United States v. Alfonso Rodriguez, Jr.
January 10, 2023 update
On September 3, 2021, Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Ralph Erickson issued an order in United States v. Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. criticizing the findings and testimony of the medical examiner, Dr. Michael McGee. In a 232-page opinion (United States vs. Alfonso Rodriguez Jr.), Judge Erickson called Dr. McGee’s testimony regarding the cause of victim Dru Sjodin’s death “unreliable, misleading and inaccurate.”
Although the Rodriguez case is not a Ramsey County case, Dr. McGee served as the medical examiner in Ramsey County from 1985 through 2019. He continued to work for the current Medical Examiner as a forensic pathologist until his retirement at the end of 2021. The Ramsey County Attorney’s Office (RCAO) is committed to conviction integrity and to ensuring that all cases litigated by the office are just and fair. In response to Judge Erickson’s order, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi engaged the Prosecutors’ Center for Excellence, an independent non-profit, to recommend a course of action and assist with evaluating RCAO cases involving Dr. McGee. The first phase of the review will identify whether any cases require further, more detailed investigation.
The RCAO is also coordinating with the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office Conviction Review Unit and the Great North Innocence Project, both of whom, as a result of Judge Erickson’s Order, are reviewing cases associated with Dr. McGee from outside Ramsey County.
Those with information about a case they believe should be reviewed under this process are asked to contact Michelle Monteiro.