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MSBA Criminal Law Section
Annual Report

Section Membership
As of April 17, 2012, the Criminal Law Section has 626 members.  This represents a 4% increase in membership since July 1, 2011.

Financial Status
The Criminal Law Section had an account balance of $1349.13 as of May 31, 2012. 

Continuing Legal Education Programs and Social Events
The Section hosted nine CLE programs in fiscal year 2011-12, including 1.5 ethics credits and 2.0 elimination of bias credits.

Program Title


Event Code

CLE Credit


Criminal Law Section Annual Meeting and CSI Effect CLE



3.0 Standard


Habeas, Holds, Writs & Warrants: Practice Pointers Surrounding the Transition of Immigrant Clients between Criminal and Immigration Custody



2.0 Standard


Criminal Law Trial School



5.0 Standard
1.0 Ethics


So You Want to Be a Judge?  A Candid Conversation about what it is like and how to get there



1.5 Standard


Digital Device Forensics: Evidence From Mobile Phones & GPS Units May Surprise You



1.5 Standard


Military Veterans and Service Members in the Minnesota Criminal Justice System



2.0 Elimination of Bias


Federal and State Review...Everything You Need to Know about Criminal Law



2.0 Standard


Digital Forensics: How Producing Facebook, MySpace and Twitter Can Assist with an Aggressive Criminal Defense



1.0 Standard
0.5 Ethics


Assaults 101: From File to Finish



1.0 Standard


Legislation and Amicus Briefs
Veteran’s Legislation
Collateral Consequences
Rules of Criminal Procedure

Annual Meeting and Election Results
The Criminal Law Section’s annual meeting and elections were held on May 23 at noon at the Radisson Hotel in Roseville, MN. 

The following individuals were elected to serve as officers in 2012-13:

Chair: Brad R. Johnson
Vice Chair: Joe Van Thomme
Treasurer: Dan Adkins
Secretary: Kelly Mitchell

The following individuals were elected to serve on the Criminal Law Section Council in 2012-13:

Blair Buccicone (Immediate Past Chair)
Britt Ackermann
Caitlin Elliott
Jorma Cavaleri
Kevin DeVore
Max Keller
Paul Baertschi
Rebecca Rhoda Fisher
Richard LeRoy
Stan Keillor
Travis Keil
Thomas Wilson
Ryan Garry
John Fossum
Will Bulmer
Amy Schutt
Curtis Young
Richard Ohlenberg (ex-officio)
Bill Bernard (ex-officio)

The following individuals will serve as the Section’s MSBA Assembly representative and alternate in 2012-13:

Representative: Blair Buccicone, Past Chair
Alternate: Joe Van Thomme, Vice Chair

Other Section Accomplishments
Donation to Mock Trial
Donation to MJF

Submitted By:
Blair Buccicone, Section Chair



MSBA Criminal Law Section
Annual Report

This Annual Report is submitted by William L. Bernard, 2010-2011 Chair of the MSBA Criminal Law Section.


The Section had 602 members this year.  This represents a 3% increase in membership since July 1, 2010.  Of this membership, 75% reside in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, 25% reside in greater Minnesota, and 1% resides outside Minnesota.  Regarding years of law practice: 53% have ten or more years experience; and our gender breakdown is 64% male and 36% female.

Financial Status
The Criminal Law Section had an account balance of $7,990.32 as of April 30, 2011. 

Continuing Legal Education Programs and Social Events
The Section offered or co-sponsored the following Continuing Legal Education classes:

  • DWI: File to Finish
  • Annual Legislative Preview and Reception
  • Intersection Between Criminal and Immigration Law
  • International Criminal Court: An Overview, the U.S. Role, and Victim Participation
  • Uncle Al Capone: The Untold Story of Chicago’s #1 Gangster from his Niece’s Perspective- Legal and Ethical Lessons from the 1931 and 1991 Capone Trials
  • Everything But the Kitchen Sink for Criminal Lawyers
  • How to Avoid Being Reported to the LPRB and What to Do if You Are
  • Implications of New Padilla v. Kentucky U.S. Supreme Court Ruling
  • MSBA Criminal Law Specialist Certification Exam Review Course
  • Win Your Case When It Is All on the Line: Do What Other Criminal Lawyers Fail to Do


