Representative Cases

 

Felony Theft by Swindle Dismissed and Daycare Fraud Dismissed (2016)

Case Name: State of Minnesota v. M.O.

Charges: Several Counts of Theft by Swindle and Daycare Fraud

Outcome: Case Dismissed by Prosecutor after Motion to Dismiss Filed by Defense

M.O. was charged with several counts of felony theft by swindle and daycare fraud in Hennepin County. The state alleged that M.O. conspired with others to charge Hennepin County and the State of Minnesota for children who were not in attendance at the daycare. The state alleged that the fraud involved hundreds of thousands of dollars. Mr. Sicoli reviewed the thousands of documents in the case, and filed a Motion to Dismiss, arguing that the state’s evidence was insufficient to prove a theft. After Mr. Sicoli filed his motion, the state dismissed the case in its entirety.

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Order for Protection Dismissed and Declination of Felony Rape and Stalking Charges (2015)

Case Name: State of Minnesota v. O.S.

Charges: Felony Rape and Stalking Allegations

Outcome: Dismissal of Order for Protection and Declination of Criminal Charges

O.S.’s former girlfriend filed an Order for Protection (OFP) against O.S. alleging that he forcibly raped her several times when they were dating in high school, and stalked her after they broke- up. The matter was also forwarded to the Carver County Sheriff’s Office for a criminal investigation. O.S. just graduated from high school and was admitted to the Naval Academy. If he lost the Order for Protection and/or was prosecuted by the state, he would not be allowed to enter the Naval Academy.

Mr. Sicoli requested a hearing on the OFP.  At the OFP hearing, Mr. Sicoli’s vigorous cross-examination of the complaining witness, as well as witnesses he called to testify for O.S. clearly indicated that the complaining witness was lying because she had a vendetta against O.S. after he broke- up with her. After the hearing, the judge issued an order dismissing the OFP, finding that the complaining witness was not credible. After the hearing, the prosecutor also declined to file criminal charges against O.S. Mr. Sicoli’s thorough representation of O.S. not only won the case, but also allowed O.S. to enter the naval academy on schedule.

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Felon in Possession of a Firearm Dismissed (2015)

Case Name: United States v. S. S. (U.S. District Court)

Charges: Felon in Possession of a Firearm

Outcome: Dismissal

Bob Sicoli’s client S.S. was charged in Federal Court with one count of Felon in Possession of a Firearm.  S.S. was wanted for a parole violation.  The government agents were tipped off that S.S. was going to be at a house in Thief River Falls, MN.  The agents had surveillance at the house, and saw S.S. come to the house carrying a cooler.  When the agents tried to arrest S.S., he fled into the house carrying the cooler.  The agents went into the house and arrested S.S.  After they arrested S.S. and took him out of the house, the agents searched the closed cooler without first obtaining a warrant, and found a firearm in the cooler.  Since S.S. had several previous felonies on his record, he was charged in Federal Court with being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm, which carried a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison.

After reviewing the police reports, Bob filed a Motion to Suppress the firearm on the grounds that the agents searched the cooler without a warrant, and no exception to the warrant requirement applied.  During the hearing on the Motion to Suppress, Bob expertly cross-examined the three government agents who testified, showing that they had no grounds to search the cooler without first obtaining a warrant.  After the hearing, Bob submitted a Memorandum of Law in Support of the Motion to Suppress.  After reviewing Bob’s memorandum, the Government agreed with Bob’s position and filed a Motion to Dismiss the case, which was granted by the Court.  Due to Bob’s stellar efforts on behalf of his client, S.S. was released from custody, and did not have to serve 15 years in prison, which would have been his sentence if he was convicted.

Court Order to Dismiss
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Not Guilty Verdict in Felony Assault Case (2014)

Case Name: State v. T.Z.

Charges: Assault in the 2nd Degree & Terroristic Threats

Outcome: Not Guilty Verdict

In Hennepin County, Bob’s client was charged with Felony Second Degree Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Felony Terroristic Threats. The client had allegedly gone over to his neighbor’s house, waved a gun at her, and threatened her, in an attempt to get her to pay him for a car accident she caused.

At the trial, Bob raised several motions including one to suppress a client statement which was approved and upheld by the Judge. At the trial Bob effectively cross-examined the alleged victim on numerous inconsistencies and effectively questioned the police officers’ inadequate investigation and blind belief of the alleged victim.

The jury returned a Not Guilty Verdict on both counts.
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Not Guilty Verdict in Arson Trial (2014)

Case Name: State v. X.X.

