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Case Update - Appellate Edition

In criminal cases, the 6th District looks at the applicability of State v. Colon (I and II, discussed here), and essentially decides that the failure of an indictment to include a mens rea requirement is not a structural error if the defendant pleads guilty.  The 8th District holds that the prosecutor's reading from a file in a sex offender hearing does not constitute "evidence," but still upholds the trial court's finding on the basis of other evidence.  It also reverses a juvenile court's delinquency finding because the court failed to record the dispositional hearing.  The defendant had asked for expungement of an aggravated assault conviction, and the prosecutor had objected that the crime wasn't expungeable because it was a crime of violence, but withdrew that objection at the hearing; the 10th District says it doesn't matter, and reverses the grant, holding that the trial court lacked "jurisdiction," which couldn't be waived.  The 3rd District holds that a defendant's right to be present wasn't violated, where he appeared at a hearing on his motion to withdraw his guilty plea by video from prison.

On the civil side, there's a good case from the 8th District on when a tenant is entitled to equitable relief from the consequences of a failure to properly renew a commercial lease.  And the court also reverses a summary judgment and orders dismissal, holding that personal jurisdiction doesn't exist where a Minnesota homeowner mails payments on a home equity line to a bank in Ohio.  The 9th District rules that a plaintiff in a dog-bite case can't be compelled to choose between pursuing a statutory action and a common law action, but can pursue both.  The 3rd District holds that, in order to be awarded sanctions for a discovery violation, the moving party has to show that he actually paid or is obligated to pay attorneys fees. 

Last, I've bitched about attorneys filing Anders briefs, but if you want to see one done right, check out the 6th District's decision State v. McIntoshThe defendant faced charges which could have landed her in prison for 33 years.  She pled out to two third-degree felonies, changed her mind and filed a motion to withdraw the plea, then at the motion hearing changed her mind again and agreed to do the plea.  Her attorney obviously did a diligent job researching the law before filing his Anders brief, presenting seven potential assignments of error.  Instead of spending a paragraph or two noting that none had merit and affirming, the court examined each one in detail.  The result was the same, but you come away from the case believing that the defendant got every shot she was entitled to.

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