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November 2014 Archives

Complexities arise when charges stack up

Two women in another state were able to avoid spending the rest of their lives in prison when a jury could not come to a decision on nine of the 59 counts they were facing. Included in the charges were allegations of dissuading witnesses and conspiracy. They were, however, found guilty on the 50 other counts.

What you need to know about searches in Minnesota

It can be extremely scary, invasive and frustrating to have your home, car or other personal property searched by authorities. You can also feel very helpless standing by and watching them go through everything. In this situation, it can be crucial to remember that you have rights that must be protected before, during and after a search, and one of these rights is to contact an attorney.

Are Our Rights for Proper Search Warrants in Jeopardy?

For many years the Minnesota Supreme Court has refused to recognize the "Good Faith" exception to the requirement that search warrants must be supported by probable cause set forth in the affidavit that is submitted to the Judge that issues the search warrant. The federal courts and a number of state courts have recognized that judicially constructed exception to the Fourth Amendment's protection against unlawful search and seizures. Stand by: Justice Stras is working on doing away with that right that all of us have in this state. The right to have a proper warrant issued before we can have our homes searched. He has asked enough questions and propounded enough hypotheticals to signal his feelings. He wants the protection done away with. Like those Supreme Court Justices that he is a student of, e.g. Thomas, Scalia and Alito, he apparently believes that if a cop thinks his warrant is proper, it doesn't matter if it is not proper, the evidence seized should be able to be used. The Court, as currently constituted, is, by my handicapping, 8 to 5 to agree with the opinion that I predict is fulminating. We, who labor in these fields of representing those accused of crime, are used to a rather draconian approach that has infected our Court in recent years since we have lost a number of Judges that counted themselves as protectors of our constitutional rights. We can only hope the Dayton appointees carry a copy of the Constitution around in their back pocket, like I do. I doubt it but, I can hope, Can't I?

When tax violations lead to criminal charges

The federal and state governments have vested interests in convicting people of tax crimes. By doing so, they can issue fines, order restitution and send a message to others that these types of violations can be grounds for legal action. Tax violations can be complicated, which is why government and law enforcement agencies spare little expense when it comes to investigating and attempting to convict someone; and they want to be sure their efforts pay off.

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