- David L. Liebow
Supreme Court Strikes Down Stalking-By-Mail Statute
The law is constantly changing. Congress is enacting federal statutes and the Minnesota Legislature is enacting state statutes. Federal and state administrative agencies are adopting and repealing agency rules. And courts are interpreting or striking down laws.
Yesterday, the last of these happened in a big way when the Minnesota Supreme Court released its decision in In the Matter of the Welfare of A.J.B., which announced that part of Minnesota's stalking statute that prohibits stalking by mail is unconstitutional on its face. The decision voided the statute. The decision also found part of Minnesota's harassment-by-mail statute to be unconstitutional but narrowed the behavior to which it applies it rather than voiding it entirely.
What does this mean? The stalking-by-mail statute can no longer be enforced, and attorney Jay Adkins has already gotten a case dismissed by a prosecutor as a result of the decision. That will affect a significant number of people. Affecting even more people, however, is that there is now a two-year window in which already-final convictions under the statute may be vacated in Minnesota's postconviction relief process. Convictions under the harassment-by-mail statute may also be in question. It does not matter whether the person convicted pleaded guilty or was convicted at trial.
There is a strong possibility of legislative action to amend the statute so that it will (perhaps) meet constitutional standards, but the legislature is not expected to be back in session until February 2020. But even if the statute is fixed, that will not save convictions based on the current, unconstitutional version of the statute. If you have been convicted under either of these statutes or any other statute that has been held unconstitutional, contact us today.