What does a Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer do?

Best Minnesota Probation & Parole Violation Lawyer

So, what is a Criminal Defense Lawyer doing in your case?  What is going on behind the scenes in his/her office? 

A Criminal Defense Lawyer usually becomes a criminal defense lawyer because they are interested in practicing in that area.  Why would anyone want to become a criminal defense lawyer?  Well, that is a good question.  First, a criminal defense lawyer’s practice involves a tremendous amount of litigation around Constitutional rights.  So, an interest in protecting Constitutional rights is probably a strong reason a person became a criminal defense lawyer.  Another reason is that he/she is probably mercy gifted:  meaning, God made them in such a way that they naturally have mercy on their clients and want to help them.  So, after that, what do they do?

Well, first of all, he/she gets a telephone call from you.  The initial call is called a Free Consultation.  This call usually addresses the name of the person who has been charged with a crime.  The name is required because lawyers must do conflict of interest checks, and not represent someone who has a conflict with a current or former client.  For the average criminal case, the Criminal Defense Lawyer will also need to find out what the charges are, what county, whether it is a misdemeanor gross misdemeanor or felony, when the next court date is, the date of birth of the person (because the Clerk of Court requires the date of birth before they will discuss the case), whether the person has any prior criminal convictions, and very helpful, the case number.  It will be determined that the person needs a Criminal Defense Lawyer (not, for example, a family law lawyer), in the State of Minnesota, and not another state, because lawyers are licensed by state and can only practice in the state in which they are licensed.  The Criminal Lawyer will then provide a quote—the amount of money that representation for that case will cost.  Some lawyers also provide payment plans.  There is usually an abbreviated discussion of what occurred, that gave rise to the criminal charges.  The Criminal Defense Lawyer may also provide some background information on their experience.  If the person decides to hire the Criminal Defense Lawyer, then an appointment will be scheduled for an Intake.

An Intake will usually take about 1 to 3 hours.  A lot of lawyers only take about 20 minutes; Ms. Torgerson, with a standard of excellence, takes about 1 to 3 hours to obtain the background information and information regarding the case, which is necessary to adequately represent someone.  The Criminal Defense Lawyer and the client will also go over the written Retainer Agreement, and collect payment. 

The Criminal Defense Lawyer will then essentially begin preparing for a jury trial.  Misdemeanor cases typically take about 6 months to resolve; felony cases will take about 12 months to resolve.  Often, clients think there is only 1 court date per case.  Au contraire!  Most cases will involve about 3 to 12 court date, over the span of about a year.  And, it is very important to remain patient to resolve your case.  Better outcomes usually result over a longer time.  It is a bad idea to try and resolve a court date quickly.  The prosecutor and courts would love for you to quickly enter and guilty plea and go away; this results in a permanent criminal conviction, which usually many years later, the person still very much regrets.  Criminal convictions can have long term, broad, unforeseen consequences, which may affect employment, the ability to possess firearms, and housing opportunities.  Lynne Torgerson always has an eye on how a particular case could affect her client’s future, and works to obtain results which are the least harmful to her client’s future.

So, after a Criminal Defense Lawyer is hired, the lawyer will draft, file and serve a formal request for discovery on the prosecutor.  This is so the prosecution will send the Criminal Defense Lawyer the police reports, witness statements, medical records, photographs, audio recordings, video recordings, test results, and the like.  Usually, all of this discovery costs money.  The prosecutors usually charge around $20 for police reports, and then they also charge for each audio recording, video recording, DVD, CD, flash drive, etc.  And, usually, the electronic discovery sent by the prosecution does not work.  So, then a request for new electronic discovery is made, and this procedure usually causes the case to drag out longer for weeks and/or months. 

After the discovery is received, it is reviewed by the Criminal Defense Lawyer.  Copies of the reports are also usually sent to the client.

During representation, the Criminal Defense Lawyer is looking for factual defenses, and, legal defenses.  During the proceeding, usually after about the 3rd court date, offers of settlement also start to be exchanged.  It is up to the defendant to decide whether or not he/she wants to accept or reject an offer, and, whether or not to make an offer, whether or not to plead guilty, and whether to go to trial, and whether to testify at trial or not.  If a settlement agreement is reached, then at the next court date, the defendant would waive his rights to a jury trial and to a pretrial evidentiary hearing which determines the admissibility of evidence, and, then enter a guilty plea.

