Articles Posted in Minnesota Supreme Court

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After the Governor, on May 30, 2017, vetoed line-item appropriations to the Legislature for its biennial budget, the Legislature commenced this action arguing that the line-item veto power cannot be used over the appropriations to itself without violating the Separation of Powers clause. The Governor argued in response that the line-item veto power is expressly conferred on the Executive under Minn. Const. IV, 23. The district court agreed with the Legislature, concluding that the line-item vetoes were unconstitutional under Minn. Const. art. III. The Supreme Court reversed in part and vacated and remanded in part, holding (1) the line-item vetoes did not violate article IV, section 23; (2) the line-item vetoes did not violate Article III by effectively abolishing the Legislature; and (3) this court declined to decide whether those vetoes nonetheless violated Article III as unconstitutionally coercive because the parties failed to resolve their dispute throughout the legislative process contemplated by the Constitution. View "Ninetieth Minnesota State Senate v. Dayton" on Justia Law

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The postconviction court did not abuse its discretion in when it denied Appellant’s second petition for postconviction relief without holding an evidentiary hearing. Appellant was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to consecutive terms of life imprisonment without the possibility of release. The Supreme Court affirmed the convictions on direct appeal. In his first petition for postconviction relief, Appellant raised claims of ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel. The Supreme Court affirmed the postconviction court’s summary denial of the first petition. After hiring a private investigator to look into his case, Appellant filed a second postconviction petition. The Supreme Court affirmed the postconviction court’s summary denial of the petition, holding that even if Appellant proved the facts alleged in the petition at an evidentiary hearing, the petition, files, and records of the proceedings conclusively showed that Appellant was not entitled to relief. View "Zornes v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the tax court’s denial of relief to Ronald and Dee Johnson, who filed this action challenging the property taxes that Hennepin County assessed against their property. The tax court granted the County’s motion to dismiss the petition for tax years 2007 through 2012 because those claims were not filed in compliance with Minn. Stat. 278.01-.02 and dismissed the Johnson’s constitutional claims for lack of jurisdiction. The tax court then granted judgment in favor of the County on the Johnsons’ remaining claims challenging the assessment for the 2013 tax year. Thereafter, the tax court denied the Johnsons’ five post-trial motions. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the evidence in the record adequately supported each of the tax court’s decisions at issue. View "Johnson v. County of Hennepin" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff may file a petition for an order declaring her eligible for compensation under Minnesota’s Imprisonment and Exoneration Remedies Act, Minn. Stat. 590.11, 611.362-.368. Several years after the Supreme Court reversed Plaintiff’s conviction for second-degree manslaughter Plaintiff filed a petition seeking remuneration as an “exonerated” individual under section 590.11. The district court denied the petition, concluding (1) Petitioner was not “exonerated” under the statute because the prosecutor never dismissed the second-degree-manslaughter charge, and (2) the prosecutorial-dismissal requirement does not violate equal protection. The court of appeals, however, ruled that the prosecutorial-dismissal requirement violates equal protection and severed the requirement from the remainder of the provision rather than invalidating the entirety of section 590.11(1)(1)(i). The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Plaintiff was not “exonerated” under the statute when the Supreme Court reversed her conviction; (2) a statute cannot constitutionally require a prosecutor to dismiss charges that have already been reversed by an appellate court; and (3) the remedy for the as-applied equal-protection violation is to sever section 590.11(1)(1)(i) from the remainder of the statute. View "Back v. State" on Justia Law