Program Date

Program Title

CLE Event Code and Credit

# of Attendees


Criminal Law Certification Exam Review Course

147954; 2.0 Standard



Win Your Case at Sentencing

151454; 3.5 Standard



Annual Legislative Preview and Reception

151708; 1.0 Standard



Uncle Al Capone: The Untold Story of Chicago's #1 Gangster from his Niece's Perspective - Legal and Ethical Lessons from the 1931 and 1991 Capone Trials" (co-sponsored with the Tax Law Section)

153214; 1.0 Standard and 1.0 Ethics



International Criminal Court: An Overview, the U.S. Role and Victim Participation

152989; 3.75 Standard



How to Avoid Being Reported to the LPRB and What to do if You Are?

153802; 2.0 Ethics



Everything but the Kitchen Sink for Criminal Lawyers (Morning and Afternoon Sessions)

154375; 3.0 Standard and 154376; 3.0 Standard


Briefs of Amicus Curiae:
The Minnesota Supreme Court invited Briefs of Amicus Curiae from the Minnesota State Bar Association and the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office regarding the pending matter of State of Minnesota v. Walter Jamille Randolf, et al. A10-1557.  Co-Authors John Fossum, Richard Ohlenberg, and I (with the assistance of David Gates and others from the Council) submitted an amicus brief on behalf of the Criminal Law Section. 

Legislative Proposals/Bill Summaries:
The Section submitted four Legislative Proposals this year to the MSBA Legislative Committee, two of which were approved with MSBA support:

  • submitted and approved:         

Proposal regarding the support of S.F. No. 3145 (Bongwater Bill)
Proposal regarding S.F. No. 560 (Expungement Bill)

  • submitted and declined:           

Proposal regarding Public Defender Eligibility
Proposal regarding the Uniform Collateral Consequences of Conviction Act

The Section adopted two Section Only Positions this year:

  • Opposition to HF 152, criminalizing possession of false identification documents
  • Support of HF 489, Uniform Collateral Consequences of Conviction Act

Annual Meeting and Election Results
The Criminal Law Section’s annual meeting and elections were held in conjunction with the “Everything but the Kitchen Sink for Criminal Lawyers” CLE program on May 18 at noon at the Embassy Suites in St. Paul, MN.   The meeting was well attended with 55 participants.

The following individuals were elected to serve as officers in 2011-12:

Chair: Blair Buccicone
Vice Chair: Brad R. Johnson
Treasurer: Joe Van Thomme
Secretary: Dan Adkins

The following individuals were elected to serve on the Criminal Law Section Council in 2011-12:

Jason Kohlmeyer
Paul Baertschi
John Fossum
Will Bulmer
David B. Gates
Max Keller
Corinna Venters
Ryan Garry
William Bernard
Rebecca Fisher
Steve Povolny
John Arechigo
Britt Ackermann
Peter Orput
Rich Ohlenberg
Bradley Johnson
Joe Van Thomme
Daniel Adkins
Blair Buccicone
Patrick J. Casey
Rachel Toberman
Caitlin Elliott
Jorma Cavaleri
Kelly Martinez

The following individuals will serve as the Section’s MSBA Assembly representative and alternate in 2011-12:

Representative: William Bernard, Past Chair
Alternate: Brad R. Johnson, Vice Chair

Other Section Accomplishments

The section made the following donations to community service:

  • $1,000 to the Minnesota Justice Foundation to support its summer (criminal law based) clerkship program

Submitted By:
Bill Bernard, Section Chair


Annual Report

Click here to view the 2009 - 10 Annual Report as a PDF.

Submitted by, John L. Fossum Chair of the MSBA Section on May 25, 2010

The Section had 589 members this year.

Continuing Legal Education:
The Section offered or co-sponsored the following cutting edge CLEs:

  • Echoes of War - The Combat Veteran in Criminal Court
  • Intersection Between Criminal and Immigration Law
  • International Criminal Law: A View from the Inside
  • Children & Human Trafficking: Providing Legal Perspectives from Immigration, Criminal and Child Advocates
  • Implications of New Padilla v. Kentucky U.S. Supreme Court Ruling

All of which covered areas not often seen in CLEs in Minnesota. In addition this year the Criminal Law Specialist Certification was approved and the section offered a CLE to provide a background for those taking the exam.

