Monday, December 3, 2018

State v. Clay

            In State v. Clay, defendant Clay appealed his conviction for second degree murder and armed criminal action citing improper jury instructions even though his counsel actively participated in the drafting of the instructions.[1]  Defense counsel failed to request, or object to the absence of, “withdrawal” language in the self-defense instruction proffered to the jury at the trial court.[2]  Consequently, the jury never considered whether Clay had regained the privilege of self-defense after he was found to be the initial aggressor.[3]  The Supreme Court of Missouri properly affirmed Clay’s conviction[4] and reestablished the historical maxim that “nullus commondum capere protest de injuria sua propria,” or “no one shall be allowed to profit from his own wrong.”[5]

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

G.W.G. ex rel J.D.G. v. A.D.N.



            The Missouri Court of Appeals’, Eastern District, decision in G.W.G. ex rel J.D.G. v. A.D.N. assessed, among other issues, a claim that the trial court was impartial and failed to recuse itself despite being aware of certain evidence that improperly swayed the decision in a custody case.  The decision illustrates the high threshold required to make an effective showing of impartiality and the emphasis of viewing a trial record as a whole rather than at specific pieces that suggest impropriety.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Doe Run Resources Corporation v. American Guarantee & Liability Insurance

            The Supreme Court of Missouri considered whether a pollution exclusion in a commercial general liability policy issued to Doe Run barred coverage for bodily injury caused by exposure to toxic emissions stemming from Doe Run's lead production facilities in Peru.  The pollution exclusion defined pollutant to mean "any solid, liquid, gaseous, or thermal irritant or contaminant."  At issue was whether lead, emitted in its particulate form, was an "irritant or contaminant."  The court applied the dictionary definition of those terms and concluded that the pollution exclusion applied to bar coverage.

Monday, December 4, 2017

K.M.M. v. K.E.W.


            The Missouri Court of Appeals', Eastern District, decision in K.M.M. v. K.E.W. highlights potential struggles in custody when the parties involved are a same-sex, unmarried couple with a child conceived by artificial insemination.  The decision dodged the constitutional equal protection violation question and instead reached a resolution grounded in third party custody statutory factors. While the holding of the Eastern District is equitable given the circumstances, it does not solidify any rights for the non-biological parent in a same-sex custody situation.