No charges against Off. Serafin; County attorney response

Friday, May 31, 2019

We have reviewed the statement from McLeod County Attorney Michael Junge regarding the behavior of former Eden Prairie Police Officer Travis Serafin. First, we appreciate the fact that County Attorney Junge was willing to take this case from us because it presented a conflict of interest for the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office. This was an enormous amount of additional work for his office.

 

In reviewing his statement, we were heartened to see that County Attorney Junge supported our conclusions from last fall. Specifically, he found that Mr. Serafin falsified an application for a search warrant and he gave false testimony.

 

We understand why he could not bring charges. Once Officer Serafin’s compelled statement to investigators in the Eden Prairie Police Department was made public in December, it became impossible to bring charges. The reason is that no prosecutor would be able to prove that any evidence brought forth in a criminal trial was not due to the officer’s statement. That statement cannot be used against him in court.

 

The final count on cases in which Officer Serafin was a key witness and the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office had to take action to remedy a possible injustice is: a letter vacating judgment was sent on 22 cases, meaning that the defendant had been found guilty and we were asking the court to throw out that finding; in 24 cases the office filed dismissals, meaning that the defendants had been charged but the case had not been decided and prosecutors asked the court to dismiss the case.

 

In a number of other cases, the county attorney’s office sent letters to the defense attorney informing him or her that Officer Serafin was a peripheral witness and informed the attorney of Serafin’s inappropriate conduct.