MSBA Criminal Law Section
This Annual Report is submitted by William L. Bernard, 2010-2011 Chair of the MSBA Criminal Law Section.
The Section had 602 members this year. This represents a 3% increase in membership since July 1, 2010. Of this membership, 75% reside in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, 25% reside in greater Minnesota, and 1% resides outside Minnesota. Regarding years of law practice: 53% have ten or more years experience; and our gender breakdown is 64% male and 36% female.
The Criminal Law Section had an account balance of $7,990.32 as of April 30, 2011.
Continuing Legal Education Programs and Social Events
The Section offered or co-sponsored the following Continuing Legal Education classes:
- DWI: File to Finish
- Annual Legislative Preview and Reception
- Intersection Between Criminal and Immigration Law
- International Criminal Court: An Overview, the U.S. Role, and Victim Participation
- Uncle Al Capone: The Untold Story of Chicago’s #1 Gangster from his Niece’s Perspective- Legal and Ethical Lessons from the 1931 and 1991 Capone Trials
- Everything But the Kitchen Sink for Criminal Lawyers
- How to Avoid Being Reported to the LPRB and What to Do if You Are
- Implications of New Padilla v. Kentucky U.S. Supreme Court Ruling
- MSBA Criminal Law Specialist Certification Exam Review Course
- Win Your Case When It Is All on the Line: Do What Other Criminal Lawyers Fail to Do
CLE Event Code and Credit
# of Attendees
Criminal Law Certification Exam Review Course
147954; 2.0 Standard
Win Your Case at Sentencing
151454; 3.5 Standard
Annual Legislative Preview and Reception
151708; 1.0 Standard
Uncle Al Capone: The Untold Story of Chicago's #1 Gangster from his Niece's Perspective - Legal and Ethical Lessons from the 1931 and 1991 Capone Trials" (co-sponsored with the Tax Law Section)
153214; 1.0 Standard and 1.0 Ethics
International Criminal Court: An Overview, the U.S. Role and Victim Participation
152989; 3.75 Standard
How to Avoid Being Reported to the LPRB and What to do if You Are?
153802; 2.0 Ethics
Everything but the Kitchen Sink for Criminal Lawyers (Morning and Afternoon Sessions)
154375; 3.0 Standard and 154376; 3.0 Standard
Briefs of Amicus Curiae:
The Minnesota Supreme Court invited Briefs of Amicus Curiae from the Minnesota State Bar Association and the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office regarding the pending matter of State of Minnesota v. Walter Jamille Randolf, et al. A10-1557. Co-Authors John Fossum, Richard Ohlenberg, and I (with the assistance of David Gates and others from the Council) submitted an amicus brief on behalf of the Criminal Law Section.
Legislative Proposals/Bill Summaries:
The Section submitted four Legislative Proposals this year to the MSBA Legislative Committee, two of which were approved with MSBA support:
Proposal regarding the support of S.F. No. 3145 (Bongwater Bill)
Proposal regarding S.F. No. 560 (Expungement Bill)
Proposal regarding Public Defender Eligibility
Proposal regarding the Uniform Collateral Consequences of Conviction Act
The Section adopted two Section Only Positions this year:
- Opposition to HF 152, criminalizing possession of false identification documents
- Support of HF 489, Uniform Collateral Consequences of Conviction Act
Annual Meeting and Election Results
The Criminal Law Section’s annual meeting and elections were held in conjunction with the “Everything but the Kitchen Sink for Criminal Lawyers” CLE program on May 18 at noon at the Embassy Suites in St. Paul, MN. The meeting was well attended with 55 participants.
The following individuals were elected to serve as officers in 2011-12:
Chair: Blair Buccicone
Vice Chair: Brad R. Johnson
Treasurer: Joe Van Thomme
Secretary: Dan Adkins
The following individuals were elected to serve on the Criminal Law Section Council in 2011-12:
David B. Gates
Joe Van Thomme
Patrick J. Casey
The following individuals will serve as the Section’s MSBA Assembly representative and alternate in 2011-12:
Representative: William Bernard, Past Chair
Alternate: Brad R. Johnson, Vice Chair
Other Section Accomplishments
The section made the following donations to community service:
- $1,000 to the Minnesota Justice Foundation to support its summer (criminal law based) clerkship program
Bill Bernard, Section Chair
MSBA CRIMINAL LAW SECTION
Click here to view the 2009 - 10 Annual Report as a PDF.
