Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Since my Boy Scouts days one of my dream careers has been that of newspaper publisher/editor so when I read today's newspaper I had to wonder if the editor fully intended to place these two articles next to each other? Here are the headlines for you to ponder:

"Broken Wrist Costs County $450,000"


"Police Decide to Delay 20 hires to save money"

In the first article US District Judge John Tunheim (http://www.mnd.uscourts.gov/Tunheim_Mdl/tunheim.htm) approved the attorney fees, costs, and damage awards totaling US$450,000 in a case against a Ramsey County (Minnesota) Sheriff's Deputy. Apparently during an arrest at a bingo hall the deputy broke Deborah King's wrist while arresting her daughter on a theft charge.

Ms. King was awarded US$129,500 while her trial attorneys/ambulance chasers were awarded US$317,000 for their "work".

In the second article the City of Minneapolis (located in Hennepin County which borders Ramsey County) announced that they would delay a plan to hire and train 20 more police officers until 2008 since this year's budget will be US$5.6 million OVER budget.

Since law enforcement budgets consist of a mix of local, state, and federal tax dollars it is not a stretch of logic to state that the excessive trial lawyer fees (billed at $500 per hour) approved by Judge Tunheim have come full circle to hurt the Twin Cities law enforcement infrastructure since the $317,000 awarded in Ramsey County are clearly needed to hire the 20 officers needed in "Murderapolis" (Minneapolis).

An interesting footnote to all of this drama is the fact that Judge Tunheim was appointed by US President Bill "let's put 100,000 cops on the street" Clinton in 1995 --


How Clinton's plan to field 100,000 new police turned into a pork barrel as usual.By Steve Chapman Posted Monday, Nov. 12, 2001, at 3:38 PM ET

Even if Judge Tunheim only approved the fees at this excessive level for only ONE case per year in his 12 years on the bench his total amount awarded to trial lawyers would be -- $3.8 million!!! Clearly the trial lawyers are better paid than the cops in Minnesota.

If we truly had a free market in the USA trial lawyers would not achieve such salary levels.


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