First things first:
Chapter 609: Criminal Code:
HOMICIDE; BODILY HARM; SUICIDE:
609.18 (2019): DEFINITION. (Always read definitions!)
609.184 (2019): [Repealed, 1998 c 367 art 6 s 16]
609.185 (2019): MURDER IN THE FIRST DEGREE.
609.19 (2019): MURDER IN THE SECOND DEGREE.
609.195 (2019): MURDER IN THE THIRD DEGREE.
609.20 (2019): Manslaughter in the First Degree
609.205 (2019): Second Degree
Legal Research 101:
Want to know how to find state statutes? Read on:
How do you find state statutes? Let me count the ways. Wherever you find them, though, make sure they are current and accurate (official or unofficial can be both or neither).
Look for official and non-official statutory compilations of the state’s code. If you don’t know what they are, look for state legislative or court style guides, e.g. Citing Minnesota Legal Sources, or use “The Bluebook, a Uniform System of Citation” Blue Pages).
Note: Official compilations of laws (cases, statutes, regulations, etc.) usually take longer to appear online than unofficial compilations. The latter are OK to cite, though, but if an official source is available, use it.
Many websites and legal databases will include state and federal statutes and other laws. They seldom clearly identify the source of the laws, but the laws are usually from official legislative feeds, which are about as reliable as possible (meaning, very reliable, but mistakes can be made, or updating isn’t done in a timely manner).
In this Minnesota example, the Bluebook tells us there are two citable sources of Minnesota statutes:
Official: Minnesota Statutes (cited as Minn. Stat. § x [year])
Unofficial: Minnesota Statutes Annotated (West) (cited as Minn. Stat. Ann. § x (West [year])
In Minnesota, you would probably start with a visit to the Office of the Revisor of Statutes where you would find the current:
2019 Minnesota Statutes
A search for the “murder” should lead to Chapters, 609 – 624:
HOMICIDE; BODILY HARM; SUICIDE:
609.18 DEFINITION. (Always read definitions!)
609.184: [Repealed, 1998 c 367 art 6 s 16]
609.185: MURDER IN THE FIRST DEGREE.
609.19: MURDER IN THE SECOND DEGREE.
609.195: MURDER IN THE THIRD DEGREE.
The charges brought against the Minneapolis police officer were Murder in the third degree and Manslaughter in the second degree, so, you want to look at:
“609.195 MURDER IN THE THIRD DEGREE.
(a) Whoever, without intent to effect the death of any person, causes the death of another by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life, is guilty of murder in the third degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 25 years.
(b) Whoever, without intent to cause death, proximately causes the death of a human being by, directly or indirectly, unlawfully selling, giving away, bartering, delivering, exchanging, distributing, or administering a controlled substance classified in Schedule I or II, is guilty of murder in the third degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 25 years or to payment of a fine of not more than $40,000, or both.
History: 1963 c 753 art 1 s 609.195; 1977 c 130 s 3; 1981 c 227 s 11; 1987 c 176 s 1”
While you are there (in the Minnesota statutes), look at Murder in the first degree (609.185) and the second degree (609.19) and see if you can figure out why these charges weren’t brought.
You can do the same type of research to locate the Manslaughter statutes, and read both Manslaughter in the First Degree (609.20) and Second Degree (609.205)
Extra credit: Read About Minnesota Statutes:
“… . Scope of Minnesota Statutes
Statewide laws are found in Minnesota Statutes and Minnesota Session Laws. In addition, Minnesota Rules contains state agency rules and regulations with the force of law. Additional law on a particular topic may be covered by federal laws or rules, or local ordinances and regulations.
Official Versions of Minnesota Statutes
Two versions of Minnesota Statutes published by the Revisor of Statutes are official publications:
The first official version consists of the printed and bound paper edition of Minnesota Statutes published annually by the Revisor’s office. (See, Minnesota Statutes, sections 3C.08, 3C.11, and 3C.13.)
The second official version consists of the online, authenticated PDFs of chapters or sections of Minnesota statutes, which have been designated as official records by the Revisor of Statutes under Minnesota Statutes, section 3E.04, subdivision 2.
Online versions of Minnesota statutes are available at www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes. To authenticate a PDF of the statutes, click on the “authenticate” link located on the upper right side of a section or chapter web page, and follow the prompts.” [Link to About Minnesota Statutes]