Submitted by, John L. Fossum Chair of the MSBA Section on May 25, 2010
The Section had 589 members this year.
Continuing Legal Education:
The Section offered or co-sponsored the following cutting edge CLEs:
- Echoes of War - The Combat Veteran in Criminal Court
- Intersection Between Criminal and Immigration Law
- International Criminal Law: A View from the Inside
- Children & Human Trafficking: Providing Legal Perspectives from Immigration, Criminal and Child Advocates
- Implications of New Padilla v. Kentucky U.S. Supreme Court Ruling
All of which covered areas not often seen in CLEs in Minnesota. In addition this year the Criminal Law Specialist Certification was approved and the section offered a CLE to provide a background for those taking the exam.
The section made the following donations to community service:
- $1,000 to the Minnesota Justice Foundation to support its summer clerkship program,
- $500 to fund the MSBA mock trial and civic education programs double the gift given the year before,
- The section also made a very generous donation of $1,500 to Haiti to help respond to the
pressing need and the devastation of the earthquake.
The members attending the annual meeting elected for the following officers and council
members to serve terms from July 1, 2010, through June 30, 2011:
Section Chair: William L. Bernard
Section Vice Chair: Blair Buccicone
Section Treasurer: Richard Ohlenberg
Section Secretary: Joe Van Thomme
The Following Members were elected to the Council for 2010-2011:
Daniel S. Adkins
David B. Gates
Bradley R. Johnson
The Section's MSBA Assembly representative will be John L. Fossum. Bill Bernard will serve as
The Section had a fund balance of over $16,337.08 as of April 30, 2010. This healthy sum
remains after an ambitious year of programming, very generous financial donations to public
service and charity, increased costs paid to the MSBA and a commitment to not raise dues for
2007-08 Annual Report
Julie Loftus Nelson
I am proud to report that the Criminal Law Section has had another very productive year. I am thrilled to have been part of the Section’s following achievements.
We began the year with a focus on distributing the Crystal Meth video to high schools statewide. The Section had produced the video during the 2006-2007 term, under the outstanding leadership of Rebecca Rhoda Fisher. The goal of producing the video was to develop an effective and far-reaching method of educating teenagers on the dangers associated with meth use. The video focuses on five main areas: (1) meth ingredients (not how to make it but the toxic items that are used to make meth); (2) how addiction to meth occurs; (3) legal consequences; (4) physical, emotional and psychological effects of meth use; (5) and treatment. Information on each topic was elicited through interviews with teenagers who have been addicted to meth and have successfully completed treatment; family members of these teenagers; judges; prosecutors; defense attorneys; treatment counselors; and doctors. The final touches were put on the video over the summer, making the video ready for distribution in the fall of 2007.
Distribution efforts to high schools were spearheaded by Vice Chair Rich Ohlenberg. Rich raised interest in the video among high schools statewide and then arranged to have a Section member go to the school and present it to the students. Typically, the video would be presented to several classes throughout the day. Therefore, the members who volunteered to present the video generously donated a day out of their busy schedules to help with this project. There can be no doubt that it was time well spent, because the feedback from both students and faculty was outstanding.
The next major project to get underway was the Criminal Law Specialist Accreditation Program, which is sponsored by the MSBA. The program is intended to permit those attorneys possessing specific qualifications to be certified as Criminal Law Specialists. Such accreditation assists the public in identifying attorneys who meet objective standards in a specialty area for reliable knowledge and experience. The first-step was to form a committee that would set the criteria for eligibility. The accreditation committee is comprised of nine members, including federal and state judges, criminal defense attorneys and prosecutors. The committee met regularly for several months and established the standards that an attorney will be required to satisfy in order to be considered a Criminal Law Specialist. Development of the accreditation program will be continued in the upcoming year.
The Criminal Law Section also sponsored three CLEs. In March we hosted the “Source Code Update,” intended to give attendees a balanced view of the hotly debated issue of whether the source code for the Intoxilyzer 5000 is discoverable by the defense in criminal and implied consent matters. There were 100 defense attorneys, prosecutors, and assistant attorney generals in attendance. Attendees received three standard CLE credits.
