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29th Annual DWI Seminar of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice – June 20, 2014

June 17, 2014

Are you a Minnesota DWI defense lawyer?  If so, you should attend the 29th Annual DWI Seminar of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, on June 20, 2014:

Winning DWI Cases 2014: Using New Cases, New Statutes, New Technology to win


8:30 pm – 4:30 pm.

Location:  Marriott Northwest Hotel (formerly The Northland Inn), 7025 Northland Drive, Brooklyn Park MN  55428 (I-694, just north of Boone Avenue Exit.)

Attend & receive the most leading-edge DWI defense information, research and forms available for defending Minnesota DWI cases – from the premier Minnesota criminal defense lawyers organization representing those charged with DWI.  Topics include:

 McNeely, Brooks, Bernard Update, Jeffrey Sheridan.

Legislative and Case Law Update, Ethics, Doug Hazelton.

Just What the Doctored Ordered – Prescription Drug DWIs and Revocation, James Ventura.

Dude Where Was My Car? Cellphone Tower Triangulation, Eric Nelson.

Uncertainty of Measurement in Breath Alcohol Testing, Chuck Ramsay.

What You Don’t Know About SCRAM Can Land Your Client In Jail, Sharon Osborn

Hennepin Dumps ASUDS? Study Shows It Ineffective, Paul Ahern.

Snappy Ethical Answers To the Usual Questions From Clients, Tom Bauer, Roger Gershin, Mark Giancola, Cean Shands.

Social Hour to follow.

This is the best DWI defense CLE – hands down.  Materials provided in digital format CD for easy re-use later.  Bring your laptop computer.  Defense lawyers only.  Don’t miss out!

5 Standard and 1 Ethics CLE Hour Credits to be applied for.  Lunch included.

 Click link for registration form pdf: 29th Annual MSCJ DWI Defense Seminar.


Got a Warrant? The McNeely Progeny, Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice DWI Seminar, January 10, 2014

December 20, 2013

This January 10, 2014, the lawyers from the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice (MSCJ) present the leading DWI seminar on the application of the Fourth Amendment to protecting the rights of the individual in DWI cases.  This Continuing Legal Education (CLE) course, for defenders only, is entitled:

The McNeely Progeny: Brooks, Bernard, Beyond & the Ethics of the Midnight Call, on Friday, January 10, 2014.

It is being held on January 10, 2014, from 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm, at the Marriott Northwest Hotel (formerly The Northland Inn), 7025 Northland Drive, Brooklyn Park MN 55428 (I-694, just north of Boone Avenue Exit).

Attend and receive the most leading-edge DWI defense information, research and forms available for defending Minnesota DWI cases – from the premier Minnesota criminal defense lawyers organization representing those charged with DWI.

This event focuses on training from expert DWI defense lawyers on recent developments in Fourth Amendment protections against unwarranted searches for chemical test samples after DWI arrests.  If police fail to obtain a search warrant, is the chemical test obtained to be suppressed as the product of an illegal search?  Many courts have held in the affirmative in recent cases, including the United States Supreme Court.



Topics include:

  • The Constitutional Fight Continues: Litigating and PreservingMcNeely – Brooks Issues.  Keller, Fisher.
  • Current Climate in Light of McNeely – Brooks: Pending District & Appellate Court Cases. Ramsay, Weissenborn.
  • Brooks. What We Won and What is in the Works. Sheridan.
  • The Ethics of the Midnight Call. Sessoms.

For defenders only: only DWI defense lawyers may attend.

This is the best Fourth Amendment DWI defense CLE – hands down. Materials provided in digital format for easy re-use later. Bring your laptop computer.  Don’t miss out!  3 CLE Credits to be applied: Including 0.5 hrs. Ethics.

A .pdf of the January 10, 2014 MSCJ Minnesota DWI Defense CLE flyer & registration sheet is available here, at the MSCJ CLE web page.

CLE: Guns – Criminal Laws and Civil Rights

July 13, 2011

The criminal defense lawyer members of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice often need to advise and advocate for clients on issues related to firearms.  A person could be accused of crime based on a gun (for example, felon in possession), or an enhanced charge or sentence based upon a gun (for example, a Minn Stat 609.11 minimum sentence.)  Or, a person could be concerned about the future impact on their civil rights to own or possess firearms in the event the person were convicted of a crime unrelated to firearms (for example, a drug crime.)


On July 10, 2011, Thomas Gallagher, a Minneapolis criminal lawyer and current President of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, presented a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminar on “Guns – Criminal Laws and Civil Rights,” to the membership.

