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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Randall's articulate voice will be missed

Court of Appeals Judge R.A. “Jim” Randall has submitted his retirement letter to Gov. Tim Pawlenty effective Friday, April 4, 2008. Randall has served on the court for 24 years.

I hope he spends some time at the court as a retired judge because I will miss his opinions. Not only do I generally agree with him, but in addition, he can really write.

My favorite opinion may be in State v. Thoreson, issued last April, where Randall wrote a 16-page dissent. The defendant was 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 technique, which was to induce the woman to disrobe completely in the front seat of an unmarked squad car at 38th and Nicollet, thereby assenting to prostitution.

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's well-thought-out dissent includes the following nugget:

“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.”

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