In April we sponsored “Crystal Meth: Addiction and the Criminal Justice System,” at which we had 70 attendees. We began this CLE with a viewing of the meth video, followed by presentations from a distinguished group of panelists. First, Dr. Gavin Bart, Director of Addiction Medicine at HCMC, addressed the physical, mental, and emotional effects on the individual; the reason that meth causes such damage; whether the damage can be undone; how much damage is done from the first use versus habitual use; and his experience with different types of treatment. Then, Judges Toddrick Barnette from Hennepin County and Judge John Rodenberg from Brown County addressed the issue of whether the justice system treats meth users in a fair and impartial manner. Of specific concern was whether meth addicts receive different treatment and outcomes based on whether they are being charged in the metro area or an outer lying community; whether gender and/or age makes a difference; the factors that determine whether someone is sent to drug court, probation, or prison; and the safeguards that are in place to ensure that those decisions are even-handed. Finally, Dylan Warkentin and Geri Pruyn from Anoka County Corrections touched on some these same issues, but from the point of view of probation officers in a county that does not have a drug court.
Attendees received 2 elimination of bias credits. This CLE was so successful that the Criminal Law Institute has asked the Criminal Law Section to offer the same presentation with the same speakers at the annual CJI Conference in August.
Finally, the Criminal Law Section co-sponsored the CLE held at the Glensheen Mansion in Duluth at the annual MSBA Conference in June.
It important to state that none of the above achievements could have been possible without the outstanding effort and hard work done by the MSBA staff and the Criminal Law Section executive officers and council members. It has been a pleasure working with all of you. I would like to extend a special thank you to Meaghan Harper. Your tireless efforts made all of these accomplishments possible and my job as Section Chair thoroughly enjoyable.
Julie Loftus Nelson
Chair, Criminal Law Section, MSBA
5500 Wayzata Boulevard, Suite 1450
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55416
CRIMINAL LAW SECTION 2004-2005 ANNUAL REPORT
By: SECTION CHAIR, CAROLYN AGIN SCHMIDT
Before I go into the details of the annual report, I want to say that it has
been a pleasure serving as the Chair of the Criminal Law Section. I also want
to thank all those who helped make this year a successful year; specifically
Renee Anderson, Kim Basting, Mary Kempton, and the rest of the MSBA staff, as
well as the other executive officers, Dan Mohs and Rebecca Fisher, and all the
council members who worked so hard this year. It has been a pleasure working
with all of you.
As we entered the '04/'05 term our section had several goals:
1. Form liaisons with other organizations to aid in reaching some of our goals.
2. Increase membership and involvement in the section council.
3. Increase attendance at our seminars.
4. Begin to form sub-committees within the section.
5. Recruit prosecutors for the section council to balance the representation
of the section.
6. Re-write the by-laws to allow for more officers and to create greater structure.
Most of these goals were not only met, but were far exceeded. Others goals
were started, but still need to be furthered. The following is a summary of
our success in achieving each of these goals:
Form liaisons with other organizations in hopes of reaching some of our goals.
One of the first things that I did as chair was to personally reach out to
other organizations to try to work on the first three goals listed above.
I met with the President of Minnesota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers,
Peter Wold. At this meeting I received assurances that the MACDL would be willing
to co-sponsor CLEs and to allow us to market their members for our seminars.
We also discussed co-sponsoring a seminar, which was held in July.
I then met with Frank Harris and Vince O'Brien from Minnesota CLE. They agreed
to allow us be co-sponsors at the annual Criminal Justice Institute in August.
I met members of the Minnesota County Attorneys Association at the CJI and
attempted to persuade them to allow us to market their members.
In January I met with the Honorable Kathryn Anderson, Chair, Criminal Justice
Section, ABA, and in May we co-sponsored a seminar of national and international
We invited organizations such as police departments and the public defenders
to all our seminars.
Our section reached out to other sections of the MSBA by inviting them to our
seminars. By the end of the term we worked with the Immigration section and
co-sponsored two seminars.
Forming these alliances with other organizations, within the MSBA and outside,
helped our section gain greater exposure in the legal community, increase our
attendance at seminars, and form lasting relationships to continue to bring
our section to new heights.
Increase membership and involvement in the section council.
At the start of the '04/'05 year we had three officers on the council and one
or two possible council members interested in being involved. By the end of
the '04'05 year we had recruited up to a total of 10 council members most of
which were very involved.
At the elections in May for the '05/'06 term we had such a huge interest in
the council that we now have the executive officers, chair, vice chair, secretary,
and the new positions of treasurer and immediate past chair (if the new by laws
are approved by the Assembly), and 20 council members.
