OHTYS 2014

ALF Participating in Our Hearts To Your Soles 2014

We are excited to announce that Appelman Law Firm will once again participate in the annual Our Hearts to Your Soles event to benefit homeless and financially burdened individuals in the Twin Cities.

Each year Our Hearts To Your Soles provides individuals with socks, shoes and foot examinations to help them prepare for the cold months ahead. Oftentimes these individuals are homeless, so the new clothes help protect against frostbite during the cold Minnesota winter.

Another aspect of the Our Hearts To Your Soles event is the legal advice session. Local attorneys are on hand to provide attendees with free legal advice on a wide range of subjects. Many times these people are having financial problems do to a current or past legal situation, and sitting down with a lawyer to discuss solutions can be a life changing.

We’ve attended Our Hearts To Your Soles event for a three years in a row, and it’s truly a rewarding experience. The event is always around Thanksgiving, and it’s nice to be able to give back to the community and it helps put what really matters in perspective.

Event Details

If you know anyone who is down on their luck and in need of legal advice, please let them know about the event. Check out the event details below.

  • What: Our Hearts To Your Soles 2014
  • Where: Dorothy Day Center, 183 Old 6th Street in Saint Paul
  • When: Tuesday, November 25th from 5:30pm to 7:45pm
  • Why: Help those in need by providing them with footwear and legal advice

The event is financed by my friend and colleague Dr. Lance Silverman. I know he is still looking for volunteers to help with set up, clean up, shoe unboxing and general assistance throughout the night. If you would like to get volunteer, send him an email at info@anklefootmd.com for more information.

If you would like to help the cause but cannot make it to the event, you can donate to the program through their website. A donation of $15 provides one person with a new pair of shoes, socks and a free foot consultation.


Avery Appelman

Adrian Peterson Marijuana

Marijuana Admission Latest Issue For Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson once again finds himself at the center of a legal scandal after prosecutors filed paperwork to have the running back arrested following an admission that he smoked marijuana, which would be a violation of his current probation.

Peterson told a drug tester prior to a routine drug test that he “smoked a little weed.” Prosecutors in the child abuse case acted quickly after hearing about the comment, filing a motion to have Peterson rearrested and his bail revoked.

“In light of this statement, and the fact that it was made during the urinalysis testing process, and the term ‘weed’ is a common slang term for marijuana, the state argues that the defendant has smoked marijuana while on bond,” the prosecution wrote.

Despite the motion, no action was taken as the presiding judge was scheduled to undergo a formal review after making comments about the attorneys, calling them “media whores.” The prosecution is attempting to have a new judge assigned to the case.

Marijuana Admission

As is customary when a person is freed on bond, the conditions of the release state that a person may not engage in certain activities. In cases of abuse or domestic violence, there are usually two main components of release. The first is that the defendant may have no contact with the victim or certain people related to the case, and the second is that they must refrain from engaging in illegal activities like drug possession.

Peterson was initially freed on $15,000 bond (for a clearer idea of how bail bonds work, check out our previous post), but his latest incident could result in its revocation. If that were the case, Peterson would be jailed until the conclusion of his case. His case is currently set to go to trial on December 1.

Peterson could face up to two years in state prison if found guilty on the charge of felony child abuse. Even if he avoids jail as part of a plea agreement or reduced charges, he could still face discipline from the NFL, who recently enhanced its personal conduct policy.

Related source: ESPN

Adrian Peterson Child Abuse

Adrian Peterson Trial Set to Begin December 1

Adrian Peterson is tentatively set to appear in court on December 1 to defend himself against allegations of felony child abuse.

Peterson and his attorney Rusty Hardin did not enter a plea Wednesday, but a statement issued through the attorney said they plan to see the case through to the end.

“Adrian is going to trial – he is not looking for a deal,” Hardin said through a spokesman.

Peterson hasn’t played for the Vikings since the charges were made public, and the team is content to wait until the off-field drama plays out before deciding when to reinstate the star running back. The defense has asked for an expedited trial in an effort to salvage some of the remaining NFL season, so it’s possible that the trial could begin in November if other cases are removed from the docket.

Hardin said he’s looking forward to resolving the matter.

