Hockey Coach in Jail after Fracturing 13-Year-Old Opponent’s Wrist

A tripping penalty in hockey usually leads to a two-minute penalty, but a 48-year-old coach got a stiffer penalty after he tripped an opponent while the two teams were shaking hands at center ice.

Martin Tremblay was sentenced to 15 days in jail and 12 months of probation after he went all Cobra Kai on a player from the opposing team.  What makes the case disturbing is that the player Tremblay tripped was only 13 years old, and the kid fractured his wrist on the fall.

As you can see in the video below, Tremblay intentionally trips two players on the opposing team near the end of the handshake line.

Tremblay was reportedly upset that the taller player celebrated a goal in front of his team’s bench.  Nothing like trumping poor sportsmanship with a poorer display of class.

During the hearing, in which Tremblay pled guilty to two counts of assault, the presiding judge compared his actions to a “cowardly sucker punch.”

Robert Bellows, who represented Tremblay at trial, said his client paid a huge price for his actions, including marital problems and significant losses to his construction business.

“It’s horrible,” said Bellows.  “He put in years and years coaching hockey, he put in years and years as a scout master. And that all over … because of one incident when he was off his antidepressants for three weeks.”

Bellows said his client is focused on rebuilding his life after the incident, and he doesn’t believe Tremblay will ever coach hockey again.

Related source:

Mom Faces Jail Time after Hiring Strippers for Son’s 16th Birthday Party

A New York mother has been charged with endangering the welfare of a child after she allegedly hired two strippers to dance at her 16-year-old son’s birthday party.

Judy Viger, 33, faces the possibility of jail time after police filed five charges of endangering the welfare of a child against her in connection with her son’s birthday party at a local bowling alley.

The party took place at Spare Time Bowling Alley back in November, but steamy pictures emerged on Facebook this month which prompted a police investigation.  Authorities got involved after a parent alerted officials of the racy pictures, and the investigation revealed that five of the attendees were younger than 17, and one individual was as young as 13.

According to the police report, Viger is accused of “organizing, managing, and paying” for the party where the two strippers engaged in “personal and intimate dances for some party attendees.”

Criminal Defense attorney Avery Appelman explains what would happen of the incident had taken place in Minnesota.

“The State of Minnesota specifically prohibits this, as §617.294 of the Minnesota Criminal Code states that it is a crime for someone to “knowingly admit a minor… to a place of public accommodation where there is exhibited a… dance… presented before an audience which, in whole or in part, depicts nudity,” said Appelman.  “Unfortunately for mom, although I’m sure the boys in the group were extremely amused, the legislature of most states has decided that this type of entertainment shall be reserved for those who are over the age of 18.”

Charges have not been brought against the entertainers or the bowling alley.  When asked about the incident, Spare Time Bowling alley released the following statement.

“Spare Time Bowling Center can confirm that a private party did take place on November 3rd, 2012. We neither arranged for (nor paid for) the entertainment that was provided at the party. Spare Time has been cooperating fully with the investigation and will continue to do so.”

The entertainers, who are employed by Tops in Bottoms, said they didn’t know the attendees were underage and they think the matter is being “blown out of proportion.”

Viger did not want to comment on the issue, but she posted a message to her Facebook page that said her family is currently going through a “difficult time.”  She is scheduled to appear in court March 7.

Related source:  ABC News

Can I get into College with a Criminal Record?

Everybody makes mistakes, especially in our early years.  Children are often given more responsibilities when they hit their teenage years, and sometimes they make poor decisions.  Although it’s important that teens learn from their mistakes, a lapse in judgment shouldn’t cost a child the chance to further their education.  Below we provide some tips for applying to college if you have a juvenile criminal record.

1.  Do some research – Some schools require that you disclose your criminal past while others do not.  Oftentimes public universities and community colleges will not ask for this information, while private schools will ask that you provide it.  Depending on your past convictions, you may be better off applying to a school that doesn’t request this information up front.

2.  Learn about Federal Aid restrictions – If you plan to take out a loan to pay your way through school, you might have a tougher time receiving student aids or scholarships because of your previous convictions.  You may not be able to receive federal aid if you have previous drug charges, but state and school funding may still be possible.  Keep your budget in mind when picking a college.