A recent US Supreme court case has clarified that we have an individual right to firearms:
“The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”  District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783, 554 US 570, 171 L. Ed. 2d 637 (2008).
Self-defense is a related issue for criminal lawyers considering the impact of guns on their practice.  Gallagher noted somewhat different legal standards for self-defense, depending upon various factors including: whether death was the result or not; whether it took place in the person’s own home or not; whether the person it was used against was an intruder or a co-resident; whether there is a “duty to retreat;” and what might be considered “reasonable force” under what circumstances.  He noted that historically in the United States, there has been a cultural hostility to the idea of a “duty to retreat” being layered on top of “reasonable force used in self-defense, under the circumstances.”  Yet, in Minnesota there is in the law a “duty to retreat” if practical, before using reasonable self-defense, especially when outside one’s own home.   (There might be even within one’s own home, depending upon circumstances.)
Some common gun crimes Minnesota defense lawyers see, include:
    1. Possession of firearm by ineligible person, Minn. Stat. § 624.713, subds. 1(b), 2.
    2. Possession of firearm with removed serial number, Minn. Stat. § 609.667, subd. 2.
    3. Reckless discharge of a firearm, or Intentional Discharge of a Firearm Under Circumstances that Endanger the Safety of Another, in violation of Minn. Stat. § 609.66, subd. 1a(a)(2).
    4. Negligent storage of firearms, Minn. Stat. §  609.666.
    5. False Statement on Application for Gun Purchase (misunderstood legal terms).
    6. Carry without permit, unless exception applies. Carrying of weapons without permit, non-prohibited persons, (see Minn. Stat. §  624.714, subd. 9).  State law prohibits any person, other than a law enforcement officer or a state prison guard who is performing assigned duties, from carrying a pistol in a motor vehicle or in a public place without obtaining a “permit to carry.” A permit to carry is not required to carry the pistol in the following situations:
  • in one’s home, place of business, or on one’s land;
  • from the place of purchase to one’s home or place of business;
  • from one’s home or place of business to a repair shop;
  • between one’s home and place of business;
  • in the woods, fields, or on the waters of this state for hunting or target shooting in a safe area; or
  • in a motor vehicle, snowmobile, or boat if the pistol is unloaded and in a secured box or package.

In addition to crimes based upon prohibited possession or uses of guns, Minnesota has criminal statutes which enhance penalties or provide “mandatory minimum” sentences, if some other type of underlying crime is also associated with a gun in certain ways.    Minn. Stat. Section 609.11 is one such statute.  Various criminal statutes are listed.  If a gun is possessed or used impermissibly in relation to one of those other, listed crimes, then a mandatory minimum sentence can apply.  Defense lawyers will try to get a prosecutor to agree to drop a gun enhancement under 609.11.  Otherwise, the criminal defense lawyer can make a motion to the court to do so, for example,  a Royster motion to dismiss gun enhancement in a drug case.  State v. Royster, 590 N.W.2d 82, 85 (Minn. 1999).  See also, US v Spotted Elk, 548 F.3d 641 8th Cir 2008) (gun bartered for drugs was not used in connection with.)

When it comes to a person losing  their civil rights to purchase, possess, or use firearms, there are many, many ways for this to happen, and many of these were discussed.  Probably the two most common scenarios are: (a) a person who has lost their civil rights to firearms due to a felony conviction; and (2) a person who has lost their civil rights to firearms due to selected misdemeanor, or other crimes of domestic violence.  A noted anomaly: a Minnesota state felon who has completed probation can get their civil rights restored if they petition the court for their restoration and the court grants that request.  But, a person convicted of, for example, misdemeanor domestic assault would not have a statutory right to petition the court for restoration of civil rights.  Another hazard to beware: Though a “stay of imposition” of sentence, completed successfully is deemed a non-felony conviction under  Minn. Stat. Section 609.13; under other Minnesota statutes such a conviction would still be a felony for purposes of civil rights to firearms.  Defendants have been commonly misinformed in that situation, for years.
Criminal lawyers should be prepared to advise the people they represent about the potential consequences of any criminal charge or resolution, upon their civil rights to firearms.

Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice DWI Annual Seminar: Friday, June 10, 2011

June 3, 2011

The Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice has presented a single Seminar on DWI defense annually for decades.  They are nationally known and have been attended by the best DWI lawyers in the United States.  This year, we bring it home again with a Minnesota location in the Twin Cities.  Without any doubt, this is the best DWI defense course presented in Minnesota, presented by the oldest Minnesota criminal defense bar association – The Society for Criminal Justice.

Welcome to the new machine – the Datamaster DMT.

