County Appeals Complaint Dismissals on Technicality

16 Apr

Ramsey County has appealed the dismissal of four complaints by a judge of District Court, whose reason for dismissal was that the complaints identified victims only by initials and not by name.

This is an example of form over substance, as prosecutors often need to protect the names of victims from identification by retribution-minded defendants (some defendants do not know their victims) or overzealous media representatives.  From the defense perspective, while identification of the complainants and victims is a technical druther, most defense attorneys are happy to cooperate with the prosecutor’s wish to not reveal the names and addresses of the victims to their clients, as the names of the victims are available to the defense attorney through the police reports, rather than the actual complaint, and the defense attorney still has the opportunity to follow up with those witnesses in their investigation.  Thus, the identity of the accuser is still known to various criminal justice partners, it’s just not available to be publicized right away or until a trial is held.


Entry by Ryan Wood. Ryan is an associate in the litigation section at Thomsen & Nybeck and practices in the areas of criminal law and general civil litigation.  Ryan has a wealth of varying experience in the field of criminal law as a prosecutor in multiple jurisdictions, and as a defense attorney handling adult, felony, white collar and juvenile matters.  He also has experience in complex civil litigation.  Ryan has directed cases through mediations, arbitrations, jury trials and the state and federal appellate courts, including oral argument, and has handled literally hundreds of court trials.  Ryan’s public service experience includes authoring materials for and lecturing at Continuing Legal Education and training seminars, serving as a law clerk to a Minnesota District Court judge and also serving as a staffer in the United States Senate.


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