As a criminal defense attorney, John Arechigo says his biggest challenge is “fighting for a fair process” so clients “get a fair shake.”
“We’re never on a level playing field with the state,” Arechigo said. “The state’s investigative resources tremendously outweigh the defense’s.”
Yet, Arechigo’s tenacity has served him well in his 12 years of practice, with the St. Paul attorney scoring victories in a couple of high-profile cases in 2019. In the Matter of the Welfare of A.J.B, brought in Scott County, the Minnesota Supreme Court last June reversed the stalking and harassment convictions of one of Arechigo’s clients, declaring two statutes unconstitutional.
In the case, Arechigo’s juvenile client was charged over a series of public tweets he sent tagging a fellow classmate. “The tweets were in poor taste, and some were rather mean, but, in my opinion, never threatened to harm the classmate,” he contended. A portion of the case is still in litigation.
In the second state case, State v. Arntson, Arechigo won acquittal last March for a client charged with making terroristic threats. The case attracted media attention because the defendant was a former KSTP-TV employee. The verdict came after less than an hour of jury deliberations following a weeklong trial.
“I handled Mr. Arntson’s expungement pro bono. All records from that case have been expunged,” Arechigo said.
Despite its challenges, being a criminal defense attorney is a “really rewarding job,” said Arechigo, co-founder of Arechigo & Stokka. “Helping clients understand what I can do for them and securing resolutions that allow them to put an incident behind them is a good feeling.”
Read more about Minnesota Lawyer’s superb class of Attorneys of the Year for 2019 here.
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