If a settlement agreement is not reached, then the case is scheduled for a contested omnibus hearing.  This hearing determines the admissibility of evidence, such as whether the defendant’s statements are admissible, whether the evidence seized pursuant to a search is admissible.  This hearing usually litigates whether or not the evidence was obtained in a Constitutional fashion.  If not, the evidence is inadmissible.  These are the most common issues litigated at a contested omnibus hearing.  A motion to dismiss for a lack of probable cause may also be brought where the State’s case is weak; while it is possible to sometimes win such a motion, it is extremely rare.

After the contested omnibus hearing, a settlement conference or pretrial conference will be scheduled.  This is usually the last court date before an actual jury trial begins.  So, there is one last ditch effort to resolve the case pursuant to an agreement, before the case actually goes to a jury trial.

If the case does not settle, the case is scheduled for a jury trial.  At a jury trial, for a misdemeanor, there are 6 jurors.  For a felony jury trial, there are 12 jurors.  Most trials last about 3 to 5 days.  The first morning of trial usually involves motions in limine, to determine the other non-constitutional evidentiary issues.  After the motions in limine, jury selection is conducted.  Each party has a number of peremptory strikes by which they can eliminate a juror for any reason.  Usually, there are very biased people that need to be easily removed.  For the record, each party will always want more peremptory strikes than they are allotted.

After jury selection, the jury is sworn and the judge usually reads some preliminary jury instructions.  Then, the prosecutor will give an opening statement.  After, the Criminal Defense Lawyer will give an opening statement.  Then, the prosecutor calls all of its witnesses and has each of its witnesses testify.  The Criminal Defense Lawyer gets to question each witness, after the witness is questioned by the prosecution.  This is called the right of confrontation.  After the State presents its case, the defendant puts on his/her case, or simply rests.  The defendant has the right to subpoena witnesses into court, to force a witness to testify on his/her behalf.  This also is a constitutional right.  Then, the defendant has the right to testify, or, the right to remain silent.  This also is a constitutional right.  The decision of whether or not to testify is up to the client, not the lawyer.  However, strategy of trial is up to the lawyer; the lawyer’s decision. 

Each side, the prosecution first, makes a Closing Argument.  A closing argument is where the lawyer argues the facts and the law to the jury.  Then, the Criminal Defense Lawyer makes a Closing Argument.  Then, unfairly, under Minnesota law, the prosecution gets to make a rebuttal argument to the jury.  The Criminal Defense Lawyer does not get a second shot.

After closing arguments, the trial judge will read the final jury instructions to the jury.  https://mn.gov/law-library/how-do-i-find/jury-instructions.jspThis instructs the jury on the law.  The jury is the decider of the facts.  The jury then is brought to a Jury Room, where they deliberate in secrecy.  When they come to a unanimous decision, the Jury Foreman informs the Bailiff.  The Bailiff informs the judge’s chambers that the jury has come to a verdict.  The judge’s Clerk then calls the attorneys and parties and instructs them to return to the courthouse.

When everyone has returned to the courtroom, the jury is brought into the courtroom.  The Jury Foreman then hands the Bailiff the written Verdict form, the Bailiff hands the Verdict to the Clerk, the Clerk hands the Verdict to the Judge, the Judge reads the Verdict, the Judge hands the Verdict back to the Clerk, and then the Clerk reads out loud the caption of the case, such as In case of State of Minnesota versus Jack Smith, case number 12-CR-22-3456, on count 1 charging the defendant with ABC Crime, we the Jury find the defendant NOT GUILTY or GUILTY.  For the record, the process is agonizing. 

Sometimes, the jury finds the defendant guilty.  Sometimes, the jury finds the defendant not guilty. 

In one jury trial, the jury found Ms. Torgerson’s client not guilty, after a 1 week long trial.  Essentially, her client’s future was on the line.  He was a young man, in his mid 20s.  After the jury rendered its Verdict of Not Guilty, a couple of the jurors felt so bad for her client that they walked over to him and shook his hand.  Evidently, they felt the accusations were unjust.  Ms. Torgerson’s client, and his father, we so relieved.  So, was Ms. Torgerson.

At the beginning of a case, no one knows what the outcome is going to be.  So often, clients want to know the odds.  Every case really is so unique.  It really is impossible to predict.  It becomes even more unpredictable when a case goes to trial, and people start testifying.  One never knows what is going to come out of people’s mouths.  In a trial, there is always some fantastic surprise!  A Criminal Defense Lawyer can take a fine tooth comb to the case, and turn over every rock:  there is always some unknown!  Some hidden piece of evidence . . .

