Better late than never
MinnPost and KTOE radio report that Mankato City Council member Jack Consadine has started a petition asking President Barack Obama to posthumously pardon the Dakota 38 plus 2. The Dakota men were hanged at the end of the U.S. Dakota War of 1862 in Mankato. Consadine told KTOE that he was compelled to act when he studied the issue. ‘I based it primarily on the discrepancies in the trial. There were no defense attorneys. No defense was allowed. Also, the trials were only 3 to 5 minutes long. They were conducted in English and the Dakota didn’t understand the trial process.’ Consadine says, from their viewpoint, the Dakota had had their land and homes stolen and were left to starve.”
ACCA enhancements clarified.
Behind the Eighth, a blog by JaneAnne Murray of Minneapolis, addresses whether prior felony convictions are predicates for Armed Career Criminal enhancements. Murray writes that there have been two notable cases from the 8th Circuit lately, “due to the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Descamps v. United States, which clarified that ‘sentencing courts may not apply the modified categorical approach when the crime of which the defendant was convicted has a single, indivisible set of elements.’”
The modified categorical approach permits sentencing courts to consult a limited class of documents, such as indictments and jury instructions, to determine the basis of the defendant’s prior conviction. The cases are available on the blog
Don’t go there
Hennepin County Judge Kevin Burke writes about a federal judge in New York who went too far. It was also reported in the New York Times, which writes that the courts are inundated with cases about businesses that are not ADA-compliant and in which attorney fees can be awarded. Judge Sterling Johnson thought the case felt funny and he and some staff went to the businesses and found them accessible.
The Federal Court took a dim view and, unusually, assigned the case to a different judge. “The appellate panel found that while Judge Johnson may have been correct in his observations that the businesses had not been repaired, and while most of the arguments in the appeal “lack merit,” judges are not permitted to observe, or take “judicial notice,” of facts that are subject to dispute. Moral of the story: Don’t go there and if you do, have the lawyers with you.
Facebook case settles
R.S. and S.S. have settled their suit against the Minnewaska school district which compelled the 12-year-old to give school officials her Facebook password. Pursuant to the Judgment by Consent, the school will change its policies and its student handbook to require reasonable suspicion that a search will uncover a violation of school rules, and provide faculty training on the new policies.
A $70,000 damage award will be divided between the student and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Minnesota Litigator has the story here.