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Yesterday, the Minnesota Supreme Court issued one of the most anticipated opinions regarding DWI laws this term. The high court determined whether MN’s DWI forfeiture law was unconstitutional on its face; was unconstitutional as applied to the innocent owner of the vehicle; and was unconstitutional as applied to the driver of the vehicle. The court decided…

Recently, the Minnesota Court of Appeals dabbled with Pine Martens and Goshawks. While doing so, it reviewed the validity of a search warrant in State v. Bishop.  In Bishop, officers investigated a burglary of taxidermic mounts in a farm home. As law enforcement responded to the home, an officer knocked on the front door, a…

Minnesota appellate courts continue to beat down constitutional rights for drivers in MN DWI blood test cases.[1] This time, the onslaught continued in State v. Wood. While Appellant Wood’s unfortunate result was significantly impacted by unlucky timing, he also was on the receiving end of the appellate bench favoring search warrants over statutes. Importantly, Wood’s…

The constitutional right to have an attorney is firmly stamped in today’s modern legal system. Where the right to consult with an attorney begins and ends, however, is a more difficult area to address. This exact issue is being addressed on oral argument in front of the Minnesota Supreme Court on January 9, 2019. The…

For anyone who has dogs, or is familiar with the characteristics of them, you know that the sense of smell is impeccable. The canine sense of smell is so good, that police and other law enforcement agents have even used them in detecting criminal activity. More particularly, the presence of narcotics. The question then becomes…

Do you live in a house or an apartment? Or, some other abode? Why do we care? Depending on whether you occupy space on Boardwalk or Baltic Avenue, it will determine how much protection you have under the Fourth Amendment, at least according to the Minnesota Supreme Court. Recently, the court decided State v. Edstrom….

Ever walk in downtown Saint Paul or Minneapolis and an electric scooter whips by your ear? Yeah, me neither. These fun new methods of transportation are emerging in the twin cities as quickly as flies at a BBQ. Companies are dropping off these devices across the nation like fliers from a blimp. All you need…

Track the phone, track the person. As cell phones have become a vital organ to many, the ability to locate a phone allows law enforcement to place a person in a specific area. It is impossible for the Fourth Amendment to keep up with the technology explosion in real time. But eventually, case by case,…

When someone is wrongfully convicted, the judicial system failed. The shockwave from a botched case is endless. The impact reaches everyone involved: prosecutor, defense lawyer, judge, corrections officials, victim, family and friends of the accused, friends and family of the victim, and the public at large. But, most importantly, those erroneously convicted are hit the…

“[W}hen it comes to the Fourth Amendment, the home is first among equals.”[1] Justice Sotomayor authored an important opinion in the bout between the Automobile Exception and the Curtilage Doctrine in Collins v. Virginia.[2] The Court held the automobile exception did not permit an officer to enter the curtilage of a home without a warrant…

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