Law enforcement arrested a 19-year-old man on a Saturday, alleging that he was involved in a fatal shooting. According to CBS Minnesota, a 25-year-old man from St. Paul was shot and killed outside a strip mall. Law enforcement released the 19-year-old the following Monday, citing that further investigation into the case was necessary.
Minnesota law enforcement must abide by state laws when handling incarceration. There are strict guidelines for how long someone may be held in custody before being released.
The 36-hour rule
There are three factors that will determine how long someone will be in custody after an arrest: if the arrest was completed with a warrant or not, if the person arrested is a juvenile or an adult, and the time and date that the person was taken into custody.
The Minnesota Rule of Criminal Procedure outlines the 36-hour rule, which states that after an arrest, someone cannot remain in custody for more than 36 hours. However, the following days are excluded from that 36-hour timeframe:
- Legal holidays
- The day of the arrest
- For juveniles, Saturdays are excluded
Based on the exclusions, it is possible that someone could remain in custody longer than 36 hours. Technically speaking, someone arrested at noon on Friday in Minneapolis could remain in jail until Monday at noon because Sunday does not count. If Monday is a holiday, then that person will remain in custody until Tuesday at noon.
However, if law enforcement have a warrant for the arrest, Sundays and legal holidays will count toward the time spent in custody. Therefore, the person in the example above would be released at noon on Sunday if the arresting officers had a warrant.
The 48-hour rule
In 1991, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that if someone is arrested without a warrant, law enforcement must determine probably cause without an unreasonable delay within 48 hours of the arrest. In order to hold someone longer, law enforcement must obtain authorization from a judge.
This is where the two rules seemingly compete, because the 36-hour rule would not expire in some circumstances based on exclusions. If there is no warrant and a judge has not provided for continued detention, then the maximum amount of time that someone may be held in custody is the lesser of the two rules.
These rules were put in place to prevent unjustifiable delays in criminal proceedings. People who are charged with a crime should consult with an attorney to determine how long the custody period should be and what the options are for defense.