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Columns & Podcasts

I'm working on adding links to my columns.  Each topic will include a link to both an audio file (in MP3 format) and a more traditional written document (in pdf format).  You can either listen to the podcast, read the column, or both (whichever is your favored method).  

Columns & Podcasts

Newspaper Columns



I write a monthly column that appears in a number of newspapers and other publications.  Topics describe and discuss how courts work.  Many topics are those requested by readers who can forward their requests through the editors of their papers.  Below is a list of newspapers that I know have run at least some of my columns.     

      - The Askov American


     -The Citizen, (Hugo)


      -The Country Messenger (Scandia, May & Marine on St. Croix)


     -The East Central Minnesota Post Review (North Branch, Harris, Rush City, Stacy, and area)


     -The East Side Review


    - The Forest Lake Times.


    -The Hudson Patch (Hudson, Wisconsin)


    - Isanti-Chisago County Star.

     -Journal of Court Reporter's Weekly.  (National Court Reporter's Journal)

     -Marco Island News (Marco Island, Florida)

     -Marketing & Advertising Industry Today (EIN Newsdesk publication)

     -Minnesota Association of Court Administrators

    -Naples Daily News (Naples, Florida)


    -The Oakdale Patch


     -The Oakdale-Lake Elmo Review


     -The Pine City Pioneer

     -The Quad Community Press

     -The Roseville-Little Canada Review


     -The Sherburne County Citizen.

     -The Shoreview Press

     -The Stenotype Institute.

     -The Stillwater Current


     - The Stillwater Gazette.


     -The Stillwater Patch   

     -The Vadnais Heights Press

     -The White Bear Press


     -The Woodbury Bulletin    


      -The Woodbury Patch

     -The Wright County Journal Press


     -South Washington County Bulletin


     -Forward In Christ (National Magazine)

On the Radio




I submit recordings of my columns each month to several local radio stations to play as public service announcements.  


Contact the station manager for updates on the times of the broadcasts.  If you would like to hear them broadcast on a station near you, please contact your station manager.  I make the broadcasts available for free to any station that wishes to air them.


KRWC - AM 1360 in Buffalo, Minnesota.


KDWA - AM 1460 in Hastings, Minnesota.


WEVR - AM 1550 and 106.3 FM - River Falls, Hudson, & Ellsworth, Wisconsin & Stillwater, Minnesota.



Listen or Read

2017 Columns:


Right to a Fair Trial.  Is someone accused of a crime entitled to a trial where no mistakes of any kind are made?  This podcast explains that our Constitution guarantees a right to a fair trial, not a perfect trial. Fair Trial Rights.mp3.m4a  (4 minutes, 19 seconds)  Right to a Fair Trial.pdf    



State and Federal Courts in Minnesota.  There are two separate and distinct court systems in Minnesota.  Each has their own laws, judges, and courthouses.  Why is this?  This podcast explains.    State & Federal Courts.mp3.m4a  (4 minutes, 41 seconds)  State and Federal Courts.pdf   



Zoning & Land Use Planning.   Why is it that factories & warehouses are located in one part of town, retail is located near main highways, and single-family homes are by themselves in quieter areas of town?  This podcast discusses the law of zoning which determines where certain uses of land are to occur.   Zoning & Planning.mp3.m4a  (4 minutes, 24 seconds)  Zoning Laws.pdf    


Letters to Judges Before Hearings.  If you knew something about a case that a judge is deciding, should you send the judge a letter to let them know?  This podcast discusses why judges can't consider such submissions.  Ex Parte contact with judges.pdf   (4 minutes, 28 seconds)  Contacting Judges Before Hearings.mp3.m4a



Notice to Remove a Judge From a Case.  Did you know that each party to a case can normally file a document to get another judge assigned to hear the matter?  This column describes how that works.  Notice to Remove.mp3.m4a   (4 minutes, 11 seconds)   Notice to Remove a Judge.pdf



Supreme Court Appointments.  President Trump has nominated Federal Appeals Court Judge Neil Gorsuch to the open U. S. Supreme Court seat.  This column discusses the process that will take place to see if Judge Gorsuch will be confirmed to be a part of the court.   Supreme Court Appointments.mp3.m4a     (4 minutes, 47 seconds)  Supreme Court Appointment.pdf



