On Thursday, June 27, 2024, StarTribune reported that the Minnesota Board on Judicial Standards publicly reprimanded Judge Matthew Quinn over orders he issued in October 2022 regarding felons’ voting rights.

According to the Board’s reprimand, Judge Quinn of central Minnesota declared new state legislation unconstitutional without cause in a series of sentencing orders. The law aimed to restore voting eligibility to former felons no longer incarcerated by removing probation status as a limiting factor. Ignoring this statute, Judge Quinn prohibited at least six individuals on felony probation from registering, attempting to vote, or going to the polls in forthcoming elections. The identical orders threatened prosecution if defied.

The moves greatly exceeded Judge Quinn’s legal authority and directly contradicted the Minnesota election law passed by the legislature. They unfairly restricted the voting participation of people no longer imprisoned. The Board reprimanded Judge Quinn for deliberate noncompliance, failing to uphold or properly apply relevant voting statutes. In stepping outside his role to independently veto the law, Judge Quinn acted inappropriately on his own initiative rather than defer to the democratic process.

The reprimand followed the Minnesota Court of Appeals already overturning Judge Quinn’s supplemental sentencing orders in November 2023. The higher court ruled he lacked jurisdiction to issue such voter restrictions. Complaints from DFL officials also prompted the Board’s investigation of the judge’s conduct, flouting the voters’ rights reform.

This wasn’t the first time Judge Quinn received admonishment from the Board. In 2021, he was publicly reprimanded separately for inappropriately liking partisan political posts and pages on Facebook as a sitting judge.

 

 

Source: StarTribune