May 2015 Archives

ACLU study examines racial disparities in Minneapolis' criminal justice system

In recent years and months, concerns about racial profiling and excessive force against black Americans have remained in the national spotlight. As cities like Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland erupted into violent protests and demonstrations; other cities have been forced to review their own records and practices with regard to disparities in police activities involving minority populations and specifically black residents.

Divorce discussions and why timing and delivery are critical

Marriages end for all sorts of reasons and sometimes for seemingly no reason at all. The relationship between spouses is complicated and often filled with both high and low points. In cases where a marriage is marred by cheating, substance abuse, financial troubles and diverging life goals; divorce may be the best option.

A declining U.S. marriage rate will complicate child custody and support matters

In previous decades, the majority of children in the U.S. grew up in two-parent homes and were expected to marry themselves and raise children. In more recent years, there's been a noticeable shift in how society and especially young people view marriage and its importance.

What happens if you violate the terms of your probation?

In cases where an individual faces criminal charges, a criminal defense attorney will always do his or her best to obtain a dismissal of charges. In cases where charges are not dismissed, a defense attorney may attempt to get charges reduced or argue for some type of alternative sentencing program.

Minneapolis case raises questions about entrapment

By now, many of our Hennepin County readers have already heard about the criminal charges that have been levied against six Minneapolis men for their alleged plans to "leave the country and join the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)." Now facing charges of conspiracy and attempt to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, explains the FBI, the men could face considerable consequences if they are convicted.

Teen avoids prison time in drug-related death of 17-year-old friend

Roughly one year ago, we wrote a blog post about five Minnesota teens who were facing serious criminal charges related to the overdose death of a 17-year-old Woodbury girl. The five were accused of providing the girl with a synthetic drug that was manufactured to mimic the effects of the hallucinogenic drug LSD.

Some important divorce considerations in the post-recession economy

Arriving at the momentous decision to pursue a divorce is typically not an easy process for most people. That's largely because they must not only deal with a host of conflicting emotions, but also ponder how the next post-divorce chapter of their life might look.

Seeing divorce as a beginning

Relationships, especially those between spouses, are often extremely complex. Years of history and experiences, both the good and bad, often serve to keep spouses together. While traditional marriage vows include the promise of being by a spouse's side, "for better or worse," when the bad times begin to consistently outweigh the good, it may be time to explore one's options.

Minnesota bill seeks to restrict access to police body camera footage

In recent months, there's been much debate and discourse among Americans about police officers and use of excessive and deadly force. In an effort to regain the public’s trust and provide for more transparency, many police departments across the U.S. have adopted the widespread use of police body cameras. In Minnesota, respondents of the 2015 Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association revealed that body cameras are currently being used by 41 police departments throughout the state.

Do joint custody arrangements serve to hurt or help kids?

For parents who divorce or split up, concerns about how a child will adjust and be impacted are often top-of-mind. Previously family judges tended to favor mothers in custody cases, however, today an estimated one-fifth of U.S. child custody cases involve joint arrangements where parents share physical custody rights. While some believe that joint custody arrangements serve to harm a child by creating a constant state of flux as a child goes back and forth between parents, research indicates otherwise.

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.

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