Increase attendance at our seminars.
In previous years the section put on quality seminars, but the attendance was
low! This year our executive committee was determined to change this. One of
the first things we decided to try was to change the time and the frequency
of the seminars. In the past the seminars were held once per month for one hour
over lunch. Instead we decided to hold the seminars on a quarterly basis (with
the exception of co-sponsored events), start after lunch, and to extend the
length of the seminar to up to three hours.
The executive committee also decided to try to increase the amount of marketing
that we did for the seminars. As discuss above, we called upon the newly formed
alliances to reach out to the legal community. We had the MSBA staff send out
the notices of seminars to the members one month before and then a reminder
a week before. The notices were put on the MSBA website. At every seminar we
would be marketing the seminars that were coming up in the months to follow.
Each of the council members were asked to print out the notices and leave them
in court for the other lawyers, and to also email and/or personally invite other
As a result of the changes we made to our seminar formula, and the hard work
of the Council and MSBA staff we had the following successful seminars:
July '04 "Life After Blakely" co-sponsored with MACDL, Marquette
Hotel, Panel of speakers to discuss the case of Blakely v. Washington, and the
sea change in sentencing. Number of registrants: 113
August '04 "Criminal Justice Institute" co-sponsored with Minnesota
CLE, Radisson South Hotel, Annual seminar devoted to criminal justice issues.
Our section was responsible for putting on a panel of prosecutors and a panel
of defense lawyers to discuss emerging issues in criminal law. Each panel was
well attended, with approximately 50 people in each breakout session. The institute
itself had an attendance of over 800 registrants.
October '04 "Anatomy of a Juror", MSBA offices and Bellanote to follow
for complementary appetizers and cash bar, Two jury foreman, a judge, prosecutor,
and defense lawyer spoke about the ins and outs of picking and persuading a
jury. Number of registrants: 45
January '05 "Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convections", IDS,
Windows on Minnesota. Panel of speakers to discuss the various collateral consequences
when a defendant is convicted of a crime. Number of registrants: 138.
April '05 "CSI Minnesota", Marquette Hotel, Various forensic experts
discussed the intricacies of their field: pathologist, DNA expert, Computer
analyst, and document analyst. Number of registrants: 82
April '05 " From here to Guantanamo", co-sponsored with the Immigration
Section, St. Thomas Law School, Number of registrants: 30
May '05 "Justice without Borders" co-sponsors with ABA Criminal Justice
Section, Grand Hotel, Number of registrants: 140
June '05 "Patriot Act-War on them or War on us?" MSBA Annual Convention,
Brainerd, MN. Thomas Hefflefinger, United States Attorney, District of Minnesota,
and Daniel Scott, Chief Federal Defender, District of Minnesota, debated the
pros and cons of the Patriot Act. Number of registrants: approximately 25-30.
In summary this has been a banner year for our section when it comes to the
seminars that we have sponsored.
Begin to form sub-committees within the section.
This year we have formed the following sub-committee: Legislative, forms, certification,
membership, and seminar. Under the new proposed by-laws each executive officer
will chair one of the above committees and report back to the section Chair.
Although we have formed these committees a lot of work is yet to be done to
get them up and running.
Recruit prosecutors for the section council to balance the representation of
The '04/'05 year we had no prosecutors on the executive board or on the council.
During the year we have recruited several prosecutors to join the council. For
the '05/'06 year Peter Orput, formerly with the Attorney General's office, has
been elected Chair and we have one city attorney and one assistant county attorney
on the council.
Re-write the by-laws to allow for more officers and to create greater structure.
The council has drafted and approved amended by-laws to include making the
immediate past chair an officer on the executive committee since that person
will also serve as the assembly representative for the section, and we have
divided the office of secretary/treasurer into two separate offices. This will
allow for more people to be involved with the board in an effort to accomplish
more of its duties and goals.
The by-laws have also been amended to delineate specific duties for each officer
including the chairing of sub-committees.
These amendments to the by-laws will be submitted to the Assembly for its approval
in the fall.
In summary, the Criminal Law Section has had a successful year! I am pleased
with the improvements that we have made to the section this year. Our council
is now in a position to continue to carry the momentum into the years to come.
I look forward to representing the section at the MSBA general assembly for
the '05/'06 term.
