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Obscenity charges for Randy Driver

13 Sep

In a case just itching for a first amendment defense, Brian Wutschke has been charged for, well, I will just let you read it.  I suppose the question is whether sucking on a piece of plastic can be considered: “open or gross lewdness or lascivious behavior, or any public indecency.”  This humble author would guess we will never find out, because when the poor guy’s attorney tells him he really thinks they should fight the case, the lawyer will be met with a stare of disbelief. Perhaps the most unsettling portion of the story is that as I write, an adult pleasure aid is slowly vibrating itself to quite demise at the SPPD.   Seriously can someone suck it up and go turn that thing off…

Dead Mom’s Family Members Lawyer Up.

24 Jul

According to a July 16 story in the Pioneer Press, the survivors of Toni Medrano have hired an attorney to negotiate some sort of settlement or initiate a lawsuit with television network CNN and commentator Nancy Grace. The PiPress reported that Medrano allegedly drank a fifth of vodka before falling asleep and smothering her baby in November 2011. Medrano was subsequently charged with two counts of second-degree manslaughter. On a segment of the “Nancy Grace” television show on June 11, 2012, Medrano was ridiculed and dubbed “the vodka mom,” and on July 2, Medrano reportedly poured a flammable liquid over herself and lighted it, and later died of her injuries. Medrano’s family apparently blames Nancy Grace and CNN for Medrano’s death and hopes to be compensated by the network.

 

 

 

 

 

Britain’s High Court Blocks Extradition of Alleged Minnesota Sex Offender

29 Jun

The British High Court decided that Minnesota’s  Sex Offender Treatment Program threatened Shawn Sullivan’s Human rights stating:

there is a real risk that if extradited the appellant might be subject to an order for civil commitment within Minnesota and that that amounts to a risk that he would suffer a flagrant denial of his rights enshrined in Art. 5.1 (of the European Convention on Human Rights).

Basically, the Court (Do you capitalize British High Courts? I hope so!) stated that civil commitment to prevent possible future criminal conduct is wicked messed up.  As a side note, the opinion writing judge is named Lord Justice Moses, which is now my favorite curse/interjection. Maybe if Tim Pawlenty hadn’t taken away the sex offender’s TVs, the Minnesota taxpayer could pay to indefinitely lock up this guy… Lord Justice Moses, that would be sweet.

Afton Limits Political Speech, No One Seems to Care

24 Jun

In a nod to Minnesota Nice, Afton has imposed a regulation limiting political parade groups to 15-persons.  While the regulation has no enforcement mechanism, it does seem to limit political speech. In a noble skirting of  the issue Betty McCullom’s office stated “We just abide by whatever the regulations are.  We just want to cooperate with whatever the community sets forth, so no, it’s not a problem.” Which I believe is a paraphrase of “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

Minnesota GOP

24 Apr

In a story that has interesting intersections in Free Speech, Free Practice of Religion, and Free for Alls,  the Minnesota GOP is in a showdown with the College Republicans in St. Cloud. The College Republicans have invited “a self-style hard rock pastor who has been ardent in his opposition of homosexuality.”  He is probably best known for his prayer in the Minnesota house that was widely derided as offensive, both for its content and because of its orator:

The issue captures the difficulty the GOP is having in posturing for November elections and ballot measures.

Speedy links for Monday:

24 Apr

Here’s a few tidbits in the news that are at lest tangentially related to free speech issues:

Some interesting reporting in the Duluth News Tribune about city and county pension plans, information about which was presumably obtained through the Minnesota Data Practices Act. It’s nice to see this kind of information being uncovered (not by the paper, but by the Illinois-based Taxpayers United of America), but proponents of the public pension plan seem to think that the TUoA didn’t provide a particularly comprehensive report. Of course, we here at the Void don’t care about things like entitlement reform or taxes (blech), we just thought the transparency brought to bear on the Public Employees Retirement Association of Minnesota is worth commenting on…

The Strib, the PiPress and MPR all reported on the decision by a federal administrative law judge that a local Jimmy John’s franchisee violated the labor rights of six former employees when it fired them for hanging up posters  near Jimmy John’s  restaurants protesting the restaurants’ sick leave policy. I couldn’t find a written version of Judge Arthur Amchan, but according to the Strib, Amchan “ruled that the posters were protected speech under the National Labor Relations Act.” Again, no position on the labor issues, but the term “protected speech” (which as far as I know is solely Mike Hughlett‘s term, not necessarily Judge Amchan’s) is interesting to see in the context of the non-government employer-employee relationship.

***Update on 4-26-12*** The excellent Minnesota Employer blog, written by attorneys from the Minneapolis law firm Briggs and Morgan, has some additional – not necessarily objective – commentary on the case, and kindly included a link to the decision. Go educate yourself.

Rave on….

New Felony

19 Apr

Governor Dayton Signed a new Felony statute into law yesterday making neglect of a vulnerable adult which causes substantial bodily harm a felony. Greatly expands possible criminal liability for caring for the elderly.