Community Support:
The section made the following donations to community service:

  • $1,000 to the Minnesota Justice Foundation to support its summer clerkship program,
  • $500 to fund the MSBA mock trial and civic education programs double the gift given the year before,
  • The section also made a very generous donation of $1,500 to Haiti to help respond to the
    pressing need and the devastation of the earthquake.

Election Results:
The members attending the annual meeting elected for the following officers and council
members to serve terms from July 1, 2010, through June 30, 2011:

Section Chair: William L. Bernard
Section Vice Chair: Blair Buccicone
Section Treasurer: Richard Ohlenberg
Section Secretary: Joe Van Thomme

The Following Members were elected to the Council for 2010-2011:
Peter Orput
Jason Kohlmeyer
Ronan Blaschko
Paul Baertschi
Brittney Ackerman
John Fossum
Daniel S. Adkins
Will Bulmer
Rachel Toberman
David B. Gates
Max Keller
Bradley R. Johnson
Corinna Venters
Ryan Garry
James Sheehy

The Section's MSBA Assembly representative will be John L. Fossum. Bill Bernard will serve as
the alternate.

Fiscal Status:
The Section had a fund balance of over $16,337.08 as of April 30, 2010. This healthy sum
remains after an ambitious year of programming, very generous financial donations to public
service and charity, increased costs paid to the MSBA and a commitment to not raise dues for
the section.


2007-08 Annual Report
Julie Loftus Nelson

I am proud to report that the Criminal Law Section has had another very productive year.  I am thrilled to have been part of the Section’s following achievements.

We began the year with a focus on distributing the Crystal Meth video to high schools statewide.  The Section had produced the video during the 2006-2007 term, under the outstanding leadership of Rebecca Rhoda Fisher.  The goal of producing the video was to develop an effective and far-reaching method of educating teenagers on the dangers associated with meth use.  The video focuses on five main areas: (1) meth ingredients (not how to make it but the toxic items that are used to make meth); (2) how addiction to meth occurs; (3) legal consequences; (4) physical, emotional and psychological effects of meth use; (5) and treatment.  Information on each topic was elicited through interviews with teenagers who have been addicted to meth and have successfully completed treatment; family members of these teenagers; judges; prosecutors; defense attorneys; treatment counselors; and doctors.  The final touches were put on the video over the summer, making the video ready for distribution in the fall of 2007. 

Distribution efforts to high schools were spearheaded by Vice Chair Rich Ohlenberg.  Rich raised interest in the video among high schools statewide and then arranged to have a Section member go to the school and present it to the students.  Typically, the video would be presented to several classes throughout the day.  Therefore, the members who volunteered to present the video generously donated a day out of their busy schedules to help with this project.  There can be no doubt that it was time well spent, because the feedback from both students and faculty was outstanding.

The next major project to get underway was the Criminal Law Specialist Accreditation Program, which is sponsored by the MSBA.  The program is intended to permit those attorneys possessing specific qualifications to be certified as Criminal Law Specialists.  Such accreditation assists the public in identifying attorneys who meet objective standards in a specialty area for reliable knowledge and experience.  The first-step was to form a committee that would set the criteria for eligibility.  The accreditation committee is comprised of nine members, including federal and state judges, criminal defense attorneys and prosecutors.  The committee met regularly for several months and established the standards that an attorney will be required to satisfy in order to be considered a Criminal Law Specialist. Development of the accreditation program will be continued in the upcoming year.

The Criminal Law Section also sponsored three CLEs.  In March we hosted the “Source Code Update,” intended to give attendees a balanced view of the hotly debated issue of whether the source code for the Intoxilyzer 5000 is discoverable by the defense in criminal and implied consent matters.  There were 100 defense attorneys, prosecutors, and assistant attorney generals in attendance.  Attendees received three standard CLE credits. 