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The part of Minnesota’s disorderly-conduct statute that prohibits “disturb[ing]” assemblies or meetings, Minn. Stat. 609.72(1)(2), violates the First Amendment. Defendant was convicted of disorderly conduct under section 609.72(1)(2) after a jury trial. On appeal, Defendant argued that the statute violates the First Amendment because it is unconstitutionally overbroad, unconstitutionally vague, and unconstitutional as applied. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that the constitute was constitutional and was not subject to standard overbreadth analysis. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the statute suffers from substantial overbreadth and that there is no reasonable narrowing construction of the statute. View "State v. Hensel" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court declined Appellants’ invitation to depart from the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Camara v. Municipal Court, 387 U.S. 523 (1967) and hold that Minnesota’s constitution requires that an administrative search warrant be supported by probable cause of the sort required in a criminal investigation. Camara held that an administrative warrant satisfies the probable cause requirement if reasonable legislative or administrative standards for conducting an unconsented-to rental housing inspection are satisfied with respect to a particular dwelling. In this case, the City of Golden Valley petitioned the district court for an administrative search warrant to search rental property for compliance with the city code. The district court denied the petition for the administrative search warrant, concluding that the issuance of such a search warrant was foreclosed without suspicion of a code violation. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Minnesota Constitution does not require individualized suspicion of a code violation to support an administrative search warrant for a rental housing inspection. View "City of Golden Valley v. Wiebesick" on Justia Law

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Appellant, a juvenile offender, challenged the district court’s imposition of three consecutive sentences of life imprisonment with the possibility of release after thirty years on each sentence for his three murder convictions. Appellant argued, among other things, that the rule announced in Miller v. Alabama and clarified in Montgomery v. Louisiana should apply to his case because his consecutive sentences were, in the aggregate, the functional equivalent of life imprisonment without the possibility of release. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) this court declines to extend the Miller/Montgomery to include Appellant or other similarly situated offenders because the United States Supreme Court has not squarely addressed the issue of whether consecutive sentences should be viewed separately when conducting a proportionality analysis; and (2) Appellant’s three consecutive sentences do no unfairly exaggerate the criminality of his conduct. View "State v. Ali" on Justia Law

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Defendant was charged in May 2013 with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. When Defendant failed to appear for his first appearance, the district court issued a warrant for his arrest. In February 2015, Defendant was arrested for unrelated reasons. Before his omnibus hearing, Defendant moved to dismiss the charges, claiming that the twenty-one-month delay between the date he was charged and his eventual arrest violated his right to a speedy trial under the United States and Minnesota Constitutions. The district court granted Defendant’s motion and dismissed the charges after applying the four-factor balancing test from Barker v. Wingo. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the third and fourth Barker factors did not weigh in Defendant’s favor, and therefore, on balance, the State had not violated Defendant’s constitutional right to a speedy trial. The Supreme Court affirmed as modified, holding that although the delay may have been attributable to the State’s negligence, Defendant’s failure to assert his speedy trial right weighed heavily against him and ultimately led to the conclusion that the State did not violate Defendant’s right to a speedy trial. View "State v. Osorio" on Justia Law

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Appellant submitted several requests for public government data from Hennepin County and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office (collectively, Respondents) under the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act. Respondents responded to all of Appellant’s requests except for a request asking that Respondents perform a computer-aided search of their stored e-emails using twenty separate search terms. Appellant filed a complaint alleging that Hennepin County had violated the Data Practices Act by failing to promptly and substantively respond to his data requests. An administrative law judge (ALJ) concluded that Hennepin County had violated the Data Practices Act and ordered it to produce all requested data. Respondents appealed the decision and obtained a stay from the ALJ pending appeal. Thereafter, Appellant filed a motion to lift the stay. The court of appeals denied the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the ALJ’s decision to issue a stay pending appeal was not an abuse of discretion. View "Webster v. Hennepin County" on Justia Law

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The State charged Defendant under Minn. Stat. 609.352, subd. 2a(2) with felony communication with a child describing sexual conduct after she sent sexually explicit images and messages to a fifteen-year-old boy. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that section 609.352, subd. 2a(2) proscribes a substantial amount of speech that the First Amendment protects and thus facially violates the First Amendment. The district court concluded that the statute violates the First Amendment, and the court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that 609.352, subd. 2a(2) is not substantially overbroad in relation to its plainly legitimate sweep. View "State v. Muccio" on Justia Law