On March 8, 2021, the trial will begin for former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd. Co-defendants (and former officers) J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao will stand trial for Mr. Floyd’s murder beginning on August 23, 2021. In response to community identified needs for support leading up to and during these trials, the Legal Rights Center is implementing a Community Action Plan to provide legal and restorative practice resources to our communities. As part of that work we are hosting a forum to give voice to our communities' perspectives on "justice" and the upcoming trial.
The Legal Rights Center is looking to partner with local artists of color and/or Native artists to design and paint a mural on the side of our building in conjunction with a grant that is offered by the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs. CURA is currently offering grants to individual artists of color and Native artists in a neighborhood artist partnership project. The goals of the program are to identify and support compelling projects that support neighborhood wellbeing that artists have developed in response to their community’s specific challenges and opportunities.
We would like to support a local artist’s vision of the history and importance of the Legal Rights Center in the neighborhood. It is the artist who will be applying for the grant but we are definitely willing to assist in the grant request process and writing.
The grant application is due March 7th. We are hoping to have an artist identified by February 19th to allow a sufficient time to develop the vision and write the grant. Sooner is obviously better.
For more information about the grant please see Artist Neighborhood Partnership Initiative Small Grant Program Request for Proposals | CURA (umn.edu)
If you are interested in partnering with the Legal Rights Center in this project, please contact Kindahl Larson at email@example.com
The Minnesota Coalition for Youth Justice is composed of community stakeholders with a vested stake in improving our juvenile justice system. Through shorter term reforms and longer term reimagining, the MN Coalition for Youth Justice seeks to build an ecosystem that is more equitable, humane and effective than the present one. To do this we:
The Coalition is seeking a Media Consultant and a Graphic & Website Designer. For more information on these positions, please see the attached files or follow the link to read more.
The Legal Rights Center has employees and contributors from a variety of different backgrounds, and we invite all our staff and volunteers to contribute to conversations on the topics of racial justice, the criminal justice system, and many more. Omi Strait, summer communications assistant for the LRC, and M. Graciela Gonzalez, volunteer attorney, contributed to this post.
The Justice System in Minnesota is anything but “just” when it comes to punishing people for the smallest of offenses codified in an overbroad Criminal Code and city ordinances. For example, walking your dog on a leash, but without the dog tag required by your city, may result in a misdemeanor charge punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. Indeed, many city codes include a provision stating that it is a misdemeanor offense to violate any provision of the city’s Code of Ordinances.
Of course, the piling of monetary obligations on the working poor is not restricted to a fine and surcharges. There are also Probation fees, the cost of evaluations, programming required by Probation, restitution, etc.
Most low-level offenses settle through plea bargaining and require a defendant to pay a fine. Often, judges allow a defendant to pay the fine with free work for the county, in the form of Sentence to Service, or some other form of community service, or with jail credit for time served; or the fine or part of it can be stayed with conditions. However, state law imposes a mandatory surcharge to every fine ($75 in Hennepin County), and the judges cannot stay, waive or allow an alternative form of payment for the surcharge. More onerous for our clients, nonpayment of a fine or its surcharge often results in suspension of their driving privileges. The result is no driver's license ('DL'), no job, as most people need to drive to their jobs. The state has other options to collect an unpaid fine (intercept tax refunds, pursue a civil action, etc.) The state does not need to deprive someone of his or her driving license to collect an unpaid fine. The following piece highlights the current efforts to redress some of these injustices.
This week at the LRC....
We condemn the shooting of Jacob Blake, and we hope for his full recovery
We assisted protestors in downtown Minneapolis
LRC volunteer attorneys and Minneapolis Youth Congress provided a Know Your Rights training on Thursday at Elliot Park. If you’re interested in accessing this free community legal education, please reach out to Chelsea Schmitz-Gillam for more information and to get a workshop scheduled for you and your community! firstname.lastname@example.org
This week on our social media...
"A Brief Overview (and Critique) of Carceral Feminism as a Response to Sexual Violence"
Written by the LRC's summer communications assistant
As always, please follow us on Twitter (@LegalRightsCtr), Facebook, and Instagram (@mplslegalrightscenter) to stay up to date on the news we share and work we do.
The Legal Rights Center
1611 Park Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55404
P: 612-337-0030 F: 612-337-0797
The Legal Rights Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit financially supported by: the State of Minnesota, foundations, local law firms, corporations and individuals. Clients are never charged for our services.