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St. Louis Criminal Defense Legal Blog

Troublesome aspects of police "whisper" stops

A police "whisper" stop takes on an ominous quality once its underlying meaning is understood.

Imagine that police officers in St. Louis or troopers elsewhere across Missouri lack any evidence to suggest that a given individual is connected to unlawful drug activity.

Missouri's ranking judge lauds drug courts' effectiveness

There's a decided irony concerning drug courts in Missouri presently.

And that is this, as noted in a recent media report: Although the courts are flatly confirmed to be "the most cost-effective way to combat the opioid crisis," they have been operating on a proverbial shoestring of late owing to state budget cuts.

3 ways you could commit credit card fraud without realizing it

Credit card fraud is a very serious crime in Saint Louis as well as every other city across the country. You probably would not ever consider stealing someone's card and using it or engaging in an identity theft scheme that involves credit cards. However, these are not the only ways to commit credit card fraud. In fact, you might have unintentionally committed credit card fraud in the last day, week or even month.

Even if you think of your actions as innocent, a credit card company may not see them that way. For instance, if your boyfriend gave you his credit card and asked you to pick up dinner with it while you were out running errands, you could still face fraud charges even though he gave you permission. This is because many credit card companies do not allow card holders to let unauthorized individuals use their cards.

Continued look at lineups and their "critical stage" designation

Looked at from a criminal suspect's perspective, it is easy to see why great concern would reasonably attach to lineup procedures at a police station in St. Louis or elsewhere.

Put yourself in that individual's shoes. Might you not feel a bit strange and isolated if, say, your 6'6" frame was posed squarely in the middle of seven other people all several inches shorter than you? What if your racial identify is instantly differentiated from everyone else in line?

Why is a lineup deemed a "critical stage" in criminal law process?

Police dramas are unquestionably an enduring staple in the world of television and films, and most Americans have certainly seen an impressive number of offerings based on precinct life and activities over the years.

Those are fictional, of course, and many of them take considerable license in portraying "reality" in the criminal justice realm.

Has Missouri decriminalized marijuana?

The decriminalization of marijuana has slowly been moving across the United States. It started with the recognition of legal medical marijuana, and now many states -- such as Colorado -- have even decided to make small amounts of recreational marijuana legal.

So, where does Missouri stand? Has marijuana been decriminalized to any degree?

Case focus for U.S. Supreme Court: standard for vehicle searches

The constitutional lines have long been drawn -- in fact, are centuries old -- concerning the manner in which police can enter a home in a criminal case in Missouri or elsewhere.

Generally speaking, entry to ask questions and/or conduct a search for incriminating evidence must be justified in advance by officers' so-called "probable cause" denoting that something is unlawfully amiss. That is, there must be some reasonable suspicion that criminal activity has occurred or is ongoing.

Will 2018 yield major changes for Missouri juvenile law outcomes?

Eleventh time lucky?

Missouri criminal law reformists who strongly push for some material adjustments to how penal exactions are administered to youthful offenders in the state might want to know this: For 10 years running, lawmakers in Jefferson City have sought to change a law that requires alleged criminal offenders who are 17 years or older to proceed directly to adult court to have their cases tried.

Woman convicted in 1981 murder has sentence commuted

On Dec. 20, the governor of Missouri announced that he commuted the sentence of a woman who was convicted of murder in 1982. The governor said that the decision was made after reviewing the case and working with the prosecutor and the woman's attorneys. She spent 35 years and 111 days in prison.

The murder occurred in 1981. Under the directions of her boyfriend, the woman brought a jeweler to a secluded place so that the boyfriend could rob him. When the jeweler refused to hand over jewelry, the boyfriend shot the man three times. During her trial, the woman said that she did not know that the boyfriend had a weapon. Both individuals were taken into police custody.

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