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Patrick J. Casey
Patrick J. Casey

2019 Attorneys of the Year: Patrick J. Casey

Mankato-based criminal defense attorney Patrick Casey prevailed in an important civil case in 2019, when his lawsuit on behalf of a client led the state of Minnesota and Department of Corrections to review their policy on the use of medical marijuana by persons on probation. The state reversed its policy and agreed to let those on probation use the drug, when prescribed for medical purposes.

Casey’s criminal law client, Darrell Schmidt, had been prescribed marijuana under Minnesota’s new medical marijuana law by his med­ical doctor, due to his inability to ingest typical pain medications. However, the Minnesota Department of Corrections told Schmidt — who was on supervised release — that if he took the prescribed marijuana, he would be in violation of his probation.

Despite being a criminal law attorney with limited experience in civil litigation, Casey felt it was necessary for his client and others to bring the matter before the courts. In 2018, Casey sued the Minnesota Department of Corrections and filed the matter in Minnesota District Court. Since there was no precedent on the issue, Casey had to make his case based solely on the statute itself.

The case was resolved the day before a large dispositive motion was to be heard, when the state of Minnesota called and agreed to change the official policy and allow the use of the medical marijuana for people on probation.

“Often, in criminal cases, judges order defendants to abstain from all mood-altering substances unless prescribed by a physician. Defen­dants are sometimes also directed to take medications as prescribed. As a result, probation can put them in an untenable position.”

Casey continues to be involved in educating attorneys and judges around the state on the medical marijuana issue.

Read more about Minnesota Lawyer’s superb class of Attorneys of the Year for 2019 here.

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