Kim Potter Sentencing Scheduled for Feb. 18, Attorney Offers Perspective
In two weeks, Hennepin County District Court Judge Regina Chu will determine the fate of Kim Potter. The former Brooklyn Center police officer was convicted in December of first and second-degree manslaughter for fatally shooting Daunte Wright during a traffic stop last April.
Under Minnesota statutes, Potter will be sentenced on the most serious charge of first-degree manslaughter. As for how Judge Chu will rule, CCX News asked a criminal defense attorney based in Rogers to provide perspective.
“In this particular case, a presumptive sentence is 86 months in prison,” said Matt Holson, a criminal defense attorney from Martin & Wagner Law Firm. “There is a range that the judge can sentence between the low end of the box of 74 [months] and the high end of the box is 103 [months]. For the judge to do something different than that, either to give more time or less time — or as the defense is asking to sentence Kim Potter to probation — the court has to find substantial and compelling reasons to treat this case differently than the average case.”
The prosecution says Potter should face a sentence above the state’s guidelines because she abused her authority as a police officer and endangered others when she fired her weapon.
The defense, meanwhile, argues that Potter should get a lower sentence, or possibly even probation.
Holson says it’s difficult to say whether the judge will issue a sentence above the sentencing guidelines, but he says it’s likely that Potter won’t receive probation.
“So there wasn’t anything legally requiring Judge Chu to take Kim Potter into custody,” Holson said, referring to the time of the verdict. “Judge Chu certainly could have said, ‘you know what, I’m going to leave things as is, come back on the sentencing date, you will appear out of custody, and I’m going to make a decision at that point, what I’m going to do from a sentencing perspective.’ The fact that she took Kim Potter into custody leads me to believe, as sort of a threshold decision, Judge Chu is likely to decide that she’s not going to grant a downward dispositional departure and place Kim Potter on probation.”
Judge Chu will sentence Potter on Feb. 18.