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So You Want to Be a Judge

It’s a rare attorney who has not at some time thought about what it would be like to be a judge, if not actually aspired to the role.  But few who have not already served on the bench understand what that entails, both personally and professionally, or the judicial selection process. If you are reading […]

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Offspring of Camelot’s Demise: The Legal Legacy of JFK’s Assassination

A myriad of changes in the law, spanning criminal procedure, civil rights and employment law among others, were triggered by the death of President Kennedy 50 years ago. Both federal and Minnesota law and practice reflect that legacy. Now that the splurge of media attention to the 50th anniversary of the death of President John […]

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Judicial Discretion: Melding Messy Facts and Pristine Law

Discretion is fundamental to the judicial system and its exercise is an integral part of the role of the judge.  An essential tool in the kit of every lawyer and judge, it enables application of what are often blunt instruments to the subtle nuances of the individual case.   The Lord Chancellor sings these lines […]

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Admissibility of Electronic Evidence: A New Evidentiary Frontier

Websites, social networks, email, text messaging, computer-generated or stored documents — these new communications technologies challenge evidentiary rules grounded in a more tangible former reality. Authentication of such evidence is perhaps the most difficult challenge as courts seek to determine its admissibility. Due to the enormous growth in electronic correspondence, electronic writings (also known as e-evidence) have […]

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Reducing Cost & Delay: Minnesota Courts Revise Civil Case Handling

Rule changes designed to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of civil case processing in Minnesota will soon take effect, with implications for filing, discovery, motion practice and case management, among other issues, in Minnesota civil litigation. On July 1, 2013, several significant changes take place in how the Minnesota courts handle civil litigation.  These changes […]

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Courthouse Security in Minnesota: Personal Safety & Public Space

Recent incidents in Minnesota courts and nationally suggest that norms for courtroom behavior are eroding, heightening the security risks facing judges, court personnel, and public visitors to the courthouse.  What response is necessary, who pays, and how can we reconcile the need for personal safety with the public character of the courts?   POP QUIZ […]

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The Judge Looks Bored: How to Keep the Judge Interested

For many attorneys, trying a case is one of the most engaging and stimulating experiences of their career.  Why then do judges and juries look bored?  And how can the attorney overcome such boredom without being inappropriate? It happens in almost every trial:  You look up from your notes and the judge looks bored.  You […]

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Training the New Judge

The learning curve for a new judge is steep and must be climbed quickly.  Fortunately, new judges in Hennepin County are offered a broad array of training experiences which include not only formal instruction but also mentoring, opportunities to observe, consultations with other judges, and practice conducting trials. The transition from lawyer to judge should […]

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Role Reversal: A Lawyer’s Jury Service

For obvious reasons, lawyers rarely are seated on juries. But one lawyer beat the odds and came away with insights that are instructive for all who ponder the dynamics of the civil jury. Hundreds of us quietly gathered in the massive waiting room on the basement level of the Hennepin County Government Center. Holding our […]

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Regulating Judges’ Public Comments

Judges’ free speech, public confidence in the judiciary, and the authority of the state Board on Judicial Standards are among the values in controversy in this exchange of perspectives on the limits that can be placed on judges’ public comments. A Critique Suppose District Court Judge Jay gave a talk at a Law Day conference.  […]

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