Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dickerson v. State[1]

Opinion handed down October 28, 2008
Link to Mo. Sup. Ct. Opinion

The Missouri Supreme Court held that an evidentiary hearing under a motion for post-conviction relief was warranted based on appellant’s claim that his trial counsel was ineffective and that the absence of facts in the record was not enough to refute the appellant’s claims. The criminal defense attorney had failed to object to the client’s shackling at trial. The record did not say whether appellant had been shackled.[1]

State v. Freeman[1]

Opinion handed down October 28, 2008
Link to Mo. Sup. Ct. Opinion

The Missouri Supreme Court held that the jury that convicted Samuel A. Freeman of first degree murder had a sufficient basis to find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt; the trial court did not err in admitting demonstrative evidence of bottles of the type that the state asserted Freeman used in the murder; and the trial court did not err in refusing to admit a note Freeman’s mother purportedly wrote.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

State ex rel. Office of Public Counsel v. Public Service Commission of the State of Missouri[1]

Opinion handed down October 14, 2008 [1]
Link to Mo. Sup. Ct. Opinion

The Missouri Supreme Court once again directed the Missouri Public Service Commission (“PSC”) to vacate an administrative order that increased utility rates. On this occasion, the PSC simultaneously re-approved the tariff increase while vacating its original administrative order, thus failing to properly follow the previous order of the Supreme Court. The act of re-approving the tariff in the vacating action was contra to "[t]he general rule . . . that when an order or judgment is vacated, the previously existing status is restored and the situation is the same as though the order or judgment had never been made. The matters in controversy are left open for future determination."[2] This litigation highlights the expense and time delay inherent in the adversarial process Missouri has implemented to regulate utilities.