February 1, 2023 – Attorney from Minnesota


civic engagement

Qualified Immunity

The Minnesota Commitment Appeals Panel (CAP) ordered that two Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP) patient respondents, respondents, be transferred to Community Preparation Services (CPS) — a reduction in confinement. Respondents alleged that the Commissioner for Human Services and the Executive Director of the MSOP violated their due process rights by delaying the transfer of respondents to CPS under the CAP Transfer Orders by more than two years and sought relief under 42 USC § 1983. State officials attempted to invoke qualifying immunity from the defendants’ claims under the 1983 section. The District Court concluded that the defendants each sufficiently alleged a violation of their right to due process under the Fourteenth Amendment to a transfer to CPS within a reasonable time pursuant to a CAP transfer order. However, the District Court also found that the state officials were protected by qualified immunity because the right to transfer to CPS within a reasonable time under the CAP transfer orders was not clearly established when the CAP transfer orders were issued. Consequently, the District Court granted the civil servants’ applications for appointment. In affirming the District Court, the Circuit Court held, without ruling, that the defendants had sufficiently alleged that they violated their right to due process. But the Court of Appeals agreed with the District Court that the right to transfer within a reasonable time of the CAP transfer orders was not clearly established.

The Supreme Court ruled that interviewed MSOP patients had a clear and reasonable right to transfer to community preparation services within a reasonable time after the Minnesota Commitment Appeals Panel issued a referral order. What is a reasonable period of time in any particular circumstance is a matter of fact for the district court to determine. Undone and remanded in custody.

A21-0042, A21-0043 McDeid v. Johnston (Court of Appeals)


Exoneration after conviction


In 2003, a jury found the petitioner guilty of multiple counts, including first-degree murder and attempted first-degree first-degree murder. In that appeal, the petitioner alleged that the district court abused its discretion by summarily denying his second motion for conviction after the conviction, which alleged that the foreman of the jury was biased because she and one of the potential witnesses were at the same location worked. The Supreme Court ruled that the petitioner’s claims after the conviction expired by the 2-year grace period in Minn. statute of limitations. § 590.01, Subd. 4(a) and did not satisfy the interests of justice exception in Minn. Stat. § 590.01, Subd. 4(b)(5). Confirmed.

A22-0662 White vs. State (St. Louis County)