Charges: First Degree Arson

Outcome: Not Guilty Verdict

Our client was charged with First Degree Arson in Becker County, Minnesota. The government sought a prison term of 57 months. Bob knew from the start there was something wrong with the government’s version of the story. He hired a fire expert and tried the case before the jury. After very little deliberation, the client was found not guilty. After the verdict, one of the jurors told Bob that the government’s witnesses were not credible after his cross-examination. He also told Bob that his hired expert was fantastic, and all of the jurors believed what he said.
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Federal Prosecutors Decline Criminal Charges (2013)

Case Name: United States v. R.S.

Charges: None, but potentially Federal Tax Evasion Charges

Outcome: Minnesota U.S. Attorney’s Office Declines to File Criminal Charges

Bob’s client owned a bar in Mankato, Minnesota. The Criminal Investigation Division of the IRS executed a search warrant at his bar, taking all of his records. The allegation was that the client had not declared over $450,000 in income from the bar on his tax returns over a 5-year period. To support its position, the IRS analyzed the cash register tapes to show gaps in the amount of sales rung up, and also the fact that the client had deposited over $450,000 in cash into his bank accounts over this time period to be used to build a new house. The IRS recommended criminal prosecution of the client. Through an extensive investigation by Bob and his investigator, a former IRS Criminal Investigation Division agent, the defense was able to show alternative sources for the cash deposited, and was also able to show that the cash register tapes were not accurate, and therefore could not be used to determine unreported income. The Assistant U.S. Attorney assigned to bring charges declined to file charges as a result of the defense investigation, over the objections of the IRS. In addition, the government also decided not to pursue civil collection, so Bob’s client was not only never charged with a criminal offense, but did not have to defend in civil tax court.

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Judge Dismisses Abuse/Neglect of a Vulnerable Adult Case Against Home Health Nurse (2013)

Case Name: State v. S.G.

Charges: Abuse of a Vulnerable Adult

Outcome: Case Dismissed

A home health nurse, was charged in Hennepin County District Court with abuse/neglect of a vulnerable adult. The allegation in the criminal complaint was that Bob’s client did not report the cluttered and filthy condition in which a terminally ill patient was living at the patient’s home. The patient subsequently died, and one of the allegations was that the clutter and filth contributed to his death. Bob filed a Motion to Dismiss the Criminal Complaint, arguing that failure to report the cluttered and filthy conditions under which the patient lived was not abuse or neglect because the patient was able to take care of his daily living needs, and therefore, Bob’s client had no obligation under the law to report it to the authorities. Bob filed a lengthy and detailed Memorandum in Support of the Motion to Dismiss, and orally argued the Motion to the Court in a lengthy hearing. The judge agreed with the defense’s position and dismissed the case.

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Jury Acquits in Bribery Case (2012)

Case Name: State v. C.R.

Charges: Bribery

Outcome: Not Guilty Verdict

In Lyon County, the client was charged for allegedly bribing an alleged victim and a witness in a first degree assault case involving her boyfriend. The allegation in the criminal complaint was that the client offered the victim of the assault and his best friend $50,000, if they would drop the charges.  Bob’s client was found not guilty of all charges after a jury trial. The jury deliberated for less than 2 hours before finding Bob’s client not guilty of all the charges.

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Jury Acquits on Felony Charge (2010)

Case Name: State v. J.H.

Charges: Felony Criminal Vehicular Operation

Outcome: Not Guilty Verdict on Felony

In Beltrami County, our client was charged with felony criminal vehicular operation involving a boating accident on Cass Lake. The allegation by the government was that J.H. drove his boat in a negligent manner with a blood alcohol concentration in excess of .08, and caused the boating accident. There were 8 people on the other boat, including children. One of the children was thrown from the boat and suffered a broken jaw. J.H.’s blood alcohol concentration taken three hours after the accident was .17. Bob successfully argued that while J.H.’s alcohol concentration was likely higher than .08 at the time of the accident, the driver of the other boat caused the accident, so J.H. was not guilty of felony criminal vehicular operation. The jury agreed and found him not guilty of criminal vehicular operation, and found him guilty of the lesser charge of misdemeanor boating while intoxicated.
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Jury Acquits in Criminal Sexual Conduct Case (2007)

Case Name: State v. J.L.

Charges: Felony Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

Outcome: Not Guilty Verdict

In Carver County, Bob’s client—a female teacher—was found not guilty of criminal sexual conduct in the third degree for allegedly engaging in oral sex with a 17-year-old male student. The government argued that although J.L. was not the male student’s teacher, she was a teacher at the school and therefore was in a position of authority over the student. Bob argued that J.L. was not in a position of authority over the male student because she was not his teacher and the alleged sexual conduct occurred outside of the school grounds. He also argued that the government failed to prove the sexual contact beyond a reasonable doubt. The jury agreed, finding the client not guilty on all criminal charges.
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Jury Acquits in Criminal Vehicular Homicide Case (2007)

Case Name: State v. D.T.

