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Minneapolis Criminal & Family Law Blog

Report details how flawed science was used to send hundreds to prison

In the criminal justice system, prosecutors and defense attorneys often rely upon forensic evidence. Forensic experts are trained to use science to examine evidence and discover truths. However, information uncovered in recent years shows that much of the forensic and scientific truths used to convict hundreds to thousands of individuals in the U.S. were likely based on little more than speculation and convenience.

Recent new stories have shined a spotlight on allegations that testimony provided by members of the "elite FBI forensic unit" provided inaccurate and flawed testimony "in almost all trials in which they offered evidence...over more than a two-decade period before 2000." Consequently, hundreds to thousands of men and women were likely prosecuted and convicted for crimes they never committed.

A prenuptial agreement's terms can be very impactful

What the specific terms are of a prenuptial agreement can impact many things.

One is whether or not the agreement will ultimately be enforced. When a prenup's terms are deemed to be unfair in a significant way to one of the parties to the agreement, the agreement may be found to be unenforceable.

Finding solutions to child support problems

In previous blogs, we've discussed the importance and purpose of child support payments. In most cases, for divorced parents or those who were never married but are no longer together, a noncustodial parent is ordered to pay child support.

In Minnesota, child support amounts are calculated by taking many factors into consideration including the gross incomes of both parents, the number of children being supported, other existing child support orders, child care costs and a child's medical and dental expenses. In cases where a noncustodial parent fails to pay or falls behind in payments, the state may employ several enforcement tactics.

Constitutionality of penalties imposed on sex offenders called into question

In this blog, we've previously highlighted concerns about the constitutionality of Minnesota's Sex Offender Program. Perhaps more than any other convicted offenders, those convicted of sex crimes face some of the most punitive and intrusive of all penalties.

For example, in addition to the other possible penalties of prison time and probation, all states have their own laws and restrictions with regard to sex offender registries. In Minnesota, individuals convicted of certain sexual charges must register and abide by certain restrictions and requirements for a minim of 10 years. Some states impose lifetime registry requirements and other penalties including the use of Global Positioning Monitoring devices.

When it comes to real estate in divorce—the details matter

Most Minnesota residents would likely count a family home among their most valuable assets. It's no wonder then that, in cases where an individual is going through a divorce, questions related to a previously shared home and the division of real estate often weigh heavily on one's mind.

For many people, the divorce process is difficult and emotionally-charged. At times, strong emotions can cloud an individual's judgment and, with one's own financial security and that of his or her children at stake, it's wise to turn to a divorce attorney for advice and assistance.

Report reveals lack of transparency in MPD stop-and-frisk activities

In recent years and months, there's been a lot of debate over the actions of law enforcement officials in many U.S. cities and communities. Upon being sworn into service, police officers throughout the country vow to protect and serve everyday citizens. Given the important role that law enforcement officers play in keeping our communities safe, it's critical that they have the trust and respect of those they vow to serve and protect.

A police officer must wear many hats. From observer and investigator to responder and enforcer, at times the job calls upon an officer to serve as both a diplomat and discipliner. Not surprisingly, officers may struggle with how to fulfill all of these roles and, at times, may engage in questionable practices.

Financial infidelity can lead to divorce

When you get married, you and your spouse combine your lives together. What this looks like is dependent on the couple, but many end up blending families, friendships and finances. All too often though, it's this last one -- the finances -- that end up leading to trouble in the marriage. 

A recent Business Insider article looked at some of the top money lies that can ruin a marriage. In this, the author points to the fact that a 2014 poll found that out of 2,000 adults, one third had lied to their partners about finances. Another third also reported being the one who was deceived. This is alarming, as the majority of those who were lied to said it negatively affected their relationship, with some even saying the financial infidelities led to divorce.

Study links strong genetic component to sex offender behaviors

For decades now, medical researchers have been mapping the human genome and conducting human trials of genetic testing. As a result, today an individual who fears that he or she may develop the same deadly form of cancer as a parent can undergo genetic testing. Increasingly, scientists are also studying and examining the role that genetics may play in influencing human behavior.

A recent study conducted by researchers at Oxford University and the Karolinska Institute aimed to determine what, if any, role genetics may play when it comes to criminal behavior and sex offenders. Over the course of more than 25 years, scientists analyzed data from more than 21,000 sex offenders.

Will an improved economy mean more divorces?

It's been roughly seven years since the major economic collapse occurred that is now widely known as the Great Recession of 2008. When the housing market tanked, banks followed along with other national and global markets. Companies went out of business, people lost their jobs and the entire nation braced for the difficult economic times that followed.

Across the country and in states like Minnesota, families that previously relied on two incomes were affected by widespread layoffs and forced to cut spending and live on substantially less. Consequently, with the declining economy also came a decline in the national divorce rate with, according to a University of Maryland researcher, 150,000 less divorce filings being reported for the years 2009, 2010 and 2011.

What happens after paternity is established?

For unwed parents, we've previously discussed the importance of establishing paternity. For a mother, having a signed Recognition of Parentage means that she can file for child support and obtain financial assistance in raising a child. For an unwed father, taking steps to establish paternity and sign a ROP means that he is legally recognized as a child's father. A signed ROP does not, however, automatically grant a father any child custody rights.

After paternity is legally established, barring additional legal action on the part of the father, the mother still retains sole legal and physical custody of a child. A father who wishes to gain child custody must "ask the court for an order."

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Juvenile Criminal
Defense Strategies

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