St. Paul natives acquitted of Craigslist theft charges

As we have mentioned previously in this blog, for someone in St. Paul to be convicted of a crime, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual did what he or she was charged with doing. If the prosecutor can’t prove this, then the jury must acquit the defendant of the charges. If it is clear that the prosecutor doesn’t have any evidence or not nearly enough evidence, the prosecutor may drop the charges altogether.

A 33-year-old St. Paul native who was originally charged with aggravated robbery had the charges dropped just under two weeks after a co-defendant facing the same charges was acquitted by a jury. It seems that after prosecutors realized their lack of evidence would likely lead to another acquittal they chose to drop the charges. It is unclear why the prosecutors would bring the charges against the two men in the first place, as there was very little evidence connecting the men to the apparent robbery.

Prosecutors alleged that the 33 year old and his 37-year-old co-defendant had met a man in St. Paul who was trying to sell his laptop. The man had put his laptop on Craigslist and agreed to meet the former defendants in the parking lot of a Burger King, when he said the man used a stun gun to disable him and steal his computer, wallet and phone. Prosecutors say the men then drove away.

Police responded to the apparent robbery and caught up with the men’s vehicle. When they searched the vehicle, however, they were not able to find any stolen property. As the police were quite quick to respond, the lack of evidence made it highly unlikely that the former defendants were the ones responsible for the robbery.

Theft charges can be difficult to defend, but without sufficient evidence, a criminal defense lawyer can help to clear wrongfully charged individuals’ names.

Source: Pioneer Press, “Charges dropped in St. Paul robbery linked to Craigslist,” Emily Gurnon, April 10, 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

One of the questions people facing a criminal charge ask is: How long does a criminal case take? The timeline of your criminal case in Minnesota will depend on the nature and severity of the alleged crime, the speed of the criminal justice system, the duration of the trial, and whether an appeal will be necessary. Delays at any stage of the criminal justice process may impact how long your criminal case will last. Generally, however, misdemeanor cases may resolve within weeks or months, while felony cases may linger in courts for up to a year.
People accused, arrested, or charged with a crime often ask, “How much does a criminal defense lawyer cost in Minneapolis, MN?” It is difficult to accurately determine how much a criminal defense lawyer will cost. The reason is that numerous factors impact the cost of legal representation in criminal matters. These factors include the type and severity of criminal charges, the lawyer’s experience and reputation, required time and effort, and geographical location.
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.