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Minneapolis Criminal & Family Law Blog

Divorce law still developing around in vitro fertilization

Social and technological developments tend to occur more quickly than changes in family law, but courts and legislation usually catch up over time. The U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, striking down bans on same-sex marriage, is a prime example.

Another area of family law that is gradually developing involves freezing embryos produced by in vitro fertilization. For various reasons, more and more spouses and unmarried partners are using IVF to conceive children. Sometimes, though, the couples get divorced or separate before the frozen embryos are used, and this can result in legal disputes over who has control over the embryos.

Minnesota police cracking down on DUI in lead-up to Labor Day

Certain times of the year spark police crackdowns on drunken driving, and Labor Day is one of those times. In fact, statistics show that Labor Day ranks second among the deadliest holidays on Minnesota roads in the last five years. During that time, only the Fourth of July has seen more traffic fatalities -- 25 -- than Labor Day, which has seen 24.

Authorities have already increased enforcement efforts in the lead-up to Labor Day weekend. The enforcement campaign, which runs from Aug. 21 through Sept. 7, involves 300 agencies throughout the state, with officers working overtime in an effort to arrest drunk drivers.

Woman accused of embezzling substantial sum over 5-year period

The Hennepin County Attorney's office has filed charges against a former bookkeeper for misappropriating more than $675,000 from her employer over the past five years. Because the amount in question exceeds $35,000, a conviction could mean a prison sentence of 20 years at most or a fine not to exceed $100,000. The prosecutor will seek restitution as well.

Minnesota does not use the term "embezzlement" for cases like this. Rather, the crime is "theft by swindle," where the swindle involves the suspect's intentional deception or betrayal of confidence. As with any crime, a suspect's intent is key: There must be a deliberate act or ongoing scheme. Dishonesty -- say, picking up money that has dropped on the floor -- is not enough.

Changes are gonna come slowly for MSOP p4

We are finishing up our discussion of the follow-up to the court decision declaring the Minnesota Sex Offender Program unconstitutional. In his opinion, U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank found the program seriously wanting in almost every way. The opinion ended with an order for the parties and major stakeholders (Gov. Mark Dayton, for example) to submit to the court their recommendations for how to turn the program around. Frank will make his decision following a Sept. 30 hearing.

The civil commitment process that sends offenders to MSOP after they have served their prison sentences is particularly troubling, Frank said. And, as we said in our Aug. 28 post, just the fact that no one has been discharged from the program since 1994 is a sign that MSOP is an epic failure.

Changes are gonna come slowly for MSOP p3

U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank has a fairly low opinion of how the Minnesota Sex Offender Program operates right now. In the June decision that declared the program unconstitutional, Frank noted that "there is something very wrong with this state's method of dealing with sex offenders."

Later in the opinion, he listed a number of areas of concern and informed the state and the plaintiffs that he expected them to present their recommendations prior to a Sept. 30 hearing. At that hearing, Frank will hear arguments from both sides in order to determine a course of action.

Changes are gonna come slowly for MSOP p2

We are talking about the Minnesota Sex Offender Program, the post-conviction treatment program for convicted offenders that a federal court found unconstitutional this past June. The parties to the class action have now entered the remedies phase. The ruling made it clear that the program is in need of a complete overhaul.

In his opinion, U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank outlined a long list of flaws with the programs design and implementation, and the problems start before the offender crosses the threshold of either of the secure facilities. According to the program website, when a convicted sex offender is nearing the end of his prison sentence, the Department of Corrections determines whether there is a high risk that the offender will commit another crime. If the offender is a risk, the DOC refers the case back to the county that prosecuted the case.

Changes are gonna come slowly for MSOP

We did not mention it in our June 20 post, but the federal court opinion that found the Minnesota Sex Offender Program unconstitutional is 37 pages long. Even if it is an interesting read, the length may have surprised some: The judge, the Hon. Donovan Frank, made it clear that the findings and conclusions of law included in the opinion did not address the issues presented by the plaintiffs -- that is, it did not solve the problems MSOP has created for the men and women in the program. Determining that MSOP is unconstitutional just cleared the way for real reform.

The opinion does list more than a dozen potential remedies, but the list is just a start. The real work, Frank wrote, would be accomplished by the attorneys for the detainees and state officials during the remedies phase of the case.

Want to limit stress and keep costs down in your divorce? Consider mediation.

Years ago, it was widely assumed that going to court was always necessary to settle differences in matters of divorce and family law. These days, though, there is generally a better understanding of methods of alternative dispute resolution -- or ADR. 

These out-of-court processes tend to be more cost-efficient and less stressful than litigation, which is inherently adversarial. Here let's discuss one kind of ADR that an increasing number of Minnesotans are using: family law mediation.

Does Minnesota allow couples to sign postnuptial agreements?

Most people in Minnesota, and across the nation for that matter, are turned off by the idea of prenuptial agreements because they foreshadow divorce which is not something people typically think about right before they're about to get married. It's because of this negative connotation that prenuptial agreements are avoided even though they could prove incredibly useful for some couples.

But in accordance with Minnesota law, a couple can't sign a prenuptial agreement, also referred to as an antenuptial contract in §519.11 of the Minnesota Statutes, after they are married. These legal documents must be signed prior to saying "I do." So what options does this give our Minneapolis readers? Does Minnesota allow couples to sign postnuptial agreements?

Groshek Law's holistic approach to drug crimes defense

The rise in heroin and prescription drug addiction in recent years has resulted in more arrests of not only people accused of dealing drugs; individuals who are struggling with addiction but would never think of hurting another person have found themselves caught up in the criminal justice system.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a drug offense in Minnesota, then it is crucial to explore every available legal option for reducing the negative impact on your life. At Groshek Law, we take a holistic approach to criminal defense by fighting to protect our clients' rights, as well as helping our clients address any underlying addiction issues that may have resulted in the legal troubles at hand.

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Juvenile Criminal
Defense Strategies

Christa Jacqueline Groshek
© 2012 Aspatore Books from
Thomson Reuters Westlaw.
Reproduced by permission