Posts Categorized News

Minnesota Supreme Court: BB gun doesn’t fit definition of gun

The Minnesota Supreme Court finally wakes up and follows the Federal Government and the rest of the nation in ruling that BB guns are NOT FIREARMS!   This has long been a disparity in the law.  Felons have been sent to prison for YEARS for possession of BB guns, little more than toys or tools that require NO BACKGROUND CHECK, no limitation at the point of sale.  If you or someone you know has been convicted of any firearm felony involving a BB Gun, call now because I’ve written this brief 5 times.    The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a BB gun is not considered a firearm under Minnesota law. Source: Minnesota Supreme Court: BB gun doesn’t fit definition of gun Minnesota Supreme Court: BB gun doesn’t fit definition of gun was last modified: October 19th, 2016 by Alex DeMarco

‘Do Not Resist’: A chilling look at the normalization of warrior cops – The Washington Post

Grossman’s classes teach officers to be less hesitant to use lethal force, urge them to be willing to do it more quickly and teach them how to adopt the mentality of a warrior. Jeronimo Yanez, the Minnesota police officer who shot and killed Philando Castille in July, had attended one of Grossman’s classescalled “The Bulletproof Warrior” (though that particular class was taught by Grossman’s business partner, Jim Glennon). In the class recorded for “Do Not Resist,” Grossman at one point tells his students that the sex they have after they kill another human being will be the best sex of their lives. The room chuckles. But he’s clearly serious. “Both partners are very invested in some very intense sex,” he says. “There’s not a whole lot of perks that come with this job. You find one, relax and enjoy it.” Source: ‘Do Not Resist’: A chilling look at the normalization of warrior cops – The Washington Post ‘Do Not Resist’: A chilling look at the normalization of warrior cops – The Washington Post was last modified: October 2nd, 2016 by Alex DeMarco

BCA completes investigation into Philando Castile death

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has completed its investigation into the officer-involved death of Philando Castile. Source: BCA completes investigation into Philando Castile death BCA completes investigation into Philando Castile death was last modified: October 13th, 2016 by Alex DeMarco

DWI, the Current State of the Law, and where we go from here.

There are many attorneys that handle many DWIs for a wide range of fees.  DWI is the most common crime in Minnesota, and at any time in a criminal defense lawyer’s career,  20%-40% of their case files are likely DWIs.  Getting DWI cases is not hard.  If they’re in the phone book, if they’re answering their phone a night, a criminal defense lawyer is going to get plenty of DWI calls, especially around the holidays.  While this results in good business for the attorney, the fact is, it also remains a thorn in their side.  Secretly, most of us hate DWI cases, because the case law is overwhelmingly in favor of the state, and raising all possible challenges to a DWI is as much work as any felony case but pays a lot less. However, by attacking a DWI from every angle, a good lawyer can either set up to beat a DWI, or obtain VERY good results for someone who is in a whole lot more trouble.   VERY recently, new developments in DWI law have developed which make your decision of who you hire for current, pending DWI matters absolutely critical. Long ago we talked about Missouri v. McNeely and its potential impact on DWI moving forward.  Despite a very well reasoned and clearly stated opinion that directly addresses even Minnesota’s implied consent law and covers all manner of exceptions to the warrant requirement, candidly, Minnesota has chosen to completely ignore the Supreme Court of the United States and engage in incredibly complex acrobatics to get around what was clearly stated, and that ” In those drunk-driving investigations where police officers can reasonably obtain a warrant before a blood sample can be drawn without significantly undermining the efficacy of the search, the Fourth Amendment mandates that they do so. ”  The Supreme Court ruled long ago that blood, breath, and urine tests are all searches for purposes of the Fourth Amendment.  Skinner v. Ry. Labor Executives’ Ass’n, 489 U.S. 602, 616-17, (1989). Often we attorneys dazzle our prospective clients by explaining to them the holding in McNeely and it’s offspring, and by talking about the analogies between home searches and the search of their person in the context of a DWI.  It’s easy to do so because, frankly, it’s not complicated, and any person of intelligence can understand exactly what the opinion says.  But again, the Courts in Minnesota have chosen specifically to wield unruly complex arguments to steer clear  of the obvious.  And so eventually the newly charged DWI defendant asks “So will this beat my DWI?  Has it worked?”   The candid answer should be given:  On the whole…No.  As the Attorney General is fond of quoting in memo after memo, over 80 cases have gone to the Minnesota Court of Appeals, and each one has failed, because, essentially, in each case the Court of Appeals has found that the individual, particular driver, under the “totality of the circumstances” analysis required by Brooks, has ruled that the the driver… Read more {+}

The importance of responding immediately with “I’m invoking my 5th Amendment right to counsel”

Under the Fifth Amendment, a defendant is given the right to not testify. This means that the judge, prosecutor, and even the lawyer of the defendant cannot force them to testify on their own behalf in fear that they may self-incriminate without intending to do so. Any time someone says, “I plead to the Fifth” or “pleading to the Fifth,” they are doing so because it is their right to not answer questions. When in the custody of police or when in court, a person can exercise their Fifth Amendment right to not self-incriminate. The origin of this right is rather interesting in that it originates from the refusal of the Puritans to cooperate with the English interrogators. The Puritans would often be tortured or coerced into confessing their religious affiliation and they would be considered guilty if they were silent. English law granted the right for citizens to not self-incriminate in the mid-1600s when a revolution created the greater parliamentary power. This right then followed the Puritans to America, where it would be included in the Bill of Rights. When you are pulled over for DWI or you are charged with any type of criminal offense, you do not have to answer the questions of law enforcement. You can invoke your Fifth Amendment right to stay silent until you have counsel present. Your Miranda Rights say that you have the “right to remain silent” and that “anything you say or do can be used against you in a court of law.” It also states you have the “right to an attorney.” When you contact your attorney after invoking your Fifth Amendment right, your attorney will advise you on what you should and should not say. You can have your attorney present during questioning so that you do not self-incriminate yourself. Even if you feel your statement is completely innocent, it can be misconstrued by law enforcement to mean something that it doesn’t and this can be used against you in court. By invoking your Fifth Amendment right to counsel, you could be making the difference between freedom and conviction. It is important to note that the Fifth Amendment right to self-incrimination does not extend to blood tests, fingerprinting, or DNA evidence that is being gathered for a criminal case. The Supreme Court has upheld that the privilege only extends to communicative evidence, such as interrogation. DNA and fingerprints, in particular are considered non-communicative or non-testimonial. The importance of responding immediately with “I’m invoking my 5th Amendment right to counsel” was last modified: November 19th, 2014 by Alex DeMarco