April 21, 2021
In a an article in USA Today, Professor Jon Lee discussed grounds for appeal in the Chauvin case. He said the inescapability from news and social media coverage was a likely argument. “Part of the concern here is that the judge has instructed the jury not to listen to the news,” Lee said. “But as Chauvin’s attorney has argued, the collective media coverage of this trial extends well beyond news coverage, and in particular in light of the shooting in Brooklyn Center. I think that was difficult to avoid hearing about for (juror) residents in the area.”
April 17, 2021
In an article on closing arguments for he Derek Chauvin murder trial, Professor Jon Lee said the video of George Floyd’s killing helps the state underscore an element of the crimes — that Chauvin knowingly using force on Floyd. “It will evoke a reaction in jurors,” Lee said. “You want to create a compelling picture. You want them to have the feeling that they have to convict this person.”
Prof. Caleb Smith Quoted in Bloomberg Tax Discussing Issues with Duplicate Stimulus Checks Being Issued by IRSApril 15, 2021
Professor Caleb Smith discussed the hurdles the IRS faces in recouping erroneous or duplicate economic impact payments (commonly referred to as “stimulus checks”). Prof. Smith highlights the importance of whether the stimulus checks are “rebates” for tax purposes in determining how the IRS can collect erroneous payments.
Prof. Richard Frase Quoted by NYT on Arrest of Fmr. Police Officer Kimberly Potter in Daunte Wright KillingApril 15, 2021
In a New York Times article covering former Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kimberly A. Potter’s arrest on a second-degree manslaughter charge for the killing of Daunte Wright, Professor Richard Frase said the second-degree manslaughter statute is worded narrowly enough that the case might prove difficult for prosecutors to prove, noting that it requires them to show that Ms. Potter consciously took a chance of “causing death or great bodily harm.”
Prof. Carol Chomsky discusses the proposed amendment to the Minnesota Criminal Sexual Conduct statute with MinnPostApril 14, 2021
In response to the Minnesota Supreme Court ruling in State v. Khalil, the Minnesota Senate and House are considering bills that would amend the definition of “mentally incapacited.” The change would permit prosecution of sexual assault against a victim who was under the influence of intoxicating substances that renders the victim incapable of consenting. Current law was interpreted by the Supreme Court as requiring that the intoxicating alcohol or narcotics be administered to the victim without their consent. Prof. Chomsky discussed the effect of the proposed change with MinnPost reporter Ashley Hackett.
Prof. Richard Frase Discusses With Bloomberg Law the First Nine Days of Testimony in the Trial of Derek Chauvin for the Death of George FloydApril 12, 2021
In his conversation with Bloomberg Law’s June Grasso about the first nine days of testimony in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd (begins at 19:45), Prof. Richard Frase states that “the prosecution has done a very good job of laying out its key themes… anticipating where the defense is going to attack most forcefully, particularly on the issues of causation of death by Derek Chauvin and justified use of force. I think they’ve made as strong a case as they can.” Prof. Frase also discussed specific strategies used thus far by the prosecution and the defense.
Prof. Caleb Smith published in TaxNotes on how pro bono legal representation can improve tax administrationApril 9, 2021
Professor Caleb Smith was published in the TaxNotes discussing how pro bono and other free legal representation can be a way to both assist individuals and bring about systemic legal change, with state tax collection issues as a case study. Professor Smith’s article is part of the TaxNotes series “The Search for Tax Justice,” that focuses on examining inequities inherent in state and federal taxes.
Prof. Hasday quoted in the New York Times and the Washington PostApril 2, 2021
Professor Jill Hasday discussed a recent decision of the Minnesota Supreme Court that reveals the need to revise the state’s rape laws to better protect people who were too incapacitated to consent.
March 26, 2021
The New York State Association of Criminal Defense Laywers (NYSACDL) has just released its report on the “Trial Penalty,” a phenomenon described as prosecutors using their charging power to drive harsh plea bargains or punish the exercise of the right to trial. The report profiles several individuals, including Provard Jones, a 2017 client of the University of Minnesota Law School Project, directed by Professor JaneAnne Murray.
Murray, who (with her client’s permission) presented Jones’ case to the lawyers at Skadden Arps who drafted the report, says she is delighted that the NYSACDL featured Jones’ case. Murray, a former board member of NYSACDL, was on the taskforce of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), which issued a national report on this practice in 2019, and she directs the NACDL Trial Penalty Clemency Project, which advocates for executive clemency for federal inmates serving sentences driven by the trial penalty. This project secured 14 clemencies from President Trump on Jan. 19, 2021, two of whom were individual clients of the law school’s Clemency Project. (On the same date, Murray secured an additional 12 clemency grants from President Trump for low-level, non-violent drug offenders). Jones was represented by Murray and Jonathan Mansker ‘18.
Prof. Jon Lee Quoted in the Star Tribune Regarding the Dismissal of Black Potential Juror in Derek Chauvin TrialMarch 22, 2021
Professor Jon Lee is quoted in a Star Tribune article that examines race and bias in courtrooms. Of the dismissal of a Black potential juror in the Derek Chauvin trial, Professor Lee said, “It is nearly impossible to try to disentangle race and one’s experiences as a person of color with this case. That said…we need to impanel a jury that would be able to bring their experiences to bear in hearing this case.”
He added that it is difficult to prove that an opposing attorney has struck a juror on the basis of race as, “the defense attorney is going to argue that it is not on an account of race but rather because of his prior experiences with the police department and what he has observed. But that is necessarily tied up in the fact that he is a Black man.”