Faculty in the News

Faculty News

  • Profs. Blumenthal and Frase Quoted in NBC News on Upgraded Charges for Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin in the Killing of George Floyd

    June 5, 2020

    Professors Susanna Blumenthal and Richard Frase were quoted in an NBC News article about the upgraded charges—increased from third-degree murder to second-degree felony murder—brought against former Minneapolis police office Derek Chauvin in the tragic killing of George Floyd.

    “Second-degree felony murder does not require proof of intent to kill,” said Blumenthal. “What the prosecutor would need to establish is that the officer caused death while committing or attempting to commit a felony offense, which has been charged in this case as assault in the third degree.”

    Frase said that while the second-degree felony murder upgrade comes with a longer statutory maximum sentence, it is easier to prove than third-degree, extreme-recklessness murder. For felony murder “the only intent you have to show is an intent to cause bodily harm. They don’t have to show extreme recklessness as to death,” added Frase.

  • Prof. Frase Interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s The World Tonight Regarding Upgraded Charges Against Former Minneapolis Police Officer in Connection with the Killing of George Floyd

    June 5, 2020

    Professor Richard Frase spoke with BBC Radio 4’s The World Tonight regarding new charges against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in connection with the killing of George Floyd. (Begins at 16:24). Frase explained that the additional second-degree murder charge falls into the category of felony murder, described as “causing death while committing a violent felony.” Frase also elaborated on the potential conviction and sentencing implications stemming from the new charges, and stated that it may be challenging to find impartial jurors for such a high-profile case.

  • Dean Jenkins Writes Op-Ed in MinnPost About the Path Forward to Justice in Wake of Tragic Killing of George Floyd

    June 3, 2020

    Garry W. Jenkins, Dean and William S. Pattee Professor of Law, co-authored a joint commentary in MinnPost with Humphrey School of Public Affairs Dean Laura L. Bloomberg on the path forward to achieving justice for all after the tragic killing of George Floyd. “Despite the current pain and anger, we firmly believe that the path forward will require citizens to learn from each other and from experts, to talk honestly and openly, to listen with open minds, and, ultimately, to reshape existing policies, practices, and perspectives,” writes Jenkins and Bloomberg. “Minnesotans must channel our outrage into action and insist on a world in which safety and human rights are not dependent on one’s race or ethnicity.”

  • Prof. Frase Quoted in New York Times Regarding Legal Basis for Third-Degree Murder Charge Brought Against Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin in the Tragic Killing of George Floyd

    June 2, 2020

    Professor Richard Frase—co-director of the Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice—was quoted in a New York Times article examining the legal basis for the third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges brought against former Minneapolis Police Office Derek Chauvin in the tragic killing of George Floyd. Frase noted that a first- or second-degree murder charge would require prosecutors to prove that Mr. Chauvin intended to kill Mr. Floyd. Frase added that the criminal complaint against Mr. Chauvin did not identify any specific motive for officers to kill Mr. Floyd, which essentially ruled out intentional murder charges; third degree murder does not require intent to kill, only an eminently dangerous act without regard for human life.

  • Prof. McDonnell Publishes Op-Ed on Business Liability During the COVID-19 Pandemic

    May 29, 2020

    Professor Brett McDonnell published an op-ed article titled “To Reopen the Economy, Businesses Need a ‘Safe Haven’ Protocol to Avoid Liability” in the Star Tribune on May 27, 2020. Co-written with Matt Bodie, a professor at the St. Louis University School of Law, the article addresses the current debate over waiving liability of businesses to their employees who are infected with the novel coronavirus at work. Republicans are demanding such a waiver as part of the next bill responding to the pandemic, while Democrats are opposed. McDonnell and Bodie argue that the fear of liability may indeed inhibit some businesses from re-opening, but that employees also justifiably fear employers opening up too quickly with inadequate safeguards.

    In response, the article suggests two potential safe harbors which would allow employers to avoid liability. One safe harbor would require OSHA to create a standard for businesses to follow to safeguard against infection. Employers which follow that standard would then be immune for liability. But McDonnell and Bodie argue that an alternative safe harbor would be even more effective. Businesses that adopt virus safety plans approved by their employees would be immune from liability if an employee got infected. The second safe harbor would be more flexible and tailored to the circumstances of individual businesses. Employee-approved virus safety plans would also draw upon the knowledge of employees, and help ensure that employees understand and comply with the plans.

  • Prof. Orfield Quoted in New York Times Discussion on George Floyd Killing and Civil Unrest

    May 29, 2020

    Quoted in a New York Times article on the protests that have erupted in Minneapolis as a result of the death of George Floyd, Professor Myron Orfield notes that increasing racial segregation may have contributed to civil unrest.

  • Prof. Vaaler Quoted in Article on Plight of Migrant Workers During Covid-19 Pandemic

    May 12, 2020

    TRT magazine (Istanbul) interviewed Professor Vaaler for an article on the health and economic stresses migrants are experiencing due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  Professor Vaaler provides background on how the pandemic is decreasing migrant remittances to developing countries where remittances make up a substantial share of total GDP. 

  • Prof. Hickman Quoted By Bloomberg About CIC Services v. IRS Certiorari Grant

    May 5, 2020

    Professor Kristin Hickman was quoted in an article by Bloomberg, “Anti-Injunction Act Confusion Set for Resolution by High Court,” about the Supreme Court’s decision to grant certiorari in CIC Services LLC v. Internal Revenue Service.  The case concerns whether the Anti-Injunction Act, a provision in the Internal Revenue Code, bars pre-enforcement judicial review of tax rules and regulations.  Professor Hickman filed an amicus brief supporting the taxpayer’s petition for certiorari.  The article quoted Professor Hickman as observing that “the tax community will welcome clarification of the Anti-Injunction Act’s meaning in light of” other developments in the field.

     

  • Prof. Hickman Quoted By Tax Notes About CIC Services v. IRS Certiorari Grant

    May 5, 2020

    Professor Kristin Hickman was quoted in an article by Tax Notes, “Supreme Court Will Clarify Scope of Anti-Injunction Act,” concerning the Supreme Court’s decision to grant certiorari in CIC Services LLC v. Internal Revenue Service.  The case concerns whether the Anti-Injunction Act, a provision in the Internal Revenue Code, bars pre-enforcement judicial review of tax rules and regulations.  Professor Hickman filed an amicus brief supporting the taxpayer’s petition for certiorari.  The article quoted Professor Hickman as hoping that the Court “will take this opportunity to read the Anti-Injunction Act as allowing pre-enforcement review of tax regulatory actions and reaffirm its rejection from the Mayo Foundation case of tax exceptionalism from general administrative law requirements, doctrines, and norms.”  The article also quoted Professor Hickman as observing that, regardless, “the tax community will welcome clarification of the Anti-Injunction Act’s meaning”

  • Minnesota Lawyer Quotes Prof. Cotter on Supreme Court Trademark Law Decision

    April 30, 2020

    An article in Minnesota Lawyer (subscription required), titled “Profits More Available in Trademark Cases,” discusses the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil Group, Inc. The decision holds that willfulness is not an absolute requirement for an award of the infringer’s profits in a trademark infringement case. The article quotes Professor Tom Cotter, who states that “It will be easier for trademark owners to allege that the defendant has not only engaged in trademark infringement but potentially is liable for disgorging profits earned from the sale of allegedly infringing products,” and that “It will be more difficult for courts to dispose of these cases on a motion for summary judgement so more of them will go to trial. That raises the degree of uncertainty and the risk faced by defendants.”

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