Charges: Criminal Vehicular Homicide

Outcome: Not Guilty Verdict on Felony

In Rice County, a client was charged with criminal vehicular homicide. The client was a farmer who was towing a farm implement machine on the back of his pick-up truck from Iowa where he had purchased the machine. The farm implement machine was wider than allowed without special lights and/or an escort. He was almost home when he went across a bridge that was not wide enough. It was dark out. A 22-year-old woman was driving the other way and was crossing the bridge at the same time. She hit the farm implement machine and died at the scene of the accident. Bob argued that his client’s actions in not having an escort or the proper lighting on his vehicle did not constitute the gross negligence necessary to support the charge of felony criminal vehicular homicide, but at most constituted negligence, which would support the charge of misdemeanor careless driving. The jury agreed, acquitting Bob’s client of the felony criminal vehicular operation charge, and convicting him of a lesser charge of misdemeanor careless driving. If he had been found guilty of the criminal vehicular homicide charge, he would have been sentenced to prison for 86 months. The judge sentenced the client on the misdemeanor charge to 60 days in jail with work release privileges granted.
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Jury Acquits in Assault Case (2007)

Case Name: State v. M.T.

Charges: Felony Second Degree Assault

Outcome: Not Guilty Verdict

In Hennepin County, our client was found not guilty by a jury of Felony Second Degree Assault. The government alleged that the client pointed a loaded handgun at a legal process server who was serving a conciliation court summons and complaint on him at his home. The client admitted that he pointed the gun at the process server, but only after the process server was staking out his home, would not tell him who he was and why he was there despite repeated requests, and would not let him reenter his house. Bob successfully argued that his client’s actions in pointing the gun at the process server were justified under the circumstances in order for him to defend himself and to defend against the trespass of the process server on his property.
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Federal Jury Acquits in Burglary, Assault Case (2004)

Case Name: United States v. R.E.

Charges: Burglary, Assault

Outcome: Not Guilty Verdict

In the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, Bob’s client was charged with six counts of burglary and assault, alleging that he and three other people broke into an occupied home on an Indian reservation and severely beat and robbed the residents of the home. Two of the co-defendants testified against the client at trial. Bob argued that the government failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that his client was one of the four people who broke into the residence, and suggested to the jury that the fourth person was the brother of the only co-defendant who did not testify against R.E. at trial. The jury acquitted defendant of all six counts.
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Minnesota Supreme Court Reverses Conviction, Orders New Trial in Assault Case (2003)

Case Name: State v. Reiners

Charges: Appeal in First Degree Assault Case

Outcome: Conviction Reversed, New Trial Granted

In State v. Reiners, 664 N.W.2d 826 (Minn. 2003), the Minnesota Supreme Court reversed the client’s conviction, holding that the defense should have been allowed to strike an African American juror from the jury panel.

Bob’s client was accused of hitting his employee with a board and charged with First Degree Assault. At trial in 2001, the client wished to strike an African American juror who had extensive exposure to law enforcement and had wished to become a police officer. The prosecutor objected, arguing that the strike was due to the juror being African American. The court agreed, denying the strike. The jury ultimately convicted the client.

Bob appealed the trial court’s denial of his strike and the Minnesota Court of Appeals agreed, stating that the strike was due to race-neutral considerations and should have been allowed. The Court of Appeals reversed the conviction and said that Bob’s client was entitled to a new trial. The government then appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court, but the Supreme Court agreed with Bob, upholding the conviction reversal and order for a new trial.

See the Minnesota Supreme Court opinion
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Federal Prosecutors Decline Charging (2003)

Case Name: United States v. B.E. (Minnesota company)

Charges: None, but potentially Federal Felony Environmental Dumping and Mail Fraud charges

Outcome: Charges Avoided

In the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana, Mr. Sicoli represented a Minnesota company that was retained by B.E. in an environmental dumping case. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Montana declined prosecution of the Minnesota company after the extensive investigation by Bob’s defense team was provided to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Montana.
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Minnesota Supreme Court Reverses Sentence in Criminal Sexual Conduct Case (2001)

Case Name: State v. Grossman

Charges: Appeal in First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct Case

Outcome: Sentence Reversed

In State v. Grossman, 636 N.W.2d 545 (Minn. 2001), the Minnesota Supreme Court held that Minnesota’s patterned sex offender statutes’ sentencing provisions are unconstitutional if the sentence exceeds the statutory maximum, unless the issue of whether the defendant is a patterned sex offender is submitted to the jury.

The defendant, prior to hiring Mr. Sicoli, was charged and found guilty of multiple counts of First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct, attempted Second Degree Murder, First Degree Assault, and Third Degree Assault. The statutory maximum sentenced was 30 years. At sentencing, the trial court enhanced the defendant’s sentence to 40 years on the First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct offense.

