Did you know that on Cinco de Mayo, you are celebrating the Mexican Army’s defeat over the French at the Battle of Pueblo?! In reality, Cinco De Mayo has become a day to celebrate Mexican heritage, and for many, to consume margaritas. As many of you have learned the hard way, tequila can lead to some poor decision making. After...
As the jury heads into deliberations, one cannot help but wonder what legal standard is to be applied. How do you determine what is “reasonable?” Is there only one “reasonable” standard? The standard that is applied in police use of force incidents is known as the “reasonable officer” standard. This means that officer’s actions must be evaluated from the perspective...
In all jury trials, the general format is the same. First, there is jury selection and then opening statements where the Prosecution goes first, and the Defense follows. After opening statements, the Prosecution presents their side of the case. This is done by calling witnesses, taking their testimony, and introducing evidence. In the death of George Floyd case, also known...
As fans of The Office will recall, Jim Halpert once attempted to convince Dwight Schrute that Marijuana is a memory loss drug, meaning it erases your memories. If Jim was telling the truth and being honest with Dwight (a big “if”, we know) then it would make sense you forgot there was marijuana in your motor vehicle. Even if marijuana...
Many people, specifically Minnesotans, recall George Floyd’s death this last May. Nearly 10 months later, the criminal trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin, who is accused of causing George Floyd’s death, is underway. So, what is really going on in that trial? First, it is important to know what Mr. Chauvin has been charged with. Although the charges...
Right now, the State (prosecution) is presenting their case in chief. This means they call witnesses to testify and present evidence. When a side calls a witness, that side must “direct examine” the witness by asking open-ended questions. Once that side has no further questions, the other side gets to “cross-examine” the witness. During cross-examination, attorneys are allowed to ask...
In movies, books, television shows, and conversations with friends, the words “jail” and “prison” seem to be used interchangeably, but they are far from the same. Jails and prisons are different establishments that serve different purposes in the criminal justice system. Jails: Jails are smaller than prisons and are under the jurisdiction of the specific city, county, or district within...
Have you ever gone into a store and saw a sign indicating that no guns are allowed on the premises? If you have a handgun permit you may wonder what effect this sign has on your ability to carry a concealed weapon within that store. In Minnesota, “no gun” signs do not have the force of law, unless they are...
The word “conspiracy” is often thrown around in both criminal law and popular culture. People could be referencing anything from the moon landing to organized crime when they chat about conspiracies. Despite “conspiracy” being widely used, in criminal law at the state level, individuals are often shocked to be charged as a part of a criminal conspiracy. They often wonder...
You’ve been convicted or pled guilty to a crime and have a date scheduled to get sentenced. In your upcoming sentencing hearing, has the Court ordered a “PSI”? The court may, and sometimes must, order what is called a presentence investigation or PSI (Minnesota Statutes § 609.115). A PSI is conducted by a probation officer, or a social worker or...
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