Carolyn Agin Schmidt
Chair, Criminal Law Section, MSBA
Attorney at Law
The Colonnade, Suite 1025
5500 Wayzata Blvd.
Minneapolis, MN 55416
MSBA Criminal Law Section
2003-04 Annual Report
The 2003-2004 year was very busy for the Criminal Law Section. The Criminal
Section put on eight one hour CLE luncheon meetings and co-sponsored a Death
Penalty Panel with the Human Rights Committee and the Innocense Project at the
MSBA Convention in Duluth.
In September, we started the year with a 2003 Legislative Update. Joe Cox from
the House Research Department spoke about the newly introduced legislation and
it’s affect on criminal practice.
In October, Joe Friedberg and David Roston spoke on the topic of “Identifying
and Representing the Mentally Ill Client”. The discussion included medical
examinations, mental competency and the McNaughton defense. The speakers also
discussed several high profile Minnesota cases.
In November, the section hosted a panel discussion with several probation officers
on the topic of “How to Prepare Your Client for Meeting with Probation”.
Bob Gould and Dan Kempf Hennepin County Probation Officers, Jon Solvag a Dakota
County Probation Officer and Russ Heuckendorf from Ramsey County made up the
In January, Steven Simon the Director of the Minnesota Criminal Justice DWI
Task Force spoke to the section about the pending DWI issues before the DWI
Task Force including, changes in the forfeiture provisions, plate impoundment,
and the .08 BAC.
In February, Susan Koberstein of Centro Legal, Inc. spoke about “Immigration
law and the Collateral Consequences to Criminal Convictions.”
In March, Charles Lundberg hosted a one hour Ethics CLE entitled “Ethical
Issues in a Criminal Law Practice”. Mr. Lundberg spoke about changes in
the Rules of Professional Responsibility and led a discussion on common ethics
problems which criminal defense counsel and prosecutors routinely face.
In April, Margaret Zack, a reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune led a
discussion on “The Media’s Perception of the Criminal Justice System
and Criminal Defense Attorneys”. Ms. Zack also spoke about the media’s
attention to the trial of Susan Berkovitz (shooting at the Hennepin County Government
In May, the criminal law section put on a panel discussion on “The Current
State of the Law on Canine Drug-Sniff Cases”. The panel included Hennepin
County Judge William Howard, Sarah Stennes, Hennepin County Attorney, Dan Mohs,
Attorney and Dan Gerdts, Attorney. Officer Kevin Pregler of the Plymouth Police
Department and his canine Dallas gave a demonstration to the group. Officer
Pregler discussed the training that both the dogs and handlers must go through
to be certified.
The Criminal Law Section participated in the June MSBA Convention in Duluth
by co-hosting a panel discussion with the Human Rights Committee and the Innocence
Project. “Reinstating the Death Penalty in Minnesota and Addressing Wrongful
Convictions: Past, Present and Future Perspectives” was a great success.
John Bessler gave a historical background on the death penalty in Minnesota.
Other speakers included Forensic anthropologist Susan Myster and exonerated
former inmate Bobby McLaughlin, along with legislators, prosecutors, and defense
As Chair for the 2003-2004 year, I want to thank the MSBA staff, in particular
Kim Basting and Renee Anderson for their assistance and advice throughout the
year. I also want to thank Dan Mohs, Carolyn Agin-Schmidt and Rebecca Rhoda
Fisher for all of their help and support. I know that the 2004-2005 year will
be a great year with the newly elected board. I look forward to participating
as an active member in the years to follow.
2004-2005 Criminal Law Section:
Chair - Carolyn Agin-Schmidt
Vice - Chair Dan Mohs
Treasurer - Rebecca Rhoda Fisher
Jill A. Oleisky, 2003-2004 Chair
MSBA Criminal Law Section
1999-2000 Annual Report
This was an exciting and fulfilling year for the Criminal Law
Section. In addition to numerous CLE luncheon meetings, we co-sponsored an informative
mini-convention, entitled "Defending Non-Citizens in Criminal Court,"
at this year's MSBA Convention in Duluth.
The first big development for the Section was that Vice Chair
Alan Pendelton was selected by Governor Jesse Ventura to be a District Court
Judge in Sherburne County. (Because of the time constraints of his new duties
as a district court judge, Alan decided to bow out of taking over as Chair for
this coming year.)