Even so, it is always best if some sort of settlement agreement can be reached.  When a case goes to trial, the stakes get pretty high, pretty quick.  At trial, a person either wins, or loses.  And, if a person loses, then sentencing is completely up to the judge; there is no pre-determined agreement of the parties, so that everyone knows what the outcome will be.

Sometimes however, the parties simply do not agree.  The parties are so far apart, that there is no way to agree.  That is when the cases end up going to a jury trial.  And, jury trials are a crucible.  There is nothing like a jury trial.  They are intense.  The stakes are high.  Interestingly, they are always intense for everyone involved:  the defendant, the judge, the prosecutor, the Criminal Defense Lawyer, the witnesses.  No one is bored. 

So, if you want an experienced, expert Criminal Defense Lawyer, who knows what she is doing and does it well:  Call Lynne Torgerson Criminal Defense Attorney at (612) 339-5073.  She has been getting good results for her clients over 30 years.  Trustworthy.  Dependable.  Excellent.

What levels of assault are there under Minnesota law?

Minneapolis Criminal Appeals Attorney

In the State of Minnesota, generally, there are five (5) levels of assault, and, domestic assault. An assault is defined as doing an act with intent to cause fear in another of immediate bodily harm or death, or intentionally inflicting bodily harm upon another. A domestic assault case is an assault case typically involving a romantic partner.

In Minnesota, the five (5) levels, from least severe, to most severe, include fifth degree misdemeanor assault. This usually involves a fist fight, where someone is slapped or bruising occurs. There is an important distinction in misdemeanor 5th degree assault. Sometimes, people just do an act with the intent to cause fear in another of immediate bodily harm. This typically involves lesser consequences. The other type of 5th degree assault is where the person actually inflicts some type of bodily harm. The remainder of the levels are all felonies. Fourth (4th) degree assault is a felony, and usually involves an assault against a law enforcement officer or a correctional officer. Third degree assault is a felony, and usually involves a broken bone. Second (2nd) degree assault is a felony, and usually involves the use of a dangerous weapon. A dangerous weapon usually involves a firearm, a knife, or a motor vehicle. First (1st) degree assault is the most severe, and usually involves the infliction of injuries which are life threatening.

Typically, the extent of injuries inflicted determined the severity level of the offense. These are also defined by statutes. “Bodily harm” means physical pain or injury, illness, or any impairment of physical condition. “Substantial bodily harm,” this is involved in felony 3rd degree assault, is defined as bodily injury which involves a temporary but substantial disfigurement, or which causes a temporary but substantial loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ, or which cause a fracture of any bodily member. “Great bodily harm,” which is involved in 1st degree assault, means bodily injury which creates a high probability of death, or which causes serious permanent disfigurement, or which causes a permanent or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or roan or other serious bodily harm.

For a misdemeanor, the maximum punishment is up to $1000.00 fine and 90 days in jail. The punishment for a felony is one year and one day in prison or longer.

If you or a loved one is charged with a crime, you need to hire a Top Criminal Defense Lawyer such as Lynne Torgerson as soon as possible. Your lawyer needs as much time as possible to work on the case. Top Criminal Defense Lawyer Lynne Torgerson has been practicing in excess of 30 years. Experience makes a difference. Contact Lynne Torgerson today at (612) 339-5073.

Minneapolis Criminal Appeals Attorney

Threats violence child endangerment 312

Top Assault Attorney Minneapolis Minnesota

CASE LAW UPDATE:  Whether the evidence was sufficient for defendant’s threats of violence conviction?

Defendant was convicted of threats of violence against his daughter, and, his son.  Defendant was also convicted of child endangerment against his daughter, and, his son.  Defendant was sentenced on both the threats of violence convictions and child endangerment convictions.  Defendant appealed his convictions and sentences.  On appeal, defendant argued that (1) his convictions for threats of violence must be reversed on the grounds of  insufficient evidence; and (2) that his convictions for threats of violence and child endangerment as to his two children arose out of single behavioral incident, and that therefore, the child endangerment sentences must be vacated under Minnesota Statute §609.035.

Section 609.035 of the Minnesota Statutes is known as the double jeopardy statute.  Generally, it prevents a defendant from being punished twice for the same crime.

Historically, the crime of “threats of violence,” was called “terroristic threats.”  More recently, there has been an affirmative effort to re-name this crime “threats of violence,” so that people charged or convicted of this crime will not be confused with having engaged in terrorism related criminal activity.  Generally speaking, threats of violence can be a threat to commit a crime of violence, or, a threat made in disregard of this risk of causing a person terror.

