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Assistant DA: No Cap on Protection Order Violations

Posted Jan 7, 2008 1:15 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A Minnesota public defender has asked a court to curb what she deemed an abuse of power by prosecutors who charged her client with 49 counts of violating an order of protection for allegedly calling his girlfriend from jail.

Public defender Carol Weissenborn said the number of charges exaggerated and distorted the charged offenses, the Winona Daily News reports. She said the 606-month sentence offered in a plea bargain was longer than prison time for second-degree murder or a drive-by shooting.

Weissenborn’s client, James Garnett Briggs, is also facing six counts of witness tampering for allegedly sending threatening letters to witnesses in his pending domestic assault case.

Assistant Winona County Attorney Tom Gort defended the charges against James Garnett Briggs.

“The defendant seems to be taking the criminal code as a health insurance policy: You can’t be charged with more crimes when you reach a quota in a year,” Gort told the newspaper. “Obviously, this is not the case.”

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