About Jack

Jack is a criminal defense attorney, former CIA officer, journalist and storyteller.  As a lawyer, Jack practices exclusively in the areas of criminal defense and DWI/DUI defense.  He is unique across the entire state of Minnesota and the U.S. as the only criminal defense attorney who is also a former Central Intelligence Agency Officer as well as a former prosecuting attorney. Jack's extensive experience, aggressiveness and passion speak for themselves and he is most proud of his reputation as a fighter for the rights of his clients. He has a national reputation and can be seen frequently on MSNBC, Al Jazeera, CNN, and other networks across the country.  He is also a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Minnesota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.



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email:  jack@jackrice.org

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Editorial - So How Does France and the West Respond to the ISIL Threat?

To call the Paris attacks a tragedy simply doesn't do it justice.  To have to bury a loved one and find a way to go on is beyond description.  And we all grieve in our own ways.  For some, it is quiet, filled with reflection and a controlled response.  For others, it is very loud and requires screaming demands for revenge.  This is true for countries as well.  The French in particular and the West in general now have to decide which path they will take.  While the latter, screaming for revenge, might feel more viscerally appealing after the anguish that has been splayed across the world in the last few days, I strongly hope that they consider the former, reflection and a controlled response. 

After 9/11, the U.S. watched its Twin Towers fall over and over and over again on all of the major networks for days, weeks, months, years.  And the response from the White House was simple.  We will make them pay.  We will may all of them pay.  Worse, we will make anybody pay who we think might, could, would, or should be a threat.  Hence, the U.S. took the entire world by the throat and shook it.  However, the unfortunately result was that the U.S. created far more enemies than it was able to destroy.  Instead, rather than motivate the vast number of moderates in the Middle East and around the world that the U.S. really was the victims and that the best thing was to help them eradicate Al Qaida, the U.S response including Abu Ghraib, Gitmo and more, convinced many of them that maybe the U.S. had it coming or at least that it wasn't their business.  That's what the last 14 years have established.

As we watch and try to understand, a couple of things seem clear.  ISIL conducted these coordinated attacks for a reason.  Like Al Qaida, they had a point.  Was it because they hated the French's freedom?  It was idiotic when talking heads and the White House said it 14 years ago and it would be idiotic to say that now.  Rather, the purpose is similar.  ISIL, like Al Qaida, wanted an overreaction and a platform to recruit.  They both wanted to see the West kill and overstep so that they could point at the abuses and motivate that vast number of Muslim moderates that their way was the right way.  The Americans gave Al Qaida that opportunity.  Remember the man standing naked on a box with a bag over his head holding wires at Abu Ghraib?  The perfect recruiting poster. 

The French and the West have an opportunity to determine how to respond to these latest attacks.  There is a natural desire to scream from the rooftops, "carpet bomb the entire region and let God sort it out?"  I get it.  Its makes sense.  But to do that would be a disaster and result in the very thing that Al Qaida wanted those years ago and ISIL wants now, martyrs and recruitment posters. 

What France and the West must do is motivate the vast numbers of moderate Muslims and others throughout the world to see ISIL for what they are, fanatics and terrorists who have no place and no support. This requires an extremely controlled response where only those responsible for the attacks are targeted and that extreme care must be taken to make sure that all innocents are protected.  This is difficult in a war zone but is critical under these circumstances.  This is the only way.  

The French are in mourning and the entire world is mourning with them.  It is time to bury their dead and remember those that sacrificed.  It is also time to determine what worked and what didn't work regarding security and international policy and how they got to this place.  However, now is absolutely not the time to stand in the streets and scream about revenge. 

That's how the French win. That's how the whole world wins.


Just One of the Boys in Juba, South Sudan


Editorial - Looking back at South Sudan

As I sit here back in the States and think about my latest assignment in South Sudan and Ethiopia, I think it's sometimes easy to think about the place as just that, a place, rather than about the individuals there. But I can't do that. No matter where I went or how brutal the circumstances, I saw people. Please look at the love in the face of a young girl suffering with severe malnutrition as she holds and looks at her equally suffering little brother. These aren't statistics or places. These are people, truly lovely people. Such a privilege.