In addition to the mini-convention in Duluth, the Criminal Law
Section had seven one-hour CLE luncheon meetings on a variety of topics pertinent
to the practice of criminal law:
In October, Vice Chair (and now Judge) Alan Pendelton presented
the first luncheon CLE, on new criminal legislation and how the new statutes
would affect our practices.
In November, Assistant Attorney General Michael Pahl gave an
informative presentation on how best to handle implied consent hearings.
In December, State Public Defender John Stuart spoke on the
Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines, with particular focus on the severe sentencing
scheme for controlled substance crimes.
In January of this year, the Section was pleased to learn about
state corrections issues directly from Commissioner of Corrections Sheryl
Ramstad Hvass at a well-attended and informative luncheon meeting.
In March, private defense attorney Lisa Lodin Peralta gave an
astoundingly thorough presentation on criminal appellate practice, including
a free 200-page detailed handout she prepared on appellate procedures. Lisa's
presentation had approximately 35 attendees, which I believe was the largest
turnout of the year.
In April, we had another very large turnout for Assistant Minneapolis
City Attorney Judd Gushwa's excellent presentation on DUI- and prostitution-related
In June of this year, at the final CLE luncheon meeting, panelists
David Murrin and John Lucas, both Assistant Hennepin County Public Defenders,
along with private attorney Jill Oleisky, led a lively discussion on the pros
and cons of the Hennepin County drug court.
The two-hour mini-convention in Duluth this June focused on immigration
consequences in Minnesota criminal courts, with an invaluable presentation by
private immigration attorney Michael Davis and Karen Ellingson, Executive Director
of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota. The information-packed session could
easily have gone on for another few hours, with the wealth of knowledge of both
Financially, the Section continues to be strong, with a balance
of over $4,000.00. With the large attendance at our meetings and the general
interest in the group, the Section is positioned to remain fiscally sound for
at least the next number of years.
The Section continued to publish the Criminal Law News, an informative
publication which summarizes new criminal case law and statutes, along with
other pertinent news related to criminal law. The publication was edited, as
always, by Frederic Bruno. Also, coordinated by MSBA staff members, the Section
utilized on-line capabilities such as e-mailing meeting notices and other pertinent
information to Section members and having the criminal law website available
to all MSBA members.
As it has done in the past, the Section took positions on a few
hot-button issues. First, the Section took the position that it opposes the
Conference of Chief Judges' proposed changes to the "recusal and removal
of judges for cause" rule. Second, the Section took the position to endorse
the proposed amendments to the Minnesota Statutes by Minnesota public defenders.
As Chair this year, I want to thank the MSBA staff, in particular
Heather Sia and Betsy Keyes, for their assistance and expertise in helping me
make this such a successful year for the Criminal Law Section. I also want to
thank Vice Chair Alan Pendelton, Secretary Pat Fugina, and Treasurer Kate Latimer,
who greatly assisted my duties. The Criminal Law Section, I am sure, will have
another strong year in 2000-2001, with the following officers carrying the torch:
Chair: Kate Latimer (651-297-6400)
Vice Chair: Pat Fugina (612-421-7040)
Treasurer: Jerry Mesenbourg (612-755-5555)
Secretary:Jill Oleisky (612-332-3100)
It was my sincere pleasure to act as Chair this year, and I look
forward to participating as a member of the Section in years to come.
Timothy R. Anderson, Chair
MSBA Criminal Law Section
1998-99 Annual Report
As we enter the new millennium, I am proud to say that the last two fiscal
years have been a time of renewal and resurgence for the Criminal Law Section.
The section has sponsored many CLE programs, including two mini-conventions,
and has been at the forefront of technological changes at the MSBA. The Criminal
Law Section will be an important leader to members of the bar association as
the dawn of the new century approaches.
The two primary benefits of membership in the Criminal Law Section are 1) the
receipt of bi-monthly criminal law case updates, and 2) the ability to earn
CLE credits through attendance at luncheon CLE programs.
The case law update is edited by Fred Bruno, a prominent Minneapolis attorney.
The update is made up of a summary of every criminal case for which an opinion
is rendered by the Minnesota Supreme Court and the Minnesota Appellate Court.
The summaries are organized by topic, and can be saved and organized in a convenient
form. I believe this benefit alone makes membership in the Criminal Law Section
worthwhile for any and every attorney who handles a criminal case, whether on
defense or for the prosecution.