“Look, this is a really good man that I am incredibly proud to represent,” Hardin said of Peterson. “I would ask all of you to be please be tolerant to the fact that Adrian is chomping at the bit to publicly talk and to publicly defend himself, and the only reason he hasn’t is us insisting and jumping up and down and saying, ‘The solution is for you to get a speedy trial and resolve all this in a courtroom.'”

As we mentioned in a previous post, Peterson was initially charged with felony child abuse after pictures and text messages revealed that he struck his son with a small stick as a form of punishment. The child had visible marks on his legs, and although Peterson said he didn’t mean to hurt the child, the incident has left many debating appropriate parenting techniques and the court’s role in the matter.

“This is a case about parenting decisions and whether something unfortunate happened when a parenting decision was made by a man who believes strongly and loves his children very much,” said Hardin.

If convicted, Peterson could be sentenced to up to two years in state prison. A more likely punishment is some form of probation, and he may face additional penalties under the NFL’s new personal conduct policy.

Related source: AP, ESPN

Minnesota Vikings Tom Johnson

Another Minnesota Vikings Player Arrested

The Minnesota Vikings extended their lead as the NFL team with the most arrests since 2004 after defensive lineman Tom Johnson was arrested for disorderly conduct and trespassing at a popular Minneapolis nightspot over the weekend.

Having played Thursday against the Packers, the Vikings had a few days off during the long break. According to the police report, Johnson was out at Seven Steakhouse on Saturday night and early into Sunday morning. He was apparently having such a good time that he didn’t want to leave the establishment after closing time. Police say Johnson was told to leave after closing time “repeatedly by security and officers and [he] refused.”

Police decided to subdue Johnson and forcibly take him out of the restaurant, as the police report notes that Johnson “was sprayed with department-issue chemical irritants and forced outside.”

Needless to say, Johnson wasn’t pleased that he had been pepper sprayed, and he reportedly became combative with officers once outside the restaurant. The police report states that authorities eventually had to use a Taser on the 288-pound defensive lineman.

He was eventually booked at Hennepin County jail and released later that day after posting $78 bail. His initial appearance is schedule for October 17.

Johnson Offers Different Take

Johnson said he plans to fight the charges in court. He wants to tell his said of the story, as he said the information in the police report simply isn’t true.

“I don’t know if any of that [police account] is accurate,” he said Monday.

Johnson’s agent reiterated the lineman’s stance, saying he believes the charges against his client will be dropped.

“After speaking with Tom Johnson and gathering facts, we are confident the charges are baseless and he will be exonerated,” said agent Bardia Ghahremani. “Upon clearing Mr. Johnson’s name, we will move forward with the appropriate legal action.”

Johnson is the third Vikings player in this young season to run into legal trouble, as we’ve already documented the trials and tribulations of Adrian Peterson and Jerome Simpson.

Related source: Star Tribune

State Fair Theft

Two Arrests Made In Minnesota State Fair Brew Theft

Two men have been charged with stealing more than $100,000 in cash from the beer and wine exhibit at this year’s Minnesota State Fair.

Jordan Strickland, 23, and Antonio Washington, 20, face charges of interfering with commerce and using a gun in a crime of violence in connection with the State Fair robbery.

According to police documents, Washington and Strickland entered the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild exhibit after closing time on Friday, August 29. Washington allegedly pointed a gun at an employee who was organizing the money from the registers while Strickland acted as a lookout. The pair forced the employee and another employee to sit in chairs, where they were then tied, taped and incapacitated. The thieves then made off with the day’s take – a hefty $104,000.

Washington was arrested a week later in Faribault after a search of his vehicle uncovered a revolver that matched the description of the gun used during the robbery. Strickland was arrested last week after police learned of his involvement. Both men face federal charges.

Third Man Arrested

A third man was also arrested for the crime, but he does not yet face charges.

Jarret Maiden, 35, was arrested after he told police officers that he, Washington, Strickland and another man met up at his house after the robbery to divide the cash. According to Maiden’s account, he helped set up the robbery and he enlisted Washington and Strickland to pull off the heist.

Maiden was released from custody and has yet to be charged in any capacity.

Check out this previous post for more information about crime at the Minnesota State Fair.

