Viewing Court Procedures Category (7) found:
Douglas A. Hedin: "The Emergence of a Criminal Defendant's Right to Testify at Trial in Minnesota" (2011).
Until 1868, a defendant in a criminal trial in Minnesota could not testify in his own defense. Like other states, Minnesota adhered to the common law rule that barred a criminal defendant from testifying because he had an "interest" in the outcome of the trial. The parallel common law prohibition against civil parties from testifying was never followed in Minnesota. On March 6, 1868, the Minnesota Legislature amended the witness competency law to permit a criminal defendant to testify if he chose.
During Minnesota's territorial period, and for several years after statehood, a law authorizing the legislature to request advisory opinions from the supreme court was in effect. It provided:
Reacting to criticism of the judiciary in the wake of the Pullman Strike, Charles E. Flandrau published this brief essay on the importance of maintaining the courts' contempt power in the January, 1895, issue of "The Minnesota Law Journal."
Douglas A. Hedin: "Holcombe vs. McKusick" and the U. S. Supreme Court's Reaction to the Codification Movement of the 1850s. (2011)
On May 18, 1858, the United States Supreme Court, in an opinion by Justice Samuel Nelson, dismissed Holcombe vs. McKusick, an appeal from the Supreme Court of Minnesota Territory, because it lacked jurisdiction. The opinion is noteworthy because Nelson concluded with a tirade against the "complicated and confused" mode of pleading in the territory which he attributed to its "absurd and impractical experiment" in codifying rules of pleading.
On September 12, 1849, Isaiah McMillan shot and killed Heman Snow in St. Paul. McMillan was tried in Stillwater in February, 1850, and found guilty of manslaughter. During the trial, Judge David Cooper ordered the jury sequestered, which provoked a colorful commentary by James Goodhue in "The Minnesota Pioneer" on February 27, 1850.
This article provides a glimpse of how some trial judges operated in the state in the 1890s. The author urged trial judges to prepare and attach memoranda to their orders, explaining their reasoning. Without such a written explanation, the author laments, "Half the time the defeated party does not know and has no means, save asking the judge, of obtaining any knowledge as to which of several points raised and argued on the hearing, was decisive against him."
In December, 1894, "The Minnesota Law Journal" published a long letter to the editor from Charles C. Willson, the official reporter of the Minnesota Reports. Willson was "vexed" and exasperated by the "loose" pleading habits and citation practices of the bar. In his letter, Willson advised lawyers to give the full names of the parties in their pleadings and cite authorities in a way that they can be found by the court and used by other practitioners.