In each of Minnesota’s 87 counties, a county attorney is elected to handle numerous criminal and civil legal responsibilities. Below is a brief description of the duties of the county attorney‘s office.
The county attorney primarily prosecutes felony crimes (crimes which carry a potential penalty of time in prison) which occur within Todd County. The county attorney also has responsibility for the prosecution of misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors (crimes which carry a maximum penalty of less than one year in jail) that occur outside of incorporated areas as well as in those cities for which the office holds prosecution contracts (Bertha, Clarissa, Eagle Bend, Hewitt, Grey Eagle, Burtrum). Prosecution involves working closely with law enforcement, reviewing the investigation provided by law enforcement officers, filing criminal complaints, presenting cases before a grand jury, representing the state in court hearings and trial, and making sentencing recommendations.
Civil Advice and Litigation
The county attorney is the legal advisor for the county board of commissioners, county officials and county departments. As the legal advisor for the county, the county attorney serves in a role that is similar to that of an in-house corporate counsel. The county attorney also files involuntary commitment actions to provide necessary treatment for individuals who are mentally ill, chemically dependant, or mentally retarded. Additionally, when a family is receiving public assistance, the county attorney brings actions to obtain or enforce child support obligations, or to establish the paternity of a child, in order to obtain reimbursement for assistance and other costs to the taxpayers. The county attorney also starts legal proceedings to protect the health and safety of vulnerable adults within the county when they are in need of assistance.
Juvenile Prosecution and Child Protection
The county attorney is the prosecutor in all cases involving juvenile offenders. These range from curfew violations to the most serious felony criminal behavior for which a juvenile may stand trial as an adult and receive an adult sanction, including a prison sentence. This office also administers a diversion program, which allows juvenile offenders to receive consequences involving less serious offenses without going to court. The program is intended to hold the juvenile accountable and often include educational and restorative justice components to reduce recidivism. The county attorney initiates CHIPS (Child in Need of Protection or Services) petitions to protect abused or neglected children in the county and enforce truancy laws.
Victim and Witness Assistance
County attorneys provide assistance and support to the victims and witnesses who play a vital role in the criminal and juvenile justice systems. They advise crime victims of their legal rights, request restitution for losses suffered, and are a conduit for emergency assistance to victims when criminal activity creates hardship.
Assistants to the County Attorney
The county attorney could not perform the many duties required without assistant county attorneys. The county attorney must supervise these assistants, establish policies and guidelines to be used by them, and perform necessary administration to insure that the duties and responsibilities of the office are properly completed.
Services we cannot provide
The Todd County Attorney's Office is a full-time office and can only represent the County and perform duties authorized by state statute. The county attorney and assistants cannot give private legal opinions to individuals about legal problems or disputes with others. The county attorney does not provide opinions to private parties in civil matters such as: Landlord/Tenant issues, boundary lines disputes, private contracts, collection of judgments, writs of execution, wills, probate, conservatorships, orders for protection, or dissolutions. This office does not conduct investigations.
Pursuing Improvement & Prevention
The county attorney plays an important role in seeking new laws to strengthen law enforcement, criminal justice, child protection, victim's rights, and other areas. The county attorney also initiates and/or participates in efforts to prevent or reduce crime in the local communities and statewide.
Helpful phone numbers and web addresses:
Todd County Court Administration 320-732-7800
Better Business Bureau 1-800-646-6222
Legal Aid (Central MN Legal Services) 1-800-622-7773
(Douglas and Grant Counties) 1-800-450-2552
Attorney General’s Office 651-296-6196
Hands of Hope Victim’s Resource Center 320-732-2319