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Minneapolis Law Blog

Minnesotans indicted in alleged pot trafficking ring

Although medical marijuana is now legal in more than half the country, the patchwork of laws continues to create problems. Many believe that as long as there is a demand for marijuana that is not being met by legal and licensed growers, a black market will continue to exist.

Minnesota's very limited medical marijuana law is set to go into effect later this year. But according to news sources, some Minnesotans have been part of a larger drug trafficking ring for years; bringing pot into the state to be resold. Recently, it was announced that law enforcement agencies have indicted 32 people in a pot-trafficking ring, including some alleged key players in Minnesota.

Gender-based wage gap discovered in a surprising profession

It's no secret that a gender-based pay disparity exists in America. Although estimates differ, many sources say that women tend to earn about 78 cents for every dollar that men earn doing the same work. But is this due to blatant sexism, or are there more systemic causes?

There is no easy answer to that question. But based on how widespread the problem is, it stands to reason that the problem must be systemic, at least in large part. The results of a recent study seem to support a theory of systemic bias.

Supreme Court rules on important pregnancy discrimination case

In December, we wrote about an important civil rights case before the U.S. Supreme Court. It concerned a woman who worked for United Parcel Service (UPS). When she became pregnant in 2006, she asked for accommodations based on the advice of her doctor. Her only request was to avoid lifting packages heavier than 20 pounds.

UPS denied the woman's accommodation request, even though the company regularly accommodated employees with similar requests who were not pregnant. After having her request denied, she was essentially forced into unpaid leave, which meant she lost wages and health insurance coverage at a crucial time. She later sued UPS for violations of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

Is it illegal for stores in Minnesota to sell synthetic drugs?

Synthetic drugs are illegal in Minnesota. Store owners and individuals accused of selling these drugs face very serious charges. Depending on how the case goes, these types of charges can end up with felony convictions on their records. 

A prime example of just what can happen is currently making its way through the courts. Not state, but federal prosecutors, recently indicted five people who are all accused of being involved in a synthetic drug ring operation. At least one of those named is a store owner who is accused of selling smokable synthetic marijuana at several of his stores. 

How the internet has made bullying even more harmful

Earlier this month, we wrote about a growing body of research suggesting that childhood adversity can lead to health problems in adulthood. Of the many adverse experiences children can potentially face, bullying comes to mind almost immediately.

Bullying has become a significant problem in schools across Minnesota and around the country. Unfortunately, many adults remain skeptical that bullying is harmful. They point to their own childhood experiences with bullies and say that learning to stand up for yourself makes you stronger. But bullying today is different than it has been at any other point in history because of one major factor: the internet.

Juvenile suspects and the problem of false confessions

When a young person has a run-in with the criminal justice system, the stakes are often high. Whether they are accused of run-of-the-mill juvenile crimes like vandalism and shoplifting or accused of far more serious crimes like murder, young defendants may not understand their rights or the consequences they may be facing.

For this reason, minors should never be left to fend for themselves in the police interrogation room. They need to be represented by an experienced criminal defense attorney. And if possible, their parents or guardians should be present as well.

Childish taunting alleged in national origin discrimination suit

When considering the various forms of workplace discrimination one is likely to face, national origin discrimination is not a problem that many white Minnesotans think about (unless you count the endless string of bland jokes about Norwegian and Swedish heritage). But national origin discrimination is a significant problem for several minority communities in Minnesota, including the Hmong and Somali communities.

Discrimination based on national origin can take many forms, including refusing to hire workers who legally immigrated from certain countries. It can also take the form of mockery and disrespect among co-workers, often based on ignorance about cultural traditions and values. Even if those doing the mocking think it's just "harmless fun," they may be doing a lot more damage than they realize.

Research says bullying can cause lifelong damage to victims' health

As medical experts continue to examine what factors most influence our health, new research is making surprising connections that few have considered before. Yes, diet, exercise and sleep are important to health and longevity, but this was already fairly well understood.

Did you know that your health in adulthood and even your life expectancy can be influenced by the things you experienced as a child? An emerging body of research is revealing that adverse childhood experiences (ACE for short) can impact not only our mental health in adulthood, but our physical health as well. Some doctors are now using ACE quizzes to help identify toxic stress in their young patients.

Minnesota legislators consider ignition-interlock-device bill

In recent years, one of the most effective tools in the fight against drunk driving has not been a law or a public awareness campaign. It has been a device. More specifically, it has been more widespread use of ignition interlock devices. Many states, including Minnesota, have begun to push for the installation of IIDs in the vehicles of repeat DUI offenders.

For those who may not know, IIDs are essentially a breathalyzer test wired to the car itself. In order for the car to start, the driver must pass a breath-alcohol test by having no detectable alcohol in their system (in some cases) or having less than a predetermined threshold. IIDs often require drivers to submit to random tests throughout their drive as well.

DOJ investigation finds pervasive racist police practices

One of the biggest news stories of 2014 was the shooting of unarmed, black teenager Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. His was one of several cases around the country that sparked debates about racism in law enforcement. Protests popped up everywhere, including here in Minnesota.

Critics of the protests alleged that these incidents were isolated and that they were not indicative of a larger problem. Recently, however, a federal investigation into Ferguson law enforcement practices revealed that the city's police officers and courts regularly commit blatant civil rights violations, harass the city's mostly black population and offer disparate treatment to suspects based on skin color.

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