Stearns County Attorney Janelle Kendall joined me on WJON today.  She explained the difference between state and federal crimes and the difference between misdemeanors and felonies.  Kendall gave some examples of how federal officials became involved in state cases.  Examples included the Jacob Wetterling case involving Danny Heinrich.  She said when the child pornography in Henrich's possession crossed state lines that made the case eligible for federal charges.  Kendall says penalties in federal crimes can often times carry penalties twice that of state penalties.  She says 99% of all cases tried are tried by states.  Listen below.


The difference between misdemeanors and felonies often times depends on the severity of the offense.  Kendall says a crime could start out as a misdemeanor but could evolve into a felony depending on weapons used and intent.  She gave an example of a bar right that can start with pushing or punching and turn into a knifing or an assault with clear intent to harm for severely.  Kendall says both misdemeanors and felonies stay on people's records forever unless they are expunged.

Janelle Kendall testified before the State House Public Safety committee last Friday.  She says is looking to update outdated 40-year laws.  She says St. Cloud's Tama Theis is carrying the updated human trafficking bill in the house and St. Cloud's Aric Putnam is doing so in the Senate.

Stearns County starting March 15 will have judges presiding in person during jury trials.  Kendall says they have been holding socially distanced jury trials but those have lacked the flexibility due to space needed.

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