Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry

St. Louis Criminal Defense Legal Blog

Wrongful conviction data simultaneously encouraging yet dismal

It’s always uplifting to hear that an innocent person languishing behind bars in Missouri or elsewhere is ultimately deemed innocent of a criminal charge and released from prison.

It is alarming to note, though, how many times each year exoneration occurs.

What’s clearly on the minds of MO lawmakers, both left and right?

Reform is in the air.

To be more specific, it is strongly evident in a mass of legislation currently being fine-tuned and closely debated in Jefferson City. The Missouri capital is awash in reform initiatives that seek to materially adjust existing criminal laws and penalties.

Results from expungement study render a strong, clear conclusion

A criminal conviction obviously yields multiple downsides. A felony charge in Missouri or elsewhere often brings a stringent behind-bars penalty. Indeed, even a comparatively minor misdemeanor offense can bring a months’-long jail term.

And then there can be ancillary exactions to deal with as well for a defendant. Various costs and fees can be punitively high. Mandatory substance abuse classes, imposed community service, periodic drug testing, harsh probationary terms – all these and more collectively play a factor in the punishment equation.

Why misdemeanor crime needs to be seriously reconsidered

The War on Crime. The War on Drugs. Dangerous felons. Truly violent offenders. Citizens at risk.

Such tags are evocative, and they have unquestionably colored the public’s perceptions regarding crime in the United States over many decades. Based on such wording and imagery, it is small wonder that legions of Americans think that a horde of marauders is at the door.

What is a key factor for minimizing return-to-prison episodes?

“Get a Job” is the title to a classic pop song of yesteryear. Hollywood also recently released a film with the same name. Millions of people across the country daily think about jobs, apply for jobs and dream of scoring jobs.

There is no dearth of data to conclusively demonstrate that being gainfully employed links closely with a person’s self-esteem. And just as importantly, of course, having a job is what pays the rent, provides for families, secures further education and enables upward mobility.

Self-defense is a common strategy for those accused of violence

Violent crimes are some of the most serious and carry the most significant penalties. From assault and battery to manslaughter, offenses that involve physical violence are among the most serious a person can face. Conviction of a violent offense can permanently impact your ability to secure employment and housing.

Unfortunately, people who are actually victims of violent crimes can find themselves facing allegations of a violent offense. Those who choose to stand up for themselves or others can occasionally wind up facing criminal consequences and violent crimes charges as a result. Law enforcement do their best to get to the bottom of altercations, but sometimes they make mistakes.

New Missouri bill addresses juvenile waiver rights to counsel

It’s not like St. Louis County is off the radar when it comes to the spotlighting of problems linked with juvenile crime and the subsequent failure of young people charged with criminal counts to secure legal counsel.

In fact, the county has been prominently cited by both advocates for minor offenders and federal government officials as having a problem concerning juveniles’ right to counsel.

SCOTUS rules strongly on civil asset forfeiture practice

So-called “civil asset forfeiture” has long been a hot-button topic in Missouri and other states across the country, with both adherents and detractors voicing strong opinions concerning the practice.

Asset forfeiture enables federal and state law enforcers to seize property they say is somehow related to the spoils of crime. An alleged drug trafficker’s bank accounts might be taken over. A business owner might have equipment or other assets seized by authorities claiming that an enterprise has been engaging in money laundering.

MO House is venue for flurry of criminal reform bills

The Missouri House of Representatives in Jefferson City is the place to be presently for individuals interested in hearing about and debating criminal justice reforms.

This year is unquestionably going to see legislative sessions prominently marked by promotion and energized discussion of many would-be laws avidly endorsed by sponsors who say the time is ripe for change.

Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry

120 South Central Avenue
Suite 130
Saint Louis, MO 63105

Phone: 314-499-1424
Fax: 314-862-8050
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