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Bills would allow prosecutors to carry firearms on duty, and enhance penalties for assaulting county attorneys

Legislative session will start with a bang

The 2012 legislative session starts Tuesday and two of the first bills that will be debated in the House of Representatives have already raised a few eyebrows.

Rep. Tony Cornish

Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Good Thunder, introduced a bill that will enhance penalties for assaulting or causing the death of a prosecuting attorney and a bill that will authorize county attorneys to carry firearms on duty. Both will be discussed in a house floor session Thursday afternoon.

In December, a Cook County prosecutor and a potential witness in a sexual assault trial were shot and wounded by Daniel Schlienz, the man on trial. The men survived and Schlienz later died in custody.

Cornish said he had been working on the bill to allow prosecutors to carry firearms before the December shooting, but the incident brought attention to the measure. There are already enhanced penalties for assaulting police officers and corrections officers. Cornish’s second bill adds prosecuting attorneys to that list.

The Minnesota County Attorneys Association has so far remained neutral on both bills, but some individual prosecutors have endorsed the changes.

About Patrick Thornton


  1. As a former prosecutor and a current public defender, it has always been my opinion that prosecutors are low on the pecking order when a defendant is upset with what happens in court. Defendants are made at their attorneys for not getting them off, judges for not believing them or not being fair and then prosecutors. Defendants know the prosecutors don’ like them, but they ate just doing their jobs. Is Rep Cornish willing to let defense attorneys pack heat? Doubtful.

  2. I can spell, just can’t type

  3. I don’t think it should make a difference who you shoot, the penalty should be the same. Nor should prosecutors be treated as a special class of people entitled to pack at the courthouse. What happens the first time someone grabs the prosecutor’s gun and starts shooting?

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