In April we sponsored “Crystal Meth: Addiction and the Criminal Justice System,” at which we had 70 attendees.  We began this CLE with a viewing of the meth video, followed by presentations from a distinguished group of panelists.  First, Dr. Gavin Bart, Director of Addiction Medicine at HCMC, addressed the physical, mental, and emotional effects on the individual; the reason that meth causes such damage; whether the damage can be undone; how much damage is done from the first use versus habitual use; and his experience with different types of treatment.  Then, Judges Toddrick Barnette from Hennepin County and Judge John Rodenberg from Brown County addressed the issue of whether the justice system treats meth users in a fair and impartial manner.  Of specific concern was whether meth addicts receive different treatment and outcomes based on whether they are being charged in the metro area or an outer lying community; whether gender and/or age makes a difference; the factors that determine whether someone is sent to drug court, probation, or prison; and the safeguards that are in place to ensure that those decisions are even-handed.  Finally, Dylan Warkentin and Geri Pruyn from Anoka County Corrections touched on some these same issues, but from the point of view of probation officers in a county that does not have a drug court. 

Attendees received 2 elimination of bias credits. This CLE was so successful that the Criminal Law Institute has asked the Criminal Law Section to offer the same presentation with the same speakers at the annual CJI Conference in August. 

Finally, the Criminal Law Section co-sponsored the CLE held at the Glensheen Mansion in Duluth at the annual MSBA Conference in June. 

It important to state that none of the above achievements could have been possible without the outstanding effort and hard work done by the MSBA staff and the Criminal Law Section executive officers and council members.  It has been a pleasure working with all of you.  I would like to extend a special thank you to Meaghan Harper.  Your tireless efforts made all of these accomplishments possible and my job as Section Chair thoroughly enjoyable.

Julie Loftus Nelson
Chair, Criminal Law Section, MSBA
5500 Wayzata Boulevard, Suite 1450
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55416




Before I go into the details of the annual report, I want to say that it has been a pleasure serving as the Chair of the Criminal Law Section. I also want to thank all those who helped make this year a successful year; specifically Renee Anderson, Kim Basting, Mary Kempton, and the rest of the MSBA staff, as well as the other executive officers, Dan Mohs and Rebecca Fisher, and all the council members who worked so hard this year. It has been a pleasure working with all of you.

As we entered the '04/'05 term our section had several goals:

1. Form liaisons with other organizations to aid in reaching some of our goals.
2. Increase membership and involvement in the section council.
3. Increase attendance at our seminars.
4. Begin to form sub-committees within the section.
5. Recruit prosecutors for the section council to balance the representation of the section.
6. Re-write the by-laws to allow for more officers and to create greater structure.

Most of these goals were not only met, but were far exceeded. Others goals were started, but still need to be furthered. The following is a summary of our success in achieving each of these goals:

Form liaisons with other organizations in hopes of reaching some of our goals.

One of the first things that I did as chair was to personally reach out to other organizations to try to work on the first three goals listed above.

I met with the President of Minnesota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Peter Wold. At this meeting I received assurances that the MACDL would be willing to co-sponsor CLEs and to allow us to market their members for our seminars. We also discussed co-sponsoring a seminar, which was held in July.

I then met with Frank Harris and Vince O'Brien from Minnesota CLE. They agreed to allow us be co-sponsors at the annual Criminal Justice Institute in August.

I met members of the Minnesota County Attorneys Association at the CJI and attempted to persuade them to allow us to market their members.

In January I met with the Honorable Kathryn Anderson, Chair, Criminal Justice Section, ABA, and in May we co-sponsored a seminar of national and international interest.

We invited organizations such as police departments and the public defenders to all our seminars.

Our section reached out to other sections of the MSBA by inviting them to our seminars. By the end of the term we worked with the Immigration section and co-sponsored two seminars.

Forming these alliances with other organizations, within the MSBA and outside, helped our section gain greater exposure in the legal community, increase our attendance at seminars, and form lasting relationships to continue to bring our section to new heights.

Increase membership and involvement in the section council.

At the start of the '04/'05 year we had three officers on the council and one or two possible council members interested in being involved. By the end of the '04'05 year we had recruited up to a total of 10 council members most of which were very involved.

At the elections in May for the '05/'06 term we had such a huge interest in the council that we now have the executive officers, chair, vice chair, secretary, and the new positions of treasurer and immediate past chair (if the new by laws are approved by the Assembly), and 20 council members.

Increase attendance at our seminars.

