One of the issues in the 2016 Presidential campaign was the use of executive orders by then President Obama. An executive order is loosely defined in the dictionary as an order from the President or a federal government agency which has the force of law. In the first 10 days in office, President Trump has issued a number of executive orders.
The New Year brings the start of one of the best extracurricular activities for high school students in Minnesota, the Mock Trial program sponsored by the Minnesota State Bar Association. A dedicated MSBA committee of judges, lawyers, and other citizens formulate a set of facts and a problem that is studied and rehearsed by high school students and their coaches for many months for pretend trials with competing teams. It could be a criminal case, like the infamous Congdon murder in Duluth, or a traffic accident in which someone was killed, or the discipline of a student for a “spoofing” video mocking the principal.
One of the most frightening images of the recent Presidential election was a man at a political rally in Minneapolis wearing a t-shirt that read “Rope- Tree- Journalist- Some Assembly Required.” It is obvious he either has no knowledge of history or doesn’t care about it. History teaches us that the first targets of a military coup, whether in Africa or South America, are the radio and television stations, and the newspapers. Those seeking to overthrow a government seek to control the dissemination of the truth to the masses.
Over the past few months there has been much discussion in the media about Danny Heinrich who has admitted to the murder of Jacob Wetterling. He cannot be prosecuted for other sex crimes he is believed to have committed during the late 1980’s because of Minnesota’s statutes of limitation on prosecution for such crimes after a certain period of time. So why do we have statutes of limitation?
It happens frequently: a celebrity or their family member is accused of a very serious crime and is not in jail. You wonder, “What is wrong with the police (or the judge) that this criminal is not in jail?” You may have heard TV reporters ask the same question. It was a question on a Twin Cities TV website: do prominent people get special treatment in the courts?
I have seen several news reports about state laws banning “selfies” in election polling places. These laws vary state by state and, in some states, it’s unclear if “selfies” are banned. United Press International (UPI) reported on Sept. 14, 2016, about a federal action against a law banning “selfies”:
n this space in the past I have discussed what judges do, which is basically determine what the facts are in the case (unless a jury decides the facts) and then apply the law in reaching a final decision. For example, in a court trial with a defendant charged with speeding, the judge must decide if the State has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that this defendant was driving in the county where charged at a speed in excess of the posted speed limit. Judges are a part of the judicial branch of government, one of the 3 branches, the others being the executive and legislative branches. In this article I will discuss what judges are not.
Several years ago we visited the North Carolina small town of Mt. Airy, the model for Mayberry in the Andy Griffith Show. Just down the road is Pilot Mountain, which became the town of Mount Pilot in the TV show. In Mt. Airy, there are replicas of Floyd’s Barbershop, the Sheriff’s squad car with the “cherry on top,” and the Snappy Lunch Cafe. Mayberry is a fictional small town that probably never was and never will be.
The Election of 2010 was dominated by the negative media blitz and rancor of town hall meetings. It was rather shocking to see a Duluth town hall meeting in 2010 involving Congressional candidates reduced to a shouting match between each candidate’s supporters. Shouts of “liar!” and repeated interruptions of the candidates reduced what could have been a civil exchange of opinions and ideas to a near barroom brawl. In another state, supporters of one candidate stomped on the head of a supporter of the opponent.
If you are reading this, you probably live in a small town or rural area of the Tenth Judicial District, i.e., the counties of Anoka, Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Pine, Sherburne, Washington, and Wright. In Minnesota each year nearly 30,000 (yes, that is thirty thousand) drivers are arrested for drunk driving, many on rural roads. One could reasonably conclude that drunk driving is vastly more prevalent in highly-populated urban areas, but statistics do not bear that out, at least on a national basis.