last year up until now, going through the trial, and now we are heading into sentencing, you can feel some of the same emotions,” Stewart said.
WCCO reached out to Ellison’s office. They admit this is an unusual request; a spokesperson said reaching out for community comments is not common, but that this is not a common case.
The judge could sentence Chauvin to up to 40 years in prison. The prosecution is asking for 30 years, the defense is seeking probation.
You can watch Friday’s sentencing live on WCCO-TV and on CBSN Minnesota. Download the app here; it allows you to tune in anytime, anywhere.
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