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The Sixth Amendment guarantees a defendant’s right to confront their accusers. If a person exercises their constitutional right to trial, then the prosecution must present the defendant’s accusers and subject them to cross examination by the defense. The Confrontation Clause demands this. However, with every great constitutional protection, there are exceptions. If the prosecution has statements it…

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…

“Ignorantia juris non excusat” means ignorance of the law is no excuse to escape liability. John or Jane Doe may not use this excuse to get out of a crime, but police officers can get away with it certain situations. Recently, the Minnesota Court of Appeals filed a decision inclined towards this theory in McGuire…

How can the police cite you for something that you had no appearance of doing? The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) continues to evaluate the basis for questioning and arrests by police officers. One thing we know for certain, is that probable cause must be present to make an arrest. SCOTUS states that…

Rental Cars and the Fourth Amendment: Byrd v. United States Consider this: You are driving down the road in a rental car that your significant other rented but allowed you to drive. You pack your suitcase, place it in the trunk, and head down the road. A short time later, you are pulled over for…

Recently, the supreme court determined part of Minnesota’s disorderly conduct statute is unconstitutional.[1] Prior to this decision, you could commit disorderly conduct in several ways: three separate clauses in one subdivision give many avenues that can lead to you breaking the law. Some of these you would never consider to be remotely criminal. Did you…

In the American legal system, a jury trial is the summit of the district court mountain. Criminal cases advance towards the peak of trial, unless settled along the trek. For those that reach the top, a trial awaits. After a plethora of motions, stipulations, and procedural maneuvers, the first order of business is voir dire[1]…

We all know driving under the influence is a crime. But what exactly does the law say on the subject? Minnesota law prohibits people from driving when under the influence of three things. Two are well known: alcohol and controlled substances. However, what might be less known, is that Minnesota law also prohibits people from…

Last week, we discussed State v. Lugo,[1] a case addressing two distinct issues: (1) the proper standard of review for a trial court’s conclusion of law in an appeal by the State; and (2) whether a dog-sniff was supported by reasonable articulable suspicion. Today, we will discuss the opinion’s lesson on appellate standards of review: that…

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