Bob did not represent the defendant at the trial court level, but was hired by the family to appeal the sentence. He argued that the trial court cannot sentence a defendant above the statutory maximum without a jury making specific findings. The Minnesota Court of Appeals agreed, holding that the jury must make findings to impose such a sentence, reversed the sentence, and imposed a sentence of 30 years, rather than the 40 years imposed by the trial court. The government appealed. The Minnesota Supreme Court and agreed with Mr. Sicoli and the Court of Appeals.

See the Minnesota Supreme Court opinion
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Federal Felony Case Resolved as Misdemeanor (1998)

Case Name: United States v. M.R.

Charges: Federal Felony Environmental Offenses

Outcome: Felony Charge Pled to Misdemeanor

In the U.S. District Court for the District of Wisconsin, Bob’s client was under investigation for federal felony environmental crimes. After extensive investigation by the defense team, which was provided to the government, a plea agreement was reached in which the client pled guilty to a federal misdemeanor offense, with a sentence of only 8 months home detention with work release privileges granted, and no jail time imposed.

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Jury Acquittal in Criminal Sexual Conduct Case (1996)

Case Name: State v. B.Z.

Charges: Felony First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

Outcome: Not Guilty Verdict

In Anoka County, our client was acquitted by a jury on charges of sexually abusing his six-year-old daughter. Bob successfully argued that the child’s mother, who B.Z. was divorcing, had created the abuse allegations in her daughter’s mind to gain sole custody of the child. The jury agreed, acquitting the client after only 1.5 hours of deliberation.

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Jury Acquits on Assault Charges (1996)

Case Name: State v. R.H.

Charges: Assault

Outcome: Not Guilty Verdict

In Hennepin County, the client, a security guard at a high school, was acquitted by a jury of assault charges involving a student.
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Jury Acquits in Criminal Sexual Conduct Case (1994)

Case Name: State v. R.L.

Charges: Felony Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct (multiple counts)

Outcome: Not Guilty Verdict

In McLeod County, a high school band teacher was found not guilty by a jury of having sexual intercourse with a 17-year-old female student on two occasions, even though he admitted to the sexual contact. Bob successfully argued to the jury that R.L. did not use his position of authority to get the student to submit to his sexual advances, and therefore was not guilty of Felony Third Degree Sexual Conduct. The jury agreed, finding the defendant not guilty of all counts.
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Jury Acquits in Criminal Sexual Conduct Case (1993)

Case Name: State v. B.G.

Charges: First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

Outcome: Not Guilty Verdict

 In Hennepin County, Mr. Sicoli’s client was found not guilty by a jury of several counts of criminal sexual conduct. The government alleged that the client had sexual intercourse with his 13-year-old neighbor on several occasions. Bob argued that the neighbor made up the allegations in retribution for his client getting her in trouble with her parents for dating and having sex with another juvenile. The jury agreed, acquitting defendant of all charges.
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Minnesota Court of Appeals Affirms Dismissal of Charges in Criminal Vehicular Homicide Case (1991)

Case Name: State v. Miller

Charges: Appeal in Criminal Vehicular Homicide Case

Outcome: Dismissal of Charges Affirmed

In State v. Miller, 471 N.W.2d 380 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991), the Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of three counts of criminal vehicular homicide on the grounds that the defendant’s conduct did not rise to the level of gross negligence required by the statute.

Our client was charged by Indictment with three counts of Criminal Vehicular Operation, among other charges. The grand jury voted to indict the client by a vote of 13 to 9. At the trial court level. Mr. Sicoli challenged probable cause of the charges. The trial court dismissed the charges, concluding that there was no probable cause that the client’s conduct arose to the level of gross negligence. Thus, the trial court believed that the government could not prove its case. The government appealed the dismissal of the charges, but the Minnesota Court of Appeals agreed with the trial court. If the Defendant had been convicted of the criminal vehicular homicide charges, he would likely have been sentenced to several years in prison.

See the Minnesota Court of Appeals opinion
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Minnesota Court of Appeals Affirms Dismissal of Perjury Charges (1989)

Case Name: State v. Rhines

Charges: Appeal in Perjury Case

Outcome: Dismissal Affirmed

In State v. Rhines, 435 N.W.2d 542 (Minn. Ct. App. 1989), the Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of perjury charges on the grounds that statements of the defendant made in a plea of guilty, later withdrawn, cannot be used to prosecute defendant for perjury.

Client was charged with one count of Perjury for allegedly making false statements during a plea of guilty, which was later withdrawn. At trial in 1988, the trial court granted attorney’s motions to suppress client’s statements made during the plea of guilty, to suppress statements made during the plea withdrawal hearing, and to dismiss the complaint for lack of probable cause. The State appealed. The Minnesota Court of Appeals held that the State could not appeal the trial court’s decisions and that the client could not be retried for Perjury.

See the Minnesota Court of Appeals opinion
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