Judicial Independence.  Should Judges be neutral in deciding cases or should they announce ahead of time that they will favor one side?  The answer seems obvious to us in the United States but in other parts of the world that is not always true.  This podcast analyzes the importance of Judicial Independence.  Judicial Independence.mp3.m4a   (4 minutes, 54 seconds)  Judicial Independence.pdf




2016 Columns:


Presidential Pardons.  What are presidential pardons?  Why are presidents allowed to issue them?  This podcast discusses these questions.  Presidential Pardons.mp3.m4a  (4 minutes, 58 seconds)   Presidential Pardons.pdf



Judicial Discretion.  If the same exact case were to be decided by two different judges would the outcome always be the same?  No.  This podcast discusses the idea of judicial discretion which means that just as each judge is different, so could their decisions.   Judicial Discretion.mp3.m4a    (4 minutes, 49 seconds).    Judicial Discretion.pdf 


Negligence.  The word "negligence" is heard a lot in the news and in media.  This podcast describes what it is and the two main levels of negligence:  Ordinary Negligence & Gross Negligence.    Negligence.mp3.m4a   (4 minutes, 47 seconds)      Negligence.pdf 



The Role of the County Attorney.  A few years ago (in 2012) I wrote a column about the role of Public Defenders in the court system.  This column discusses the role of the County Attorney.   County Attorneys.mp3.m4a   (4 minutes, 19 seconds)        County Attorneys.pdf



10th Judicial District Self-Help Center.  What can someone do who can't afford an attorney?  This program, in effect in all 8 counties of the 10th District, is designed to help pro se litigants find the resources they need to help themselves.  Self Help Center.mp3.m4a    (4 minutes, 42 seconds)  Self-Help Center.pdf


Miranda Warnings.  2016 marks the 50th Anniversary of Miranda v. Arizona, one of the most well-known cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in the last 100 years.  This podcast/column discusses what the case was about and how it has changed how law enforcement goes about questioning suspects.  Miranda Warnings.mp3.m4a  (4 minutes, 38 seconds)   Miranda Warnings.pdf



Jury Selection.  Many believe that people are randomly chosen to sit on juries.  This podcast/column describes the legal process through which jurors are selected to serve on a case.  Jury Selection-Voir Dire.mp3.m4a  (4 minutes, 51 seconds)  Jury Selection-Voir Dire.pdf



Incompetency of Criminal Defendants to Proceed to Trial. Sometimes the news reports on someone charged with an horrific sounding crime.  Later you hear that they may not go to trial as their competency is in question.  This podcast explains how and why that can happen.   Competency to Proceeed.mp3.m4a    (4 minutes, 45 seconds)   Incompetency to Proceed.pdf



2015 Columns:

Minnesota's Good Samaritan Law.  What are your legal obligations if you happen upon an emergency?  Must you stop and help?  This podcast describes what Minnesota law has to say about it.  Good Samaritan Law.mp3.m4a   (4 minutes, 47 seconds)   Good Samaritan Law.pdf


Discovery in Civil Cases.  In civil cases, each party can be required to turn over virtually all of the information that they have about the case.  Why is that?  This column explains why.  Discovery.mp3.m4a   (4 minutes, 32 seconds)  Discovery in Civil Cases.pdf


Standards of Review in the Appellate Process.  When you appeal a case you do not get a new trial with judges from the court of appeals.  Instead, the appellate courts review the trial court record to see if errors were made.  This column outlines the standards that appellate courts use in reviewing cases.   Standards of Review.mp3.m4a  (4 minutes, 42 seconds)   Appellate Review.pdf



The Role of Police in Society.  During the recent unrest in Baltimore, many expressed surprise that the police seemingly stood by and watched crimes being committed.  Were they not required to respond? This podcast explains the legal responsibility of the police to act, or not.  The Role of Police.mp3.m4a   (4 minutes, 54 seconds)   The Role of Police in Society.pdf



Burdens of Proof.  Have you ever wondered why some cases require on burden of proof while other cases require a different burden?  This podcast explains why that is.  

