Attorney Joe Tamburino penned an op-ed for the StarTribune on the likelihood of a successful appeal for Kim Potter, the former Brooklyn Center police officer convicted for manslaughter in the death of Daunte Wright. According to his professional opinion, Potter may have strong grounds to appeal her conviction for first-degree manslaughter.
Unlike Potter’s conviction for second-degree manslaughter, the first-degree conviction is tangled in a confusing legal mess. This is because the first-degree conviction was achieved by using a predicate misdemeanor offense (recklessly handling a firearm) that simply hasn’t been used before. The prosecution has, in this way, left the conviction prime for appeal.
“First, recklessly handling a firearm has never been found by Minnesota’s appellate courts to be a proper predicate offense for first-degree manslaughter,” Attorney Tamburino wrote, highlighting a couple of major issues in the case. “Second, recklessly handling a firearm is no longer a crime of violence under Minnesota law — it was removed from the statutory list of crimes of violence in 2003, 18 years before Potter was charged.”
Attorney Tamburino also pointed out how the first-degree manslaughter conviction violated the 1973 Kalvig rule. According to this rule, when two criminal statutes are made of the same elements, the one that is more specific applies.
“In other words, second-degree manslaughter was the more specific statute that encompassed all Potter’s actions,” Attorney Tamburino explained. “The first-degree charge was excessive, unnecessary and legal overkill.”