DUI Lawnmower

North Dakota Man Gets DUI on Lawnmower

A North Dakota man was arrested for driving under the influence on Sunday after authorities spotted him driving erratically on a lawnmower.

According to police documents, Earl Lee Jahner was operating the gas-powered lawn mower with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.27, more than three times the legal limit.

But Jahner’s troubles don’t stop there. According to authorities, Jahner was giving children a ride on the lawnmower with a six-pack of beer in tow when he was arrested. Police allege that Jahner damaged a corner of a building during his drunken joyride, and he was found to be in possession of marijuana. He was eventually charged with:

  • Felony driving under the influence
  • Driving with a suspended license
  • Possession of marijuana.

Not surprisingly, this wasn’t the first time Jahner had been booked for driving under the influence. A quick criminal history search reveals that he’s been convicted of DUI on nine previous occasions.

Minnesota Lawnmower Laws

Jahner would likely face a similar charge if the incident occurred in Minnesota. We’ve all heard stories of people getting DUIs on a John Deere because they needed to get somewhere and thought they could avoid a DUI as long as they didn’t drive a car, but DUI isn’t specific to cars. It can apply to any motor vehicle.

That said, the law is still open to interpretation. Not too long ago a Minnesota man had a DUI charge thrown out after he was arrested for being drunk while on a Segway. The court ruled that since the device was battery-powered and its primary use is on pedestrian paths or sidewalks that it could not be classified as a vehicle subject to DUI laws. One can argue that a lawnmower isn’t primarily used on the road, but many arrested for DUIs on lawnmowers are driving on or near a road, and the device has as engine, so your appeal will likely fall on deaf ears.

Related source: Pioneer Press

Michael Phelps DUI

Michael Phelps Arrested For Second DUI

Michael Phelps was arrested early Tuesday morning for driving under the influence, according to a report by TMZ.

Although details are minimal and an investigation is underway, TMZ has reported that the swimming star was stopped in his Land Rover at approximately 1:40 a.m. this morning. Authorities recently issued a report saying Phelps was initially stopped for driving 84 mph in a 45 mile per hour zone. Phelps’ mannerisms during the traffic stop led authorities to believe he was under the influence.

No official report has surfaced, but TMZ is citing an anonymous source claiming that Phelps failed a subsequent field sobriety test. They also claim that Phelps blew nearly double the legal limit on a Breathalyzer test.

Phelps was eventually charged with driving under the influence and driving at an excessive speed. He was released after being booked.

Second DUI

This wasn’t the first time the Olympic champion got behind the wheel after a night on the town. Phelps was arrested back in 2004 when he was 19 for driving under the influence.

In that case, Phelps struck a plea deal with prosecutors to avoid jail time. He was sentenced to 18 months of probation for his initial DUI, but there’s certainly a possibility he’ll head to the slammer for a second DUI.

Luckily for Phelps, his second DUI arrest comes 10 years after his first arrest. Under Maryland law, for a DUI to be considered a second offense, it must come within five years of the first violation. That said, the judge is unlikely to take it easy on Phelps since he’s already been booked for a DUI. Under Maryland law, Phelps faces the possibility of:

  • Up to one year in jail.
  • A fine of up to $1,000.
  • A six-month license suspension.
  • Extended probation.

We’ll keep tabs on the developing situation as more details emerge.

Related source: TMZ, ESPN

DUI Football players

DUI is the Most Common Crime Committed by NFL Players

A comprehensive look at the crimes committed by NFL players since 2000 reveals that drunk driving is the most commonly committed crime.

Last week we touched on the fact that your very own Minnesota Vikings have been the most arrested team since 2004, but now we’re taking a look at which crimes are most commonly committed. According to USA Today, more than a quarter of all NFL player arrests are for driving under the influence. 202 of the 713 reported arrests since 2000 have been for drunk driving.

Here are some more statistics from the USA Today database:

  • The second most common crime is assault and battery. 88 of the 713 arrests – 12.3 percent – have been for assault or battery.
  • Domestic violence crimes are the third most popular crime. 85 of the 713 arrests – 11.9 percent – were for situations of domestic violence.
  • Despite recent events, on average, only 1 in 40 players are arrested in a given year.
  • The arrest rate for NFL players is far lower than the national arrest rate for 25-29-year-old males.
  • 38 players have been arrested so far this year. 57 players were arrested in 2013.
  • 67 players were arrested in 2006, the most in a given year.