Burdens of Proof.mp3.m4a      (4 minutes, 38 seconds).    Various Burdens of Proof.pdf



Guardians, Conservators, & Powers of Attorney.  Do you have a family member who needs some help managing their life duties or financial affairs?  This podcast explains three of the more common methods of providing them help.   Guardians Conservators.mp3.m4a   (4 minutes, 58 seconds)   Guardians, Conservators & Powers of Attorney.pdf



How to Prepare for Court.  In this podcast I offer tips on how to be more successful when you come to court.  How to Prepare for Court.mp3.m4a    (4 minutes, 44 seconds)   How to Prepare for Court.pdf



2014 Columns:


The McNaughton Rules:  Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity.   This podcast explains the  legal standards for this famously-named "insanity" defense.  McNaughton Rules.mp3.m4a    

(4 minutes, 40 seconds)   The McNaughton Rules.pdf



Court Reporters: The Silent Guardians of the Record.  Court reporters have the daunting task of recording every word spoken by every person in court.  This podcast describes why their duties are so vitally important to the court system.  Court Reporters.mp3.m4a  (4 minutes, 23 seconds)  Court Reporters.pdf



Jury Decision Making.  With our nation seemingly so divided on so many issues, how is that juries almost always reach unanimous verdicts?  This podcast discusses the parameters within which jurors decide cases.   Jury Decision Making.mp3.m4a   (4 minutes, 45 seconds)   Jury Decision Making.pdf



Where Are All the Trials?  Less than 5% of all cases ever go to trial.  How is that possible?  Where did all the cases go?  This podcast describes some of the more common ways that cases are resolved without a trial.  Where Are the Trials.mp3.m4a  (4 minutes, 43 seconds)  Where did all the Trials Go.pdf



Extradition:  The Long-Arm of the Law.  This podcast describes the process for returning fugitives from justice back to the State they fled.

Extradition.mp3.m4a  (4 minutes, 59 seconds)   Extradition.pdf



Certification of Juveniles to Adult Court.  Have you ever heard about a juvenile being certified to stand trial as an adult?  This podcast discusses the legal framework for how that can happen.   Juvenile Certification.mp3.m4a   (4 minutes, 56 seconds)   Certification of Juveniles to Adult Court.pdf



The Unique Importance of Jury Service.  The Judicial Branch relies on citizens to be the ultimate decision-maker for some of the most important cases that come to court.  This podcast describes the role of the jury and outlines the jury selection process.  Jury Service.mp3.m4a     (4 minutes, 44 seconds)   The Unique Importance of Jury Service.pdf



The Wheels of Justice.  The criminal court system seems, to some, to be frustratingly slow.  This podcast describes the procedural steps in the progress of a criminal case. 

Wheels of Justice.mp3.m4a  (5 minutes, 4 seconds)   The Wheels of Justice.pdf



"Plea Bargains" in Criminal Cases.  This podcast discusses what plea bargains are and why they play such an important role in our criminal justice system. Plea Bargains.mp3.m4a  (5 minutes, 14 seconds)   Plea Bargains in Criminal Cases.pdf




2013 Columns:


Res Judicata.  Are there Mulligans or "Do-Overs" in Court?  This podcast describes the legal concept that requires disputes to be decided on the first try.  

resjudicata.mp3.m4a   (4 minutes, 44 seconds)  Res Judicata.pdf



Alternative Dispute Resolution.  A reader asked me to describe the differences between Mediation and Arbitration.  This podcast does that and also discusses the concept of Alternative Dispute Resolution.  Alternative Dispute Resolution.mp3.m4a  (4 minutes, 59 seconds)  ADR.pdf



Safe Families for Children.  Have you ever wondered you might do to help a family in need?  An organization known as Safe Families for Children attempts to do just that.  This podcast provides an overview of this group.  Safe Families for Children.mp3.m4a  (5 minutes, 1 second)  Safe Families for Children.pdf



Why So Many Types of Juries?  Civil juries, criminal juries, grand juries - why are there so many types of juries and what do they do?  This podcast describes what they do and why we need them.   Explaining Different Juries.mp3.m4a     (5 minutes, 9 seconds)  Different Types of Juries.pdf



Was Justice Done?  Using the backdrop of Florida's trial involving George Zimmerman, I discuss the parameters within which jurors must operate when reaching verdicts in criminal trials.  Was Justice Done.mp3.m4a  (4 minutes, 59 seconds)  Was Justice Done.pdf



Whiskey Plates.  Have you ever seen plainer-looking license plates on vehicles and wondered what they were?  This podcast describes why they are known in the legal community as "whiskey plates."  Whiskey Plates.mp3.m4a  (4 minutes, 54 seconds)  Whiskey Plates.pdf



Minnesota's Prisons.  This podcast discusses Minnesota's ten prisons.  Each is designed to meet a specific need and they each develop their own look and feel based on that design.

