Our story about the RNC 8 has generated a lot of comments and controversy, both at our site and at others where it's been syndicated (sometimes in whole, which is itself a controversy in journalism circles). Much of it has criticized the county attorney's office for prosecuting the RNC for terrorism-- possible because of Minnesota's version of the Patriot Act-- which adds 50 percent to their sentences if convicted.
It didn't make it into the story, but Jack Rhodes, the spokesman for Ramsey County Attorney's Office talked about how the office was just prosecuting according to the statutes available. It's not their responsibility to decide which statutes to follow and which to ignore, he said. That's decided by the legislative branch.
The statute in question is the Minnesota Anti-Terrorism Act -- HF 2622 -- and was passed in 2002, it's commonly referred to as Minnesota's Patriot Act.
Here's a summary: http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/hrd/issinfo/ssmatact.htm#1
Here's more: http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/hrd/bs/82/HF2622.html
It was written by state Reps John Tuma and Rich Stanek.
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