Free speech protections under the First Amendment are vast. But you cannot say anything you want to without running the risk of legal trouble. Heated arguments, yelling profanities at someone, and even joking around can amount to crimes in Minnesota. For example, you discover evidence of infidelity on your girlfriend’s phone. In a fury of…

As prison overcrowding and costs continue to reach new stratospheres, the push for significant federal sentencing reform on drug offenses is at its peak. The House already introduced the SAFE Justice Act[1] and the Senate should emerge with its bill any day now.[2] The movement is powerfully backed by all parties. Most lawmakers agree we…

Short answer: no. Why? You may provide incriminating evidence you do not need to give. Such as this. Won’t I come off as a jerk by not doing what the cops tell me to? No. You can still be cooperative without being incriminating. Just politely decline to do the tests. The police cannot force you…

This one time, at band camp, the cops came and arrested everyone for underage drinking and drugs. Before the arrests, we were detained for at least an hour, even though only 52% of the people were drinking the sketchy pineapple vodka and 4.7% were ingesting pot cubes in unforeseen places. You may have encountered a…

“The days of the far-off future would toil onward, still with the same burden for her to take up, and bear along with her, but never to fling down; for the accumulating days and added years would pile up their misery upon the heap of shame.”[1] Hester Prynne’s heap of shame in The Scarlet Letter…

“We cannot allow our criminal justice system to remain on its current trajectory. . .[i]t’s not only fiscally unsustainable, but morally irresponsible.”[1] Recently, President Obama became the first United States President to visit a prison while Commander in Chief. One of his remaining domestic policy goals is sentencing reform. And, for good reason: the nation’s…

Last week, the Minnesota Supreme Court took a giant step backwards in its Fourth Amendment jurisprudence in State v. Lindquist. After not adopting the good-faith exception[1] nearly two years ago in State v. Brooks, the Court in Lindquist decided to change course and swallow the exclusionary rule by adopting it.[2] The majority in Lindquist decided…

In the wake of Axelberg v. Comm’r of Pub. Safety, the legislature decided to expand the scope of defenses available for implied consent hearings.[1] Now, a person may raise the common law affirmative defense of necessity in an implied consent hearing (Minn. Stat. 169A.53, subd. 3(b)(11); subd. 3(h)).[2] This means: did the person act out…

Minnesota’s new expungement law went into effect on January 1, 2015. It is widely acclaimed as a “second chance” law for those attempting to seal their criminal records. The new law relaxes the rules and makes a wide range of cases eligible for expungement.[1] Hence, giving people a “second chance” to clear their criminal record…

Get me out of jail already. We already discussed the two main factors triggering bail: (1) jurisdiction; and (2) the type and level of offense. Now, get me out of the clink. Seriously, how long can they keep me here? It smells like urine, the food is terrible, and it is freezing. I need to…

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