Vikings players hold the dubious distinction of being arrested the most since 2004. 44 players have been arrested since then, which is double the league average of 22 arrests since 2000.

Related source: NY Daily News, USA Today

Police Camera

Farmington Police Unveil Body Cameras

Add the Farmington Police Department to the growing list of law enforcement agencies in Minnesota who have adopted police body cameras.

Farmington is following in the footsteps of Burnsville and will likely be watched closely by Minneapolis, who just recently approved a pilot program to outfit a few officers with the video recording equipment. Unlike the Minneapolis project that has a rather extensive budget, Farmington had to make due with much less, purchasing 17 mountable cameras and a year of video storage for $13,000. Despite to bill, Sgt. Gary Rutherford expects the cameras to pay for themselves by showing judges and juries exactly what happened and what pressure situations his officers were faced with.

“The judge and jury will get to see that genuine terror that we see, as opposed to just reading our own words on paper,” he said. “It’s just such a great evidence tool.”

Farmington Police Sgt. Jim Constantineau added that the recordings will keep officers and citizens on their best behavior.

“We’re all professionals,” Constantineau said. “These are going to protect all of us — law enforcement officers and citizens — and make it more efficient for us to do our jobs.”

How They Work

As we’ve documented in the past, the body-mounted cameras clip onto an officer’s cap, collar or a set of clear glasses and record every detail of a citizen encounter. The department began exploring the idea of body cameras after deciding that dash camera footage simply couldn’t provide the necessary evidence that a moveable camera could.

“These days, society is video-driven,” Rutherford said. “This technology is small enough and affordable enough, there was no reason not to go with it now. And it’s such a great evidence collection tool.”

The cameras are expected to help sort out he said-she said affairs and protect the officers against unwarranted claims of misconduct or excessive force, but police also believe the cameras will be especially helpful in cases of domestic abuse. Oftentimes a victim will recant their statement out of fear of retribution, but the cameras will help record the initial interaction that can better portray scenes of abuse or domestic violence. With video evidence, judges and juries will hear honest testimony and see firsthand accounts of what transpired, which should help keep victims from being manipulated by their abuser.

Farmington police have been using the cameras for three weeks, and by all accounts the initial adoption has been a success.

“I can’t imagine life without one now that I have it,” said Rutherford.

Related source: Pioneer Press

NFL Arrests

Vikings Most Arrested Team in NFL

The Minnesota Vikings have been in the news lately, and for all the wrong reasons. First there was the controversy surrounding Adrian Peterson, and just yesterday we posted a blog about the most recent arrest of now-former Viking Jerome Simpson. So it should probably come as no surprise that an analysis of NFL arrests over the last 10 years revealed that the Minnesota Vikings are the most arrested team in the league.

The data compiled by the Dayton Business Journal found that the Vikings are tied with the Denver Broncos for the most arrests over the last 10 years, but it’s certainly possible that the list didn’t include Simpson’s arrest which came to light on Friday.

NFL Teams With The Most Arrests

Here’s the list of the 10 franchises that have had the most players arrested over the last decade.

1. Minnesota Vikings (32 arrests)

1. Denver Broncos (32 arrests)

3. Cincinnati Bengals (31 arrests)

4. Tennesse Titans (30 arrests)

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (26 arrests)

6. Jacksonville Jaguars (25 arrests)

7.  Chicago Bears (20 arrests)

7. Miami Dolphins (20 arrests)

9. Cleveland Browns (19 arrests)

9.  Indianapolis Colts (19 arrests)

9. San Diego Chargers (19 arrests)

9.  Seattle Seahawks (19 arrests)

According to the website, the worst year for the Vikings came in 2011 when seven players were arrested on a litany of charges. Over the past decade, Vikings players have been arrested for a slew of crimes, including child abuse, domestic abuse, driving under the influence, possession of marijuana and disorderly conduct.

Related source: Dayton Business Journal

by Appelman Law Firm