3.  Tell the truth – If you are asked about past convictions on your college application, tell the truth.  If a prospective student is caught lying, it can automatically disqualify their application, even if they’ve already received a letter of acceptance from the school.  Telling the truth is the first step in showing the college that you’ve accepted responsibility for your past behavior.

4.  Be prepared – As we alluded to in our previous blog titled, “How to Job Hunt with a Criminal Record”, be prepared the answer questions about your past if the school asks you to come in for an interview.  Some important things to stress are that you’ve accepted responsibility, you understand your mistakes, and you’ve moved on.  Try to put a past conviction in a positive light by emphasizing what you learned and how you were changed by the incident.=

5.  Write a cover letter– Some colleges ask you to write a personal statement or cover letter to accompany your application.  If the application asks you to list past convictions but doesn’t give you ample room to explain your story, the personal statement can be a great spot to talk about your past.  Even if the college doesn’t require a personal statement, you may want to consider adding one if you feel like your juvenile record needs to be explained.6.

6.  Apply to multiple colleges – Most people apply to more than one college, but it is especially important if you have a criminal record.  Ultimately you don’t know how the admissions office if going to view your past convictions, so you’ll increase your odds of getting accepted if you apply to multiple places.

Related source:

Minnesota Opiate Use on the Rise

An investigation by the Pioneer Press and the Duluth News Tribune revealed that more opioid painkillers are being legally distributed than ever before in the state of Minnesota, which makes it easier for people to illegally obtain the pills.

The amount of painkillers being distributed is astounding.  The investigation revealed that enough oxycodone and hydrocodone was distributed throughout the state to provide 18 pills per person.  Considering the number is up from two pills per person in 1997, we see an 800 percent increase over the last 15 years.

As prescription drugs rates continue to rise, so do drug-related crimes, arrests and deaths.

Officials also warned that pill addicts have begun to switch to harder drugs like heroin, which has become more readily available in the Twin Cities over the last few years.

“Clearly we have all the ingredients of a prescription opiate and heroin epidemic in the state of Minnesota,” said Carol Falkowski, a former drug-abuse strategist for the state of Minnesota.

Falkowski said the “epidemic” stems from an increase in the number of opioid prescriptions.  Painkillers that were once used to ease discomfort for patients with chronic pain are now being prescribed for other conditions, and leftover pills can be easy targets for teens and young adults looking for a quick high.

The study also found that in 2012, 24 out of every 10,000 Minnesotans between the ages of 18 and 24 received treatment for opiate addiction, which represented a 179 percent increase since 2008.

Over Prescribing?

Opioids are tightly controlled by the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency, and are often prescribed to treat cases of ADD and ADHD.  Oftentimes teens that have trouble focusing in school are prescribed some form of opiate, which can make it easier for the drug to enter into the school system and be distributed among social groups.

As more children are diagnosed with ADHD, an increased amount of opioids are legally distributed from doctors.  Minnesota saw a 72 percent increase in the legal distribution of opioids from 2005 to 2011.

In 2011, Duluth had the highest rate of opiate painkiller distribution in the state. This year, the largest increases were seen in Ramsey County and the northwest corner of the state.  The increased supply of opioids has led to more people sampling the drug.

“Supply is a key ingredient in any drug epidemic,” Falkowski said. “You have to have an adequate supply in order to propel it into epidemic proportions.”

Dr. David Schultz, who runs the MAPS Medical Pain Center in Minneapolis, said the current prescription system is partially at fault.

“Patients are happy when they get a prescription, and doctors’ satisfaction ratings go up.  If they say no to a patient, then they’ll give them a bad rating,” Schultz said. “There are a lot of perverse incentives to write a prescription, and that’s an unfortunate situation.”

More Prescription Drug Findings

The findings by the Pioneer Press and the Duluth News Tribune highlight some dangerous trends.  More findings from the investigation can be seen below.

