At 10:15AM on November 29th, 2012, I visited Blue Earth County Justice Center to hear the hearing of Michael Ryan Roalson; Jurisdiction is the State of Minnesota. The Judicial Officer of the hearing was Kurt D. Johnson. Mr. Roalson’s case file is 07-CR-09-3080. Roalson was charged with 2nd Degree (Felony) Burglary and 21 counts of theft-Take/Use/Transfer Movable Prop-No Consent (Aid/Abet – GOC) on 09/19/2009. On 11/25/2009, Michael Roalson would be convicted guilty of 2nd Degree (Felony) Burglary and one count of theft. Then in the beginning of the following year on 01/12/2010, Mr. Roalson was sentenced to Agency Blue Earth County Jail to a term of 274 days; he would only serve 112 days. Michael Roalson additionally would owe restitution and fines of $27,259.46 total and be on supervised probation for 20 years, 01/12/2010 – 01/12/2030.
Under supervised probation, Mr. Roalson has to remain law-abiding, no alcohol/controlled substances, no possession of alcohol or drugs, random testing, supply DNA sample, submit to random searches, write letter of apology to victim, get employed, obtain High school diploma or equivalent, no possession of firearms, no contact with victims (B Thornburg Spear), sign probation agreement, follow all instructions of probation, chemical dependency evaluation/treatment, follow recommendations of evaluation, and counseling on mental health on schedule with probation. On March/April of 2012, Mr. Roalson violated parole, failed to appear at a hearing; a warrant was issued and returned.
Michael Ryan Roalson received a random house visit where a parole officer found empty beer cans, possession of a pipe, and synthetic cannabis. Michael was then drug tested which turned out positive for illegal subsistence(s). During the hearing, prosecutor and public defender came to an agreement within 10 minutes of the hearing that Michael Ryan Roalson would be convicted of violation of probation, possession of pipe, and synthetic cannabis; there was no argument. Judicial Officer Kurt D. Johnson gave Mr. Roalson one option; if he agreed to the three convictions, he could have a witness(s) in his upcoming trial if needed. Mr. Roalson agreed to the terms and Judicial Kurt D. Johnson closed the hearing. The next court appearing is in the drug court and is pending at the moment. Michael R. Roalson went back to jail until his drug court date arrives. Also, Mr. Roalson has a $10,000 bail.
Unfortunately, the hearing didn’t go as well as Judicial Kurt D. Johnson wanted it to go. Apparently, the Judicial, prosecutor(s), and the public defendant already had this hearing about a month ago. Judicial Johnson wasn’t so pleased ten minutes into the hearing because he thought this issue was resolved earlier. Judge Johnson looked over at the assistant after the hearing and asked, “How did you not know this hearing has already happen?” She replied, “I only realized when you mentioned it.” From what was mentioned, Michael Roalson is waiting on the drug court to give him his court date. After this issue was resolved, Judicial Johnson waited for an answer from the public defendant about Mr. Roalson’s three convictions. Within 5 minutes, this issue was resolved. Mr. Roalson agreed to the convictions and the hearing was closed. The public defendant of Michael Roalson and prosecutors of the State of Minnesota agreed with the convictions making the hearing quick; no argument was necessary, only assuming because they have been to plenty of hearings because of Michael Roalson’s actions.
When the hearing was all done and said, I agreed with the outcome of the hearing, which was Michael R. Roalson violated probation from having possession of a pipe, possession of empty beers cans, and synthetic cannabis. Roalson deserves to take full responsibility for his actions. It frustrates me to think many people such as Michael can’t figure it out. One would think, after going to jail for half a year, you would want to clean up your act and get your life on track. There were many connections to make between this case and our class. In criminal law, the state is party who brings the suit against the plaintiff which was the State of Minnesota. The verdict was unanimous; the remedy of the criminal hearing was unknown because it needs to be more resolved when Michael Roalson enters drug court.
Since Mr. Roalson received a 2nd Degree Burglary back in late 2009, this is a felony, and is punishable by death or imprisonment over 1 year. Luckily, he only received 274 days and served only 112 days. So, basically Michael was punished from a misdemeanor crime instead of a felony. Another thing to note is after Mr. Roalson was convicted of his 2nd degree burglary, he lost his 4th amendment rights. The 4th amendment rights state he would have protection from unreasonable searches and seizures and requirement that no warrant for a search or an arrest be issued without probable cause.
Overall, I expected the outcome of Mr. Roalson to agree to his three violations on probation, but I did not expect in his earlier cases that he would get let off a little easier. The reason I didn’t expect him to get let off so easily is because when I have gone to court on previous personal issues, I was not let off the “hook” so easily even though I never went for a felony charge.
The first question I would like to ask about the hearing is why or where in the system did they mess up for them to have an unnecessary hearing; unnecessary money and time spent for the Judge, public defendant, and the State of Minnesota prosecutors. The second question I would like to ask is why Michael Roalson only served 112 days in jail because a felony is usually charged up to over a year in prison. The third question to Judicial Kurt D. Johnson is why Michael’s actions were only punished for a misdemeanor when he received a felony. Also, on a side note, I would also like to know what Mr. Roalson stole and for what reason. I would like to know this because he was charged with 21counts of theft. The fourth question that would be asked to Judge Johnson is do you frequently have more of these types of criminal cases over others? Lastly, what do you think the outcome in drug court will be for Mr. Roalson and do you think he will recommit another crime like this in the future? Additionally, does Mr. Roalson still have a likely chance of changing his life around or going back to the same actions committed?
The only other question I would have is to the public defendant and the prosecutors which is why they came to an agreement so quickly and quietly during this hearing? (Some of the early questions are more concerned with why they came to those agreements in earlier hearings and trials while the later questions are more concerned with opinion.)