Minnesota's Prisons.mp3.m4a  (4 minutes, 48 seconds)  Minnesota's prisons.pdf



After the Party - DWI Law in Minnesota.  Many people are surprised to learn that a "typical" misdemeanor DWI carries with it three separate and distinct criminal charges.  A conviction on any of the three qualifies as a DWI conviction.  This podcast describes how that law works.   After the Party-DWI Law.mp3.m4a  (4 minutes, 49 seconds)   After the Party -  DWI Basics in Minnesota.pdf



Who Are These Judges Anyway?  In this podcast I offer some insights into the lives of the ten people who serve as district court judges in Washington County, Minnesota.    Who Are These Judges.mp3.m4a     (4 minutes, 37 seconds)      Who Are These Judges.pdf



How to Choose a Lawyer.  This podcast offers suggestions as to how to go about deciding which lawyer is best for you.   How to Choose a Lawyer.mp3.m4a  (4 minutes, 35 seconds)  How to Choose a Lawyer.pdf




2012 Columns:


Fairness in Court.  What does it mean for a judge to be "fair?"  Is a judge fair if a person wins but unfair if someone loses?  This podcast discusses fairness in court.     Fairness in Court.mp3.m4a    (4 minutes, 43 seconds)  Fairness in Court.pdf



Bail in Criminal Cases.  This podcast discusses why defendants in criminal cases can't be held without bail and what factors judges consider in determining the amount of bail to set.   Bail in Criminal Cases.mp3.m4a   (4 minutes, 59 seconds)  Bail in Criminal Cases.pdf



Public Defenders.  What types of cases do public defenders handle?  Who do they represent? These are just two of the questions answered in this podcast.  

Public Defenders.mp3.m4a   (4 minutes, 40 seconds)  Public Defenders.pdf



Probation Departments.  A reader requested that I describe what a Probation Officer is and what the Probation Department does.  This podcast answers those questions.    Probation Department.mp3.m4a    (5 minutes, 10 seconds)  Probation Department.pdf



Weddings by Judges.  Did you know that judges can perform weddings and that many judges enjoy doing so?  This podcast discusses Minnesota laws about weddings and why many judges enjoy performing weddings.   Weddings by Judges.mp3.m4a   (4 minutes, 36 seconds)  Weddings by Judges.pdf



Letters to Judges.  Is it a good idea to send a letter to a judge about a hearing that is going to take place?  This question, discussed in this podcast,  was submitted by a reader of The Hugo Citizen.  Letters to Judges.mp3.m4a    (3 minutes, 16 seconds)  Ex Parte letters to judges.pdf



Truth & Burdens of Proof.  How does a judge know who is telling the truth in court?  This podcast describes how courts use the Rules of Evidence and Burdens of Proof to arrive at a just result.  Truth and Burdens of Proof.mp3m4a.m4a  (4 minutes, 40 seconds)  Truth & Burdens of Proof.pdf



The Mystery of Probate Court.  Probate court is the last place where obscure words and terms are sometimes use.  This podcast describes some of the more common words to show that there really is no mystery.    Probate Mystery.mp3m4a.m4a  (4 minutes, 40 seconds)  The Mystery of Probate Court.pdf



Judicial Review.  This podcast describes the court's power of judicial review, something that has been in the news a lot lately following the U.S. Supreme Court's hearings regarding "Obamacare."  Judicial Review.mp3.m4a  (4 minutes, 53 seconds)  Judicial Review.pdf



Judicial Selection.  In this podcast I describe Minnesota's legal system for selecting judges.    Judicial Selection.mp3.m4a  (5 minutes, 38 seconds)  Judicial Selection.pdf



