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Minnesota’s State Court of Appeals Affirms Denial of Name Change for Ex-Felon

A Minnesota appeals court affirmed the lower court’s denial of a request for a name change by an ex-felon.

William R. Iverson, a pro se litigant, petitioned the district court in Nicollet County to have his name changed for religious reasons. Under Minnesota law, the request should be granted unless the court “finds that there is intent to defraud or mislead.” However, if the petitioner is a convicted felon, as Iverson is, the prosecuting authority of the county has the right to file an objection to the name change.

An objection was filed in this case, arguing that Iverson’s name change would compromise public safety. The objection then required that Iverson prove by clear and convincing evidence that the name change was requested in good-faith and not to cause injury to anyone. The lower court denied Iverson’s name change due to the state’s public safety objection.

On appeal, the court’s review was for abuse of discretion. The appeal court affirmed the lower court’s denial, stating that there was no abuse of discretion. It found Iverson had failed to present clear and convincing evidence that the name change was for good faith reasons and did not compromise public safety. It approved the district court’s reliance on Iverson’s extensive criminal history as rationale to deny his request. See: Iverson v. Swanson, State of Minnesota Appeals Court, Case No: A11-914

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Related legal case

Iverson v. Swanson