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.
An article entitled “The Crippling Hold of Old Law” published in the Wall Street Journal on April 2 discusses the problems caused by Congress’ failure to revise or repeal old laws that are out-of-date and have lost their purpose.
Here we go again: a disgruntled sports fan seeking relief. Following Villanova’s buzzer-beater win over North Carolina in the NCAA men’s basketball championship, a UNC fan is asking the NCAA to overturn the result, alleging the game was unfairly officiated. Maybe a lawsuit will follow. This follows on the heels of New England Patriots fans filing a federal lawsuit against the NFL to get back the team’s first round draft pick after “Deflategate.” Meanwhile, parents around the country continue to sue school districts to get their children back on varsity teams.
The Court presides over cases which involve allegations of abuse and neglect of children. The formal description of these cases is Child in Need of Protection or Services or shortened to CHIPS cases. These cases will involve not only the children and parents but also social workers, attorneys and also a Guardian ad Litem. However, is there a role we as citizens can join which might assist to avoid the neglect or abuse which leads to a CHIPS case?