🧵This week in I-94 zoom court shenanigans: a defendant (who is one of the few not on the special calendar, by which most ppl have only just been arraigned) had their bench trial yesterday. Not even clickbait, there were sex toys, a v butthurt judge, & lots and lots of holes...:
(Refresher: to avoid having to go before 100s of juries, the city of MPLS has reduced all these cases from the kettled 11/4/20 post-election demonstration to petty misdemeanors, which means trials are over zoom, under COVID rules.)
Being over zoom, the defendant appeared from their home... where in the background judge Michael Browne (in charge of all the #646DropTheCharges cases) saw and took offense to a popular local poster (shown here) and some sex toys.

(For your own hearing: proletariatprints.org ) it's the black and white design of a burning 3rd precinct wi
Since the defendant rightly refused to redecorate their home just for the judge's prudish sensibilities, judge Browne barred them from appearing via video at their own trial. He rambled at length with much hostility about the supposed "non-political" and "solemn" nature of court.
This led to a ludicrous situation where the judge ordered to defendant to briefly turn on their video, right before a cop witness was asked to point them out.

Long after this, Browne again ranted about the issue unprompted for several minutes.
As far as the actual case went: the state did not even have the arresting officer testify (only a State Patrol Major and Lieutenant). Their case did not seem well prepared and defense moved for immediate dismissal, which the judge declined to immediately rule on.
Defense argued there was no evidence as to whether the arrestee was in the roadway or grassy area, or how they arrived there. Cops lied in their testimony, saying there was no grassy area on 94.
However, defense had lots of photos of the grassy area, as well as photos of holes... and holes, and holes, and more holes, examined in great details.. in the fences surrounding the area, to show the possibility of an arrestee having arrived by means other than the on-ramp.
At this point everyone was tired and wanted to go home and I was hooting and hollering at the absurdity of it all. Defense and prosecutor both agreed to submit closing arguments in writing over the next 3 weeks. Verdict will be issued by 12/20 (what a letdown!)
After 4 hours just for testimony (and judicial axe-grinding) the judge and prosecutor have to be cringing at the prospect of having to do this a couple hundred more times. To use judge Browne's words, you might reasoably say the state & court are making "a mockery" of the process
To the judge's credit though - not that it matters whatsoever to the outcome of the cases - he did embarrass the State Patrol Lt. about none of the cops wearing face masks *shruggie*

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