Editorials - Girlfriends are Amazing

Sometimes, however the beauty of the people and the surroundings is so stunning that you have to wipe away the tears to make sure you can giggle like a child as you get the shot. Four girlfriends.


Editorial -A Most Dangerous and Excellent Profession in South Sudan.

It's like the Wild West here in Juba and the men in front of me have all described this place as crazy. They are all pilots from other African countries and their job is to carry NGO, non governmental organization, personnel and equipment around South Sudan. While this shouldn't be that big of a deal, you have to remember that this is South Sudan, one of the most difficult places in the world to operate.

As we stand around an open pit drinking beer and eating barbecue goat while a thunder storm dumps water on us by the buckets, they tell me their stories.

"Eight months. Eight months was how long they kept me after I was kidnapped. I thought I would die but they released me. It was a nightmare for me." This man with dark eyes and a toothy smile talks about it like it was the cost of doing business rather than somebody who could have been carving the number of days into a wall of a cell before his kidnappers killed him.

Another recalls with almost amusement how he was arrested and shaken down and abused by the local police. This is apparently a common problem and he goes on to describe how so many of the kidnappings, murders and robberies at gun point are likely just cops supplementing their incomes. The problem is that the numbers of murders continues to skyrocket. He explains how there is really nobody to trust and that the cops get paid so little and the delays in payment just about require them to freelance as criminals. Again, just another cost of doing business here.

Finally standing before me in a blue and white striped shirt as we gnaw on goat bones, this man describes how difficult it can be to fly in a war zone. As a result, people are armed and ready to kill. This pilot's matter of fact tone is amazing. "So, I land somewhere to the north of the country and this man storms into the plane and puts a AK-47 to my head and demands that I fly him back to Juba." So I had to ask what did you do? I hold my breath, wondering what I would have done.

He just looked at me and starting laughing. "Well, I said ... ok." Just like that. "Ok." Struck me as pretty damn logical.

Oh, he added that he told the gunman he'd fly but only if the guy gave him his clip and rounds including the one in the chamber. Amazingly, the guy agreed and the pilot flew the guy back to Juba and they all went on their merry ways.

So I asked this pilot why he continued to do it and to risk his life. His response, I kid you not, "the job is really really fun 98 percent of the time and only really really bad 2 percent." I wanted to know, do you categorize that hijacker as the 98 percent or the two? The really good or the really bad? He smiled again. "I didn't die and he actually tipped me. Yeah, that's right. He gave me money. So, I guess that fell into the 98 percent category." And then he laughed so hard, I couldn't help but join in.

I told you. A most dangerous and excellent profession in the Wild West. So much for flying the friendly skies.


Editorial - Always Listen to the Laughter in South Sudan.

Ok. I know that this is a war zone but I just had one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I saw 20-30 South Sudanese adults and children swimming naked in the the Nile. So, what's a boy to do?

I worked my way through this creek full of debris to get to the Nile where they were, stripped off all of my clothes, dropped them on the bank and swam naked with them. And then it started to rain and thunder, dropping these massive drops of rain on us and the thunder seemingly making the ground shake. However, the people stayed so I wasn't going to miss this for anything. So we swam and swam and played games. And then all of the kids kept trying to rub my tattoos off of me and we just laughed and laughed. They also kept looking at my white skin and comparing it to them own, side by side, and we all laughed even more. And yes there are large crocodiles in the Nile but I figured these people knew where it was at least kinda safe. I'm truly blessed. Wouldn't trade this for anything.

When I came here into this bubbling cauldron of a civil war, I was afraid all I would find is pain and death. Nope. I stand here rightfully humbled and corrected. Just wow! And thank you my new friends. I won't forget to always listen for the laughter. Bless you!


