Who is Judge Paul Magnuson? Jurist wants George Floyd-killer Derek Chauvin to be closer to family!

Chauvin agreed to a deal in which he would plead guilty to federal charges on the condition that he's transferred from state prison to a federal site

Who is Judge Paul Magnuson? Jurist wants George Floyd-killer Derek Chauvin to be closer to family!
Judge Paul Magnuson (L) sentenced Derek Chauvin (R) to 21 years in prison on Thursday, July 7. (OpenJurist, CSPAN)
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OAK PARK HEIGHTS, MINNESOTA: Former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin is moving from his tough Minnesota state prison cell to a more relaxed federal facility after he was sentenced on federal charges of violating George Floyd's civil rights.

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In December, 46-year-old Chauvin agreed to a plea deal in which he would plead guilty to the federal charges on the condition that he is transferred from state prison to a federal site, which would be safer and considerably more pleasant for him. Judge Paul A. Magnuson sentenced Chauvin to 21 years in prison on Thursday, July 7. It's worth noting that the nearest maximum-security federal prison is the United States Penitentiary in Thomson, Illinois, about 60 miles from his mother's Iowa residence.

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According to the Daily Mail, the federal prison would be a welcome change for Chauvin from the tough Minnesota Correctional Facility at Oak Park Heights, where he has been remanded in custody for the past 15 months. He reportedly spends 23 hours a day inside his jail cell, mostly for his own safety. Meanwhile, according to Thomson's prison manual, inmates have access to the library and are allowed to study and exercise outdoors. What's more, prison officials encourage hobbies and crafts for inmates.

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In this photo provided by the Minnesota Department of Corrections, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin poses for a booking photo after his conviction on April 21, 2021, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Minnesota Department of Corrections via Getty Images)

It's worth noting, however, that Chauvin won't be the prison's first famous inmate. Rapper Kodak Black spent a couple of months at the facility after being found guilty of filing incorrect paperwork for a handgun. The performer arrived at the prison in October 2020, but he was freed in January 2021 after his sentence was commuted by former President Donald J. Trump. That said, Thomson accommodates 785 male prisoners in the main facility. It also has a secondary site that is used as a minimum-security camp.

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Kodak Black spent a few months at the United States Penitentiary in Thomson, Illinois, where Chauvin is likely to serve his remaining sentence (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

The Bureau of Prisons is yet to confirm where Chauvin will serve his sentence, but any of their 122 facilities will be drastically better than the state prison Oak Park Heights where he's been detained since his April 2021 conviction on state charges. For the duration of his incarceration, Chauvin has been held in the administrative segregation wing, where, as mentioned, he's isolated for 23 hours a day. According to the facility's website, corrections officers are required to check on inmates every 30 minutes around the clock.

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Chauvin's cell contains a chrome toilet, a futon mattress, a small shower, and a sliver of a window to allow some light from the outside. Sources told ABC News that the 19-year veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department was assigned to administrative segregation for his own protection. Chauvin is far more likely to encounter inmates that he helped put behind bars in state prison, as compared to a federal facility.

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Who is Judge Paul Magnuson?

Born on February 9, 1937, Paul Arthur Magnuson is a Senior United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota. He entered judicial service on November 16, 1981, after being nominated by President Ronald Reagan. During his career, Magnuson has served on the Judicial Conference of the United States as a Member and Chair of the Bankruptcy Committee, and International Judicial Relations Committee, and a member of the Inter-Circuit Assignment Committee. He also served as a Member of the District Judges Education Committee at the Federal Judicial Center. Furthermore, Magnuson was also a longtime member of the Board of Directors of the Federal Judges Association.

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During Thursday's sentencing hearing, Judge Paul Magnuson said he would request Bureau of Prison officials to place Chauvin at a prison near his family, who live between Iowa and Minnesota. However, he acknowledged that judges have no say in where prison sentences are served. "It's dangerous to be an officer in any prison," former U.S. Attorney Tom Heffelfinger told ABC News. "It's even more dangerous in state prison because of the nature of the inmate population. There are gangs, for example. And police officers just don't do well there. Those risks are reduced in federal prison," he explained.

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