  • A fourfold increase in Minnesotans who died from prescription opiate use between 1999 and 2010.  The Centers for Disease Control reported that 192 people died from prescription opiate use in 2010 compared to only 42 a decade earlier.
  • The Department of Human Services reported that the number of Minnesotans who sought treatment for opiate abdication has more than doubled since 2007.
  • Over a 10 year period there has been a 13 percent increase in instances where prescription opiates and heroin were listed as reasons for entering a treatment facility.
  • Crimes to get drugs or to get money to pay for drugs have been more prevalent, according to police.  In 2012, there were been 10 armed robberies of pharmacies, compared to seven in 2011.

Related Source:

Man Charged and Fired After Slapping Toddler

cryingLast week, Joe Rickey Hundley was charged with simple assault in Atlanta federal court for slapping a toddler while on a flight from Minneapolis to Atlanta.

According to reports, Hundley appeared intoxicated on the flight and grew increasingly aggravated by a crying baby. According to the mother of the toddler, Jessica Bennett, her son began to cry because of the altitude change.  Bennett told news reporters that Hundley “reeked of alcohol… He was belligerent, and I was uncomfortable.”

Then, according to FBI statements,  Hundley used a racial slur and  “told her to shut that N***** baby up.” He then reached across and slapped the young child in the face, scratching his eye.  The family was disturbed and shocked at the actions of Hundley toward their adoptive son Jonah.

Now, Hundley’s employer AGC Aerospace and Defense Composites Group has announced that Hundley has been terminated as a result of his actions on the flight. He is also facing criminal charges: one count of simple assault. In Georgia, Hundley’s charges carry a maximum penalty of one year in jail.

In Minnesota, such an offense could qualify as third degree assault and battery:

Third degree assault is also a felony and brings penalties of up to five years in prison and/or up to $10,000 in fines. One is guilty of third degree assault if they:

  1. Assault another and inflict substantial bodily harm
  2. Assault a child and have a pattern of assaultive behavior upon a child
  3. Assault a child under the age of four, and cause bodily harm to the child’s head, eyes, or neck, or otherwise cause multiple bruises to the body

If you are under arrest or under investigation for any form of assault, contact an experienced MN criminal defense attorney right away.

Is Topless Massage Legal in MN?

toplessmassageUnder normal circumstances, topless massage is not considered prostitution and is legal in Minnesota. However, several conditions must be met to ensure that the exchange is within the law.

To help explain the fine line, we will start by examining the legal definition of prostitution, as stipulated by the Minnesota penal code.

According to Minnesota Statute 609.321 Subd. 9:

“Prostitution” means hiring, offering to hire, or agreeing to hire another individual to engage in sexual penetration or sexual contact, or being hired, offering to be hired, or agreeing to be hired by another individual to engage in sexual penetration or sexual contact.

In the state of Minnesota:

“Sexual contact” means any of the following acts, if the acts can reasonably be construed as being for the purpose of satisfying the actor’s sexual impulses:

(i) the intentional touching by an individual of a prostitute’s intimate parts; or

(ii) the intentional touching by a prostitute of another individual’s intimate parts.

For the sake of the topless massage context, we can define prostitution as sexual penetration or contact with genitalia for hire.

A topless massage that follows the guidelines of normal massage practice would not be considered prostitution. However, if there is sexual contact involved at any time during the massage, then the legality of the situation may be compromised.

There are also regulations in Minnesota that govern the practice of massage therapy. Massage therapists are required to have a license from the state in order to practice. This rule extends to topless massage as well. Additionally, there are certain stipulations that licensed massage practitioners must abide by. These requirements vary by municipality, but in general:

·       Home based businesses must not have a sign. (I.e. It must look like a home)

·       No employees practicing massage therapy may live outside of the home.

·       No more than 25% of the home may allocated to the massage practice.

·       No building outside the home on the property may be used for the business, and there may be no separate entrance used to facilitate the business.

·       Neighbors may need to be notified that business will be practiced in the residence.

·       Approval by a council may be required to acquire a massage practitioner’s license.

If this conditions are met and the practitioner has acquired a license for their massage services, and if all laws regarding prostitution are followed, then topless massage is legal in Minnesota.

