Intelligent Tactics Help Find Justice for an Appelman Client

Cases where substance abuse is present can be challenging.  However, last week, MN criminal defense attorney Avery Appelman used his experience and expertise to find justice and help for a client whose case seemed nearly impossible.

“I represent a client who has multiple offenses in many counties. Some of the cases have been resolved and the client is on probation, some of the cases are still active prosecutions requiring court appearances. Some background on the client, a person who suffers from chemical dependency, one who has very little financial resources and even less family or friends for support. Through diligent work and cooperation with various counties this client was able to be placed in an inpatient treatment program and resides in a halfway house today.

This client had a felony court appearance this morning. Prior to court we spent some time discussing the case and what was going to happen. As we were talking, the client began opening letters that had been collecting while in treatment. One of the letters was a summons for a probation violation hearing, which this client did not attend. I then set in motion a usual system employed by the Appelman Law Firm in just these circumstances.

I discussed this situation with our senior legal assistant, Haley Fee. Mrs. Fee verified the existence of a “body only” warrant for this client and immediately set off to have the warrant quashed. Mrs. Fee determined who the criminal signing judge was in the county that issued the warrant and spoke to that judge’s clerk and explained the situation: that the client had been in an inpatient treatment program at the time of the hearing and would have been present but for her placement. Mrs. Fee documented this in writing and sent the judge an order for his signature to quash the warrant. The judge agreed to quash the warrant!

It was 40 minutes from the time we discovered the warrant to the time the we had a copy of the judge’s signed order.

This was fortunate for our client, as we were leaving probation, two sheriffs deputies were summoned by the probation officer to take the client into custody. I spoke with the deputies, showed them the email scanned copy of the judge’s order quashing the warrant and they agreed there was no need to take my client into custody.”

Other criminal firms do not offer this form of immediate action. They lack the resources necessary to see that these are acted on swiftly. Absent the internal system developed, honed and perfected by Mrs. Fee, this client would be in jail right now.

Thanks to dedication to customer service the Appelman Law Firm continues to stand as the best choice for criminal defense.

Paterno’s Death Voids Testimony

The death of Joe Paterno is not just a tragedy for those who knew him, it is also a tremendous blow to the prosecution of Tim Curley and Gary  Schulz. Paterno was supposed to testify in the trials against the two administrative member who failed to report stories of repeated sexual abuse at the hands of Jerry Sandusky.  Paterno told Curley and Schulz, his superiors, about a graduate assistant’s account that he had witnessed Sandusky raping a young boy in the Penn State locker room in 2002.

After multiple stories of sexual abuse become public, the attention was soon turned to the gross mishandling of the situation by the university administration. It became clear that the reports of this abuse were not being relayed to the proper authorities. Curley and Schulz were arrested and charged with failure to report and perjury.

Paterno’s testimony has been deemed inadmissible because he was not cross-examined during the process. Many believe that the loss of Paterno’s testimony may not greatly affect the outcome of the trial, however the prosecution must now base their case solely on the witness testimony of assistant coach Mike McQueary.

According to MN criminal defense attorney Stacy Kaye, the testimony is being thrown out in accordance with the defendants’ 6th Amendment right. “The 6th Amendment guarantees the right of the accused to cross-examine their accusers. If the witness is unavailable, they are not available for cross-examination and their word is here-say.”

Related Sources:

NY Times

A New Chapter in the NCAA Sex Scandal: Joe Paterno Dead at 85

This Sunday, former Penn State head football coach passed away from lung cancer. The 85-year-old was fired in November after the media exposed his mishandling of the Jerry Sandusky child-sexual-abuse fiasco.

The town of State College is mourning the loss of their iconic football coach, a man who served as their hero for the 46-years he spent with the Nittany Lions, a man whose name remained untarnished until just recently. An enormous statue of Paterno stands in the center of town, exemplifying his status among the local community.

The public opinion has undertones of skepticism. Many wonder if it really was lung cancer that caught up to Paterno, or if it wasn’t the enormous stress he had endured. A Penn State professor vocalized this sentiment, saying “I can’t help thinking that his death is somehow related.” The lung cancer was diagnosed shortly after the decision was made to fire Paterno.

Jerry Sandusky, the assistant coach who has been charged with sexually abusing at least 10 boys, has spoken out to voice his condolences and best wishes for the Paterno family. Sandusky is currently awaiting trial on multiple charges of criminal sexual conduct.

The Penn State Board of Trustees released a statement saying, “We grieve for the loss of Joe Paterno, a great man who made us a greater university. His dedication to ensuring his players were successful both on the field and in life is legendary and his commitment to education is unmatched in college football. His life, work and generosity will be remembered always.”

