All Quiet on the MNSC Appeal Front

A relatively quiet week ensued, after the Election Contest Court's Monday ruling, but a few pertinent if seemingly unrelated events did transpire. I'll cover two events, as reported by the two major Minnesota papers, and present the time frame for Norm Coleman's potential appeal to the MN Supreme Court.

Our first event features a meeting between Norm Coleman and the Minneapolis Star Tribune's Editorial Board. The meeting took place on April 16th, and a small portion of the video has been posted online at the Star Tribune website. The excerpt shows Norm Coleman visibly upset over the Star Tribune's conduct, with regard to the allegations of money laundering, in the days directly preceding the election. I covered the allegations back in November, if you're curious about the back story.

It'll be interesting to see if the Star Tribune alters their reporting procedures in the coming weeks to make amends; even though they already tend to lean right.

Our next story involves another act of vandalism levied against Norm Coleman's house; as reported by the Pioneer Press:

St. Paul police are investigating after eggs were thrown at former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman's house in the Crocus Hill neighborhood.

It happened about 9:20 p.m. Tuesday, according to a police report that recorded the incident as misdemeanor criminal damage to property.

After eggs had hit the front door of Coleman's home in the 600 block of Osceola Avenue, a resident of the home saw a man who appeared to be in his 20s outside, said Peter Panos, police spokesman. The report didn't say who the resident was or whether Coleman was home, Panos said today.

The resident then saw the man throw a few more eggs, Panos said. The number of eggs thrown wasn't in the report, he said. The egg thrower wasn't caught, Panos said.

Coleman said Wednesday that a young man had bicycled past his home this week and thrown eggs at him.


Republican Coleman has said he will appeal this week's court ruling that Democrat Al Franken won last year's U.S. Senate race.

Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press

I don't know if this is particularly important, but it happened, so I'm reporting it. The last line of the excerpt does however provide a perfect segue. Norm Coleman, lost his election contest, and now he has the opportunity to appeal the ECC's ruling; which he has indicated he will do. Let's began by looking at the relevant law proscribing the time frame in which an appeal must occur:

Subd. 4.Appeal.

The judge's decision may be appealed to the Supreme Court no later than ten days after its entry in the case of a general election contest or five days after its entry in the case of a primary contest. The record on appeal must be made, certified, and filed in the Supreme Court within 15 days after service of notice of appeal. The appellant shall file in the district court a bond of $500 for the payment of respondent's costs if appellant fails on appeal. The appeal from an election contest relating to the office of state senator or representative takes precedence over all other matters before the Supreme Court. A copy of the decision must be forwarded to the chief clerk of the house of representatives or the secretary of the senate, as appropriate.

Source: § 209.10, 2008 Minnesota Statutes

We know that Coleman has "ten days" to appeal, but the above article makes no reference to calendar days, business days or whatever; so the question then becomes, when does the tenth day occur? Another Minnesota Statute seems to outline the proper interpretation:

6.01 Computation

In computing any period of time prescribed or allowed by these rules, by the local rules of any district court, by order of court, or by any applicable statute, the day of the act, event, or default from which the designated period of time begins to run shall not be included. The last day of the period so computed shall be included, unless it is a Saturday, a Sunday, or a legal holiday, or, when the act to be done is the filing of a paper in court, a day on which weather or other conditions have made the office of the court administrator inaccessible, in which event the period runs until the end of the next day which is not one of the aforementioned days. When the period of time prescribed or allowed is less than seven days, intermediate Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays shall be excluded in the computation. As used in this rule and in Rule 77(c), "legal holiday" includes any holiday defined or designated by statute.

Source: Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure

The ten day appeal period began on Tuesday, April 14th because the day of the ruling, Monday, "shall not be included." It's not clear whether the judgment was actually legally entered on Monday, as MN Rule 58.01 dictates that order "shall be entered forthwith by the court administrator", which may or may not be the date of filing. There may exist other legal contingencies that could extend the start date for the appeal window. If we assume that the judgment took effect on Monday April 13th, that makes the tenth day Thursday, April 23th as weekends and legal holidays are included because the prescribed time is more than seven days. Therefore, the Notice of Appeal must be filled on or before Thursday, April, 23; unless weather or other extenuating circumstances arise which facilitate the closure of the court offices. In this event, the Notice of Appeal must be filed on the next day the court office is open and this "next day" cannot be a weekend or a legal holiday.

If the judgment was entered on Tuesday, Wednesday becomes the first day, and the final deadline then becomes Friday, April 24th; barring closure due to weather, etc.

I doubt, the Coleman campaign is in a hurry to file their appeal, my guess is at least Wednesday. In the mean time, Franken will still not be seated in the US Senate without an Election Certificate which, according to MN § 204C.40, cannot be issued until after "a court of proper jurisdiction has finally determined the contest." In the case of an appeal, this would be the MN Supreme Court.

If by next Thursday (or Friday), an appeal is not filed by the Coleman campaign, a Minnesota Election Certificate could be legally issued to Al Franken.

Update [9:31 PM CT]: I clarified some of the appeal deadlines and accounted for other contingencies that could alter the window for appeal.

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