Noting that defendant threatened to shoot the gas meter and mentioned a bomb, the Minnesota Court of Appeals concluded that the evidence was sufficient for threats of violence against his daughter, but given the lack of evidence as to what his four hear old son heard, said conviction must be vacated.  Further, the threats of violence and child endangerment offenses arose out of single behavioral incident whereby the latter conviction against his daughter must be vacated.

State v. Bolster, A21-0373, Dakota County.

Minneapolis Criminal Defense Lawyer Lynne Torgerson was not attorney of record in this case.

Interference with privacy while sleeping 314

CASE LAW UPDATE:  Whether defendant did not violate the interference with privacy statute when he used his phone to video his girlfriend naked without her consent?

The defendant used his cell phone to videotape his girlfriend while naked without her consent.  Defendant admitted to using his cell hone to record a woman while she was naked in her bed without her consent, and knowing that she likely would not have consented.  He was convicted of violating the interference with privacy statute, §609.746, subd. 1(b).  He appealed.  The question in this appeal was not whether defendant’s conduct was wrong, but instead, whether the statute defendant was found guilty of violating, Minnesota Statute secion 609.746, subdivision 1 (b), covers his conduct.  More specifically, whether the statutory requirement that an indvididual “use[] any device for . . . reocrding . . . through the window or any other aperture of a house or place of dwelling of another” is satisfied when a person surreptitiously records another person in the same room with a cell phone camera.

The Minnesota Supreme Court held that defendant did not violate the statute when he used a cell phone camera to record a woman without her consent while in the same room with her, because it did not meet the statutory requirement of using a recording device through the window or any other aperture of a house or place of dwelling.

Commentary:  A very interesting case.  So, Ladies and gentlemen beware!  Although clearly wrong, under this case, a person can secretly videotape you with their cell phone, when you are not dressed, and not be violating this statute.  Although generally we definitely have way too many laws, rules, and criminal laws, it appears that a statute is needed criminalizing secret videotaping of another, without their consent, when they are naked.

State v. McReynolds, A20-1435, Minnesota Supreme Court.

Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer Lynne Torgerson was not attorney of record in this case.

Pornography between children juveniles criminality 544

CASE LAW UPDATE:  Whether pornography between children juveniles violates the law?

Juvenile defendant was adjudicated delinquent for disseminating and attempting to aid and abet the dissemination of pornographic work, fifth degree criminal sexual conduct, and indecent exposure.  Juvenile child defendant had sent multiple nude pictures of himself to a 13 years old victim, and asked the victim to send nude pictures of herself.  Juvenile defendant had done so via Snapchat.  Defendant appealed.  On appeal, defendant argued that (1) the pornographic work statute does not prohibit the act of a juvenile disseminating a pornographic picture of themselves; and therefore the two (2) dissemination of pornographic work adjudications should be reversed; (2) the trial court erred by failing to obtain juvenile defendant’s person waiver of his right to testify and, therefore, all adjudications should be reversed; (3) the trial court erred by ordering juvenile defendant to comply with the predatory offender registration statute; and (4) the trial court erred by entering adjudications for 5th degree criminal sexual conduct and an included offense of indecent exposure, and therefore, one adjudication should be reversed.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals held that (1) the plain language of the pornographic work statute prohibits juveniles from creating and sending pornographic work of themselves; (2) the trial court did not err by failing to obtain juvenile defendant’s personal waiver of his right to testify; (3) ordering juvenile defendant to comply with the predatory offender registration statute was proper; (4) because indecent exposure is an included offense of 5th degree criminal sexual conduct, the trial court erred by entering adjudications for both offenses.  Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.

In re Welfare of J.C.L., A21-1018, Redwood County.

Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer Lynne Torgerson was not attorney of record in this case.

Commentary:

In this case the juvenile defendant raised an interesting legal issue:  whether the criminal child pornographic work statute applied to child engaging in sending pornographic work to each other.

In Minnesota, the law distinguishes between crimes that are committed by children versus adults.  There is a general rule that crimes committed by children should be handled in the best interests of child.  In contrast, for crimes committed by adults, there are four (4) primary purposes of the law:  (1) to punish; (2) to deter people from committing crimes; (2) to rehabilitate, so that people will not continue to commit crimes; (3) to incapacitate, whereby people are locked up in a prison, so that they are not able to commit crimes.  In addition, another policy of juvenile law is that the records of offenses of juveniles are confidential, so that mistakes made by children do not haunt them into their adult lives.

