Two local attorneys weigh in on Derek Chauvin guilty verdict | WNYT.com

Two local attorneys weigh in on Derek Chauvin guilty verdict

Jonathan Hunter
Created: April 20, 2021 11:29 PM

Marc Pallozzi is a criminal defense attorney. He, like most of us, paid attention to the trial. When he saw a verdict was reached quickly, he knew what that meant. 


"Oftentimes when a jury returns with a verdict that quickly after that long of a trial, it means one of two things. It means a very very quick exoneration and acquittal or it means a very very quick guilty verdict," said Pallozzi. 


Paul DerOhannesian is also a local attorney. He says the proof was overwhelming. 

"I think the proof, in this case, supports the verdict. That won't be an issue on appeal. I think it's a clear case for murder than many cases of officers accused of homicide," said DerOhannesian. 


Both attorneys say the definition of second-degree murder in Minnesota also played a huge factor. In New York, the definition is slightly different. 


"The charge which Mr. Chauvin was convicted, the murder charge, is a felony murder, which we do have in new york. however, felony which leads to death in Minnesota includes an assault charge. New York does not include assault as a part of its felony murder," said Derohannesian. 


Pallozzi says the defense, in this case, had an uphill battle trying to prove that George Floyd died of natural causes. 

"The defense, they did their best but like you said 9 and half minutes on the guy's neck. He's unarmed and he's in handcuffs, there's no justifying that," said Pallozzi 


Both attorneys believe the criminal justice system worked. 

"I would say that it's real unfortunate in a case like this that the process had to work and that someone had to die. In this case, George Floyd had to become this symbol of a movement in order for this process to work," said Pallozzi. 

Both attorneys say the next big step is going to be sentencing. Chauvin could get anywhere from 12.5 to 40 years. Because Chauvin doesn't have a prior conviction, he could get the minimum. Pallozzi believes the attorneys are going to push for a larger sentence than 12.5 years. 
 


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