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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUND-UP: Moorhead judge publicly reprimanded

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MOORHEAD, Minn. --  The Minnesota Board of Judicial Standards has issued a public reprimand against Clay County District Judge Steven Cahill. 

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The board says in several cases, Cahill failed to follow the law.  In one case, Cahill reduced the sentence of an immigrant because he was concerned a felony might result in his deportation.  The board also says Cahill has a history of being chronically late for hearings.  Cahill says until recently, he'd been in denial about his problems. Cahill says he believes his behavior may be caused by ADHD, although he says he has not been officially diagnosed  The judge says he will not appeal the board's findings.

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Testimony continues today in the Byron Smith murder trial in Little Falls.  Smith is facing two counts of first-degree murder in the Thanksgiving 2012 shooting deaths of two Little Falls teenagers, Haile Kifer and Nick Brady.  After opening statements from the prosecution and defense, the first witnesses were called.  Morrison County Sheriff's Deputies David Sherping and Sergeant Jeremey Luberts took the stand as did the mothers of Kifer and Brady.  The 14-member jury listened to an hour-long interview that Luberts conducted with Smith the day he was arrested. Smith recounted in detail his version of events preceding, during and after the two teens were killed.  

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The trial for a Willmar teenager accused of planning his grandmother's murder could be moved.  A pre-trial hearing for 18-year-old Robbie Warwick is scheduled for tomorrow and his attorney has filed a motion to move the trial to another county due to publicity of the case in the local area  Warwick is accused of planning the murder of his grandmother, 79-year-old Lila Warwick, in her east Willmar home.  Her body was found last July 29th.  Earlier this month the trial for co-defendant 19-year-old Brok Junkermeier ended one week after it began when Junkermeier opted to plead guilty to first-degree murder, and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.  Another co-defendant, 16-year-old Devon Jenkins of Willmar, pleaded guilty to second-degree Murder and is serving a sentence at Prairie Lakes Juvenile Detention Center.  

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The snow and cold in Minnesota last week continued to delay field work on farms across the state.  The USDA's weekly crop progress report says there was limited corn planting in southwestern Minnesota, as well as some planting of oats, spring wheat and barley.  But other parts of Minnesota are still waiting for suitable conditions to begin planting.  Only about a half of a day was rated suitable for fieldwork statewide last week.  Several locations reported new record-low temperatures last Tuesday while Wednesday brought widespread snow and new daily snowfall records to many parts of Minnesota. Pastures have started to green up in southwestern Minnesota, but not enough to allow for grazing.

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