Category Archives: reference

Missouri Department of Corrections Offender Web Search

Ever wonder what happened to that one guy who went to prison? Find ’em here…

https://web.mo.gov/doc/offSearchWeb/

 

Adoption and Safe Families Act

This law comes up in Juvenile Abuse/Neglect cases I handle. A starting point to learn about it is here.

Some of the major provisions of the law include:

  • Requires that States move to terminate parental rights for children who have been in Foster Care for 15 out of the last 22 months
  • Exceptions to the 15/22 rule include:[4]
    1. When the child is in a Foster Home with a biological relative (Kinship Care)
    2. When the Agency documents a compelling reason why parental termination is not in the Child’s best interest
    3. When the State has failed to provide services necessary for reunification
  • Requires that Permanency Hearings be held every 12 months
  • Clarifies cases in which States are not required to reunite Families (Aggravated Circumstances)
  • Expands family preservation and support services
  • Extends subsidies for adoptive children
  • Provides incentives for States to improve adoption rates
  • Requires States to document efforts to move children toward adoption
  • Expands health care coverage for adoptive children
  • Provides funding for efforts at encouraging adoption
  • Clarifies that interstate boundaries should not delay adoption.

This Day at Law…

This Day at Law is a site that reports what happened in legal history for the current day. ¬†Things like the law that replaced the War Department with the Defense Department was signed on August 10, 1949…

Child Abuse: Mandated Reporters

Some of us are mandated reporters, including all sorts of professionals responsible for the care of children. Sometimes mandated reporters need guidelines. The Children’s Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services publishes a useful handbook, Guidelines for Mandated Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect.

Blue Book? Indigo Book!

Every law student must grind through a class learning the proper way to cite legal authority, correct to the last comma. In recent years, there has been among legal scholars considerable controversy over citation method. The Indigo Book is a free citation authority in the public domain serving as an alternative to the Blue Book or other citation methods. You can get it free here.

Missouri Sunshine Law

Trying to get records from a Missouri political subdivision? The Sunshine Law applies. The Missouri Office of the Attorney General has a helpful website. They also publish a helpful guide.

Recording Phone Calls

I often get asked whether it is legal to record phone calls and occasionally a client will come in with a great volume of recordings, expecting great results. There are some apps for smartphones that can automatically record calls. It’s usually a lousy idea.

  1. It’s illegal in the United States to record calls to which you are not a party (unless you are the NSA or law enforcement with a court order). That means if you are a parent and your child is having a telephone conversation with your co-parent and you are not in the room, it is a federal crime to record the call.
  2. It is legal in Missouri to record a call to which you are a party, provided the person on the other end of the call is also in a state where it is legal to record a call to which you are a party. If the person on the other end of the call is in a state in which it is illegal for either party to record a call, then it is potentially illegal to record the call without the other party’s consent.
  3. It is always legal to record a call with the consent of all parties to the call.
  4. It is unethical for attorneys to advise clients to secretly record calls, particularly to illegally record calls or to record calls to represented parties.
  5. It is unethical for attorneys to secretly record calls as that is a deceptive practice.
  6. Because it is deceptive for attorneys to secretly record calls, it is conceivable that a party who secretly records calls could have their credibility impeached at trial for engaging in the deceptive practice of secretly recording calls.

 

In Your Child’s Best Interest

The Missouri Office of State Courts Administrator publishes a guide for parents involved in custody/divorce litigation. A free copy is available here.

Parent Handbook