Related Sources:

Huffington Post


NY Gangs’ Social Media Activity Leads To 43 Arrests

 It seems the street gangs have taken to cyberspace, much to the delight of law enforcement. 43 members of rival NY gangs were arrested this week after boasting about their criminal activity via Twitter. The men, ages 15-21, were arrested on various charges including murder, assault, robbery, and conspiracy.

According to Brooklyn Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, “Gang members made the mistake of boasting on Twitter which NYPD officers used to help establish their complicity in murder and other crimes.” The bust was the result of a year-long investigation of crimes dating back to 2010.

Those arrested were members of the feuding gangs Wave and Hood Starz, each with their own distinct lingo which the police deciphered as part of Operation Tidal Wave. Officers tracked monitored the communications through Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. However, the men aren’t exactly shining examples of discretion.  A quick search on any of the three social media sites yields multiple users who make no secret of their gang affiliation. However,  it appears that since the police crackdown, most of the profiles and activity has been made private.

This wasn’t the first time these gangs saw headlines. In the fall of 2010, a bloody turf war broke out between the Hood Starz and the Brownsville Fly Guys for control of the Marcus Garvey Village housing project.  Two teens were killed and many others wounded in what seems to be an issue of kids losing their youth to the streets. This is very much still the case today; the average age of those arrested in this week’s bust was 17.

According to MN criminal defense lawyer Avery Appelman, this is a fantastic example of law enforcement employing social media to cultivate evidence against targets of investigations. However, these types of investigations do have their issues. “A problem with this form of evidence is authentication. How would the state seek to admit the evidence of someone’s “tweet”? There are rules governing the admissibility of all forms of evidence, whether they be oral, written or in most instances observations that witnesses testify about. In regards to specific tweets, presumably authored by one of the alleged gang members, the state will have to authenticate the incriminating tweet, (somehow prove that it came from the person they believe wrote it). This is problematic. Many people could have access to a person’s twitter account and use it as their own or for instance the account could have been hacked. The state would offer to prove the authenticity of the tweets through the history of use of the account (who the person conversed with on twitter, did some of the tweets reference events that only the account holder had knowledge of, etc). Once the authenticity of the tweets is established the tweets would be used as an admission to committing the crimes.”

Relates Sources:


NY Daily News

Internet Goes Dark in Protest of SOPA Bill

sopaThousands of websites went dark today in protest of SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) – two controversial anti-piracy bills currently passing through congress.

Wikipedia, Craigslist, and Reddit are the biggest sites that have gone black today. They are joined by nearly 10,000 other sites. Several big sites that didn’t shut down, like Google and Facebook, have issued statements opposing the bills.

The bills in question aim to curtail illegal piracy on the internet. What’s disturbing is the way it proposes to do so. If passed, SOPA would give the entertainment industry the ability to shut down any site that posts content that they think infringes on copyrighted material. It would also hold sites responsible for what users post. Sites like Youtube would likely get into big trouble very quickly considering all the copyrighted material its users post.

Additionally, sites accused of such infringement would be responsible for proving their own innocence, which directly conflicts with the American judicial system.

This would stifle creativity on the web and inhibit the way in which we share information on the internet.

“This is ultimately an issue of free speech,” says Criminal Defense Lawyer, Avery Appelman. “The internet is the ultimate podium where anyone can voice their opinion and share what they’ve created, whether it be a song, a video, or a blog post. Not only would this bill give companies the ability to quickly shut down sites that allow us to voice our opinions on the internet, it also requires those accused to prove their own innocence. Ever heard of the phrase ‘innocent until proven guilty’? This bill is completely ignores due process of law and is therefore unconstitutional.”


Related Sources:


Final Documentary Installment Sheds Light on The Need For Competent Defense

  Paradise Lost 3, the final installment of the documentary series, premiered on HBO this Thursday night. This latest film serves as a jarring reminder of the need for competent criminal defense counsel .

The documentaries follow the trials of three Arkansas teenagers charged with, and later convicted of, the 1993 murder and torture of three little boys. The trials and convictions are considered by many to be a gross miscarriage of justice. Supporters of the West Memphis 3, as the teenagers came to be called, decry investigative oversight, evidence suppression, poor defense work, and discrimination against the boys. Damien Echols became a suspect when investigators concluded that, due to an apparent castration, the murder had overtones of the occult. Echols, who was known to have interest in the occult was taken into questioning. Echols had a documented history of psychiatric problems and listened to heavy metals music and after several assumptions were made by the investigators, Echols became the prime suspect. His two close friends, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley were also arrested.

The three maintained their innocence until Misskelley, who had an IQ of 72, broke down after 12 hours of interrogation and provided a confession. His story was riddled with holes and none of the details matched the objective details of the case. Eventually the confession was discarded from the evidence, but the local jurors were well aware of its presence. Misskelley later recanted, citing police coercion.

