Viewpoints

Mon
01
Dec

It’s in your court: heading toward prison unabated

The famous poem “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost ends with “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” When it comes to criminal court, many offenders could be said to take the path often-traveled, the path from juvenile delinquency to misdemeanor offenses to gross misdemeanor offenses, and eventually to felonies and prison.

Mon
01
Dec

Avoiding not-so-jolly holiday scams

It’s the beginning of the holiday season, a time when family and friends come together to celebrate. The bad news is that this is also when thieves of all kinds are trying a variety of scams. To help you keep the sparkle in your holidays, the Minnesota Society of CPAs offers this advice on scams to avoid so you can keep the season merry.

Fri
28
Nov

Prepare for chocolate panic

This is a topic I hesitate to broach, because we all know how nutso American consumers can get, especially at holiday time.
The last thing I want to do is incite looting, hoarding or the kind of violence that broke out over Tickle Me Elmo. I believe in peace on Earth and goodwill toward men, unless you're standing between me and the last Xbox One, in which case you're about to be pistol-whipped with the nearest pricing gun.

Mon
24
Nov

Why are judges so opinionated?

Judges are so “opinionated” because in most civil cases they are required to detail the factual basis and legal reasoning for their decision in a written opinion.  
In the vast majority of criminal cases, other than pretrial motions to suppress evidence or dismiss a criminal charge or a court trial on the charge, the judge is not required to file “findings of fact, conclusions of law, and order,” the explanation for the judge’s decision.

Tue
18
Nov

A nation ravaged: Liberia and Ebola


Two young women pose for a photo in front of the soccer field of Cuttington College in Bong County, Liberia in 1965. (Pam O’Meara/Review)

Remembering earlier times in West African country
 “I wish I could describe to you the way it is between 6:15 and 7:30 p.m. when the sun goes down. There’s always at least one big cloud that is glowing hot pink. At the same time, you can hear one or two Liberian boys playing a flute-like instrument. This part of the day is indescribably beautiful,” I wrote to my parents from Liberia many years ago.

Fri
07
Nov

Time to revisit the three R’s

I sat down to write this article after just coming in from my morning walk. All my pockets were full – of plastic bottles I picked up along the way! Which made me think it might be time to review the three R’s and how implementing them can protect the environment.

Fri
07
Nov

It’s In Your Court: Alternatives to the high cost of incarceration

The Department of Corrections, the state agency that is responsible  for prison administration and the supervision of felons on probation, and which makes sentencing recommendations to judges, has considered  and implemented alternatives to incarceration over many years. Those in prison for a definite term serve 2/3 of the sentence in prison (encouraging good behavior) and 1/3 on supervised release, if they have no disciplinary offenses in prison.

Thu
06
Nov

What do you mean, my kid has a credit card?

Your child begins to receive offers for pre-approved credit cards. It sounds annoying, but nothing to be worried about, right?
Wrong.
In fact, it could be one of the warning signs that your family is the victim of child identity theft. Nearly 3 percent of U.S. households with children under 18—or one in 40 households—has been hit by child identity theft, according to the Identity Theft Assistance Center.

Thu
06
Nov

Court Reporters: The Silent Guardians of the Record

One of the most important parts of a court proceeding involves someone who almost never says a word: the court reporter. Court reporters are professional employees of the court system who preserve a verbatim record of court proceedings. The word “verbatim” means, “word for word, letter for letter, line for line, literally, exactly, and precisely.” The court reporter’s verbatim record is called a transcript.

Tue
04
Nov

Rethinking homelessness: following Utah's lead

Despite Minnesota's improving economy, many are still struggling. There are 14,000 homeless people in Minnesota, including 4000 children. Many homeless people were doing okay, until losing their job, developing health problems, facing domestic violence, or battling mental illness or addiction.

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