Criminal Defense Attorney Arrested in Minnesota Courthouse for Drug Possession

00ramsayIt appears that another of the bar brethren is in difficulties with the law over drugs. Around the same time that a Chicago lawyer was having his briefs searched at a prison, a Minnesota was having his briefcase searched in a courthouse. They found drugs in both cases. Attorney Charles Alan Ramsay, 41, was arrested after court staff became suspicious of his behavior in a bathroom and attorney conference room. The defense attorney (and brother of Duluth Police Chief Gordon Ramsay) was charged with third-degree and fifth-degree controlled substance crimes for allegedly possessing a mixture weighing three grams or more containing cocaine.

Some had the task of telling his client Jack Willis Nissalke that there would be a slight delay as they process his attorney. That is not a good sign when your counsel is given the cell next to you.

Ramsay was spotted leaving a bathroom, acting suspiciously, and repeatedly touching his nose in what an officer considered a type of drug user profile.

According to the police report, investigator, Jay Rasmussen, noticed that when Ramsay left the men’s room he didn’t flush the toilet (unfortunately, not a very reliable profile factor for many men) and noticed that Ramsay was “sniffing profusely and using his right thumb and index finger to pinch his nose repeatedly. He also saw the attorney wipe underneath his nose several times.” This alone would normally create an interesting question of probable cause for the later search — but there is much more.

The problem for Ramsay is that Winona police evidence technician Angela Evans spotted a white powdery substance on a table and the floor of the conference room and Winona Deputy Police Chief Tom Williams tested it and found it to be cocaine. They was enough to confront Ramsay. A drug-sniffing dog allegedly alerted to Ramsay’s briefcase and a subsequent search found the cocaine. It seems to me that the police did this investigation just right.

Presumably, Nissalke will not only be given a new lawyer but an opportunity to reconsider his guilty plea on Nissalke in a terrorist threats case — entered Ramsay just before his own arrest.

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6 thoughts on “Criminal Defense Attorney Arrested in Minnesota Courthouse for Drug Possession”

  1. Minnesota has a program in the St Paul area called LCL, Lawyers Caring for Lawyers. Texas does as well, believe it or not in the Dallas area. I believe that it is based upon the 12 Steps and Principals of Alcoholics Anonymous.

    They are inclusive of Depression (No 1 Offender for Attorneys), Alcohol, Narcotic Abuse, Over Eating and any associative disorder that affects an attorney ability to function.

    I know because I went through the Depression issue after my only son OD’d on prescription “medication.” I figured what the use why live. What I thought was most important, seemed less important anymore.

    Drug Abuse or Use is not a Victimless Crime. It just depends upon which side of the Food Chain you are looking at it from.

    I would appreciate if you would look at all sides before any rash statements are made. I have heard this before and not sure if I truly understand the words but “Hell suffers a Fool”

  2. Wow–talk about drug problem. I wonder if the Bar in Ohio has any resources to help him. It makes me sad, as he probably will have a difficult time overcoming the problem while in jail. Drug offenses should be treated differently.

  3. That would be a downer for a client to see your defense attorney getting arrested and taken away. It would be a indication that it isn’t going to be a good day for you. It is amazing and sad how strong a grasp these drugs have on your life. So many lives and families are ruined by this stuff. I hope the attorney can turn his life around and get clean.

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