Frequently judges receive letters from the public supporting someone involved in a court case, or criticizing them at length. For example, a concerned friend or family member of a criminal defendant may write the judge saying, in essence, “Mr. X has turned his life around and has learned from his mistakes, so please don’t send him to jail.” Ethically a judge cannot consider such a communication in making a decision in a case.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources field staff, resource managers and the DNR Information Center staff answer many questions every day about natural resources topics. Here is one of them: Q. Someone told me that for the sake of birds, rice shouldn’t be thrown outside after a wedding. Is this true? And is there a substitute for rice?
State fire officials are urging Minnesotans to clear countertop clutter and cook with caution following a fire that injured an elderly woman and a St. Paul firefighter.Minnesota consumers looking to buy insurance for 2014 will see important changes in law to comply with the health reform in the Affordable Care Act.
A reader has again asked a great question: Why are there so many different types of juries? Juries vary by their size, purpose and the types of cases that they hear.
The most misunderstood jury is the Grand Jury. Its name refers only to the number of people serving as jurors. A grand jury is made up of 16-23 citizens convened by the county attorney to determine whether or not probable cause exists to charge someone with a crime. Typically grand juries are only called to consider charges of first degree murder or misconduct of a public officer.
Ah, the angst of middle school. While we remember the fun we had with friends and the excitement of meeting students who went to other grade schools, I’ll bet most of us filter out the memories of dealing with raging hormones, bullies, popularity problems, etc, etc. Guess what? As I said in last month’s column, ‘there’s nothing new under the sun!” Today’s ‘tweens are facing the same issues.
In the Sept. 9, 2013 issue of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, there was a lengthy front-page report on the inherent unfairness and possible violation of human rights for mentally ill defendants to be languishing in jail without proper mental health treatment. I have seen this abhorrent situation in court myself. Recently a woman in her 20s with a history of mental illness sat in jail for about 30 days for a minor probation violation because county human services staff could not find a bed for her in an appropriate mental health treatment facility. I do not blame the human services agency. I do not blame the prosecutors. I place blame on all of us.
Crisp morning air, auburn leaves, sugary sweet apples — these are a few of the things we love best about fall in Minnesota. I relish the evenings when the wind blowing in through our bedroom window is cool enough to send me crawling under the blankets, and though I resent the darkness for arriving earlier and earlier each night, I run almost gleefully for the matches to light torches in the backyard before settling into our old wooden swing to sip wine and watch bats flutter in the sky. Like most Minnesotans, autumn is my favorite time of year, and yet, the minute the leaves begin to change, I start to feel a sense of loss and sadness. It’s like listening to Simon and Garfunkel and feeling melancholy for no particular reason. Perhaps it’s the fleeting nature of the fall, so beautiful and yet it slips through our fingers like sand, impossible to hold on to for long.