Are Lawyers Getting Dumberer?

The Future of Law?

According to data collected by some professor at Pepperdine Law, yes. Lesserer and lesserer of us who scored over 160 on the LSAT (law school admission test) are applying to go to law school. Meanwhile, morer and morer lower scoring folks are applying and being admitted. Even top schools’ LSAT stats are dropping.

Some think it might not be such a bad thing for smart people to do something besides law.

An attorney, cross-examining the local coroner, queried, “Before you signed the death certificate had you taken the man’s pulse?”
“No,” the coroner replied.
“Well, then, did you listen for a heart beat?”
The coroner answered, “No.”
“Did you check for respiration? Breathing?”, asked the attorney.
Again the coroner replied, “No.”
“Ah,” the attorney said, “So when you signed the death certificate you had not taken any steps to make sure the man was dead, had you?”
The coroner rolled his eyes, and shot back “Counselor, at the time I signed the death certificate the man’s brain was sitting in a jar on my desk. But I can see your point. For all I know he could be out there practicing law somewhere.”

Can I file my dissolution and paternity action together in one case?

It can mean the difference between a single $170 filing fee for one case or $340 or more for multiple cases. Some judges will let litigants do this and save a filing fee, but Court Operating Rule 4.05.3 controls.

Dissolutions and paternity actions shall be filed separately. A separate case number shall be assigned for each dissolution and each paternity action filed and shall be related in the automated case management system for scheduling and other processing.

— COR 4.05.3

Nothing prevents the consolidation of cases once filed, so only one trial is usually necessary after the cases are consolidated.


Electronic Monitoring of Sex Offenders

Under a new law that went into effect January 1, some sex offenders (but not all) are required to be monitored for life and tracked by GPS. I’ve had some calls from folks on the list surprised by the new law. Yes, it’s a real thing. The Missouri State Highway Patrol is working on following up on records of guilt findings to track down who is and who is not required to be tracked; those on probation and parole can expect their probation/parole officer to require tracking.

Police ask for whole city’s Google searches, and a judge says yes

Edina, CA police sought a court order requiring from Google disclosure of “name(s), address(es), telephone number(s), dates of birth, social security numbers, email addresses, payment information, account information, IP addresses, and MAC addresses of the person(s) who requested/completed the search” — FOR EVERYONE IN TOWN. And they got it.

I thought my client’s cause was just…

The ACLU agreed. And now a federal judge seems to agree.

Termination of Parental Rights and the Incarcerated Parent

The Missouri Supreme Court handed down on January 5, 2017 its decision in In the Interest of J.P.B. This is an important case for the termination of parental rights for incarcerated parents. J.P.B. provides guidance on bases for terminating rights and the limitations on constitutional and procedural rights for incarcerated parents facing termination.

Nat Hentoff, Journalist and Social Commentator, Dies at 91

Nat Hentoff
Nat Hentoff

Legendary American historian, novelist, jazz and country music critic, and syndicated columnist, Nat Hentoff passed away yesterday. I had the incredible experience of being interviewed by Nat Hentoff during my work on a civil rights case I took all the way to the United States Supreme Court (Mellony Burlison, et al. v. The School District of Springfield, R-12, et al., 708 F.3d. 1034, (8th Cir.2013), cert. denied 134 S.Ct. 151, 187 L.Ed.2d 39 (2013)). Mr. Hentoff wrote a great article, Supreme Court Teaches Students They’re outside Constitution. Nat Hentoff will be sorely missed.

Your Marriage May Be About to End…

…If Clay County Representative T.J. Berry has his way. He filed HB 2754 which replaces the word “marriage” with “domestic contract” throughout Missouri statutes, as well as makes some other changes. It hasn’t passed yet.

The idea is to protect marriage from gay marriage by ending all marriage.

Among other things, the 394-page bill says:

“Beginning August 28, 2016, all current and previous marriages shall be known and referred to as contracts of domestic union. Two consenting persons who are parties to a valid marriage entered into prior to August 28, 2016, pursuant to this chapter may apply to the recorder of deeds in the county in which their marriage is recorded to have their marriage legally designated and recorded as a domestic union, without any additional requirements of payment or fees, provided that such parties’ marriage was not previously dissolved or annulled. The parties’ valid marriage license shall satisfy the requirements of subsection 3 of this section.” (at page 279).

What does this mean for married people? I haven’t the faintest idea, but it looks like it says your marriage is over and you maybe have a “domestic contract” – or maybe nothing at all – unless you apply with the recorder of deeds.


Missouri Supreme Court Judge Richard B. Teitelman passes

Missouri mourns today the loss of one of our very best lawyers.

Judge Teitelman
Judge Teitelman

Missouri Supreme Court Judge Richard B. Teitelman passed away today. He served for many years with Legal Services of Eastern Missouri before being appointed by Governor Holden to the Missouri Supreme Court. He was known as a very smart and compassionate lawyer and judge. I personally had the privilege of arguing a case before the Court during his tenure and the questions he asked were indeed insightful and compassionate. I felt very thankful to have him on the bench.

Trials & Appeals