Editorial - Getting Ready to Go to South Sudan

Well, here we go. So what is the point of life? To me, it is about doing good work and trying to leave this place a little better than when you started if you can. But in end, it is all about the journey. Up next, Ethiopia and South Sudan


Editorial - So Who Do War Memorials Represent Anyway?

So who do war memorials represent anyway? What are we supposed to think when we look at them? Or are they just about waving flags and pounding chests? 

He was born in 1911 so that makes him one hundred and three years old. How is that even possible? More than double my age. What can he remember? Will he understand me? And it’s not as if he has led this quiet sedate life without trauma. Far from it. As I walk into the room to sit down with this man, he immediately sits up taller in his chair and stares me straight in the face with a look that seems to say; I know who I am and where I come from.

Staff Sergeant Walter Ortman served in the U.S. Army Air Corps from 1942 to 1946, and he surprises me. As I ask him about his life, I watch him change before my eyes. As he talks about his experiences during the war, I watch the years drop away until all I see is a young man sitting in from of me talking about something that happened a couple of weeks earlier instead of a series of memories dating back more than seventy years. He talks about being lucky and surprised. About how throughout the war, he never killed anybody, never shot a weapon at anybody nor even had to aim it at a human being. Instead, he and his men saved the lives of downed pilots and their crews by the thousands. I sit dumbfounded.

Sometimes, when we look at war memorials, we think of the men and women who served as icons, as heroes, almost as super humans. And yet, while some of their feats were extraordinary, we frequently forget that these were just normal men and women who frequently faced impossible circumstances and had to find it in themselves to do and be more. This may sound surprising but it strikes me as wrong to see people who have served as super-human because it makes their contributions seems inevitable – that's just what super humans do, right? But they were not and are not. Those who serve are our friends, our parents, our children, our neighbors. They are us. And that's who these memorials represent. 


[The Jack Rice Show] October 5th: Jack Talks Law and Advocacy with Prof. John Sonsteng.

Click below to listen to this interview with Professor John Sonsteng.

In many ways, it is the law and how it is perceived that binds entire societies together.  Law is critical to determine what the rules mean and what happens when it appears that somebody has failed to follow those rules. However, what exactly are the roles of lawyers and what makes a good advocate?  Further, is this the same everywhere or is there something that makes one society more or less unique than another?

Professor John Sonsteng joins me for a discussion on law in an eveer changing world and his work teaching lawyers across the world how to cross-examine and refine their craft.  Professor Sonsteng is a proefessor at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, MN and the Regional Director fo the National Institute of Trial Advocacy.  

I really hope you enjoy this really interesting conversation.  I certainly tossed a few of my own opinions in this one so forgive me.  

Click here to listen to Jack's conversation with Prof. John Sonsteng.


[The Jack Rice Show] October 2nd: Amaiya Zafar is a fighter. I dare you to say she isn't.

Photographer, Aaron Lavinsky, Star Tribune

Click below to listen to this interview. 

What an extraordinary story.  This little 13 year old girl decides she want to fight.  Well, to be clear, she wants to box.  Speed forward two years and 15 year old Amaiya Zafar has been training and sparring and still wants to fight and she wants to compete.  However, there's a problem.  The problem isn't that she's a girl or because she is Muslim and is required to wear specific clothing including long pants, long sleeves and hijab.  That isn't the problem.  The problem is that the AIBA, the international boxing federation that overseas all fights, says that she isn't allowed to wear these and therefore can't box.    

This is when the second fight happens. What Amaiya and her family have do is quite extraordinary.  I enjoyed this interview very very much and I think you will as well.  As a father of daughter, it was especially poignant to me.  However, regardless of whether you have girls, boys, or no children at all, I find this story to be incredibly inspiring. 

Click to listen to Jack's interview with Amaiya Zafar.

Click here to listen to Jack's interview with Amaiya Zafar.