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Tag: ‘Criminal Law’

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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Felony Disenfranchisement: Why 5 Million Americans Can’t Vote This November

As the number of people being disenfranchised increases, the conduct classified as a felony expands, and research consistently shows that one who votes is less likely to reoffend, it is time to revisit both why and how Minnesota disenfranchises its citizens. On November 6, 2012, millions of Americans will wake up ready to participate in what will undoubtedly […]

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Motor Vehicle Stops: A Four-Step Analysis Every Attorney Should Know

Whenever a motion to suppress challenges the legality of a motor vehicle stop, a four-step constitutional analysis is in order.  This starts by determining whether the facts of your case implicate the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution. Regardless whether the person before the court is a criminal defendant seeking suppression of evidence or a […]

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Using Pseudonyms in Sexual Abuse Cases

Allegations of sexual abuse pose particular challenges for courts that must balance the public’s right to know what’s happening in the judicial system against the very real risk that victims may be  revictimized if not allowed to shield their identity.  With much attention paid to recent sexual abuse allegations and decades of reports involving clergy sexual abuse of minors, it is not […]

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When the Grass Turns Brown: Prosecuting Marijuana Mixtures in Minnesota

[The following story is a work of fiction, and any resemblance to actual events or persons is entirely coincidental. However, the legal problem presented in this story is based on a series of real cases that occurred in 2011 in Minnesota’s 7th Judicial District] “A felony?” Mary Jane Baker exclaimed. “A felony? Possession of marijuana […]

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Excessive Force Claims: Disentangling Constitutional Standards

Excessive force claims are subject to a number of different constitutional standards and sorting out which standards should apply can be confusing.  Errors in jury instructions may result in officers erroneously being found liable. Excessive force claims seem to be reported in the news constantly.1 There is a powerful reason why: the claims pique the […]

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Looking Back: A Century Without Executions

This spring marks the 100th anniversary of the abolition of capital punishment in Minnesota, a practice that has had a controversial and colorful history. The late comedian Pat Paulsen, who occasionally ran for president as a gag, was once asked whether he was in favor of capital punishment: “No,” the comic deadpanned, “Washington, D.C. has […]

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Padilla Motions

Effective Assistance of Counsel Where Pleas Mandate Deportation Effective Assistance of Counsel Where Pleas Mandate Deportation Padilla v. Kentucky expands the 6th Amendment right to counsel for noncitizens while clarifying that where a conviction would automatically lead to deportation the attorney is obliged so to advise the client. The authors explain that current practice and existing constraints on defense counsel […]

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Revisions to the Criminal Rules: A Plainspoken Legacy

Perceiving that Minnesota’s Criminal Rules were in some cases virtually incomprehensible, the advisory committee has proposed the first comprehensive revision in many years. Stylistic revisions and streamlining seek to make the Rules more user-friendly, while every effort has been made to ensure that no substantive changes are made without due deliberation. On April 22, 2009, […]

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Public Defenders: A Weakened But Indispensable Link

Minnesota’s indefatigable public defenders, worn down by staggering caseloads and forced to cut back provision of nonmandated services, are caught in the middle as budgetary pressures, demands for equal justice, calls for efficiency, and the need to preserve public safety bear down on the state’s criminal justice system. On a December day in Anoka County’s […]

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