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Legal Analyst Irv Miller: Derek Chauvin Likely To Get Steep Sentence, But Not Maximum; Appeal Is Expected

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Hennepin County, Minnesota Judge Peter Cahill will decide fired police Officer Derek Chauvin's sentence for the death of George Floyd – and he can go beyond state guidelines to increase Chauvin's time based on some key parts of the case.

Chauvin was convicted of three charges:
• Second-degree unintentional murder means causing death without intent by committing a felony.
• Second-degree manslaughter is causing death by unreasonable risk.
• Third-degree murder means causing death by an "eminently dangerous" act, showing a "depraved mind."

CBS 2's Irika Sargent talked to Legal Analyst Irv Miller – who said while the possible sentence is steep, he does not think Chauvin will get the maximum.

"Second-degree murder carries the most serious penalty of a potential of 40 years. But there's guidelines in Minnesota, and a guideline sentence calls for this type of conviction for somebody with no criminal background, somewhere between 10 and 15 years," Miller said. "The prosecution is seeking to enhance those guidelines sentences by having the judge decide whether or not a child witnessed this, and whether or not it was really an extremely dangerous situation that occurred."

Miller also said an appeal by the defense is expected – and there are issues from the trial they could bring up for the purpose.

"There's no question in my mind that this case will be appealed. I mean, there's no reason not to. There are appealable issues that are the case," Miller said. "One of them – the most legitimate appealable issue that I see – is the rebuttal argument that was given by the prosecutor, where he basically called the defense attorney a liar. You're not supposed to call the defense attorney a liar. You're not supposed to personally attack. So what he did – he kept coming up with, 'Well, counsel told you a story,' and it was clear in everybody's mind that he was saying: 'He lied. That lawyer got up before you, and he lied.' Appellate courts don't like when prosecutors do that."

On the sentence, Miller said he would be surprised if Chauvin got less than 20 years in prison. He also said even with those appealable issues, he is skeptical that Chauvin will get a new trial.

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