7 Myths about Being Arrested

After working for over 30 years as a prosecutor and Public Defender, I’ll show you myths about being arrested.being arrested

1.  Being arrested means you have a right to make a phone call to your loved one.

It’s seen in the movies.  Why?  It’s a dramatic point.  But not in real life.  There’s no constitutional or procedural right to …

Mental Illness Defense—Too Crazy to be Guilty?

mental illness defenseNot Guilty by reason of a mental illness defense.  All state in the U.S. have a statutory provision that allow a jury to find an accused person not guilty because of a mental illness insanity defense—even if the accused did the crime.

When a guilty person “gets off” like this it makes many of us upset or even …

Philip Seymour Hoffman–There is Still Hope

The tragedy of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death from an apparent overdose of heroin prompted me to post something positive.

Most of the countries of Europe have chosen to treat drug possession and use as a public health problem.  The U.S. has chosen to criminalize these activities.  I’m not getting into an argument about legalizing various drugs in our …

Why Do Judges Wear Robes??

colin.nelson.smallfileIt’s so common to see every judge walk up to the bench with black robes flapping around their legs that we don’t even wonder why they wear those robes.  At least in America the judges wear plain robes unlike England where the judges have colored collars, stripes on the sleeves, furry things around their necks, and funny wigs.…

FLASHOVER — My New Book is Out

I’m  excited to announce that my third book, Flashover will be published on Sept. 1, 2013!Flashover Cover_Layout 1

Like my previous books, this is a suspense crime novel set in Minneapolis.  The main character is a young, female prosecutor named Zehra who is ambitious to become a judge.  She is assigned a case of an alleged arsonist and hopes a …

Incompetent to Stand Trial??

What?  Yet another way for a criminal to “get off” because of some mental problem??colin.nelson.smallfile

In past posts, I’ve written about the recent effort on the part of defense lawyers in various cases around the country to have their clients be found not guilty by reason of insanity.  I’ve discussed the standard that is used in almost all …

James Holmes–Part III

Okay.  I thought two short posts about a mental illness defense in the James Holmes case in Colorado would be enough.  But. . .NO!  You may recall Mr. Holmes was the man who armed himself and walked into a theater in Colorado, opened fire, and killed several people.  Originally, his lawyers had said he would plead not guilty