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Minneapolis Criminal & Family Law Blog

New law can keep medi-pot users out of jail, if they can sign up

Minnesota's new medical cannabis law went into effect on July 1, to the great relief of many sufferers of epilepsy, cancer and other medical conditions. Now, patients able to obtain a doctor's medical certification for a qualifying condition can legally possess and use cannabis-based medicines in oil, pill or liquid form.

For those hoping to benefit from the drugs, the news that they can take them without fear of criminal drug prosecution is an enormous relief. As we've mentioned before, however, they aren't immune from prosecution for behavior related to medi-pot; diversion of the drugs to others, or lying on the required forms, are still illegal. 

Why self-care is especially important for women both during and after a divorce

These days, it seems that every time you pick up a magazine or turn on the television there's an article or segment about how to reduce stress in one's life. While it's virtually impossible to avoid stress altogether, researchers have found that when an individual is under stress, he or she excretes elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Overtime, increased and elevated levels of cortisol have been linked to a myriad of adverse health side-effects including heart attacks.

Given the link between stress and heart problems, the findings of a recent Duke University study, that also points to a link between divorce and heart attacks, aren't too surprising. According to the findings, women who experienced a divorce at some point in their lives "were 24 percent more likely to get a heart attack over women who did not."

Change in MN DWI laws, signals stiffer penalties

Summer in Minnesota is hard to beat as winter-weary residents emerge from their homes to gather with family and friends and head out to enjoy barbeques, festivals and time at the cabin and lake. For many Minnesota residents, these summer traditions are often enjoyed while having an alcoholic beverage or two.

Law enforcement officials in Minnesota take drunk driving very seriously, a fact that is reflected in the state's drunk driving arrest and conviction rates as one in "seven licensed Minnesota drivers has at least one DWI." What's more, at 40 percent, the state "has the highest DWI recidivism rate" in the country. A soon-to-be enacted law will likely serve to increase these already staggering statistics.

Why a spouse's job may actually reduce the likelihood that he or she will stray

Prior to the women's liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s, many U.S. women fulfilled the roles of homemakers and stay-at-home moms. Today, the U.S. Department of Labor reports that more than 57 percent of women age 16 and older work outside the home and a record number report earning more than a spouse or being the sole breadwinners in their households.

While U.S. women spent decades relying on men for their financial needs and security, a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Connecticut finds that today, regardless of sex, individuals who are financially dependent on a spouse are more likely to be unfaithful. In fact researchers found that women who are solely dependent on a spouse's income are five percent more likely to cheat. For men who depend on a spouse's income, rates of infidelity jump to 15 percent.

Judge's ruling considered a win for those commited to Minnesota's Sex Offender Program

In January, we discussed the growing controversy over Minnesota's handling of individuals who are convicted of sexual offenses and Minnesota's Sex Offender Program. At that time, several convicted sex offenders who were confined to one of the state's two sex offender treatment facilities, were about to have their day in court as they raised questions about the constitutionality of the MSOP.

Roughly 700 individuals are currently housed at the two state-run facilities. All came to call the facilities home after completing the terms of their sentences and being forced to go through an involuntary civil commitment process. A recent report by Minnesota Public Radio revealed that since the program's inception in the "mid-1990s, only three people have been provisionally released.

Child endangerment laws in the state of Minnesota

Under state law in Minnesota, it is illegal to neglect, physically abuse, sexually abuse or mentally injure a child. These offenses all fall under the umbrella of child endangerment, with neglect being the most common.

Neglect of a child refers to a parent or legal guardian failing to provide a child with proper food, clothing or shelter. Failing to provide a child with an education and exposing a child to illegal drugs can also be considered illegal neglect. 

CDC: majority of unwed U.S. mothers are co-habitating with partner

In decades past, for many people who heard the term unwed mother, the image of a young, poor and uneducated woman readily sprang to mind. Today, research indicates that not only are more women intentionally choosing to become unwed mothers, but those that do so tend to be older, wealthier and more educated.

In the U.S., today's single moms are also more plentiful with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting that, in 2013, a reported 40 percent of all U.S. births were to unwed moms. However, unlike many unwed moms of previous decades, the CDC also reports that an estimated 59 percent of unwed moms aren't necessarily raising a child alone.

Are high bail amounts unconstitutional?

In recent months and years, the criminal justice system in the U.S. has been the target of much scrutiny and debate. According to the nonprofit, The Sentencing Project, as of 2013 the U.S. rate of incarnation had increased 500 percent since the 1980s; making the U.S. by far the "world's leader in incarceration with 2.2 million people currently in the nation's prisons or jails."

In an effort to understand why so many Americans are being locked up, several non-profit groups, researchers and journalists have examined contributing factors. In a recent New York Times article, struggles related to making bail and how the bail process serves to ultimately punish and hold down individuals who are disadvantaged, poor and often black were examined.

Are you and a spouse headed towarads divorce?

Many social scientists, sociologists and researchers devote their lives to studying human behavior and attempting to figure out why and how, as human beings, we behave and make decisions. With the U.S. divorce rate consistently hovering around the 50 percent mark, the relationships between spouses is a popular research topic.

Within the last decade alone, numerous studies have been conducted in an effort to determine why some couples stay married while others divorce. In this blog post, we'll examine some of the factors that, according to studies, increase the likelihood that a marriage won't last. For example, researchers from the University of Washington found that divorce rates among couples who first welcome a baby girl into their family have a higher divorce rate than those who first welcome a boy.

How parental alienation harms a child

Most divorced or separated parents would likely admit to experiencing difficulties when attempting to sort out child custody matters with an ex. Child custody issues are often highly emotional and can quickly escalate if parents aren't able to communicate effectively. In these types of cases, a child is the ultimate loser and he or she may be negatively impacted in a number of ways.

Parental alienation occurs when one parent's actions, comments or behaviors serve to effectively alienate and turn a child against the other parent. Examples of alienating behaviors include sharing inappropriate details of a divorce or split with a child, blaming an ex for one's financial problems, questioning a child about his or her relationship with an ex and refusing to be flexible with visitation schedules or to allow an ex to see a child.

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Juvenile Criminal
Defense Strategies

Christa Jacqueline Groshek
© 2012 Aspatore Books from
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