However, considering the amount of gray areas in the laws, law enforcement may still choose to launch an investigation against the practitioners and/or the clients. If you are questioned by police, arrested, or under investigation for prostitution-related charges stemming from a topless massage, contact an experienced MN criminal defense attorney right away.

Related Sources:

MN Statutes

Massage Therapist and Bodyworkers Guild

Sports Results Impact Domestic Violence Rates

While many people may have thrown a pillow across the room after Joe Webb continued to fire passes into the dirt during the playoff loss to the Packers, a new study shows that some people may be more likely to take their rage out on their partner after a disappointing loss.

A report in the Quarterly Journal of Economics found that NFL losses can result in a 10% increase in domestic violence reports within an hour of the final whistle.  Economists David Card and Gordon Dahl analyzed nearly 800 calls from over a half a dozen states during their research.  Their goal was to understand the factors that lead to domestic violence, which is the leading cause of injury to women in the United States.

Dahl said that domestic violence usually occurs out of a short fit of rage, as opposed to a long-term desire to abuse another person.

“A lot of domestic violence doesn’t happen because people like to hit or control people,” says Dahl. “It seems like there is a role for some people basically losing their temper, and hitting an emotional cue that allows them to do something in the heat of the moment that they later regret. That’s where our paper comes in. It doesn’t excuse domestic violence or say that domestic violence is a good thing, but it does help us understand what we can do to help stop it.”

Findings from the report are fascinating for sports fans and non-sports fans alike.  Below are some of the findings.

  • Call volumes double if the team loses to a traditional rival or during a playoff loss.
  • There was a spike in domestic violence calls when a team was expected to win and lost, while there was no increase when a team was expected to lose and lost.
  • There was no beneficial effect of lower domestic violence when a team was expected to lose and won.
  • The spike in domestic violence was common across racial and economic lines.

In concluding their research, Card and Dahl found that managing your expectations can go a long way in curbing domestic violence.  Dahl added that the key wasn’t whether the team won or lost the game, but whether they won or lost unexpectedly.

“It doesn’t matter whether you lose the game, but it does matter in your emotional reaction when you lose the game when you thought your team was going to win,” he said.  “Upsetting bad news is really bad, and upsetting or unexpected good news is okay, but doesn’t have the same positive effect as unexpected bad news has on emotions.”

Both researchers believe the study was a step in the right direction, but they want to dig deeper to determine if other factors such as marriage length or job stress added to the likelihood of a domestic violence incident.

“All of these would be extremely interesting in learning more about who might be most vulnerable to this type of influence,” Card said.

Related source:  TIME

How to Get your Criminal Record Sealed in Minnesota

As we talked about in an earlier post, getting a job in this market is tough enough even if you don’t have a criminal record.  Many job applicants believe they may be dismissed from contention for a position because of a past incident on their criminal record.  While the court won’t expunge (or seal) certain convictions, you may want to consider sealing your records if you feel they will hinder you in your future endeavors.

What is criminal record expungement?

Criminal record expungement is the process of sealing past court orders so only certain officials have access to them.  It’s important to understand that expungement doesn’t mean that your records are destroyed, and certain departments like the FBI, immigration officers and law enforcement officials still have access to your sealed records, but expungement can keep the general public from learning of your past convictions.  People commonly request their record to be sealed if they have been denied a job or a lease because of past convictions.

What types of crimes can be expunged?

While sealing your criminal record may sound like a good idea, it’s important to know that not all crimes can be sealed.  Crimes like murder, sexual assault and driving while intoxicated are never expunged due to their severity.  Common crimes that may be expunged include:

  • Possession of a controlled substance (like marijuana or pain pills)
  • Traffic violations
  • Underage consumption
  • Various juvenile crimes

Although some cases are easier than others, just because you request your record to be expunged doesn’t mean that a judge will comply.

Getting your record sealed

The court often grants expungement for cases that were ruled “in your favor”.  Court details will show up on a background check even if you were found not guilty of a crime.  If you were arrested and the charges were later dismissed, you should consider sealing your record.  Also, if you were allowed to attend a diversion program, like alcohol awareness sessions, you should be able to get your record sealed because you did not plead guilty.

