Tips & Traps
Bench & Bar of Minnesota is the official publication of the Minnesota State Bar Association.

Managing I-94 Complications

We recommend that international students, visitors, workers, investors and their family members print their electronic I-94 arrival and departure records shortly after they arrive in the U.S.  The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has now fully implemented its program to automate electronic I-94s at entry.  Every foreign student, visitor, worker, investor or their […]

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Evidentiary Rulings

Winning an appeal by arguing evidentiary error is exceedingly difficult—in part because rules for preserving an evidentiary ruling for appeal are not codified in one place—but here are five of the most important rules to follow to preserve an evidentiary ruling for appeal: 1. All evidentiary questions must first be presented to the trial court.  […]

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More than 30 states, including Minnesota, recognize the right of a defendant to raise as a defense that its underlying behavior was aimed at securing favorable action by a public body.  Designed to deter SLAPP (strategic litigation against public participation) suits, the Minnesota law that immunizes conduct directed to obtaining favorable government action (Minn. Stat. […]

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When a Reporter Calls

Move fast. Many reporters have deadlines more demanding than those of lawyers. It could be disastrous to wait a day or even a couple hours to return a reporter’s call. Buy time. Ask about the reporter’s deadline and ask her to respect your schedule. If the deadline is in an hour, ask for 15 minutes so you […]

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Association Dues Following Foreclosure

Lenders commonly overpay homeowners’ association assessments when they sell foreclosed property.  Foreclosing a first mortgage terminates the association’s lien for assessments arising prior to the date of the foreclosure sale. Under Minn. Stat. §515B.3-116(b) a new association lien equal to six months of assessments is imposed on the day following the last day of the […]

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Firearms Bans

A common misstep by criminal defense lawyers is to ignore the lifetime ban on firearms that results from conviction for misdemeanor crimes of violence (MCDV). 18 U.S.C. 922 (G)(9) prohibits any person who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence from owning or possessing firearms and ammunition (but interestingly, not including bows […]

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Unemployment Compensation

One obstacle that occasionally trips up applicants for unemployment compensation benefits is the obligation that they be “actively seeking suitable employment,” as required by Minn. Stat. §268.085, subd. 1(4).  The phrase “actively seeking,” defined as “being ready, willing, and able” to accept suitable employment, applies to all seekers of unemployment benefits, regardless of the reason […]

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Alford Pleas

In North Carolina v. Alford, 400 U.S. 25, 91 S.Ct. 160 (1970), the United States Supreme Court held that it was constitutional for a court to accept a defendant’s guilty plea, even though the defendant maintained his innocence, where the state demonstrated “a strong factual basis for the plea” and the defendant clearly expressed his […]

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Russian Citizens Beware

A new Russian Federation law, that went into effect on August 4, 2014, requires that Russian citizens, who also have lawful permanent residence or citizenship in another country, give notice to the Russian Migration Service, unless they fit into one of a few exceptions.  Legal guardians of Russian citizens who are minors or mentally handicapped […]

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Managing Email

If “Inbox Zero” sounds good in theory but you are too busy to spend time learning a full-on system for managing your email, here is a simple way to get your email under control. You don’t need to read books, watch a video, buy anything, download anything, or get a fancy email app. All you […]

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