Minneapolitans need to rethink the stranger with candy mentality

Although parents in Minneapolis have grown up with stories and urban legends of strangers lurking with candy, waiting to abduct children and do horrible things, the reality is that very few children are harmed by strangers. When we look at the numbers, nearly all incidents of child molestation are committed by family members or acquaintances, with only 7 percent being committed by strangers. So, if the “creepy man in the van” is a myth, why are we still so worried about him?

Perhaps it is the national response to individuals on the sex offender registry. There are communities across the country that are taking a hard-line stance against former offenders, especially around Halloween. From preventing them from decorating to making it painfully clear that they are not giving out candy, communities continue to buy into the fear of “stranger danger.”

Although it makes sense to want to protect our children against those who would do them harm, towns can take it too far. If we look at the facts, we can see that individuals on the registry are much less likely to reoffend. On top of that, they are already on a sex offender registry. If parents are still concerned, much of these former offenders’ data is available online. Parents can always just steer clear of offenders’ homes without forcing ex-offenders to remind community members of what they’ve done.

The people on the registry have made mistakes and they’ve paid a price for them. They have spent time in jail or prison and they continue to remain on the registry. Why must we insist on pushing them to identify themselves during Halloween, too?

Source: The Huffington Post, “Manufacturing Fear: Halloween Laws for Sex Offenders,” Emily Horowitz, Oct. 24, 2013

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Confidential informants may provide integral information to help build criminal investigations, but how reliable is that information when they are receiving payment for their services? To protect them, state law requires the identity of informants be kept confidential. For those facing criminal charges, however, this creates challenges in questioning the accuracy and validity of the information given at trial.
Stay calm and compose after getting accused of a crime but not charged in Minneapolis, MN. Do not discuss the facts of your case with anyone, including your relatives and family members. Hire a criminal defense attorney with a demonstrated record of winning cases like yours. Your attorney will discuss your rights, guide you on how to cooperate with law enforcement within the legal boundaries, and build a solid defense strategy to fight the charges you could face in the future.
Expungement and sealing of records in Minnesota affect how your criminal history appears to government agencies and the public. The main difference between the two legal actions is that expungement permanently removes past arrests, criminal charges, or convictions from private and public databases, while sealing hides the criminal record from the public. Courts, government entities, and law enforcement agencies can access sealed criminal records.