QUESTION: WHAT IS A LOTHENBACH PLEA/STIPULATION? Unlike some other states, Minnesota does not allow a defendant to make a conditional guilty plea. Before the Lothenbach decision, in order to preserve the right to appeal a pre-trial issue even when no other material facts were in dispute, a criminal defendant was first required to plead “not guilty” and then go through an unnecessary jury trial. Recognizing this was inefficient, the Supreme Court created a procedure to preserve a defendant’s right to appeal a pre-trial order and avoid an otherwise unnecessary jury trial.
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