The Luncheon CLE remains the primary educational and social activity of the
section. Through the last two years, Immediate Past Chairman Gary Bryant-Wolf
and I have organized or sponsored about a dozen CLE programs. These include
two mini-conventions which were co-sponsored with the Immigration Law Section
and presented at the 1998 and 1999 MSBA annual conventions in Duluth.
Luncheon CLE topics have included: death scene investigation; the use of technology
in homicide (and all criminal) cases; an update on the law of search warrants;
an update on the law of felons in possession of firearms; tips and techniques
for handling criminal sexual conduct cases (one of the highest-attended CLEs
in recent memory); legislative updates; and DWI updates. Speakers have included:
prosecutors, defense attorneys, a physician, an assistant attorney general,
a judge, the assistant majority leader of the Minnesota Senate, immigration
attorneys, and at least one law professor.
The mini-convention topics have thoroughly examined (and continued to update)
how federal statutes may affect the immigration status of non-citizens charged
with criminal conduct in state court. In conjunction with the Immigrant Law
Center of Minnesota (Oficina Legal), the section has helped make available a
practice handbook of these federal statutes.
The section was proud to be the first to sponsor a listserver, which we call
an Email Discussion Group. All section members with access to an electronic
mail account may participate free. This benefit allows any member to send a
single note or question to scores of other section members when seeking assistance
with unique issues in a criminal case.
In the future, the section needs to address certain issues more fully, especially
one in particular. The membership is made up of some of the most talented and
experienced criminal law attorneys in the country. This talent has not been
properly exploited to examine legislative topics which apply to the practice
of criminal law, nor has it addressed topics of procedural importance, whether
through legislation, court rules, or just plain everyday practice in the courtrooms
and before the judges. I hope the section can appoint a permanent legislative
coordinator to make the sections officers and members more timely aware
of important topics.
Although we have the wonderful case law update, the section does not really
have a regular newsletter. Does the section need one? Would a newsletter serve
a purpose beyond the announcement of luncheon CLEs, e.g. provide members with
a forum for publication? Are there any materials that can be regularly included,
such as a column on tips and techniques about subtleties or changes in the law?
How can we better utilize the technology of the MSBA including the sections
home page on the World Wide Web?
Should the section sponsor CLE or social meetings throughout the state, such
as in Fergus Falls, Owatonna, Worthington, etc.? Should the section sponsor
a social activity in the Twin Cities or surrounding communities? If so, what
kind of social activity?
The Criminal Law Section has the potential to become the leading non-partisan
bar group serving criminal law practitioners throughout the state. I hope the
momentum we have built in the last two years continues on that path.
The section has been reenergized and will be left in good hands as the next
group of officers ascend through the ranks. Financially, the section is sound
and can continue to sponsor and subsidize high quality activities and benefits.
The MSBA and the section will continue to build upon the technology we use today
to make the practice of criminal law easier and participation in the section
more accessible. Most importantly, the high quality of topics and speakers and
the high attendance of the CLE programs is testament to leadership that the
section provides to its members and the community of criminal law practitioners
in the state of Minnesota.
I look forward to continuing my membership in the section and continuing my
association with the sections members. I also want to thank the members
of the section for their participation, and the staff of the MSBA, without whom
the sections activities would not be possible. Since we all seem to agree
that the year 2000 will be the start of the new millennium, I am proud to have
served you as the last chairman of the 20th century.
Joseph R. Bazan,
MSBA Criminal Law Section
1996-97 Annual Report
During the 1996-97 year, the Criminal Law Section was fairly inactive. There
were three meetings held during the course of the year, including one luncheon
CLE program regarding the re-codification of the Non-Felony Criminal Code in
Minnesota. The section's case law update was published a number of times during
the course of the year to provide ongoing information regarding important appellant
rulings to our members. The section also decided to increase its dues in hopes
of providing even better service to its membership in the future. In addition,
the section also recommended the allocation of $1,350 from the MSBA Impact Fund
for the Hmong Juvenile Outreach Project in Ramsey County. This project will
help educate people in the Hmong community and the juvenile justice system in
Ramsey County. This is the second year that this program has been recommended
for Impact Funds by the Criminal Law Section.
The annual meeting of the section was held at the 1997 MSBA convention at the
Northland Inn in Brooklyn Park. The officers elected for fiscal 1997 were as
follows: Gary Bryant-Wolf, chair; Joseph Bazan, vice chair; Mark Paige, treasurer;
and Timothy R. Anderson, secretary.
Jeffrey S. Sheridan,