Washington County's Veteran's Court Program.  This podcast describes Washington County's veteran's program which is designed to help combat veterans, who have gotten into trouble with the law, get the help they need so that they can get back to being responsible members of society.    Veterans Court Program.mp3.m4a   (4 minutes, 58 seconds)  Veteran's Program.pdf



Good Time Credit.  What is good time?  Why is it allowed?  This podcast explains.  Good Time Calculations.mp3.m4a    (4 minutes, 42 seconds)  Good Time Calculations.pdf




2011 Columns:


College Choices.  How much does college choice affect admission to law school?  This podcast offers my opinions.  College Choices.mp3.m4a   (4 minutes, 43 seconds)  College Choices.pdf



Sovereignty & Protest.  These principles are discussed against the backdrop of Occupy Wall Street & the Tea Party.  Sovereignty and Protest.mp3.m4a    (4 minutes, 57 seconds)  Sovereignty & Protest.pdf



Eminent Domain.  The government's power of taking private property is discussed.  Eminent Domain.mp3.m4a   (4 minutes, 50 seconds)  Eminent Domain.pdf



Restitution in Criminal Cases.  This podcast explains what is required to order restitution criminal cases.  Restitution (4m27s).mp3.m4a  Restitution.pdf



Sentence to Service Program.  This Podcast discusses the benefits of Washington County's Sentence to Service program.  STS Crews (5m7s).mp3.m4a   Sentence to Service.pdf



How are Cases Assigned to Judges?  This podcast, requested by a column reader, discusses how it is determined which judge will hear which cases in Washington County.  Case Assignment (4m36s).mp3.m4a  Case Assignment Process.pdf



 Freedom & Sticks.  This podcast discusses the innumerable rights we possess as citizens of this country and the inestimable value of those rights.  Freedom and Sticks (4m 57s).mp3.m4a  Freedom & Sticks.pdf


How are Sentences Determined?  This is a four-part series discussing how judges determine what sentence to impose in a felony criminal case.  How Sentences are Determined.pdf

          Part 1:  Indeterminate vs. Determinate Sentencing Systems.  Sentencing Part 1 (4m.44s).mp3.m4a

      Part 2:  Minnesota's Sentencing Guidelines.  Sentencing Part 2  (4m.52s).mp3.m4a

      Part 3:  Departures from the Sentencing Guidelines.  Sentencing Part 3  (5m.00s).mp3.m4a

      Part 4:  Practical Considerations that Affect Sentences.  Sentencing Part 4  (4m.46s).mp3.m4a



Guardian ad Litems.  This podcast describes the role of guardian ad litems.  Most of their work is done in family law and child protection cases.   GAL (4m.30s).mp3.m4a  GAL program.pdf



Electronic Home Monitoring.  Electroninc Home Monitoring is a program available through the jail that allows defendants to serve their jail time at home.  This podcast describes how different judges view the program. EHM (4m.27s).mp3.m4a  Electronic Home Monitoring.pdf



Traffic Ticket Process.  Did you get a traffic ticket in Washington County?  This podcast describes how Washington County's Hearing Officer program works.   Ticket Process (4m.34s).mp3.m4a  The Ticketing Process.pdf



Judge Tom Armstrong and Attorney Jim Lammers.  In this podcast I talk about the changing face of Washington County's legal community.  Judge Armstrong retired after 30 years service at the end of 2010.  My former law partner, Jim Lammers, passed away at about the same time.  This article recounts their contributions to our community.  Armstrong-Lammers (4m.33s).mp3.m4a  Legal Community Says Goodbye to Two.pdf


Bail & Bond.  Have you ever wondered what the difference is between Bail and Bond?  This podcast describes their similarities and their differences.  Bail and Bond (4m.15s).mp3.m4a  Bail and Bond.pdf



Early Neutral Evaluation.  Divorce cases can be time consuming, stressful, and expensive.  This podcast describes a new method of resolving issues in a divorce case that saves everyone time, stress, and expense.  ENE (5m.0s).mp3.m4a  Early Neutral Evaluation.pdf



Courthouse Security.  The shootings in Tuscon, Arizona in January 2011 prompted a question about how safe our courthouses are and how safe judges are in the community.  This podcast discusses both issues.  Judicial Security (4m.41s).mp3.m4a  Judicial Security.pdf

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