We’ve been writing for years about Dakota County Attorney Jim Backstrom.
Mostly in the context of his pattern of lying about the law – in this case, about Stand Your Ground law proposals. He’s repeatedly written op-eds about the law which completely misrepresent current and proposed law – making me wonder out loud how it is that a county attorney can be allowed to actively mislead the population about the law, like we’re a bunch of suspects under interrogation.
So with that context in mind, I suppose it’s good, if disturbing, to know that Backstrom does the same thing to other government employees. Backstrom’s strong-arming of a Medical Examiner was behind the throwing out of the conviction of Nicole Beecroft, who was convicted of stabbing her baby to death in 2007. I’ve added some emphasis:
However, medical examiners disagreed on whether the baby was already dead at the time of the stabbing. Beecroft’s attorneys struggled to convince the dissenting medical examiners to participate in the defense, in part because the medical examiners feared they would be fired, the Supreme Court found.
The Court’s opinion, written by Justice Paul Anderson, cited emails sent by Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom to Dakota County Medical Examiner Lindsey Thomas in which Backstrom argued that it would be a conflict of interest for Dakota County medical examiners to work with defense attorneys. “If you wish to be a defense expert, you should not be a public official representing Dakota County as our coroner,” Backstrom wrote in a Nov. 5, 2008 email.
And just like Stand Your Ground – Backstrom is either ignorant of the law, or counting on his
subjects constituents co-workers being ignorant about it:
State law says medical examiners are independent and can testify for either the prosecution or the defense. Most of the state’s roughly two dozen forensic pathologists work for local counties. If medical examiners could not testify for the defense, the Supreme Court opinion noted, defendants would have to request expensive help from medical examiners in other states.
So think about this, voters of Dakota County.
You’re smart people. You have a pretty successful county.
Can’t you do better than this?
Just saying, any of you attorneys out there who might be thinking about running against Backstrom next chance you get; let me know how I can help.