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"Legal" business barred in several states, including Missouri

Missouri is one of several states that recently issued cease-and-desist orders against a man who operated a business proffering legal services. The man operated a business under several names, including 3rd Millennium Systems, Inc., Affordable Law Center and Affordable Court Services.

Missouri may have to wait for criminal code reform

On our blog we've mentioned several times an effort to overhaul Missouri's criminal code, which started with a task force and, most recently, involves a proposed bill in the state legislature. The drafters of the legislation and the panel that advised them set out to change the state's criminal code to make it more fair, consistent and cost-effective for the state.

High court rules for privacy in drug dog case

The Supreme Court recently issued a ruling that could strike a blow to law enforcement agencies that rely heavily on drug-sniffing dogs for evidence in cases of drug charges. The court held 5-4 that an officer could not use a drug dog to sniff around the outside of a house where they suspect illegal activity.

What happens if your roommate's selling drugs?

Last week we talked about a group of search warrants that were executed at Missouri State University on suspicion of drug charges. In one of those cases a suspect's roommates allowed law enforcement officials to search their bedrooms that were attached to a common area.

Police execute search warrants at Missouri State University

On this St. Louis DWI blog we've written several times about the Fourth Amendment and how it protects people against the unlawful search and seizure of their person or property by law enforcement officials. However, it is important to understand that this does not bar every search in every situation. A series of recent investigations at Missouri State University highlights some issues surrounding warranted searches and how police conduct drug investigations.

DNA collection and the presumption of innocence

Last week the Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments in a case that will shape the future of evidence collections and criminal justice across the country. The widespread practice of collecting DNA from criminal suspects at arrest is before the court, with advocates speaking up passionately on both sides.

St. Louis officer faces disciplinary action

A St. Louis patrolman is facing disciplinary proceedings after he struck a man with a baton, choked him and slammed his head into the bumper of a patrol car. He is the subject of a disciplinary trial aimed at determining whether he should be reinstated after his suspension is over. The victim in this case was suspected of trespassing at a downtown casino and was placed in handcuffs. While arresting him, the officer in question allegedly used excessive force, racial slurs and obscenities. Surveillance video at the scene showed the officer choking the suspect and slamming his head against the bumper. A casino paramedic testified that the officer also struck the suspect with a baton.

What to do if your guilty plea was a mistake

Last week we talked about vacating criminal convictions and some of the circumstances that can justify vacating a verdict. Juror misconduct, a biased court and an improperly-handled plea deal are all factors that can lead a court to vacate a conviction, treating the trial and the ruling as if they never happened.

When can you vacate a criminal conviction?

A wrongful conviction can turn your life upside-down. It can leave a lasting mark on your life as a criminal record, which can affect your future employment prospects and, in some cases, even where you can live and visit. A criminal conviction can also carry hefty penalties like fines and jail time.

Supreme Court to consider DNA evidence collection

In February a Supreme Court ruling could shape the laws that govern DNA evidence collection by law enforcement officials. Each state has its own laws governing DNA collection, which many believe is more invasive than a fingerprint or breath test.

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