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…

In using the Fourth Amendment to the advantage of their clients, lawyers must distinguish between: (1) a “house,” which is provided full Fourth Amendment protection; and (2) the “curtilage.” A warrantless search of the former will send up red flags to any criminal defense attorney, but the latter, despite receiving somewhat less Fourth Amendment protection,…

We previously discussed the importance of one of the “most powerful tools” in the criminal defense lawyer’s tool belt: the statutory language of the charge itself. On Wednesday, the Minnesota Supreme Court continued their recent pattern of deciding the merits of an appeal with a dictionary close in hand in State of Minnesota v. Kristyn…

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