Jury finds guilt; judge gives sentence

by Judge Sarah Hennesy

Mille Lacs County District Court

I always talk to jurors after they render their verdict in a case. In criminal cases, jurors often have questions about sentencing: Who will sentence the defendant? What kind of sentence will he or she get?

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Leave it to the jury!

by Frank Kundrat

District Court Judge

I have presided over numerous civil and criminal jury trials since becoming a judge almost eight years ago. These trials have lasted anywhere from one day to four weeks. They have involved various crimes, such as attempted murder, drug trafficking and robbery, as well as civil disputes involving personal injury, medical malpractice, auto accidents and a variety of other human disputes.

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What does it mean to be on probation?

by Michelle Lawson

District Judge, Clay County

There were 9,929 adults in prison in Minnesota as of July 1, 2014, according to the Adult Inmate Profile published by the Minnesota Department of Corrections. There were even more adults than that incarcerated in county jails. Probation serves as an important alternative to time in jail or prison.

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Judges now sign documents electronically

by Ann L. Carrott

Seventh District Judge

It used to be when a prosecutor charged someone with committing a crime, the prosecutor prepared a paper document called a criminal complaint, a permanent, public document that explains why a prosecutor thinks he or she has a basis to charge an individual or a corporation with a crime.

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From the Bench: What does a judge do?

by Judge Frank Kundrat

“What do you do as a judge?” I’ve been asked that question many times. The answer is “many different things.”

I serve as a district-court judge. My position is also commonly referred to as a “trial-court judge.” My fellow Minnesota district judges and I are based in the various county courthouses.

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How a lawyer becomes a judge

by Michelle Winkis Lawson

District Judge

In order to become a judge in Minnesota, you must be a licensed attorney authorized to practice law in this state, and you must reside in the district in which you are appointed. We all know there is more to getting a job than meeting the basic qualifications, so how do judges actually get “hired”?

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Public defenders essential for justice for all

by Michelle W. Lawson

District Court Judge

With all of the law-enforcement-related television dramas out there, most people are familiar with the Miranda warning. You know how it goes: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can be used against you. You have the right to an attorney. If you can’t afford an attorney, one will be appointed to represent you.” Or something to that effect. But have you ever thought about what those words mean, that “if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to represent you?”

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Jury selection can be nerve-wracking experience

by Sarah E. Hennesy

District Court Judge

Jury duty can be a nerve-wracking experience. Before I took the bench, I was called to serve as a juror multiple times, and even though I was very familiar with the process and what would be expected of me, I was a little nervous each time.

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