Friday, December 30, 2016

State v. Bazell

Opinion handed down August 23, 2016 

            The Supreme Court of Missouri held that misdemeanor stealing offenses could not be enhanced to felonies under Missouri Revised Statutes section 570.030.3 because the enhancement provision was worded in such a way that rendered it inapplicable to the underlying stealing statute.[1]  The court’s ruling is based on a matter of statutory construction that was not addressed on appeal nor initially briefed by either party on transfer to the Supreme Court of Missouri.[2] 

Friday, December 16, 2016

United States v. Cook

Opinion handed down November 22, 2016
In United States v. Cook, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals held that defendant Lamar Cook was not seized for Fourth Amendment purposes when police officers pulled up behind the parked car Cook was sitting in and activated their cruiser’s “wig wag” lights, because “a reasonable person seeing the wig wag lights under these circumstances would have thought that he was still ‘at liberty to ignore the police presence and go about his business.’”[1]  This conclusion is strikingly inconsistent with the common understanding of the meaning of police emergency lights.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Piloski v. Division of Employment Security

Opinion handed down October 25, 2016

While Missouri’s unemployment security laws are aimed at protecting employees who have become unemployed through no fault of their own, significant questions remain as to whether these laws are actually interpreted as broadly as they can be by the courts.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Smotherman v. Cass Regional Medical Center

Opinion handed down September 20, 2016

            In Smotherman v. Cass Regional Medical Center, the Supreme Court of Missouri addressed the issue of whether a juror’s testimony regarding the extent to which misconduct affected jury deliberations is sufficient to overcome the presumption of prejudice created by the misconduct.[1]  As discussed below, the court’s decision represents a step back from recent decisions that attempted to clarify the extrinsic evidence exemption to the Mansfield Rule and ignores past decisions regarding the weight that should be assigned to such testimony.