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

Time off on Election Day

The upcoming elections on Tuesday, November 8 provide an opportune occasion to review the rights and obligations of employers and employees with respect to time off for voting. Employees in Minnesota are entitled to time off from work on Election Day. Under Minn. Stat. §204C.04, subd. 1, employers must permit those workers who are eligible […]

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Deportation proceedings

Aliens face substantial difficulty in deportation cases, known formally as “removal proceedings,” when the government seeks to oust them from this country. Some of the obstacles were reflected in recent rulings of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals and one by its Minnesota counterpart. Each immigrant lost the right to stay in this country under […]

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Beware the Lothenbach plea

Rule 26.01, subd. 4, of the Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure permits a criminal defendant to preserve the right to appeal a pretrial ruling, while avoiding an unnecessary contested trial, by entering what is generally referred to as a Lothenbach plea. The Minnesota Supreme Court recently cautioned the courts and criminal defense attorneys in their […]

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Supreme Court: Overheard while waiting for argument

Supreme Court Marshal Kim Ghilardi recently left the judicial branch to join the Minnesota County Attorneys Association. On occasion during her 11-year tenure, she would jot down the courtroom remarks of attorneys waiting for oral argument. She’s shared a few with me. You’ll quickly discern the common theme. “I’m nervous as hell.” “No water for […]

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Cameras in courtrooms

The implementation of the new cameras-in-the courtroom policy by the state courts is off to a slow start. Approved in August by the Supreme Court, the initiative went into effect in November. It removes some long-established restrictions on cameras and other video and audio recording devices in Minnesota state court proceedings, but their usage remains […]

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On the use of Esquire

What signifies knowing the Names, if you know not the Nature of Things? – Poor Richard’s Almanack The term “esquire” is a term of courtesy likely familiar to the reader of this page. It’s not as groovy as “Your Honor” or “Your Majesty” or “The Right Honourable This-or-That” or “Monsignor Fitz-Deuce-Poodle,” but few things are. […]

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Arbitration Appeals

Although described as a means of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), arbitration occasionally is a precursor to litigation. A pair of recent rulings in the federal and state courts reflects this tendency, and highlight some strategies and pitfalls for parties and their lawyers. Both cases upheld the arbitral awards in management-labor cases, one favorable to the […]

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Ground Zero for Overtime Compensation Disputes

Wage-and-hour claims constitute a rapidly growing genre of litigation, and this federal jurisdiction is becoming ground zero for it. A pair of recent rulings of the 8th Circuit, as well as another 8th Circuit case to be heard soon by the U.S. Supreme Court, reflect this trend as well as some peculiar aspects of it. […]

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Student Gets Schooled In Unemployment Compensation Law

As students join teachers and administrative personnel and staff in flocking back to public and private schools in Minnesota to begin the 2015-2016 academic year, they can learn from a recent ruling of the Minnesota Court of Appeals. In a mid-summer decision, the appellate court upheld denial of unemployment compensation benefits by the Department of […]

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Felony Sentencings & Probation Violation Hearings

THE ONE THING A JUDGE SHOULD NEVER SAY During a felony sentencing or probation violation hearing (PVH), judges may warn defendants that a violation of probation can have serious ramifications, but the court should never promise, announce or otherwise imply that the court will send the defendant to prison if he/she violates conditions of their […]

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