Opinion

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Child custody

One of the most difficult decisions a judge has to make is primary custody of a child. The consequences of those decisions are extremely serious, and the emotions are often running very high. To complicate matters, often the parties are representing...

 

Are dash cams legal?

Question: I see a lot of dash camera footage on YouTube and online altogether. This got me thinking are dash cams legal? Answer: Great question as we see so many videos posted online. Minnesota law allows for driver feedback and safety monitoring...

 
 By Chris Gass    Opinion    November 7, 2019

Don't lead the leaves to water

The leaves have taken a toll with all the wind and rain lately. In turn, the crinkly debris is riddled all over and the decision to collect or ignore is beginning to be internally debated. Whatever...

 

Let's talk about trees

The gardening season is over. The perennials have been cut back, and the pots put away. In the vegetable gardens, potatoes have been dug, carrots pulled up, and squash vines added to the compost...

 

Ask a Trooper

Question: In light of the fact that most drivers exceed the posted speed limit, especially on interstate freeways, will I get a citation for obstructing traffic if I drive the speed limit?  This is especially a concern in and around the Twin Cities...

 

National Novel Writing Month

It’s that time of year once again when I send out a group e-mail to my family that basically says, “If I don’t respond to your texts or messages, I’m not dead. I’m just writing. Please...

 

Ask a Trooper

Question: I’ve noticed that school busses all have the words “School Bus” written at the top of the windshield on the front of the vehicle. Similarly, when the bus is used for a different purpose other than school, the words are scraped off or...

 

Making the climb

This past weekend I was both pit crew and runner during the Wild Duluth races. It always amazing me what people can do when they put their mind to it. That was evident once again as I watched runners...

 

Carp

I just can’t ever remember calling him Barry. It was either Carp or just Bare. More importantly, I can’t ever remember seeing him without his open mouth casting a mile-wide grin. And that is the...

 

Ask a Trooper

Question: Minnesota just recently enacted a hands-free while driving law, but many states do not have such a law. How is this enforced when people from out of state are traveling on our Interstate highways? I have not seen any signs go up stating...

 

The five primary theories of punishment

Recently, I attended a lecture by a doctor of philosophy, who had some strong criticisms of the criminal justice system and how it handles punishment. It was certainly thought provoking. For many judges, we are so caught up in the day-to-day...

 

Ask a Trooper

Question: I have a rather random, but seasonally appropriate question: with harvest season upon us and with slow moving farm vehicles/implements on roadways, is it permissible to pass a slow-moving farm implement on Minnesota highways in a...

 
 By Chris Gass    Opinion    October 10, 2019

Fall cleanup time

The leaves are rapidly changing colors and falling just as fast. With that comes the sign of the season to start fall cleanup, the sometimes behemoth task of raking up piles of leaves, giving the...

 

Throw down the gauntlet

Everyone has at least one seemingly impossible challenge on their bucket list or “eventual goals” list. You know the one I’m talking about. The one you daydream about, that you’d certainly...

 

Ask a Trooper

Question: Now that Minnesota’s hands free law is in effect it seems there are numerous vehicles pulled over on the shoulder with the driver talking or texting on the phone. This seems unsafe. Is it legal? And if not, what is the recommended...

 

Autumn is here

I was hopeful a couple weeks ago that we would have an autumn with lots of bright red and orange leaves. One prognostication said that because we had so much rain this summer, the colors would be...

 
 By Chris Gass    Opinion    October 3, 2019

Walk in the woods

Fall is my favorite time of the year, or at least it’s a tie for first alongside Spring. The weather is favorable and the pestering insects are well suppressed thanks to the mild temps. All this...

 

Ask a Trooper

Question: I hear you mention TZD and how law enforcement works with them. Can you explain what TZD is? Answer: TZD is an initiative and stands for Towards Zero Deaths. Minnesota’s TZD program was launched in 2003 by the Minnesota Departments of...

 

Growing up in the wake of Columbine

When I was in second grade at a school in Virginia Beach, Virginia, I remember a young boy about my age being taken out of school in handcuffs. It was in the wake of the Columbine shooting in 1999....

 

Ask a Trooper

Question: Can you give some advice on driving in fog? The fog became one car-length dense the other day and it became a dangerous situation. Answer: Driving when the weather limits your visibility can be a challenge for all of us on the road. You...

 

Indomitable spirit

Okay, I’m talking about volleyball again; or rather, the things at a volleyball game that don’t necessarily go into the sports articles. If you’ve ever gone to a sporting event, you know that th...

 

Ask a Trooper

Question: Does the new hands-free law apply to tractors, lawn mowers and UTVs? Answer: The hands-free law applies to all motor vehicles. A motor vehicle would include tractors and lawn mowers on a street or highway. The hands-free law would not apply...

 

Continuing education

I graduated from law school in 1993, completing three years of formal legal education, in addition to my college degree. But for lawyers and judges, learning is always an ongoing process. The law evolves and changes over time, and it’s extremely...

 

A change in policy to combat abuse of the system

If you look to the left of my editorial, you’ll notice a new policy going into effect regarding paid endorsement letters. This decision was made in response to the increase of mass endorsement...

 

Hurricanes and northern lights

Two events happened at the beginning of September that showed us the power of nature and our inability to influence their manifestation. On the southeastern edge of our continent a massive hurricane...

 

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