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Agent Joe Joswiak Assaults Driver Anthony Promvongsa

Recently released is the the dashcam video from the Worthington Police Department of Agent Joe Joswiak of the Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force and his assault on Anthony Promvongsa, a driver.   An off duty police officer had called in  to his buddies regarding Mr. Promvongsa’s “erratic driving.”  While this may have warranted an investigatory stop and a simple interrogation or citation, apparently road rage is not simply a problem for civilians.   The assisting, relatively calm officer is Timothy Gaul, a Sargent with the Worthington Police Department.  Sargent Gaul himself as been previously accused of excessive force.   That matter was eventually settled in exchange for dropping all claims.   Sargent Gaul oversees Use of Force operations for the department.   Mr. Promvongsa was actually charged with assault on an officer and resisting arrest.  Whatever can be said of the recent Yanez verdict, at least Yanez was charged and tried for the crime.   He is also no longer a police officer.  It’s time to bring brutal officers to justice, even if that means a trial is difficult.   Mr. Yanez is one of several officers charged with crimes this year. Cutting to the chase, contact the Nobles County Attorney’s Office today and demand this officer be removed and investigated for assault. Prairie Justice Center 1530 Airport Rd. Suite 400 P.O. Box 337 Worthington, MN 56187 (507) 295-5298 (p) (507) 372-8439 (f) countyattorney@co.nobles.mn.us     Agent Joe Joswiak Assaults Driver Anthony Promvongsa was last modified: June 23rd, 2017 by Alex DeMarco

St. Paul Criminal Defense Attorney Challenges SANE Exam

Resolving “He said, She said” with Junk Science, the terrifying unchecked testimony of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners. Alex DeMarco, a frequent Criminal Defense Attorney in Dakota County, had the opportunity and challenge of handling a criminal sexual conduct case in Dakota County recently.   The matter was charged out in 2014.  Alex DeMarco pushed it to trial three times, each time it being continued by other cases that were older or involved clients in custody.  On the third trial setting, the state dismissed the 3rd Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct case, and recharged it as a criminal sexual conduct in the first degree.  This was because, on the day of trial, over a year after his client was arrested, the state suddenly revealed the alleged “victim” had recorded her own sexual assault.   The State’s motion to amend the complaint was denied.   The State dismissed and re-filed, because the law now holds that a prosecutor can do so out of convenience and bad faith.   There is zero constraint on the state’s charging decision thanks to a recent Minnesota Supreme Court Opinion. Despite it being recharged to the highest degree possible, Alex DeMarco pushed it through to trial yet again.   Between the dismissed file and the new file, Alex DeMarco drafted over 400 pages of motions and memorandum and set the case up for trial.  That included overcoming the so-called “rape shield” law  , moving to suppress the statement of the defendant, and, important to this article, challenging the validity and limiting the testimony of a strange breed of State Expert called a “Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner.” Ok that seemed like a lot of jargon, and we know the part that leaped out at you.   “But Alex, the victim recorded her own sexual assault.  The victim was heard saying “no, stop” several times.   What would you try that case?”  Answer:   Because who the heck records their own sexual assault?  Think about it.  How consistent is that with being sexually assaulted?   Ultimate result, despite the admission of this video evidence before a jury=  Hung jury.   No conviction, all counts.   The reason?  A Junk Science called a “Sexual Assault Nurse exam”, AKA “SANE” “S.A.N.E” or “SANE exam.”   While this is taken for granted by most lawyers, Alex saw through the fallacy of this science and exposed it to the jury.  The video was dark, grainy, did not show very much of anything regarding the conduct, and the fact the victim recorded a supposedly traumatic experience when she admitted there was no prior abusive or assault conduct by the defendant was weird and contrived.  Frankly, the case might have actually gone a different way if the State’s expert had not testified, but when she did, the jury ultimately could not believe the State’s case beyond a reasonable doubt.  If you’re facing a criminal sexual conduct charge in Minnesota, you need to hire an attorney that understands the latest up and coming junk science the State is… Read more {+}

Jeronimo Yanez Trial: Answers to Substantive Questions

Biased Jurors, Withholding Evidence, Lack of Transcripts, Jury Questions. The outrage continues over the verdict of Not Guilty on all counts against Jeronimo Yanez in the shooting death of Philando Castile.  Since the verdict, there has been a great of deal of controversy made out of several factors, including the perceived bias of jurors, the fact that Yanez’s interview with the BCA was not played during the trial, and the denial by the Court of a couple of jury requests.  We address these one by one below. Juror Bias Much has been made of the profiles of each of the jurors in this matters.   The post-trial investigation is becoming increasingly invasive.  Before addressing some of this, it is worth briefly describing how a jury is selected. How is a “jury pool” selected? If you have ever been summoned to a courthouse for often dreaded “jury duty”, your name is in the very large potential “jury pool” of the state of Minnesota.   The Justice system knows very little about a juror in this pool.  Jury pools are generated randomly from information available to the justice system that is most likely to reflect the most recent and accurate information available regarding a person’s age, residency, and citizenship status.  Essentially, it is taken from driver’s license registrations, Minnesota ID card registrations, and voter registrations. At any given time, there may be several trials about to begin in Ramsey County.  How many people are summoned is often a function of how many matters are set for trial or the potential for a trial to have particularly sensitive issues that may disqualify certain people. Certainly jury selection in the Yanez matter had the potential to be lengthy and contentious.  We have seen anywhere from 30-60 people placed into a potential jury pool for a case. A very preliminary questionnaire often accompanies the summons for jury duty, or it is handed to the juror when they arrive.   This initial questionnaire is very thin and usually provides some general identifying information and ensures the person is not disqualified as a matter of law from serving as a juror.  To even qualify to sit as a juror in Minnesota, a person must be A United States citizen; A resident of the county; At least 18 years old; Fluent in English Not suffer any physical or mental impairment which would prevent them from being a juror.  (Blindness, total hearing loss, inability to speak, mental incapacity such that one’s cognition and ability to remember or reason is impaired, have all been deemed grounds for a person to be excused outright from a jury). Not a convicted felon.  However, if a person is no longer on probation or parole and their civil rights have been restored (such as would be required to restore voting rights or firearm rights), one may sit as a juror. A person who has not served as a state or federal juror in the past four years.  (This criteria is often overlooked by courts… Read more {+}

