MN Inmate Can't Be Compelled to Discuss Pending Appeal Case in Treatment

Minnesota case law summary by Attorney Richard Clem: self-incrimination.

Ricky James Bedell v. Tom Roy, Commissioner of Corrections. MN self-incrimination

Ricky James Bedell was convicted in Chisago County of aiding and abbetting third-degree assault, and was sentenced to 29 months in prison at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Faribault.

At the correctional facility, he was interviewed for placement in a chemical dependency program. He refused to sign the pre-entry agreement and was disciplined for refusing treatment and had his sentence extended 45 days. He explained that he didn't want to sign any forms because of a pending appeal. A couple of weeks later, he filed a timely appeal of his conviction.

He then filed a petition for habeas corpus in Rice County in which he claimed that he refused to admit and discuss his offense and that he had a Fifth Amendment right to do so. Prison officials took the position that all disclosures during the program would be confidential. The district court denied the petition, and Bedell appealed to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

The Court of Appeals focused on the fact that prison officials had told Bedell that he would be required to talk about his current offense.

The appeals court reversed, holding that the inmante's Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination was violated when he was required, as a condition of participation in the program, to discuss his conviction offense that was on appeal.

No. A14-1077 (Minn. Ct. App. Sept. 15, 2014)

Please see the original opinion for the court's exact language.


Richard P. Clem is an attorney and continuing legal education (CLE) provider in Minnesota. He has been in private practice in the Twin Cities for 25 years. He has a J.D., cum laude, from Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul and a B.A. in History from the University of Minnesota. His reported cases include: Asociacion Nacional de Pescadores a Pequena Escala o Artesanales de Colombia v. Dow Quimica de Colombia, 988 F.2d 559, rehearing denied, 5 F.3d 530 (5th Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1041 (1994); LaMott v. Apple Valley Health Care Center, 465 N.W.2d 585 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991); Abo el Ela v. State, 468 N.W.2d 580 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991).

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