GENERAL RULE: Transcripts of audio recordings to be played during trial may be provided to the jury to help the jury or judge understand what is being said in the recording. The following are 7 topics of interest that include information about using audio recordings and transcripts at trial that judges and attorneys need to know:
1. Audio recordings must be admitted into evidence;
2. The need to provide transcripts to the jury during audio playback is generally caused by two circumstances;
3. Procedure for use of a transcript during the audio playback;
4. Who has responsibility for producing the transcript;
5. Protecting your court reporter – or they may suffer the consequences;
6. “Olkon” cautionary instruction on use of transcript of audio recording;
7. Replaying audio recording during deliberations.
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Ten Basic Facts & One Special Rule for Circumstantial Evidence Cases: The Mandatory Two-Step “Al-Naseer/Silvernail” Analysis:
Motions for Judgment of Acquittal are made in almost all criminal cases. There are 10 basic facts that apply to all motions for acquittal and one special rule for circumstantial evidence cases that judges MUST follow. The Court of Appeals recently clarified the proper analysis the District Court MUST apply when the state’s case is based largely or entirely on circumstantial evidence. Failure to apply the correct analysis could result in reversal. State v. Sam, 859 N.W.2d 825 (Minn.App.2015).
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PROFESSOR STEPHEN SIMON: University of Minnesota Law Professor Steve Simon is one of Minnesota judiciary’s most iconic figures. Virtually every Minnesota district court judge has at some point in their judicial career graduated from Professor Simon’s Judicial Trial Skills Program. Although he retired from the law school in 2012, he continues to mentor all newly appointed judges at his acclaimed Judicial Trial Skills Program. Following a long history of legal and academic achievements, one of his greatest accomplishments has been the development of a first of its kind on-line Bench Book titled, “Trial Procedures and Practices for Judges.”
The purpose for this training update is to introduce you to this amazing new On-Line Bench Book and encourage you to explore its many features. The Bench Book can be accessed via the JUDGES’ JURY TRIAL BENCH BOOK TAB (see top of this page).
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Pro Se Defendants: All judges eventually find themselves confronted with a defendant who requests or demands the right to represent himself/herself at trial.
This could occur for a number of reasons; perhaps defendant holds strong anti-government beliefs (i.e. Posse Comitatus), defendant fails or refuses to retain private counsel after the court has denied a request for the public defender, or defendant is simply overconfident and believes he/she doesn’t need an attorney.
Although defendants have a constitutional right to represent themselves at trial, exercising that right creates a host of constitutional and procedural pitfalls that judges must be prepared to overcome. This update will address the following 6 key topics:
❶ Three General Principles That Always Apply;
❷ Applying the Correct Legal Analysis & Making Two Specific Findings;
❸ Appointment of Standby Counsel – Ten Facts You Need to Know;
❹ Two Additional Ways a Defendant Can Waive the Right to Counsel;
❺ What if Defendant is Mentally Ill?
❻ Judge’s Authority to Regulate the Trial with a Pro Se Defendant.
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Update Focus: You are upset at your judge’s evidentiary ruling(s). You are convinced the courts legal analysis is seriously flawed and you believe you could win on appeal. Preserving the court record is one of the fundamental duties of all judges and attorneys. However, winning an appeal by arguing evidentiary error is exceedingly hard to do. This Update will focus on the 5 most important rules that attorneys and judges must follow in order to preserve an evidentiary ruling for appeal.
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