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Continued: Tricky case before Minnesota top court: Drunken driver who fled abuser

  • Article by: DAVID CHANEN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: December 13, 2013 - 6:07 AM

“Why is the commissioner using scarce resources to go after this woman?” Anderson asked.

Galus said that he didn’t have an answer, but he argued that the decision to revoke a license can’t be overturned.

A penalty under fire

Galus suggested that if the court rejected his argument, the case should be remanded all the way back to the district court to discuss the necessity defense.

Pacyga countered that the justices had all the information they needed and that “Mrs. Axelberg has suffered through this long enough.”

Pacyga became emotional as he presented his closing argument, saying that there have been several recent high-profile domestic violence cases in Minnesota and that “the commissioner can’t turn a back on these victims.”

As far as the justices’ concern that overturning Axelberg’s case would result in more drunken drivers on the road, Pacyga countered that her case is unique and that applying the necessity defense to implied-consent proceedings would rarely prevail.

“So many things are being done to protect victims of abuse,” he said. “What happened to Jennifer has taken these things a few steps back. She was penalized for saving her own life.”


David Chanen • 612-673-4465

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