Editor's Note: The following is a newsletter from Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.
Community Justice Update from County Attorney Mike Freeman
As County Attorney Freeman says, "We are privileged to serve the people of Hennepin County. Thanks for your trust and support. Every day we will strive to do justice and do us all proud."
Here is an excerpt from the Community Justice Update, which we send out a few times each year:
2012 was a good year in the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office. The media has informed the public about our big cases, however, plenty of other work has gone on quietly in the office and I wanted to share with you how we are doing in our efforts to improve.
Firearms and Domestic Violence
About 70 percent of domestic murders are committed with guns. Working with the Minneapolis City Attorney and Police Department, Hennepin County Community Corrections and several nonprofit organizations, the county attorney’s office began a pilot program this fall to take guns away from domestic violence suspects.
We started with training for 911 dispatchers on how to ask domestic violence victims who are calling for help if there were guns in the house. The program will continue in 2013 with training for police, judges and probation officers to make sure they enforce Minnesota law requiring that the suspect gives up his guns until he has been acquitted or has served his time. During the 2013 legislative session, we will advocate that felony domestic violence convictions be added to the list of violent crimes which prevent a person from ever possessing a gun. Currently, a car thief cannot have a gun, but a domestic abuser can after serving his sentence.
You can read the full message on our website, which also includes information on how our attorneys protect community health and updates on our witness tampering case and lawsuit against Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
We invite you to share your thoughts with the office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Obtaining Justice - Recent Court Outcomes
Truck company owner pleads guilty to swindle in prevailing wage case
Gary Francis Bauerly, owner of WATAB Hauling Co., pleaded guilty to felony theft by swindle for not paying his workers prevailing wage required for road work for federal, state and local governments.
WATAB supplied drivers to federal, state and county road construction projects. Bauerly admitted that he, or someone under his control, submitted false certifications that they were paying the prevailing wage. He kept the difference between what he was supposed to pay and what he actually did pay the drivers, netting $52,000.
Bauerly will be sentenced Feburary 25 by Judge Bransford.
Chronic Offender Sentenced to 38 Months
Frank Beldsoe, of Minneapolis, was sentenced to 38 months in prison. Bledsoe pleaded guilty to a third-degree narcotics crime for selling cocaine in South Minneapolis. He has a history of livability and drug crimes, including three prior felony-level drug convictions.
The Franklin Avenue Court Watch wrote a number of impact statements about how his behavior negatively impacts their neighborhood, which our office shared with the judge and helped us obtain this sentence.
Court Watches are a collaborative, community-based approach to criminal justice. Concerned citizens partner with police, prosecutors, probation officers, and other resources to prevent and respond to public safety concerns.
In the Community
County Attorneys Train Hospitality Staff and Social Workers
In the last few weeks, prosecutors have helped train hospitality staff on how to spot, and help stop, sex trafficking and prostitution in their hotels. Other attorneys have educated social workers on the signs of elder abuse and what to do if they suspect neglect or financial exploitation.
What's New in 2013
This year, we will increasing our crime prevention tips and informational updates on different aspects of the criminal justice system.
Later this month, we will send out an update on School Safety, including a recent report on school crime in the 2011-2012 school year. Additional topics include protecting vulnerable adults, information on mental health and civil commitments, teen dating violence, nuisance properties and other aspects of the legal system.
Let us know if there are issues you would like us to highlight. Contact Ashley Schweitzer with any requests or suggestions.