State briefs: DWI attorney picked up driving drunk

Published 4:31 pm Saturday, December 10, 2011

ST. PAUL — A Stillwater attorney known for taking drunken driving cases has been arrested for just that.

The 35-year-old Samuel Surface was arrested early Friday in Oakdale in Washington County.

According to a police report, his breath test registered a 0.15 blood-alcohol level. The legal limit to drive in Minnesota is 0.08.

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In a statement, Surface said he was embarrassed and made shortsighted decision. He says he did not follow the advice he gives his clients or heed the warnings he hears in court. He says he is thankful no one was harmed.


Jury gets Ramsey County toddler death case

ST. PAUL — A jury is deliberating whether to convict a 24-year-old Ramsey County woman in the death of her 2-year-old son.

Jessica Dominique Caldwell faces four charges of murder and three charges of manslaughter.

In a separate trial in September, her boyfriend, Demetrius Willis, was convicted on one count of manslaughter but acquitted on other murder and manslaughter charges.

Her attorney, Ira Whitlock, argued Friday she was a good mother who protected and loved her only child, 2-year-old Julian Williams.

The boy died in September 2009 after suffering internal injuries

He theorized the fatal blows came either from Caldwell’s 15-year-old brother, or Willis, who was 21 at the time.

The jury started deliberating on Friday and continued Saturday.


Suit can go forward against Minn. district

MINNEAPOLIS — A judge has ruled that a race discrimination lawsuit over a homecoming dress-up day can continue against Red Wing Public Schools.

Former Red Wing High School student Quera Pruitt, who is African-American, claims officials in the mostly-white school did not prevent students from holding a non-sanctioned homecoming event in 2009 called “Wigger Day,” even though the event had happened before.

The district had moved to dismiss the entire case, but U.S. District Judge David Doty refused. In Friday’s ruling, Doty allowed the lawsuit to go forward on at least one claim. He also dismissed several claims but allowed the former student to amend and re-file those claims.

Pruitt’s lawyer said he’s glad the case is moving forward.

District officials deny they created a racially-hostile environment.