June 05, 2019 10:56 PM
Two days before Mohamed Noor is to be sentenced, attorneys for the former Minneapolis police officer convicted in the fatal shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond have asked a judge to consider an unusual sentence that would only have Noor locked up for two weeks a year.
In their memorandum in support of a "mitigated sentencing departure," attorneys Thomas Plunkett and Peter Wold asked the court to consider Noor's lack of a criminal history, remorse and community support.
In the first of two proposed sentences, the attorneys asked for no prison time, instead requiring Noor to turn himself in to the Hennepin County workhouse for one week on the anniversary of Damond's death in July, and one more week on her birthday in April.
"This sentence honors the memory of Ms. Ruszczyk and allows Mr. Noor to continue to serve the city," the attorneys wrote.
Steve Schleicher is a former state and federal prosecutor and not involved in this case. Schleicher, now with Maslon LLP, said this is "probably the most difficult decision for a judge, on balance the court knows this is a serious offense and understands the magnitude of the offense."
The memo also included 44 letters in support of Noor, written by family members, police officers, members of the public and even State Rep. Hodan Hassan.
"He displays compassion and commitment to the betterment of our community," Hassan wrote. "His love for his family plays an important role guiding his life. Not to mention his commitment to public safety and the well-being of all communities."
A letter from Noor's ex-wife Salma Hussein described his love and dedication to their son.
"I know Mohamed better than many, and I know that the pain he has been feeling over the last two years is unimaginable," Hussein wrote.
Another letter submitted to the court came from a woman who said Noor responded to her 911 call after a car accident, a police officer with Metro Transit and Noor's commanding officer Lt. Dan May - who responded to the scene when Damond was shot in July 2017.
"He immediately tried to save her," May wrote. "This is what truly defines Mohamed Noor, not the unfortunate circumstances that happened in seconds on July 15th, 2017."
"Unfortunately, he will forever be defined by that incident."
Schleicher said when considering punishment, "each case turns on its own unique facts and it's the job of the judge to take a look at all of the circumstances of the offense itself and the personal characteristics of the defendant."
When reached for comment about the defense filing Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Hennepin County Attorney's Office said prosecutors would respond in court Friday.
Eric Rasmussen & Beth McDonough
Updated: June 05, 2019 10:56 PM
Created: June 05, 2019 06:55 PM
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