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Judge R.A. “Jim” Randall
Judge R.A. “Jim” Randall

Bar Buzz: Judge Judy moment at Court of Appeals?

You’d be within your rights to object to our thesis for this story: “Calls for the operation of another person’s mind!”

Point taken; we can’t be sure we’re right. But we do suspect, just a little, that retired Court of Appeals Judge R.A. “Jim” Randall was having a Judge Judy moment when he wrote the closing line in his Nov. 4 State v. Antonio Albert Schally opinion.

As regular viewers know, TV’s cantankerous Judge Judy Sheindlin commonly tells litigants, “I didn’t go to law school for this!”

Court-watchers know that Randall is noted for his way with words.

We’ll steer around quickly to why we think Judge Randall might have been feeling like that, but first a bit about the case for context.

Schally was convicted of burglarizing a home, stealing a safe full of firearms and driving away in the homeowner’s gold van. He got caught and was tried and convicted.

On appeal in 2018, Schally argued that the District Court improperly ordered him to pay $1,000 restitution — equivalent to the victim’s auto insurance deductible — for damage done to the van in the course of the theft. That award was upheld in an earlier Court of Appeals ruling.

But the Supreme Court, citing State v. Boettcher, vacated restitution and sent the case back down for reconsideration. The Boettcher precedent says restitution awards can only be granted for losses directly caused by or naturally flowing from the crime.

In light of the Supreme Court’s decision, the Court of Appeals took the case back and on Nov. 4 reversed its previous judgment and remanded the case back to District Court for further restitution proceedings.

“This will be the fifth instance of a court proceeding on a $1,000 deductible on a comprehensive car insurance policy,” Randall wrote.

There’s just a hint of rue in that line. But Randall seems to eliminate all ambiguity about his feelings with his opinion’s final sentence.

“We can only hope that the half-life of this $1,000 deductible is finally extinguished on remand,” he wrote.

Granted, his phrasing is downright Minnesota Nice compared to the gritty New York TV judge. But seriously, don’t you detect just a little Judge Judy in there?

Supreme Court Postings

Alternative Dispute Resolution Ethics Board

The Supreme Court is seeking applicants for non-judicial members on the ADR Ethics Board.  Applications must be received by December 2, 2019.

Board of Legal Certification

The Supreme Court is seeking applicants for an attorney member and a public member on the 12-member Minnesota State Board of Legal Certification.  Applications must be received by December 2, 2019.

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About Kevin Featherly

Kevin Featherly, who joined BridgeTower Media in mid-2016, is a journalist and former freelance writer who has covered politics, law, business, technology and popular culture for publications and websites in the Twin Cities and nationally since the mid-1990s.

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