Getting your record expunged for cases that were ruled “not in your favor” is a tougher process, but it can be done with the help of an attorney.  For cases that were ruled not in your favor, expungement will only seal the court’s records.  This means that if you pled guilty or were convicted, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension will still have record of the case, which means it will still show up on a background check.

Getting your record expunged is a complicated process regardless of whether a case was ruled “in your favor”, and there are a variety of legal documents that need to be filled out.  If you’re thinking about getting your record sealed, contact an attorney to talk about your options.

Stacy Kaye Helps Minnesota Man Get “Aiding an Offender” Charge Dropped

Every once in a while we like to highlight one of our successful cases on our blog.  Late last month, we ran into a case that was so well handled that we felt compelled to write about it.  Below is a catalog of events as they pertain to the case.  The name of the defendant has been changed to protect his or her identity.

The Defendant:  Mr. David Smith

The Charge:  Aiding an offender on probation, parole, or supervised released in violation of Minnesota Statute §609.495.

The Story: Mr. Smith admitted that he was aware that there were “warrants for arrest” for this individual, but he was not aware of any specific basis for the warrants of the individual he was assisting.

The Twist:  Stacy went to work for her client.  She examined Minnesota Statute §609.495 closely and learned that the state must prove the defendant assisted an offender who was on probation, parole, or supervised release because of a felony conviction.  The law only specifies felony convictions because otherwise, if a person assisted an individual convicted of a misdemeanor, the person aiding the offender would be subject to a far more severe penalty than the actual offender.

The Argument:  Stacy argued that none of the facts put forth by the state indicated that Mr. Smith had any knowledge of any specific charges other than being aware of “warrants for arrest”.  She argued that Mr. Smith had no knowledge that the individual he aided faced felony-level charges.

The Ruling: The court issued the following statement in regards to the charges brought against Mr. Smith.

“After reviewing the statute, jury instruction and caselaw, the State believes that “Aiding an Offender” requires not only proof that the accused knowingly aided an offender who has committed/been charged with a crime, but proof that the accused knowingly aided an offender and knew of the specific crime that the offender committed/has been charged with.  It appears as though the statute requires a “nexus” between the crime the defendant committed and the particular aid given. The facts of the case show that the defendant knowingly aided an offender and knew that the offender had been charged with a crime (demonstrated by the fact that the defendant knew warrants existed for the defendant’s arrest). The State does not believe it can prove that the defendant knew the particular crime which the offender committed or had been charged.  The state of Minnesota hereby dismisses the complaint against Mr. David Smith.”

MPLS Police Officer Arrested For Statutory Rape

schnickelA Minneapolis police officer has been arrested for the sexual assault of three teenage girls he met online. 32-year-old Bradley Schnickel has worked as a patrol officer for the Minneapolis Police Department since 2008. He has not yet been charged and a bail hearing is set for this Friday.

Schncikel was nominated for a Medal of Commendation in 2011 for risking his safety to stop a fleeing suspect. However, he is now being investigated for three separate sexual assaults involving underage girls. The parents of one girl alerted police when they saw that their daughter was communicating inappropriately with an older man through a social media website. Police tracked the IP address to the officer’s computer.

This investigation unearthed Schnickel’s communication with two other underage girls. The sexual contact was allegedly consensual, but statutory rape laws in Minnesota dictate that such actions would still be charged as sexual assault, given that the girls were under the legal age of consent in the state.

Because Schnickel was off-duty when these communications and contacts occurred, he will not be receiving legal representation from the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis. A local MN criminal defense attorney who has a history of representing police officers said that one of his firm’s attorneys would attend the bail hearing on behalf of Schnickel, but that neither he nor any of his attorneys have been retained to defend the case.

In Minnesota, the legal age of consent for sexual contact is 16. This means that if a legal adult engages in sexual conduct with a person under the age of 16, it is considered statutory rape and may be prosecuted as sexual assault. Regardless of whether the sexual contact was consensual, if convicted the offender faces registration as a sex offender, in addition to criminal penalties. These penalties vary based on the circumstances of the offense. If you are arrested for or under investigation for statutory sexual assault, you need to call an experienced sex crimes attorney right away.

Related Sources:

Pioneer Press