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“It has not had a profound impact in delaying the criminal calendar,” said Pat Kittridge, chief public defender in Ramsey County. “It just means our lawyers are stressed to provide service to their traditional case load as well as accommodate the specialized needs of these cases.”
Kittridge and William Ward, chief public defender in Hennepin County, said they’re trying to catch up with the trend by providing training. The state public defender’s office is also hoping to add a financial crimes attorney to its trial team, which responds to the most-complicated cases across Minnesota, by the end of the summer.
“If we’re not trained to do these types of cases,” Ward said, “it’s a disservice to our client.”
Prosecutors are also rapidly trying to build expertise.
“A big part of it is not to be intimidated by a big pile of papers and not being afraid to say to the investigator, ‘Huh?’ ” said Ristad, who did not have specialized training before he took over Ramsey County attorney’s financial crimes cases. “It’s been a challenge, but it hasn’t been insurmountable.”
Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708