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Author Archives: Marshall H. Tanick

Concurrent cases consider crime-sex conduct

The crime conventionally known as rape has been denominated as criminal sexual assault in Minnesota statutes, similar to those in many other jurisdictions. The change in terminology may take some of the sting out of the evocative term, but it does not detract from the serious legal questions the incidents often raise.

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Federal, state cases examine immunity issues

Immunity issues often arise when public sector personnel and the entities they serve are sued for constitutional violations under the Federal Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. sec. 1983. The officials and the government agencies for which they work often assert that they cannot be sued because their actions did not violate “clearly established” constitutional rights. If so, they are protected from claims because of immunity.

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Court ponders pair of problematic police proceedings

In recognition of these difficulties, some laws give them special treatment. For instance, assaulting a police officer can yield a more substantial punishment than committing similar mischief to someone else. See Minn. Stat. sec. 609.221, subd. 2. On the other hand, when they commit criminal misdeeds, police officers often are subject to harsher punishment because of their derelictions.

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Coming court clash: Same-sex v. stare decisis

One of the more intriguing cases now in the Minnesota appellate court system is the challenge to the Minnesota prohibition on same-sex marriages. The challengers, who lost in Hennepin County District Court, have taken their battle to the Court of Appeals to overturn the Minnesota Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a measure enacted in 1997 prohibiting marriages between people of the same gender. Benson v. Alverson, A-110811 (May 3, 2011).

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