In previous years the section put on quality seminars, but the attendance was low! This year our executive committee was determined to change this. One of the first things we decided to try was to change the time and the frequency of the seminars. In the past the seminars were held once per month for one hour over lunch. Instead we decided to hold the seminars on a quarterly basis (with the exception of co-sponsored events), start after lunch, and to extend the length of the seminar to up to three hours.

The executive committee also decided to try to increase the amount of marketing that we did for the seminars. As discuss above, we called upon the newly formed alliances to reach out to the legal community. We had the MSBA staff send out the notices of seminars to the members one month before and then a reminder a week before. The notices were put on the MSBA website. At every seminar we would be marketing the seminars that were coming up in the months to follow. Each of the council members were asked to print out the notices and leave them in court for the other lawyers, and to also email and/or personally invite other people.

As a result of the changes we made to our seminar formula, and the hard work of the Council and MSBA staff we had the following successful seminars:

July '04 "Life After Blakely" co-sponsored with MACDL, Marquette Hotel, Panel of speakers to discuss the case of Blakely v. Washington, and the sea change in sentencing. Number of registrants: 113

August '04 "Criminal Justice Institute" co-sponsored with Minnesota CLE, Radisson South Hotel, Annual seminar devoted to criminal justice issues. Our section was responsible for putting on a panel of prosecutors and a panel of defense lawyers to discuss emerging issues in criminal law. Each panel was well attended, with approximately 50 people in each breakout session. The institute itself had an attendance of over 800 registrants.

October '04 "Anatomy of a Juror", MSBA offices and Bellanote to follow for complementary appetizers and cash bar, Two jury foreman, a judge, prosecutor, and defense lawyer spoke about the ins and outs of picking and persuading a jury. Number of registrants: 45

January '05 "Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convections", IDS, Windows on Minnesota. Panel of speakers to discuss the various collateral consequences when a defendant is convicted of a crime. Number of registrants: 138.

April '05 "CSI Minnesota", Marquette Hotel, Various forensic experts discussed the intricacies of their field: pathologist, DNA expert, Computer analyst, and document analyst. Number of registrants: 82

April '05 " From here to Guantanamo", co-sponsored with the Immigration Section, St. Thomas Law School, Number of registrants: 30

May '05 "Justice without Borders" co-sponsors with ABA Criminal Justice Section, Grand Hotel, Number of registrants: 140

June '05 "Patriot Act-War on them or War on us?" MSBA Annual Convention, Brainerd, MN. Thomas Hefflefinger, United States Attorney, District of Minnesota, and Daniel Scott, Chief Federal Defender, District of Minnesota, debated the pros and cons of the Patriot Act. Number of registrants: approximately 25-30.

In summary this has been a banner year for our section when it comes to the seminars that we have sponsored.

Begin to form sub-committees within the section.

This year we have formed the following sub-committee: Legislative, forms, certification, membership, and seminar. Under the new proposed by-laws each executive officer will chair one of the above committees and report back to the section Chair. Although we have formed these committees a lot of work is yet to be done to get them up and running.

Recruit prosecutors for the section council to balance the representation of the section.

The '04/'05 year we had no prosecutors on the executive board or on the council. During the year we have recruited several prosecutors to join the council. For the '05/'06 year Peter Orput, formerly with the Attorney General's office, has been elected Chair and we have one city attorney and one assistant county attorney on the council.

Re-write the by-laws to allow for more officers and to create greater structure.

The council has drafted and approved amended by-laws to include making the immediate past chair an officer on the executive committee since that person will also serve as the assembly representative for the section, and we have divided the office of secretary/treasurer into two separate offices. This will allow for more people to be involved with the board in an effort to accomplish more of its duties and goals.

The by-laws have also been amended to delineate specific duties for each officer including the chairing of sub-committees.

These amendments to the by-laws will be submitted to the Assembly for its approval in the fall.

In summary, the Criminal Law Section has had a successful year! I am pleased with the improvements that we have made to the section this year. Our council is now in a position to continue to carry the momentum into the years to come. I look forward to representing the section at the MSBA general assembly for the '05/'06 term.

