Monday, February 25, 2013
Some lawyers focus on quietly reaching agreements to settle cases. Others have more of a “take no prisoners” approach.
Monday, February 25
I have previously written about the work that attorneys do to help their clients. But how do you go about deciding which attorney to hire? Is the attorney who advertises on TV or has a flashy billboard the best? Or should you just pick one from the phone book and hope it works out? Lawyers vary greatly in their expertise, experience, abilities, and costs. Like everyone else, they also have widely ranging personalities and habits. Some lawyers focus on quietly reaching agreements to settle cases. Others have more of a “take no prisoners” approach. As lawsuits frequently involve a lot of emotion, stress, and money it is important to find a lawyer that you are comfortable with. It is also a good idea to find an attorney who is familiar with …
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
What constitutional rights do citizens have regarding firearms? Can the government deny individual citizens the reasonable right to the use of firearms for lawful purposes? These issues revolve around the meaning of the words of the Second Amendment.
Tuesday, January 15
The recent heartbreaking murders of school children in Connecticut have prompted a lot of discussion regarding guns and the rights of citizens to own, possess, or use them. What constitutional rights do citizens have regarding firearms? Can the government deny individual citizens the reasonable right to the use of firearms for lawful purposes? These issues revolve around the meaning of the words of the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” What do these words mean? What is the law of the land? I do not propose to offer any opinions about which policies should be chosen, but instead to provide a…
Monday, December 17, 2012
Washington County DIstrict Court Judge Greg Galler discusses the question: "Is it worth spending money to hire a lawyer to represent you?"
Monday, December 17, 2012
Judges see a number of people who come to court “pro se.” Pro se means without an attorney. Judges hear some interesting reasons as to why people aren’t represented by lawyers: “I’ve seen it on TV,” or “My cousin did his own case and did fine,” or “How hard could it be?” The main reason given is that it can be quite expensive to hire a lawyer. Is it worth spending money to hire a lawyer to represent you? Lawyers are highly educated and trained professionals whose job it is to look out for the interests of their clients. In addition to completing college, lawyers also graduated from law school. Law school involves three years of intensive study. Before being allowed to practice, lawyers must also pass the bar exam. The bar exam takes two …
Friday, November 2, 2012
An omnibus hearing was set for Jan. 25 at 1 p.m. in Washington County District Court. Richard currently remains in jail.
Eric Richard, the man accused of killing Adam McCloud as the result of a bar fight in downtown Stillwater, made his first appearance today in Washington County District Court. Richard, 22, of Stillwater faces second-degree unintentional murder and manslaughter charges stemming from the Sept. 28, assault of McCloud at Smalley’s Caribbean Barbeque and Pirate Bar in downtown Stillwater. The complaint alleges that Richard and McCloud argued over a spilled drink, and that Richard was seen to have repeatedly punched McCloud in the face and head, causing him to fall and strike his head on the ground. Richard told police he was acting in self-defense after being pushed by McCloud several times. His bail was initially set at $200,000. Richard …
Friday, October 19, 2012
Washington County District Court Judge Greg Galler writes about how bail is set in criminal cases.
Friday, October 19, 2012
You have probably seen news stories about someone being arrested for a horrible crime and then heard that the judge set bail allowing the person to be released from custody. You then thought, “What is with those crazy judges? Why would there be any bail set? Shouldn’t this person just sit in jail until trial?” Some states have laws that allow an accused person, in certain circumstances, to be held in jail until trial with no chance of bailing out. Other states, like Minnesota, require judges to set bail in every case. The Minnesota Constitution mandates that “All persons shall before conviction be bailable by sufficient sureties, except for capital offenses...” Capital offenses are those where the death penalty could be imposed. As …
Friday, July 6, 2012
Washington County District Court Judge Greg Galler writes about the assortment of people Minnesota law allows to officiate weddings.
Did you know that many judges regularly perform weddings? Sometimes people think that only religious officials (like pastors, priests, or rabbis) can perform weddings. Minnesota allows a fairly broad assortment of people to officiate at weddings including court administrators and retired judges. Officiating at weddings is one of the more enjoyable things that judges get to do. It is also a good way for people to see that judges can be friendly, flexible, caring and even humorous individuals. Unfortunately, most people only see judges in court when life has taken a bad turn. There are very few court cases that involve joyful times. For this reason many people view judges as only being stodgy, exacting and humorless. Not only do many judges …
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Arturo Welch's defense attorney recently filed a motion in Washington County District Court to dismiss felony property damages charges against the 35-year-old Stillwater man due to a "lack of probable cause."
The attorney for a 35-year-old Stillwater man who faces a felony property-damage charge filed a motion to dismiss the case due to the lack of probable cause. On May 23, a motion was filed in Washington County District Court requesting that the complaint be dismissed for “an insufficient showing of probable cause” to believe Arturo Welch caused more than $1,000 in damage to a Forest Lake woman’s garage door. Laura Kristy Stevenson, 40, of Forest Lake, told police that Welch drove his vehicle into her garage door after she refused to meet him for a job interview. Welch is the owner of Indian Motorcycle of the Twin Cities. Stevenson, Welch’s ex-girlfriend from several years ago, reportedly told Forest Lake police that on March 2 she was …
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Washington County Judge Greg Galler writes about how judges determine truth in court as it is measured in accordance with the burden of proof. What have been your experiences with truth and the burden of proof in court?
- PUBLIC SAFETY
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Sometimes people ask how I know who is telling the truth in court. It surprises them to hear that I will likely never know the absolute truth. While some people do lie in court, more often people simply see, remember or retell things differently. Something happened. People saw it, heard it, were involved in it or maybe even caused it. A dispute arose, lawyers were hired, and a lawsuit began. When they come to court, they have different memories, powers of observation and abilities to describe what happened. This is no different from what we all see in everyday life. In your own life, you have, almost certainly, disagreed with someone about something that you each saw or heard. One of you may have said, “That’s not the way I saw it” or “I …
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Ashley Marie Brooker, 23, and Nicholas Thomas Doyle, 25, both of Stillwater, pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine. They will be sentenced later this summer.
The Stillwater couple charged last winter for possessing methamphetamine after woman was seen frantically searching a vehicle for her boyfriend's "missing finger" have pleaded guilty to felony drug charges. Ashley Marie Brooker, 23, pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of a controlled substance and fifth-degree possession of methamphetamine last month. She is scheduled to be sentenced on June 15. Nicholas Thomas Doyle, 25, pleaded guilty to fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance. His sentencing date is scheduled for Aug. 2. According to the criminal complaint: Stillwater police responded to the Lakeview Hospital parking lot after an emergency medical technician (EMT) reported seeing an "extremely agitated" woman …
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
L&D Signs recently filed a conciliation court claim alleging that St.Croix Events owes the Lake Elmo business more than $2,800 for electrical work rendered during the 2010 Lumberjack Days Festival in downtown Stillwater.
L&D Signs of Lake Elmo is the latest business to file a claim stating they weren’t paid for work completed for the Lumberjack Days Festival. L&D Signs submitted a civil claim in Washington County Conciliation Court on April 19 alleging that Dave Eckberg of St. Croix Events never paid the Lake Elmo business for $2,837 worth of electrical work that was rendered during the 2010 Lumberjack Days event. Joseph Kiesling—who submitted the claim on behalf of L&D Signs—said the company was contracted to do electrical work for the festival’s vendors during the 2010 event. The civil court claim states L&D Signs has yet to receive payment. “It’s like anything else,” Kiesling said Wednesday afternoon. “You don’t get paid, you don’t eat.” There are …