Minneapolis Criminal Defense Law Blog

Dog Sniff at Apartment Door only Requires Reasonable Suspicion

Recently Mankey Law Office was retained to defend a client charged with two counts of felony threats of violence. It was alleged that the client threatened neighbors with a gun over a dispute involving the neighbors pit bulls. The client had a clean criminal history and vehemently denied engaging in the behavior. After careful review of the body camera footage worn by the responding officers it became clear that the allegations made by the complainants simply could not have happened as was reported. The Ramsey County Attorney assigned to the case listened carefully at the pretrial conference and agreed to re-review the video taking into account the problems that Mr. Mankey saw with the State's case. After she did so she decided that the case should be dismissed. We are happy for the outcome for our client but we also believe that the prosecutor should be commended. Our criminal justice system is designed to be adversarial and it is rare indeed when a prosecutor seeks a just result rather than blindly seeking a conviction for every case charged. This is how the system is supposed to work. We are pleased with this result.

Probable cause no longer the standard for canine searches

Recently Mankey Law Office received a favorable ruling from the Minnesota Court of Appeals in the unpublished case of State of Minnesota v. Cabbott James Weyker, No. A18-0786. The Office of the State Public Defender requested that Mankey Law Office write the Appellate Brief and argue the case to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. The facts are as follows: After receiving a tip from different officer from another jurisdiction that an informant had told him that Weyker was a methamphetamine dealer without providing any basis for the information, Officer Peter Meyer brought a drug detection dog to the door of Mr. Weyker's apartment. The dog alerted at the threshold of Mr. Weyker's apartment door, and police used this information to obtain a search warrant to search the apartment where ammunition and methamphetamine were found. The State charged Mr. Weyker with Controlled Substance Crime in the 5th Degree and possession of ammunition by an ineligible person. The District Court dismissed the case reasoning that a warrant based on probable cause was needed before the dog sniff occurred.

Availability in labor opening up opportunities for those with criminal past

The Minneapolis Star Tribune recently published an article in which it reports that the shortage of available labor is opening up employment opportunities for people who have served time in prison. This is good news not only for the former convicts but also for society at large. The article reports that close to 60% of Minnesota inmates are back in prison within two years of their release. Giving former offenders the ability to work with dignity is perhaps the best way to insure that inmates do not re-offend and return to prison. We at Mankey Law Office have been asserting this for years. It should surprise no one that people return to prison when employers refuse to hire former inmates. In a country that incarcerates more people per capita than any other industrialized country it is imperative that former offenders be given at least an opportunity to lead a productive lives.

Minnesota Supreme Court expands the prohibition of carrying a pistol while intoxicated

The Minnesota Supreme Court this week greatly expanded the prohibition of carrying a pistol while intoxicated. Mr. Prigge was stopped in a motor vehicle for suspicion of driving while under the influence. A search of the vehicle revealed that there was a handgun in the center console. Prigge was subsequently charged with DWI and carrying a pistol while under the influence pursuant to Minnesota Statute ยง 624.7142 subd. 1(4) (2016) Mr. Prigge successfully argued to the District Court that the charge of carrying a firearm "about his clothes or person" while under the influence of alcohol should be suppressed because a gun in the center console was not "about his clothes or person." The Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of the charge reasoning that there needed to be a "physical nexus" between a person's clothes or person and the pistol. The Minnesota Supreme Court however disagreed. They determined that this analysis ignored the word "about" in the statute. About is defined as "in the vicinity" or "in the immediate neighborhood." Using these dictionary definitions of the word "about" the Supreme Court concluded that in the context of the statute that prohibits carrying a pistol while intoxicated boils down to having the pistol either on one's person or "in one's personal vicinity defined as within arm's reach.

Wax: Illegal in Minnesota

Using or abusing drugs is a difficult habit to break, but it doesn't necessarily make you a bad person. Trying drugs even a single time could result in your getting hooked, and it's important for people to realize the damage it has already done.

If you're caught using or selling it, wax is one drug that could get you into deep trouble with the law. It's a brown-colored drug made up of concentrated THC. THC is a cannabinoid, which comes from marijuana. The THC is the psychoactive substance in the plant, making it likely to cause hallucinations and other side effects.

Marijuana possession or sales lead to felonies in Minnesota

If you enjoy smoking marijuana, you probably already know that it's not legal in Minnesota. Recreationally using marijuana is only legal in a few states, but that doesn't mean you won't face charges if you buy, sell or possess marijuana in Minnesota.

Is that fair? In some ways, it isn't. Federally, marijuana is not legal, either, though, so even in states where marijuana is legal, it's possible to be arrested or charged for using marijuana.

Welfare fraud: Accusations could lead to losing assistance

If you're entitled to public assistance, you might receive benefits like compensation from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or direct cash assistance. To obtain these benefits you have to go before a social worker and discuss your case. Making any false claims during that visit could result in a charge for welfare fraud if your obtain benefits you don't deserve because of them.

Welfare fraud is described as making a false statement or misrepresenting your situation in a way that affects your eligibility. For example, if your spouse works but you do not, claiming that your home has no income since you have no income is a misrepresentation of your circumstances.

Second-degree murder: The facts you should know

If you have to face a murder charge, the last one you want to see come up is a first-degree charge. This is the most severe and can result in heavy penalties. Instead, if you can work to have the charge reduced to a second-degree murder charge, you'll face lower penalties and potentially have a better chance of defending yourself.

The best defense of any murder charge is created by looking at the facts of the case and manipulating them in a way that puts you in a good light. For example, if you have been accused of intending to murder a loved one over a long-time conflict, you'll want to show that you were nowhere near him or her at the time of the murder or that the conflict was previously resolved and not a factor in a murder that did take place.

Can you get medical marijuana in Minnesota?

Marijuana is legal in a few of the states in America, but it has not yet been legalized throughout to the dismay of many. What that means is that some people may have recreational marijuana in their homes in Oregon or Colorado, but if they have it in their possession in Minnesota, they could face a drug crime.

Is it fair? Many would say it is not, but that's the current state of marijuana-related laws in America.

First-degree murder is penalized harshly in Minnesota

First-degree murder is the most serious form of murder that you can be charged with. Not all murders are the same, so there are different kinds of killings that could be charged as first-degree murders. In all cases, there are factors called aggravating factors that play a role in the potential penalties you'll face.

In Minnesota, the one kind of murder that is seen as most heinous includes the killing of a child, spouse, witness or judge. People accused of these acts face the most severe penalties. Other serious murder offenses in Minnesota are those that take place during sexual crimes or burglaries.

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Mankey Law Office
5500 Wayzata Blvd., Suite 1025
Golden Valley, MN 55416

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