Carolyn Agin Schmidt
Chair, Criminal Law Section, MSBA
Attorney at Law
The Colonnade, Suite 1025
5500 Wayzata Blvd.
Minneapolis, MN 55416

MSBA Criminal Law Section
2003-04 Annual Report

The 2003-2004 year was very busy for the Criminal Law Section. The Criminal Section put on eight one hour CLE luncheon meetings and co-sponsored a Death Penalty Panel with the Human Rights Committee and the Innocense Project at the MSBA Convention in Duluth.

In September, we started the year with a 2003 Legislative Update. Joe Cox from the House Research Department spoke about the newly introduced legislation and it’s affect on criminal practice.

In October, Joe Friedberg and David Roston spoke on the topic of “Identifying and Representing the Mentally Ill Client”. The discussion included medical examinations, mental competency and the McNaughton defense. The speakers also discussed several high profile Minnesota cases.

In November, the section hosted a panel discussion with several probation officers on the topic of “How to Prepare Your Client for Meeting with Probation”. Bob Gould and Dan Kempf Hennepin County Probation Officers, Jon Solvag a Dakota County Probation Officer and Russ Heuckendorf from Ramsey County made up the panel.

In January, Steven Simon the Director of the Minnesota Criminal Justice DWI Task Force spoke to the section about the pending DWI issues before the DWI Task Force including, changes in the forfeiture provisions, plate impoundment, and the .08 BAC.

In February, Susan Koberstein of Centro Legal, Inc. spoke about “Immigration law and the Collateral Consequences to Criminal Convictions.”

In March, Charles Lundberg hosted a one hour Ethics CLE entitled “Ethical Issues in a Criminal Law Practice”. Mr. Lundberg spoke about changes in the Rules of Professional Responsibility and led a discussion on common ethics problems which criminal defense counsel and prosecutors routinely face.

In April, Margaret Zack, a reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune led a discussion on “The Media’s Perception of the Criminal Justice System and Criminal Defense Attorneys”. Ms. Zack also spoke about the media’s attention to the trial of Susan Berkovitz (shooting at the Hennepin County Government Center).

In May, the criminal law section put on a panel discussion on “The Current State of the Law on Canine Drug-Sniff Cases”. The panel included Hennepin County Judge William Howard, Sarah Stennes, Hennepin County Attorney, Dan Mohs, Attorney and Dan Gerdts, Attorney. Officer Kevin Pregler of the Plymouth Police Department and his canine Dallas gave a demonstration to the group. Officer Pregler discussed the training that both the dogs and handlers must go through to be certified.

The Criminal Law Section participated in the June MSBA Convention in Duluth by co-hosting a panel discussion with the Human Rights Committee and the Innocence Project. “Reinstating the Death Penalty in Minnesota and Addressing Wrongful Convictions: Past, Present and Future Perspectives” was a great success. John Bessler gave a historical background on the death penalty in Minnesota. Other speakers included Forensic anthropologist Susan Myster and exonerated former inmate Bobby McLaughlin, along with legislators, prosecutors, and defense attorneys.

As Chair for the 2003-2004 year, I want to thank the MSBA staff, in particular Kim Basting and Renee Anderson for their assistance and advice throughout the year. I also want to thank Dan Mohs, Carolyn Agin-Schmidt and Rebecca Rhoda Fisher for all of their help and support. I know that the 2004-2005 year will be a great year with the newly elected board. I look forward to participating as an active member in the years to follow.

2004-2005 Criminal Law Section:
Chair - Carolyn Agin-Schmidt
Vice - Chair Dan Mohs
Treasurer - Rebecca Rhoda Fisher

Jill A. Oleisky, 2003-2004 Chair

MSBA Criminal Law Section
1999-2000 Annual Report

This was an exciting and fulfilling year for the Criminal Law Section. In addition to numerous CLE luncheon meetings, we co-sponsored an informative mini-convention, entitled "Defending Non-Citizens in Criminal Court," at this year's MSBA Convention in Duluth.

The first big development for the Section was that Vice Chair Alan Pendelton was selected by Governor Jesse Ventura to be a District Court Judge in Sherburne County. (Because of the time constraints of his new duties as a district court judge, Alan decided to bow out of taking over as Chair for this coming year.)

In addition to the mini-convention in Duluth, the Criminal Law Section had seven one-hour CLE luncheon meetings on a variety of topics pertinent to the practice of criminal law:


In October, Vice Chair (and now Judge) Alan Pendelton presented the first luncheon CLE, on new criminal legislation and how the new statutes would affect our practices.

