Supreme Court overturns indefinite sex-offender commitment

The Strib’s Dave Chanen calls it a “significant ruling” … . “[T]he Minnesota Supreme Court overturned the indefinite commitment of a sex offender, saying there was inadequate proof that he was highly likely to reoffend. The court also reversed the case of Cedrick Ince, 24, to allow him to prove that he can be placed in a less restrictive treatment facility than the highly secure state hospital at Moose Lake. … In a concurring opinion to Wednesday’s ruling, Justice Alan Page was highly critical of the Legislature, saying it hasn’t created adequate facilities and treatment programs for those civilly committed as sexually dangerous.”

At MPR, Bob Collins writes, “Under Minnesota law, a person can only be civilly committed as a sexual predator or ‘sexually dangerous person’ if he is ‘highly likely’ to commit more sexual crimes and is unable to control the urges to do so, and if there is no other alternative to confinement. What constitutes ‘highly likely’ has been a problem for courts since the state Supreme Court shifted the burden of proof from the inmate/patient to the authorities in the ’90s.”

The national push for equal pay and workplace rights for women’s Minnesota component is moving forward. The AP says, “Minnesota senators have passed a wide-ranging package of workplace protections for women aimed at leveling pay, accommodating pregnancies and fostering entrepreneurial opportunities.The bill passed 51-14 on Wednesday and sets up a likely negotiation with the House, which passed legislation that goes even further. … Republicans who opposed the measure say it involves too much government interference.”

Legislation that might just as well be called the “Stop Bored Cops from Checking Out Good-Looking TV Gals” bill is also feeling traction. The AP says, “Minnesota lawmakers entered final negotiations Wednesday on a bill intended to stop public employees from snooping in citizens’ private data. The potential for abuse of government-held databases was highlighted when a Department of Natural Resources employee was accused of improper driver’s license lookups some 19,000 times over several years. In other cases, local governments were sued by citizens over improper lookups.”

Sometimes even love among The Base goes bad … . KFGO’s Mike McFeely reports, “The nastiness has re-ignited between Minnesota state Rep. Mary Franson of Alexandria and the former chairman of the McLeod County Republican Party. Eric Harpel, Franson’s ex-boyfriend, has filed a defamation lawsuit against Franson in Douglas County District Court for falsely accusing him of stalking, threatening and spying on her. The lawsuit also accuses Franson of illegally hacking Harpel’s e-mail account and failing to pay back money Harpel says he loaned Franson to pay her mortgage and other expenses.” Now kids, let’s remember our family values.

Speaking of The Base, foremost among those who love ‘Murica … . Bill Martens of Wisconsin Public Radio reports, “At the Wisconsin Republican Party’s annual convention next month, members will vote on whether the GOP ‘supports legislation that upholds Wisconsin’s right, under extreme circumstances, to secede.’ ‘Efforts to secede are an effort to overthrow the Constitution of the U.S. and frankly, can be called a traitorous activity,’ said Mordecai Lee, a professor of governmental affairs.” Couldn’t we just fence off 100,000 acres in Nevada and let them all call it “home?”

The GleanSpeaking of noise you’d like plugged off … . Reed Fischer at City Pages writes, “Last weekend, a new Minneapolis ordinance officially went into effect requiring clubs to provide free earplugs to all patrons and employees. Gimme Noise checked in with several of the 198 establishments affected — Triple Rock Social Club, the Cabooze, Nomad World Pub, Cedar Cultural Center, Mill City Nights, among others— and many had not yet received the dispenser of 3M earplugs offered to them gratis. The plugs are on the way soon, according to Locally Grown, Globally Known’s Brian Felsen, whose company is overseeing delivery.”

Uh … no … again in the burglar-killer trial.  Stribber Pam Louwagie, covering the Byron Smith trial in Little Falls, reports, “For the second time in two days, Byron Smith’s lawyers have asked the judge to declare a mistrial. Both requests, which came on breaks in the proceedings, were denied. Before the jury returned from a break Wednesday morning, the defense asked Morrison County Judge Douglas Anderson to declare a mistrial, saying they didn’t know about ballistics notes.”

And he survived … . Says Paul Walsh in the Strib, “A 55-year-old driver was roaring along Olson Hwy. in north Minneapolis at nearly 100 mph and very drunk when he slammed into vehicles stopped at a red light, setting off a late-night chain-reaction crash that killed two people, according to charges filed Wednesday. Philip S. Bertelsen, of Golden Valley, was charged in Hennepin County District Court with criminal vehicular homicide in the Nov. 3 deaths of Melvin Jones, 20, of St. Paul, and Brandy Banks-Sutta, 21, of Minneapolis.”

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Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Sally Sorensen on 04/23/2014 - 04:07 pm.

    Eric Harpel

    The McFeely post incorrectly states that Eric Harpel is the ex-chair of the McLeod County Republican Party. He remains chair, according to CD7 Republican party documents and other sources.

  2. Submitted by James Hamilton on 04/23/2014 - 06:00 pm.

    The Supreme Court

    didn’t really shift the burden of proof in sexual predator cases, it merely reversed the Legislature’s attempt to circumvent the Constitution. The Legislature has had years to fix this sitiuation and has considered legislation in each of the last two years which attempted to do so. Few had the . . . fortitiude . . . to do what had to be done in an election year.

    Remember this when they try to pin the release of sexual predators on the courts.

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