Judge Steve Halsey

It happened again this week. The family of an accused criminal defendant in a serious crime with sensational overtones is descended upon at their residence by Twin Cities TV reporters, asking them for comment. Apparently, ratings concerns supersede simple understanding of their grief and their right to privacy.

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The explosion of social networking and the ability of each of us to access billions of pieces of information and connect with millions of individuals over the Internet can be viewed as beneficial to society as a whole. But technology advances much faster than our system of laws and the rules of the judicial system can react or accommodate them. A vivid example was the recent argument at the U.S. Supreme Court about whether police must first obtain a search warrant before searching someone’s cell phone or smartphone.

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Frequently in juvenile court we judges see cases of vandalism from minor egg-throwing to major wanton acts of property destruction in the tens of thousands of dollars. I have never been able to understand the mindset of the juveniles involved in such incidents.

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