In November, Assistant Attorney General Michael Pahl gave an informative presentation on how best to handle implied consent hearings.

In December, State Public Defender John Stuart spoke on the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines, with particular focus on the severe sentencing scheme for controlled substance crimes.

In January of this year, the Section was pleased to learn about state corrections issues directly from Commissioner of Corrections Sheryl Ramstad Hvass at a well-attended and informative luncheon meeting.

In March, private defense attorney Lisa Lodin Peralta gave an astoundingly thorough presentation on criminal appellate practice, including a free 200-page detailed handout she prepared on appellate procedures. Lisa's presentation had approximately 35 attendees, which I believe was the largest turnout of the year.

In April, we had another very large turnout for Assistant Minneapolis City Attorney Judd Gushwa's excellent presentation on DUI- and prostitution-related forfeiture law.

In June of this year, at the final CLE luncheon meeting, panelists David Murrin and John Lucas, both Assistant Hennepin County Public Defenders, along with private attorney Jill Oleisky, led a lively discussion on the pros and cons of the Hennepin County drug court.

The two-hour mini-convention in Duluth this June focused on immigration consequences in Minnesota criminal courts, with an invaluable presentation by private immigration attorney Michael Davis and Karen Ellingson, Executive Director of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota. The information-packed session could easily have gone on for another few hours, with the wealth of knowledge of both speakers.

Financially, the Section continues to be strong, with a balance of over $4,000.00. With the large attendance at our meetings and the general interest in the group, the Section is positioned to remain fiscally sound for at least the next number of years.

The Section continued to publish the Criminal Law News, an informative publication which summarizes new criminal case law and statutes, along with other pertinent news related to criminal law. The publication was edited, as always, by Frederic Bruno. Also, coordinated by MSBA staff members, the Section utilized on-line capabilities such as e-mailing meeting notices and other pertinent information to Section members and having the criminal law website available to all MSBA members.

As it has done in the past, the Section took positions on a few hot-button issues. First, the Section took the position that it opposes the Conference of Chief Judges' proposed changes to the "recusal and removal of judges for cause" rule. Second, the Section took the position to endorse the proposed amendments to the Minnesota Statutes by Minnesota public defenders.

As Chair this year, I want to thank the MSBA staff, in particular Heather Sia and Betsy Keyes, for their assistance and expertise in helping me make this such a successful year for the Criminal Law Section. I also want to thank Vice Chair Alan Pendelton, Secretary Pat Fugina, and Treasurer Kate Latimer, who greatly assisted my duties. The Criminal Law Section, I am sure, will have another strong year in 2000-2001, with the following officers carrying the torch:


Chair: Kate Latimer (651-297-6400)
Vice Chair: Pat Fugina (612-421-7040)
Treasurer: Jerry Mesenbourg (612-755-5555)
Secretary:Jill Oleisky (612-332-3100)

It was my sincere pleasure to act as Chair this year, and I look forward to participating as a member of the Section in years to come.

Timothy R. Anderson, Chair

MSBA Criminal Law Section
1998-99 Annual Report

As we enter the new millennium, I am proud to say that the last two fiscal years have been a time of renewal and resurgence for the Criminal Law Section. The section has sponsored many CLE programs, including two mini-conventions, and has been at the forefront of technological changes at the MSBA. The Criminal Law Section will be an important leader to members of the bar association as the dawn of the new century approaches.

The two primary benefits of membership in the Criminal Law Section are 1) the receipt of bi-monthly criminal law case updates, and 2) the ability to earn CLE credits through attendance at luncheon CLE programs.

The case law update is edited by Fred Bruno, a prominent Minneapolis attorney. The update is made up of a summary of every criminal case for which an opinion is rendered by the Minnesota Supreme Court and the Minnesota Appellate Court. The summaries are organized by topic, and can be saved and organized in a convenient form. I believe this benefit alone makes membership in the Criminal Law Section worthwhile for any and every attorney who handles a criminal case, whether on defense or for the prosecution.

The Luncheon CLE remains the primary educational and social activity of the section. Through the last two years, Immediate Past Chairman Gary Bryant-Wolf and I have organized or sponsored about a dozen CLE programs. These include two mini-conventions which were co-sponsored with the Immigration Law Section and presented at the 1998 and 1999 MSBA annual conventions in Duluth.

