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.  

Friday, September 30, 2016

Boeving v. Kander

Opinion handed down September 20, 2016
            The Supreme Court of Missouri has held that the Missouri statutes governing the procedural requirements for an “official ballot title” cannot be construed as requiring the rejection of signatures in the event the official ballot title is amended through litigation after the petition has been properly approved and circulated for signatures.[1]  However, the court held that the substantives challenges regarding the possible effects of the constitutional amendment, if passed, are necessarily premature and will not be ruled on at this point.[2]

State v. Meeks

Opinion handed down August 23, 2016


In an effort to maximize judicial efficiency at the trial court level, race-neutral explanations for defending a Batson challenge exercised by defense counsel are seemingly becoming mere formalities – issues which are left for appellate courts to flesh out.  While juries are typically notorious (and justifiably so) for wanting trials to be more expeditious, prosecutors and defense counsel should expend all of their efforts in voir dire in order to obtain justice at the trial level for the criminal defendant.

City of DeSoto v. Nixon,

Opinion handed down January 12, 2016


            In City of DeSoto v. Nixon, the Supreme Court of Missouri held that a law excluding cities that meet six narrowly drawn criteria from a generally applicable procedure for making post-annexation payments to a fire protection district violated Missouri’s constitutional prohibition against special laws.[1]