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Monitoring devices and apps could reinforce racist views

In Minnesota and throughout the country, people use apps and social media channels to keep tabs on what is going on in their communities. However, these apps may not be the best way to stay informed about local events or issues. In some cases, the alerts that they issue are nothing more than nuisances or blatant attempts to scare people. Individuals may receive reports about people knocking on doors or putting glue on mailboxes.

With so many of these types of reports being issued, Americans have a sense that crime is increasing. The truth is that the violent crime rate is at its lowest level in 25 years. These apps may also give rise to racist or prejudiced viewpoints as many who are accused of being suspicious or committing crimes are minorities. In some cases, false or misleading reports of suspicious activity can lead to a person being taken into custody or shot by a police officer.

The downside of social media

Almost everyone these days is on some type of social media, Facebook and similar sites. Social media can be great for keeping everyone up to date, sharing news about your family, trips, etc. But, it also has some pretty serious downsides. 

Co-parenting teenagers after divorce

Many spouses who file for divorce in Minnesota will have to co-parent with their ex. While this can be difficult no matter the age of the kids, co-parenting teenagers comes with unique challenges. It's important to consider some of the most common mistakes parents make when co-parenting teens.

Failing to communicate is a major blunder that many exes make when co-parenting teenage children. Lots of parents assume that their child will naturally share important information with them. This may not be true when it comes to teenagers. It is important to talk to the other parent about what is going on with a teenage child.

Minnesota medical marijuana limited, may expand

Many states across the country are decriminalizing and legalizing marijuana, and other states are greatly expanding the reach of their medical marijuana programs. Advocates cite new revenue streams and individuals’ rights. Opponents say marijuana increases crime and makes roadways more dangerous.

Here in Minnesota an initiative to legalize recreational recently failed in the State Senate. A law legalizing medical marijuana in Minnesota passed in 2014 but its provisions are narrow in scope. However, lawmakers are now attempting to expand the medical marijuana program.

Do not neglect to name a beneficiary on an IRA

In Brainerd, Minnesota, people who invest in IRAs often neglect to name primary beneficiaries when they open their accounts. People think they will name their beneficiaries at a later date but then forget to update the information. It is always a good idea to name beneficiaries on a retirement account to prevent holdings from going into an estate. Failing to update an IRA is another mistake. For instance, a person may have named a beneficiary several years ago but neglect to update the information after the beneficiary passes away.

People who value the amount of time they spent working to earn their investment monies should name their beneficiaries on the appropriate IRA documents. A single person with no heirs may want to name a charitable organization as their beneficiary. Whether leaving money to a nephew or a charity, the main thing to bear in mind is that naming a beneficiary is a simple task that only takes a few minutes.

How can you maintain your mental health during your divorce?

It’s no secret that divorce can take a toll on you. The constant fighting and changing your entire lifestyle as you become single again may leave you drained.If you take care of yourself right now, you will be setting yourself up for a better start at the end of the divorce process.

 

What we should expect

Most of the time, the criminal justice system works. People commit crimes, the police investigate, they make a report to the prosecutor, in Minnesota a city attorney or county attorney, the prosecutor files charges if they are guilty of a crime. Part of the job of the prosecutor is to weed out reports that do not add up to a crime, even if the police want a crime charged. The prosecutors independence from law enforcement is one of the checks that protects all of us from being charged with crimes based on a mistake by a police officer, or worse, a police officer wanting to get someone. The vast majority of police officers are hard working, honest, and would not think of accusing someone of a crime unless they think they did the crime.

Divorce could impact spouses' credit reports

Many Minnesota couples know that the financial effects of a divorce can have long-term impacts that linger on even after the emotional and practical issues are resolved. However, the first matter that come to mind may be how to divide the marital home or retirement funds, rather than a potential impact on each spouse's credit. While marital status is not taken into account when calculating a person's credit score, the end of a relationship can still have a lasting impact. People can take precautions in order to protect their credit score and emerge from a divorce financially healthy.

Joint accounts are common among married people, and these can include home mortgages, credit cards and even personal or auto loans. The division of property during a divorce includes not only assets but also debts. However, the agreement that is part of the divorce decree does not bind creditors. Even if one spouse agrees to pay a certain debt, the creditor can go after the other spouse if he or she remains on the account. While that party may have the right to pursue the other in court, the financial impact could be long-lasting.

Innocent people could spend years in prison

According to the National Registry of Exonerations, prisoners in Minnesota and throughout the country lost over 1,600 years to wrongful convictions in 2018. That was the highest figure since this statistic was first tracked in 1989. In 2018, there were 151 prisoners who were released after it was determined that they hadn't committed the crime they were convicted of. Those individuals served an average of 11 years in custody.

In 70 cases, the crime that an individual was convicted of had not even occurred. One man was on death row after being convicted of sexual assault on a 21-month-old child. It was determined that the girl's injuries were likely sustained in a car accident. In another 17 cases, an individual confessed to a crime that he or she had not committed. Police and other official misconduct was a driving force behind many of the wrongful convictions.

Can't jump to conclusions

I just finished the third jury trial, all for the same case and client. Just over two years ago he was charged with 4 felonies, the story was all over the papers, screaming headlines, TV news, his mug shot all over the place. As you can imagine, the impact on his business and personal life was devastating. Customers did not want to come to his shop, assuming that he must be guilty of what he was accused of. 

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