Luncheon CLE topics have included: death scene investigation; the use of technology in homicide (and all criminal) cases; an update on the law of search warrants; an update on the law of felons in possession of firearms; tips and techniques for handling criminal sexual conduct cases (one of the highest-attended CLEs in recent memory); legislative updates; and DWI updates. Speakers have included: prosecutors, defense attorneys, a physician, an assistant attorney general, a judge, the assistant majority leader of the Minnesota Senate, immigration attorneys, and at least one law professor.

The mini-convention topics have thoroughly examined (and continued to update) how federal statutes may affect the immigration status of non-citizens charged with criminal conduct in state court. In conjunction with the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota (Oficina Legal), the section has helped make available a practice handbook of these federal statutes.

The section was proud to be the first to sponsor a listserver, which we call an Email Discussion Group. All section members with access to an electronic mail account may participate free. This benefit allows any member to send a single note or question to scores of other section members when seeking assistance with unique issues in a criminal case.

In the future, the section needs to address certain issues more fully, especially one in particular. The membership is made up of some of the most talented and experienced criminal law attorneys in the country. This talent has not been properly exploited to examine legislative topics which apply to the practice of criminal law, nor has it addressed topics of procedural importance, whether through legislation, court rules, or just plain everyday practice in the courtrooms and before the judges. I hope the section can appoint a permanent legislative coordinator to make the section’s officers and members more timely aware of important topics.

Although we have the wonderful case law update, the section does not really have a regular newsletter. Does the section need one? Would a newsletter serve a purpose beyond the announcement of luncheon CLEs, e.g. provide members with a forum for publication? Are there any materials that can be regularly included, such as a column on tips and techniques about subtleties or changes in the law?

How can we better utilize the technology of the MSBA including the section’s home page on the World Wide Web?

Should the section sponsor CLE or social meetings throughout the state, such as in Fergus Falls, Owatonna, Worthington, etc.? Should the section sponsor a social activity in the Twin Cities or surrounding communities? If so, what kind of social activity?

The Criminal Law Section has the potential to become the leading non-partisan bar group serving criminal law practitioners throughout the state. I hope the momentum we have built in the last two years continues on that path.

The section has been reenergized and will be left in good hands as the next group of officers ascend through the ranks. Financially, the section is sound and can continue to sponsor and subsidize high quality activities and benefits. The MSBA and the section will continue to build upon the technology we use today to make the practice of criminal law easier and participation in the section more accessible. Most importantly, the high quality of topics and speakers and the high attendance of the CLE programs is testament to leadership that the section provides to its members and the community of criminal law practitioners in the state of Minnesota.

I look forward to continuing my membership in the section and continuing my association with the section’s members. I also want to thank the members of the section for their participation, and the staff of the MSBA, without whom the section’s activities would not be possible. Since we all seem to agree that the year 2000 will be the start of the new millennium, I am proud to have served you as the last chairman of the 20th century.

Joseph R. Bazan,
1998-1999 Chair

MSBA Criminal Law Section
1996-97 Annual Report

During the 1996-97 year, the Criminal Law Section was fairly inactive. There were three meetings held during the course of the year, including one luncheon CLE program regarding the re-codification of the Non-Felony Criminal Code in Minnesota. The section's case law update was published a number of times during the course of the year to provide ongoing information regarding important appellant rulings to our members. The section also decided to increase its dues in hopes of providing even better service to its membership in the future. In addition, the section also recommended the allocation of $1,350 from the MSBA Impact Fund for the Hmong Juvenile Outreach Project in Ramsey County. This project will help educate people in the Hmong community and the juvenile justice system in Ramsey County. This is the second year that this program has been recommended for Impact Funds by the Criminal Law Section.

The annual meeting of the section was held at the 1997 MSBA convention at the Northland Inn in Brooklyn Park. The officers elected for fiscal 1997 were as follows: Gary Bryant-Wolf, chair; Joseph Bazan, vice chair; Mark Paige, treasurer; and Timothy R. Anderson, secretary.

Jeffrey S. Sheridan,



- Last Updated 07/09/2013 -

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