Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Explainer: What justice will do in the sentencing of Kim Potter?

MINNEAPOLIS — A former suburban Minneapolis police officer said he confused his handgun for his Taser when he killed Don’t Wright, sentenced in February after a jury indicted him on two counts of murder Will go

The most serious charge against Kim Potter – first-degree murder – carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Here’s how his sentence might go:


After nearly 27 hours of deliberation over four days, a jury found Potter guilty of both first-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the murder of Wright, a black motorist, on April 11. For first-degree murder, prosecutors had to prove that Potter caused Wright’s death while negligently handling a firearm in such a way that the death or major bodily harm of any person was reasonably foreseeable.

Charges of second-degree murder required prosecutors to prove that Potter caused her death “by her culpable negligence,” meaning that Potter “caused an unreasonable risk and intentionally caused Wright to die or great death.” took the opportunity to cause bodily harm”.

Which sentence is possible?

Under Minnesota law, Potter, who is white, would only be sentenced on the most serious charge of first-degree murder. This is because both the charges against him stem from an act with a victim.

The maximum for that fee is 15 years. But state sentencing guidelines ask for little. For someone with no criminal history, like Potter, guidelines range from just over six years to about 8 1/2 years, with an estimated sentence of a little over seven years.

Prosecutors have said they would seek punishment above the guideline limit, while defense said they would not seek jail time. For Judge Regina Chu to issue a sentence outside the guideline range, she must first find either mitigating or aggravating factors. Both the parties are likely to file written arguments.

potential growth factor

Prosecutors say serious factors in Potter’s case include that he posed a greater-than-usual threat to the safety of other people when he opened fire in the car, including threats to his fellow officers, Wright’s passenger, and the couple. Whose car was hit after the shooting of Wright. He also alleged that he misused his authority as a police officer.

Prosecutors also say that Potter abused his authority as a police officer.

potential mitigation factors

Defense attorney Paul Engh said the defense would seek a “natural departure” from sentencing guidelines.

Under state statutes, when guidelines recommend a prison sentence, there is a short-tempered departure, but a judge allows the sentence to be “stayed”—meaning the defendant does not go to prison. . Instead, the defendant is placed on probation, home surveillance,​​. Or possibly sent to a local prison, said Marsh Halberg, a Minneapolis attorney not associated with the case. A defendant will be sent to jail for violating the conditions set by the court.

Arguing that Potter should remain free on bail until the sentencing, Ang said: “He is liable to probation. His remorse and regret for the incident are overwhelming. He is no threat to the public. All made court appearances.” Chu was adamant, and after reading the verdict, Potter was taken into custody.

Halberg said the defense has a lot of work to do, as Potter has no prior record and regrets it. The defense could also argue that as a police officer, Potter’s imprisonment would be harsher than most because of the need to keep him safe. Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted in the death of George Floyd, is in solitary confinement for that reason.

What will Chu do?

Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines were created to establish coherent sentences that do not consider factors such as race or gender.

In determining the final sentence, Chu will consider the arguments made by both sides as well as statements of victim impact. She has also ordered a pre-sentence investigation of Potter. And Potter can make a statement at his sentencing hearing—a time when judges typically want to see whether a person takes responsibility for the crime or shows remorse.

Halberg said it is unlikely that Chu will punish Potter below the guideline limit, saying: “We live in this kind of political climate for decisions now.” He predicted that Chu would go above the guidelines suggest, or punish him to the top limit.

“If you stay within the box as far as the sentences are fair, the appeal is a very difficult thing to argue,” he said.

How long will the potter serve?

No matter what sentence Potter receives, in Minnesota it is assumed that a defendant with good behavior will serve two-thirds of his sentence in prison and the rest upon supervised release, commonly known as parole. Is.

This means that if Potter is sentenced to seven years, she will be behind bars for about four years and nine months, and the rest on supervised release. Once upon supervised release, she could be sent back to prison if she violates the terms of her parole. If she gets a maximum of 15 years, she could be behind bars for up to 10 years before being placed on parole.

Potter was sent to the State Women’s Prison in Shakopee after the jury returned its verdict. Nicholas Kimball, a spokesman for the state’s Department of Corrections, said that in some cases, particularly high-profile ones, are transferred directly to a state prison while awaiting sentencing.

The same thing happened with Chauvin. He went straight to the state’s maximum security prison as he awaits the murder sentence. He was eventually sentenced to 22 1/2 years – well above the guideline limit – after a judge found aggravating factors in Floyd’s death.


Get full coverage of Associated Press’s Daunte Wright case: https://apnews.com/hub/death-of-daunte-wright


Nation World News Desk
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