The Yanez Verdict and the Bigger Picture

THE YANEZ TRIAL MAY ACTUALLY REPRESENT PROGRESS AND INTEGRITY IN CERTAIN ASPECTS OF OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM, AND REVEAL THE UGLY TRUTH ABOUT SOCIETY, NOT THE LAW As the Nation and World focus on a myriad of stories from the ongoing investigation of the Trump administration to the tragic shooting targeting members of Congress and staff in Washington D.C., the focus in Minnesota has been on the trial of Officer Jeronimo Yanez for his actions in the shooting death of Philando Castile.    The six day trial, the remarkably long five days of deliberations, and the ultimate verdict of not guilty on all counts, presents a unique analysis and opportunity for dialogue that, as is so often the case, has been lost to anger, division, and preconceptions.   There are legitimate emotions that bare upon the evaluation of the outcome.   The African American community has absolutely legitimate grievances in the disparate treatment of black individuals by law enforcement.   This has resulted in a well-founded distrust of the police, who in turn respond with frustration and a posture of defense of their profession and colleagues.  Most poignantly, a young man who, by all accounts, was an upstanding individual, a bright light to the community, and a friend to many children and teachers and staff at J.J. Hill Montessori, is dead.  Yet it can be said, as a matter of prosecutorial action and due process, the case as a whole actually may represent progress and a hope for our justice system.  It can also be said that the case raises more challenges going forward. Doubt and Skepticism, the heart of the criminal justice system. It is important to note, from the outset, that our justice system necessitates and demands the presumption that every single defendant accused of a crime is INNOCENT.  That is the premise for each case.  Every jury is told this, and we are all, collectively, the potential jury pool, and yet that is in profound contrast to how we treat stories when we read the newspaper.  We see that this or that person was booked for child molestation, or domestic assault, and we automatically judge them and essentially presume they committed the act alleged.  Essentially, Americans engage in a completely un-American thought process on a daily basis.  This is not an opinion that is allowed in the justice system.  You cannot be a juror if you cannot presume someone innocent.  That presumption of innocence remains with the defendant from arrest, to preliminary hearings, to the trial itself, all the way until the end of the presentation of all evidence and argument at trial.  The Jury is instructed on this several times. For a defendant to be found “guilty”, the jury must, after clandestine deliberation after analyzing all evidence, UNANIMOUSLY find the defendant guilty or not guilty.  There are no split verdicts in Minnesota, and indeed. most states.  We should be grateful for this standard.   Criminal law is the most powerful area of law.  It is the only mechanism under which the government… Read more {+}

False Science in Sexual Conduct Prosecution

Sexual conduct is a complicated criminal matter. The stakes are high. Illegal sexual behavior cases often carry a harsh punishment of many years in prison. There is the possibility of having to register in the sexual offender registry, which has serious consequences for the offender’s entire life. Most of the time, sexual offenses occur without witnesses and do not occur in public areas. Many accusations are made without witnesses. Evidence presented in the trial often depend on analysis of tissue samples, more or less scientific measurement like hair and fiber comparison or handwriting analysis, as well as the word of the defendant and the alleged victim. Conviction in sexual cases often depends on the testimony of the victim or a minor child in support of the victim. These convictions may be relatively easy to get in sexual cases in front of a sympathetic jury, because even being accused of a sex crime has such a strong popular stigma. The horror of the crime may be enough to sway even a judge on the word of a sympathetic victim, even if very little real evidence is presented in court. Statistics show that there may be as one in four of all reported sexual attacks that will be proven false on real investigation. Defendants in sex crime cases can often be convinced to accept a plea bargain to avoid the high risk of a severe sentence, even with little real evidence against them. The plea bargain may reduce or eliminate jail time, but the consequences of even the reduced sentence can be disastrous in the life of any convicted person. The first line of evidence for the defense in a sexual conduct case is the profession of innocence. The defendant may admit to the physical acts in the case, but disavow the claim that is was sexual assault because the act was consensual. Defendants can present alibies that they were not present at the alleged crime scene, and support the alibi with documents like hotel receipts, or travel documents. Defendants may claim that they were misidentified by the victim. Because of the special nature of prosecution in sexual conduct cases, often the lack of witnesses, the way juries and judges view sexual crimes and, often, the vagueness of the nature of evidence, false science and pseudoscientific theories are often a factor in sexual conduct trials.  False memories elicited in the testimony of witnesses and attempts to “recover memory” using methods like hypnosis have resulted in miscarriage of justice in many sexual abuse cases, according to a recent book published by the British False Memory Society. Many hundreds of people are convinced by (perhaps) well-meaning therapists that their psychological problems are due to repressed memories of sexual abuse. Those so convinced go in search of likely perpetrators and use their recovered memories as evidence in court. Juries and those in the criminal justice system may rely on “common sense” in considering issues relating to memory. The British False Memory Society has filed several thousand case histories, of which 672 are known… Read more {+}