A typical child pornography case involves an adult possessing child pornography.  In the State courts, these cases are usually punished by sentencing the defendant to prison for a term of years.  In federal court, the sentences are typically much longer, usually running 20 to 40 years.

So, in this case, the people involved, both the offender, and the victim, were children.  So, the juvenile defendant raised the issue of whether the legislature actually intended the child pornography criminal statute to be applied against children.  The Minnesota Court of Appeals held that it did.  It is probably likely that this case will be appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court, in order to finally determine the issue.

Knowledge of prohibited person status 597

CASE LAW UPDATE:  Was there sufficient evidence to establish that defendant knew he was a prohibited person?    

Defendant was convicted of illegal possession of a firearm.  He appealed.  On appeal, he argued that he did not know he was a prohibited person.  There was sufficient evidence that the defendant knew he possessed a firearm while he was subject to a no contact order involving an intimate partner.  Accordingly, defendant qualified as a prohibited person under the statute.  Affirmed.

This is a federal case.   There are two jurisdictions where a person can be charged with unlawful possession of a firearm.  The first is in State court.  This is the most common.  The second is federal court.  The sentences in federal court for crimes is usually much more severe than in state court.

Interestingly in this case, defendant had not been previously convicted of a felony, where a person becomes prohibited from possessing firearms.  Herein, in an unusual case, defendant became prohibited from possessing firearms because he was subject to a no contact order.  The case does not specify whether it was a no contact order in a criminal case, a DANCO, which is a domestic assault no contact order, a harassment restraining order, or an order for protection.  In Minnesota, if a person violates a DANCO, a domestic assault no contact order, which was issued in a State court, then a new criminal charge can be brought against a defendant, in addition to whatever charges the defendant was facing in the original criminal case.  Generally, under federal law, when a person is subject to an order for protection, which involves a romantic partner, then a person becomes prohibited from possessing a firearm.  This is what happened in this case.  Then, evidently, the law required that it be proven that defendant knew he was prohibited from possessing a firearm because of the issuance of a no contact order.

In this case, defendant was originally charged criminal with being a prohibited person in unlawful possession of a firearm.  The original charges were brought in the trial court.  In federal court, the trial court is called a District Court.  In State court, the trial court is just called a trial court.  In the federal court system, there are three levels of courts.  The first is the District Court.  The next level in Minnesota is the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.  The next final level is the United States Supreme Court.  The District Court is the level where a trial to a jury would occur, and, where guilt or innocence is determined.  If a person is convicted by a jury, and if a defendant does not believe the conviction is valid for some reason, the the defendant can appeal to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.  That is what the defendant did in this case.  He appealed to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.  As for attorney fees, there would be attorney fees charged at the District Court level.  And, if a person wanted to appeal, there would be additional attorney fees charged for an appeal.  In this case, defendant argued that the evidence was sufficient to prove he had knowledge of his prohibited status.  The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in this case concluded that the defendant did know of his prohibited status, and, that the government proved up that evidence.  The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals therefore upheld defendant’s conviction.

United States v. Marin, 21-1016, Benton, J.  Appealed from United States District Court, Southern District of Iowa.

Minneapolis Criminal Defense Lawyer Lynne Torgerson was not attorney of record in this case.

Methamphetamine lab restitution clean up 355

CASE LAW UPDATE:  Whether a District Court has the authority to order restitution for the clean up costs for a methamphetamine lab?    

Defendant was convicted of possession and manufacturing of methamphetamine.

Manufacturing of methamphetamine typically involves a location where a defendant makes methamphetamine.  Making methamphetamine involves purchasing various chemicals and then  heating and cooking them, whereby they develop into methamphetamine.  They are then usually sold in large amounts to a middle person, who then sells them to a lower person, which lower person then sells them to individual users.  The place of manufacture or cooking of methamphetamine can usually be rather dangerous, and  there is is usually a risk of the building in which they are cooked blowing up.  Also, the cooking process can leave a high amount of toxic chemicals in the air and at the location, which thereafter needs sensitive and extensive clean up.  Therefore, to clean up a former methamphetamine lab can be expensive.  Hence, the issue of restitution can arise in a criminal case involving the manufacture of methamphetamine.

Defendant appealed his sentence.  The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a District Court has the authority to order restitution for the clean up costs for a methamphetamine lab.

