Q: Were my rights violated?
I was supposed to get a jury trial to decide the outcome of my case, but the judge decided it all instead. Me and my boyfriend had the exact same charges, but he was given a much lighter outcome than me. I'm very confused and feel like I've been messed with a bit.
A: The judge decided it instead? You must've waived your right to a jury trial. That would've occurred in court and on the record. None of us have seen the police reports. So there is no way to determine if the judge "got it right." But presumably, there must've been some difference between what you did and what your boyfriend did if his outcome was more lenient.
A: In Minnesota, everyone accused of a crime by the government has the right to a jury trial. That does not apply to a Minnesota "petty misdemeanor" since that is defined as not-a-crime, and no jail is possible. But for every criminal charge, there will be a jury trial, unless the charge is dismissed, a guilty plea, or unless the defendant waives their right to a jury trial (and agrees to a trial by a judge instead). Every judge I've appeared in front of in Minnesota has gone to great lengths to document the defendant's waiver of a jury orally, on the record of the court reporter; and most also get a written waiver signed by the defendant. My first suggestion would be to discuss this with your lawyer, to see if he or she can help you understand what happened (or did not).
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