There was no physical evidence linking the young men to the crime and all three had alibis. However, a handful of witness testimony aided the prosecution in obtaining their guilty verdicts. Ultimately, Echols was sentenced to death, Misskelley sentenced to life plus two 20-year sentences, and Baldwin to life in prison. During the investigation, three other men were mentioned as possible suspects, but were never investigated.

Since the release of the first Paradise Lost documentary, a growing movement has emerged in support of the three men. This movement has prompted further investigation into the case and in 2007, new DNA evidence was presented which did not match any of the three convicted men. This new evidence prompted a new series of appeals and in August 2011, the three men entered Alford Pleas. These plea bargains allow the men to assert their innocence, but acknowledge that the prosecution has enough evidence for a jury to convict them. The pleas were accepted and a new judge sentenced the men to time served—18 years.

While your charges are likely not as serious as those faced by the West Memphis Three, their story just demonstrates how much things can go wrong when your case is mishandled by your defense counsel. According to MN attorney Avery Appelman, a criminal defense team is a suspect’s last bastion of freedom. The case of the West Memphis three should serve as an example to defendants and attorneys alike—cases must be handled with compassion and rigorous attention to detail, otherwise innocent people can fall victim to an unjust system of justice.

Stacy Kaye Wins Big in DWI Court

stacy kayeAppelman Law Firm associate attorney, Stacy Kaye, won big in DWI court today.

Her client (who will remain nameless for confidentiality reasons) was charged with a 2nd degree gross misdemeanor DWI. After examining the case, Stacy determined that the arresting officer did not have enough reasonable suspicion to make the arrest. Because of this, Stacy submitted a request to suppress evidence (the stop and field sobriety tests administered by the officer).

The judge agreed with Stacy and granted this request today. As a result, the evidence was suppressed and the case was dismissed. Needless to say, Ms. Kaye’s client is very pleased.

Read more Appelman Law Firm Case Victories.


Year End Stats: Crime in the Midwest Decreased in 2011

2012 is upon us, so now is the time to reflect on the past year. According to the FBI, crime rates made a significant decline from those in 2010. The most significant change was experienced in the Midwest. All figures represent the rates from January to June of 2011.

Midwestern violent crime is down 9.7% from 2010. Violent crimes include murder and nonnegligent homicide, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.

Murder: -8.5%

Forcible rape: -9.6%

Robbery: -8.1%

Aggravated Assault: -10.5%. Aggravated assault is the Midwest is the most drastic decline of any crime statistic. Also, the Midwestern decrease is nearly double that of the national average! Watch our informative video on assault in Minnesota here!

Property crimes in the Midwest are down a reported 4.4%, compared to the national average of 3.7%. However, motor vehicle theft has increased by 0.3%, compared to the national average of -5.0%. Although this decrease is true for the midwest region, however, property crime in Minneapolis has increased significantly this past year. According to MN criminal defense attorney Avery Appelman, this is just a sign of the times in the Twin Cities. “People are struggling, and there’s a natural correlation between financial hardship and property crime.”

Lastly, arson has decreased by 8.8% across the region.

Overall, the Midwest in 2011 experienced a significant decrease in crime from 2010. What does 2012 have in store for the region?


FBI National Press Office


Boyfriend of Mother Sees Manslaughter Conviction in St. Paul Toddler’s Death

On Wednesday, a St. Paul man was convicted of second-degree manslaughter after he allegedly failed to help his girlfriend’s dying 2-year-old son.

The toddler, Julian James-Robert-Williams was admitted to Children’s Hospital in September of 2009 with a lacerated liver, a completely torn pancreas, and bruises covering his body. The investigation revealed that Julian was beaten, but the assailant was never named. Instead, both Willis and the toddler’s mother, Jessica Caldwell, stood trial against accusations of negligence. The judge maintained that the boy was obviously suffering and in a great deal of pain and neither one could explain how Julian amassed such severe injuries. Jessica Caldwell was acquitted of all charges last month.

Initially, the defense team sought to place full responsibility on the mother, claiming she was the primary caretaker and therefore responsible for seeking appropriate medical attention. The judge dismissed these arguments and ruled that Willis be held accountable for failing to help the child.

The judge expressed his frustration after presiding over the trials of both Willis and Caldwell. Each party pointed the finger of blame toward the other, and ultimately, according to Judge Gary Bastian, “I don’t believe the truth was found…No one has ever stepped forward to say what happened.”

This tragic story is all too similar to that of another Minnesota toddler.

DWI, Drugs, & Assault Videos

We’ve got another round a videos for your viewing pleasure. These three videos each deal with a specific area of criminal charges in Minnesota – Assault, Drugs, and DWI. Watch Avery explain the laws, consequences, and defense tactics of each of these charges below.


Assault Defense in MN:


MN Assault Defense











Drug Defense Video:

Minnesota Drug defense attorney











Minnesota DUI / DWI Defense Video:


Minneapolis DWI lawyer











View more videos on criminal defense in Minnesota.