The issue of restitution is typically determined after conviction and sentencing.  The State’s prosecutor, in Minnesota, known as the County Attorney, will file a request for restitution.  The State will often say the amount of restitution it is seeking the the motion seeking restitution.  The defendant then has these opportunity to challenge the amount of restitution sought.  If the amount is not challenged, then usually the amount of restitution becomes part of the defendant’s conditions of probation:  he is given an allotted amount of time to pay the restitution owed.  If the defendant challenges the amount sought by the State, then the Court will hold a contested restitution hearing to determine the amount of restitution the defendant will be ordered to pay.

United States v. Sarchett, 21-3803, per curiam.  Appealed from United States District Court, Northern District of Iowa.

Minneapolis Criminal Defense Lawyer Lynne Torgerson was not attorney of record in this case.

Threats assault federal official 220

CASE LAW UPDATE:  Whether the trial court did not err in its sentence of defendant on threats to assault and murder a federal official?   

Defendant pleaded guilty to threatening to assault and murder a federal official in federal court.  It may be noted that generally speaking, the more serious cases are prosecuted in federal court; additionally, the sentences in federal court are generally much longer than those in state court.  He was sentenced.  Defendant appealed his sentence.  Defendant argued his sentence and special conditions of supervised release were substantively unreasonable.  The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the above Guidelines sentence was substantively reasonable given defendant’s persistent threats, and, his efforts to recruit others to commit murders.  Additionally, the two special conditions ofrequiring that he participate in a substance abuse program, and, that he receive mental health treatment, were proper, because the record adequately supported the conditions.  A general rule of thumb is that pursuant to due process of law, conditions of a sentence should be related to the underlying criminal conduct.  Additionally, if there are aggravating circumstances in a case, that will support a longer prison sentence.  Affirmed.

United States v. Jackson, 21-1744, per curiam.  Appealed from United States District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas.

Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer Lynne Torgerson was not attorney of record in this case.

Physical inability to test 269

CASE LAW UPDATE:  Whether defendant met his burden of proving physical inability to test?

Defendant challenged the implied consent revocation of his drivers license, following a DWI.  There are two (2) cases in every single DWI case.  And, by the way, DWI and DUI are the same thing.  In a DWI case, there is a criminal case, where the primary issues are:  (1) whether the defendant will be convicted of anything, and if so, what; (2) will there be any jail time? (3) fine; and (4) length and terms of probation.  Frequently, in a DWI DUI case, a defendant will be required to obtain a chemical use assessment and follow recommendations, and, abstain from using alcohol, and not drive without a valid license and insurance.  In every DWI DUI case, there is also a civil implied consent case, where the issue is usually over whether the defendant’s drivers license will be revoked.  A filing fee must be paid, and the trial is to a court, not a jury.  On appeal, defendant argued that the trial court erred by asking questions during the hearing and that he satisfied his burden of proof by presenting sufficient evidence of his physical inability to test.  The Minnesota Court of Appeals concluded that the trial court did not commit reversible error by inquiring about defendant’s prior DWI charges during the implied consent hearing, and, did not clearly err in finding that defendant failed to meet his burden of proving the affirmative defense of physical inability.  Affirmed.

Jackson v. Comm’r of Pub. Safety, A21-0716, Ramsey County.

Minneapolis Criminal Defense Lawyer Lynne Torgerson was not attorney of record in this case.

Zoom Right of Confrontation Constitution 211

CASE LAW UPDATE:  Whether allowing a police officer to testify via Zoom did not violate defendant’s 6th Amendment right of confrontation when there was a known exposure to COVID, as opposed to a general public concern?

The issue is whether defendant’s 6th Amendment right of confrontation was violated when the police officer, who was in quarantine due to a known exposure to COVID, was allowed to testify via Zoom?  The Minnesota Court of Appeals held that although the 6th Amendment right of confrontation was implicated, it was not violated by allowing the police officer to testify via Zoom, where he was in quarantine due to a known exposure to COVID.  In contrast, where there is merely a generalized concern regarding the COVID pandemic such does not sufficiently further an important public policy so as to permit dispensing with a criminal defendant’s right to confront a witness face to face in court.

State v. Tate, A21-0359, Becker County.

Minneapolis Criminal Defense Lawyer Lynne Torgerson was not attorney of record in this case.

COMMENTARY:  very bad policy.  They cannot start making exceptions like this to the 6th Amendment right of confrontation.  They should have continued the trial until the officer was out of quarantine.  We cannot fundamentally change Constitutional rights because of COVID.