Details on the mscj DWI Defense Seminar for Minnesota on Friday, June 10, 2011, from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm:

Location: The Northland Inn,
7025 Northland Drive, Brooklyn Park MN 55428

Attendees will receive the leading DWI defense information, research and forms for defending Minnesota DWI cases – from the first and leading Minnesota criminal defense lawyers organization representing those charged with DWI. Materials will be provided on a disk, for easy use later. You can bring a laptop.

Training by local & national experts and DWI defense lawyers on uncovering the truth using science and law, including:

  • Intoxilyzer Source Code Review and Update
    from MSCJ Source Code Coalition lead counsel.
  • Datamaster DMT – Intro to Minnesota’s new breath machine,
    from Expert and Trainer Chuck Rathburn.
  • Local Rules and Policies of District Courts.
  • Key Cases & Statutes Update
  • New Ignition Interlock Rules.
  • Ethics rules:    Flat-fee retainers – new rules, new issues.
  • Out from Under the Influence – Chemical Dependency issues.

For Defenders only – only defense attorneys may attend.  Lunch included.

Registration form.

CLE: Using PowerPoint, Other Presentation Technology in the Courtroom.

April 9, 2011

At the April 9, 2011 meeting of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice (MSCJ),  member and St Paul Criminal Defense Attorney  Thomas C. Plunkett presented a Continuing Legal Education class to the other criminal lawyer members on Using PowerPoint (and other presentation technology) in the courtroom.

Thomas C Plunkett, St Paul Criminal Defense Attorney
Thomas  Plunkett, St Paul Criminal Defense Attorney

Have a theme to your presentation. PowerPoint helps with the presentation of the theme.  Sound Recorder, Movie Maker and PowerPoint are part of the Microsoft Office Suite.  Inserting a sound into PowerPoint: Left click on insert, left click on movie or sound, left click on file.  Set the sound to auto start.

Movies can be formatted by size by pulling on the handles, hover over than left click to hold.  Layering and linking allows jumping back and forth between slides even though PowerPoint has a linear presentation mode.

The Poor Man’s Trial Director. Keep track of slide numbers.  Create a grid in PowerPoint.  Insert a number in one box of the grid, highlight or select it, change the color, and left click on it to insert to a table or hyperlink to another page in the PowerPoint file.
Portable Scanner Snap Scan (or other portable scanner) saves to PDF format, which can then be dropped into a PowerPoint presentation.  Use a digital camera to save an image.  Then insert with left click image and paste or insert saved picture from pull down menu.  Animate slides by left click Animations, then custom animation, then chose transitions.

Practical tips for use in courtrooms. Survey the courtroom after initial appearance.  Bring a cord or link to projector.  Determine
resolution on projector to coordinate with computer.  Back up program to a CD.  Use PowerPoint to link, compare and contrast exhibits, testimony, and argument – whether documents, video, audio, or graphics.

Remember that PowerPoint and other presentation technology should aid and assist your presentation.  But the technology should not be the focus.  Your theme should be your focus.  Technology can help you help others see your theme more clearly.

Short video on Intoxilyzer 5000 source code and other flaws

January 13, 2011

Pennsylvania Attorney Justin McShane summarizes the problems with the breath machine used in Minnesota, the “Intoxilyzer 5000.”

(Also available on his Pennsylvania DUI Blog)  It discusses issues identified in the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice (MSCJ) Source Code Coalition litigation.  Worth a read and a listen.

Prosecutors and Courts Now Seeking Verification of Attorney Membership in Minnesota Source Code Coalition

November 14, 2009

Guest Post by David Risk, Minnesota DWI Lawyer.

Roger Gershin, and David Risk

Roger Gershin, President, and David Risk address MSCJ meeting November 14, 2009

Are you, or is your attorney a member of the MSCJ Source Code Coalition? 

There is a concern that some attorneys have filed documents in court incorrectly stating that the attorney is a member of the Coalition or that the attorney has retained experts when that is not accurate.

Prosecutors are moving against defense attorneys who have filed motions for the Intoxilyzer Source Code but are not actively pursuing analysis of the Source Code.  At least forty (40) criminal defense attorneys have pursued Source Code Discovery but are not part of the coalition and have no plans to hire experts on their own to analyze the source code.

An attorney filing a Source Code Discovery motion must either retain an expert to analyze the source code on their own, or join the MSCJ Source Code Coalition.

Attorneys wishing to join the Source Code Coalition can click here for further information: MSCJ Source Code Coalition.  Prosecutors and Judges wishing to confirm defense attorney membership can also check there.  All MSCJ Source Code Coalition members are listed there.