Sunday, April 7, 2013
April is recognized in the United States as National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
- PUBLIC SAFETY
Sunday, April 7
Editor's Note: The following is a news release from the Washington County Attorney's Office. April is recognized in the United States as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Across the country, media outlets regularly report on situations of horrific abuse or neglect of children. Unfortunately, as we’ve become accustomed to sensationalism in our news, it has become all too easy to gloss over these stories and headlines. We don’t want to be reminded that every day, local county and tribal agencies must respond to reports of maltreatment of children in our own communities. In 2010: In 2011, statistics show that at least five children died every day as a result of child abuse in America. The problem isn’t limited to the immediate, horrible …
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Byron Smith is charged with second-degree murder in the deaths of Haile Kifer and Nicholas Brady, two cousins who were repeatedly shot after they broke into Smith’s home in Little Falls on Thanksgiving Day.
The Washington County Attorney's Office will prosecute the Little Falls homicide case of a 64-year-old man who is accused of shooting two teens who broke into his home on Thanksgiving. Orput told the Pioneer Press the Minnesota County Attorneys Association called him on behalf of the Morrison County attorney's office to ask if he’d try the case. The case, the president of the county attorneys association told Orput, is that the case would be contentious because of the gun issue. "If that's a challenge,” Orput told the Pioneer Press, “I want it.” Morrison County will pay per diem for mileage, meals and rooms if necessary, Orput told Stillwater Patch on Wednesday. “The attorney time is not billed, but county attorneys routinely take conflict…
Thursday, December 27, 2012
How can these tragedies be avoided? Simple: follow the law, says Pete Orput.
Thursday, December 27, 2012
The month of December has been devastating for at least two families in the Twin Cities. Both families had a child find a gun in the home and shoot his sibling. One of those cases ended with a 4-year-old shooting his 2-year-old brother to death; the other involved a 2-year-old shot by his 9-year-old brother while the parents were away. Unfortunately, these cases are neither rare nor confined to our communities. In fact, a cursory Google search for toddler gunshot deaths just this month shows kids accidentally killing their siblings in Texas, Tennessee, Colorado and California. How can these tragedies be avoided? Simple: follow the law! In Minnesota it is a gross misdemeanor to negligently store or leave a loaded firearm in a location where…
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
With summer parties on the horizon, Washington County Attorney Pete Orput gives a warning for a safe and healthy graduation.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
With high school graduation rapidly approaching, parents need to be reminded that it is a crime to provide minors with alcohol or a place to drink alcohol. Though some teens drink without experiencing any lasting consequences, the activity is extremely risky. Alcohol consumption causes the death of about 5,000 American teenagers every year. These deaths are unnecessary and are often caused by the adults who provide minors with alcohol or allow underage drinking parties to occur. Those adults who encourage underage drinking are harming children and also exposing themselves to both criminal and civil liability. Some parents mistakenly believe that teen alcohol consumption is inevitable and allow it to occur under their watch. However, public…
Monday, February 27, 2012
The East Metro Crime Prevention Coalition will include resources from Washington, Dakota and Ramsey counties.
County officials from across the East Metro area have announced the creation of a new initiative aimed at fighting crime at the regional level while engaging communities at the local level. According to a release from the newly annointed East Metro Crime Prevention Coalition, Washington, Dakota and Ramsey counties have designed the partnership to be "a unique multi-jurisdictional initiative to unify and share crime prevention strategies and resources to achieve better outcomes for our community." No details were given as to whether the coalition would have powers of enforcement similar to a task force or whether it will be merely analytical in nature. The Coalition has scheduled a press conference for Tuesday (Feb. 28) at 12:15 p.m. Law …
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Washington County Attorney Pete Orput, launched a new Veterans Court diversion program that is designed to address the underlying psychological issues that have led an increasing number of combat veterans into run-ins with the law.
For veterans who find themselves embattled in the Washington County criminal justice system, help has arrived. Washington County Attorney Pete Orput, a Vietnam combat veteran, launched a new Veterans Court diversion program on Monday that is designed to address the underlying psychological issues that have led an increasing number of combat veterans into run-ins with the law. “We don’t leave any troops on the battlefield," said John Baker, a 22-year Marine Corps veteran and White Bear Lake defense attorney. "We take care of ourselves, and that’s what this program does.” For the cases that fit the bill for Veterans Court will be heard on the first Friday morning of the month in Washington County District Court in Stillwater. Before the …
Hector Matascastillo, a former Army Ranger, spoke about how important Veterans Court programs, like the one Washington County launched Monday, are for vets who find themselves embattled in the criminal justice system.
Eight years ago, former Army Ranger, Hector Matascastillo, found himself standing in front of his home, armed with two unloaded pistols, and surrounded by eight Lakeville police officers. “January 24, 2004, that was my intersection with the criminal justice system,” Matascastillo, who served in 13 military deployments said Monday morning at the unveiling of the Washington County Veterans Court diversion program. That night, Matascastillo, 39, of St. Paul said he went into a disassociative state of mind due to post traumatic stress disorder that hadn’t been treated—other than self medicating—and wound up in his front yard in an armed standoff in the midst of a flashback. “In my mind I was engaging one individual after clearing a room,” he …
Dan Hanson says veterans diversion programs like the one launched Monday in Washington County are critical to help veterans who have stumbled after returning home from combat.
Dan Hanson and two of his brothers joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 2004. They were sent off on an intense deployment to Iraq where their unit lost 35 guys—including one to suicide. “We came back and didn’t really talk about it,” said Hanson, now a veterans advocate and member of the Lake Elmo Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Program. “We kept moving forward and got ready for the next deployment.” They went on their next deployment and when Hanson got out of the Marine Corps in 2007, his brother, a fellow Marine, killed himself. One of Hanson’s good buddies followed suit. “I was at the point where I just shut everything off,” Hanson said. “I dove into drugs and alcohol pretty deep, got in trouble with the law, spent some time in and out of jail and…
Monday, January 30, 2012
Washington County Attorney Pete Orput supports the bill that passed through a House committee last week that would allow a county attorney or assistant county attorney the right to to carry a firearm while on duty.
The House Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committee approved a bill last week that would allow a county attorney or assistant county attorney to carry a firearm while on duty, provided they have a state-issued permit to carry. State statute currently prohibits local government employees, other than licensed peace officers, from carrying firearms. Washington County Attorney Pete Orput was at the Capitol on Thursday supporting the bill. “It’s a real fairness thing,” Orput said. “County Attorneys are on the job 24/7, and the assistant county attorneys are often times on duty for weeks at a time. That means we cannot carry a firearm even if we are trained.” The proposed bill would give county attorneys and assistant …