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Author Archives: Kelly Wiese

Death sentence upheld for cop shooter

The Supreme Court rejected various arguments by Kevin Johnson and affirmed the man’s conviction and death sentence in the shooting of a Kirkwood police officer. Among other points, Johnson argued that a potential juror was improperly removed because of race; ...

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Unauthorized practice of law bill falls short

Solo and small-firm attorneys hoping for a stronger statute to pursue those who practice law without a license will have to wait at least another year. Rep. John Burnett, D-Kansas City, succeeded in getting an unauthorized practice of law provision tucked into a broad judiciary bill in the House. The language would place the unauthorized practice of law under the state's Merchandising Practices Act and allow a private cause of action against violators. The provision generated little discussion in the House Judiciary Committee (Chairman Bryan Stevenson is pictured) and became a few lines in a nearly 200-page bill that passed the House.

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When does a prisoner’s debt to society end?

Under the Missouri Incarceration Reimbursement Act, passed in 1988, the state can collect money from inmates to cover the cost to keep them behind bars. Supporters say the law is a fair consequence of committing crime and saves taxpayers money. But critics say the policy puts extra burdens on people already struggling to stay on the right side of the law. Case filings had increased dramatically in recent years, but have started to taper off. Judge Jon Beetem is pictured swearing in Gregory Wadlow's wife, Pat, as she gives testimony on what bills she needs paid from the felon's estate.

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UPL change falls short

Solo and small-firm attorneys hoping for a stronger statute to pursue those who practice law without a license will have to wait at least another year. Rep. John Burnett, D-Kansas City, succeeded in getting a UPL provision tucked into a ...

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DirecTV ordered to pull ads

A federal judge ordered DirecTV on Wednesday to pull some, but not all, of its disputed ads in response to litigation by St. Louis-based Charter Communications. Charter filed a federal lawsuit on Monday alleging that competitor DirecTV has sent mailers and run print and radio advertisements claiming Charter is in trouble because it filed for bankruptcy. Charter says the bankruptcy is simply restructuring its finances, that service to customers is not affected and that the ads are false and deceptive. DirectTV will be able to keep this billboard, on I-70 near downtown St. Louis.

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Short court slows down

Missouri’s Court of Appeals Western District is supposed to have 11 people donning black robes and meting out justice. These days, it’s limping along with eight. The three-judge shortfall appears to have an impact. Data show the court has heard almost a third fewer cases and issued 22 percent fewer rulings compared to a year ago. But so far, lawyers don’t seem to be complaining. At the same time, the state court system has implemented a general hiring freeze on courthouse employees and postponed computer equipment upgrades to keep the books in balance through June.

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Legal document mills may face scrutiny

An effort to crack down on companies that provide and complete legal paperwork without an attorney could get a boost from Jefferson City. An amendment tacked on to a wide-ranging judiciary bill in a Missouri House committee would place the unauthorized practice of law under the state’s Merchandising Practices Act. Moving such violations to the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act could increase prosecution by the state attorney general’s office of online legal document mills, said sponsoring Rep. John Burnett (pictured), D-Kansas City.

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Dam safety requirements ruled not unfairly retroactive

The Missouri Supreme Court has found that Missouri dams must meet permit requirements no matter how old they are, rejecting arguments that the safety rules are unconstitutionally retroactive. A Greene County couple challenged a state determination that they needed a ...

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