Forsgren Fisher wins reversal at Minnesota Supreme Court in State v. Noor
On June 9, 2021, Caitlinrose Fisher argued the case of State v. Noor before the Minnesota Supreme Court. The world was watching, as this case had garnered international media coverage. Today the Minnesota Supreme Court in a detailed and unanimous opinion ruled in favor of Forsgren Fisher client Mohamed Noor. As Caitlinrose explains: “The Minnesota Supreme Court decision brings important clarity to the meaning of third-degree murder.”
The case arose out of tragic facts. Mr. Noor, a Minneapolis Police Officer, Mohamed Noor, was in a squad car on a dark summer evening in 2017. His partner, another Minneapolis Police Officer, was driving the squad car slowly down an unlit alley. They had received training on ambushes of police officers shortly before the evening in question. Mr. Noor’s partner and he suddenly heard a loud noise. Out of nowhere, a figure appeared in the window, raising her arm. Mr. Noor’s partner reached for his service weapon and appeared frightened. Mr. Noor reflexively discharged his firearm to protect his partner. Tragically, the person outside the car window was a neighbor. She was a beloved person in her community. Mr. Noor participated in efforts to save her life, but she died at the scene. Mr. Noor was inconsolable. It was a perfect storm resulting in a tragedy.
At trial, Mr. Noor was acquitted of one count of second-degree murder. He was convicted of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Mr. Noor’s trial team argued that the third-degree murder conviction was legally unsound. After the trial court ruled against Mr. Noor, the argument was made to the Minnesota Court of Appeals, resulting in a split decision affirming the conviction. The Minnesota Supreme Court granted a petition for review of the case, and Forsgren Fisher attorneys Caitlinrose Fisher and Matt Forsgren, along with a team of lawyers including Mr. Noor’s trial attorneys Thomas Plunkett and Peter Wold, worked to prepare extensive briefing for the court tracing over a century of case law. In its decision today, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in Mr. Noor’s favor. As the Court put it: “We agree with Noor.”
“We’ve said from the beginning that this was a tragedy but it wasn’t a murder, and now the Supreme Court has agreed,” Fisher observes. “Mr. Noor believed that he was saving his partner’s life that night, and instead he tragically caused the loss of an innocent life,” she said. “We eagerly await the day that Mr. Noor is able to come home and rejoin his family and community.”