Lawhead to argue case before Minn. Supreme Court

Published 7:44 am Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Brandon V. Lawhead of the Lawhead Law Offices on West Oakland Avenue in Austin will argue before the Minnesota Supreme Court this morning at the St. Thomas Law School in Minneapolis.

The court will hear his appeal of the Court of Appeals decision in the case of State of Minnesota vs. Scott Ross Hunn, a case regarding the right to counsel for all DWI chemical testing.

“I am personally excited to argue before the Minnesota Supreme Court regarding citizens’ right to an attorney at the chemical testing phase in a criminal case,” Lawhead said. “The Minnesota Supreme Court only accepts about 10 percent of the petitions to be heard before the Supreme Court. This means that the Minnesota Supreme Court will be making a decision that will have a significant impact on citizens in the State of Minnesota.”

“This decision very well could have a national impact. Many lawyers throughout the state of Minnesota have been contacting me about this.”
– Brandon Lawhead

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Scott Ross Hunn was arrested on Feb. 21, 2016, after a Mower County deputy stopped him for failing to stop at a stop sign. Hunn submitted to a urine test, which came back with a 0.04 alcohol concentration and tested positive for the presence of methamphetamine and amphetamine. Hunn was then charged with second-degree DWI.

The Mower County District Court, however, dismissed the results of the test at the request of Lawhead, who represented Hunn, because the deputy did not read Hunn the implied-consent advisory, which includes his limited right to counsel prior to submitting to a chemical test. The case of Friedman vs. Commissioner of Public Safety, in which it was determined there was “the right, upon request, to a reasonable opportunity to obtain legal advice before deciding whether to submit to chemical testing,” was cited as legal precedent.

The decision was appealed to the Court of Appeals, with special assistant county attorney Scott Hershey representing the State of Minnesota.

The Court of Appeals reversed the Mower County District Court’s ruling on June 19, 2017, stating that in the Friedman case, “the commissioner of public safety issued Friedman a notice and order of revocation of her driver’s license based on her refusal to take a breath test authorized by the implied-consent law.”

They ruled that because the Hunn case did not involve the possibility of immediate license revocation or criminal prosecution for refusing to take the test, the Mower County District Court erred in its decision.

Lawhead said the case has already attracted attention from across the state.

“This decision very well could have a national impact,” he said. “Many lawyers throughout the State of Minnesota have been contacting me about this.”

“Obviously, as an attorney, I strongly believe that citizens should have a right to be informed, and that the right to counsel is one of our most sacred rights,” he added. “I hope the Minnesota Supreme Court agrees.”