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Friday, April 13, 2007

Judge Randall bares his mind

Court of Appeals Judge R.A. “Jim” Randall vented his frustration with the Minneapolis Police Department in a 16-page dissent in a case released earlier this week, State v. Thoreson.

The defendant had been convicted of misdemeanor prostitution after a Hennepin County District Court judge refused to dismiss the case on the ground that police misconduct violated the defendant’s due process rights. The Court of Appeals affirmed.

Randall disapproved of the police officer’s investigative techniques, which included inducing the woman to disrobe completely in the front seat of his unmarked squad car.

Randall thought the woman didn’t commit a crime by taking her clothes off without accepting money for sex. He called the police conduct “somewhat egregious.” Arrest her, if you must, but do not “make sport” with her, said the judge.

Randall is no stranger to a well-turned phrase as the following excerpt from his dissent illustrates:

“Respondent argues that asking a strange woman to take off all her clothes and go naked in front of a strange man is a ‘legitimate’ police tactic. Respondent argues this is so because ‘good girls won’t do that but bad girls will.’ Looking back, at my age, perhaps I did miss part of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Maybe there never was a senior prom where, after the midnight close of the official school gym dance, the party continued until the wee hours of the morning at some neighboring park by a lake where drinking and swimming, bathing suits optional, were varsity sports du jour. Maybe nobody was ever 19, went to college, went to fraternity and sorority parties, and in a large group both male and coed, ceremoniously ‘mooned’ their school’s arch rival football team as it drove into the parking lot or, for that matter, tried to moon their arch rival’s entire student body until the college president sent security in. Funny how the memory is affected. Funny how life imitates art.”

Hmm ... It’s good to get the naked truth from a judge.

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