Gay Divorcée?

The Missouri Supreme Court ruled today that Missouri Circuit Courts have subject matter jurisdiction over same-sex dissolution of marriages.

Supreme Court of Missouri

Supreme Court of Missouri

The Court ruled in In re the Marriage of: M.S. v. D.S. that a sua sponte dismissal for lack of subject matter was error despite the Missouri constitutional and statutory ban on same-sex marriage.  The Court declined to rule on the constitutionality of gay marriage or whether the trial court could actually dissolve a same-sex marriage.

Missouri trial courts have jurisdiction over gay divorces.

Several groups including the ACLU, PROMO, Lambda Legal Defense, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and others filed briefs as friends of the Court.  The decision is being received as a small but significant step in the direction of equal rights for same-sex couples.

State Has Burden to Prove Sex Offender Knowingly Failed to Register

The Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District handed down its decision in State v. Wilder, No. SD33140.

The court held that because the man was never notified of his obligation under Missouri law to register as a sex offender that the State had not proved he knowingly failed to register.

moappsdpic

Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District

A man was convicted of rape in 1979 in California and in 1984 notified in California of his obligation under California law to register as a sex offender.  He served his time in a California prison and then moved to Missouri in 1985.  Missouri had no requirement for sex offenders to register until 1997.  The man was never notified in Missouri of his obligation under Missouri law to register as a sex offender.  The man was arrested for a subsequent alleged rape in 2010 in Missouri and convicted in Missouri for failure to register as a sex offender.

The court held that because the man was never notified of his obligation under Missouri law to register as a sex offender that the State had not proved he knowingly failed to register.  Failure to register was held not to be a strict liability crime and the element of “knowingly” must be proved by the State beyond a reasonable doubt.  The case was reversed and remanded to the trial court with instructions to enter a judgment of acquittal.

 

DWI Law and Practice Deskbook

The latest edition of the DWI Law and Practice DeskbookMoBarCLE_Deskbook is out. I co-authored with Carol Hutcheson the chapter on “Multi-Jurisdictional Issues.”

I’d like to thank my endlessly patient wife and colleague, Angela Umbarger, for gracefully tolerating too many late nights consumed with research.

New Year, New Holiday Calendar

One of a lawyer’s year end chores is to get the next year’s calendar ready.

Public Domain

Public Domain

2015 Missouri state holidays are here.

New Year’s Day Thursday, January 1, 2015
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Monday, January 19, 2015
Lincoln Day Thursday, February 12, 2015
Washington’s Birthday (Observed) Monday, February 16, 2015
Truman Day Friday, May 8, 2015
Memorial Day Monday, May 25, 2015
Independence Day Friday, July 3, 2015
Labor Day Monday, September 7, 2015
Columbus Day (Observed) Monday, October 12, 2015
Veterans Day Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Thanksgiving Day Thursday, November 26, 2015
Christmas Day Friday, December 25, 2015

(Saturday holidays observed on the preceding Friday; Sunday holidays observed on the following Monday)

2015 Federal holidays are here.

New Year’s Day, January 1.
Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., the third Monday in January.
Washington’s Birthday, the third Monday in February.
Memorial Day, the last Monday in May.
Independence Day, July 4.
Labor Day, the first Monday in September.
Columbus Day, the second Monday in October.
Veterans Day, November 11.
Thanksgiving Day, the fourth Thursday in November.
Christmas Day, December 25.

(Saturday holidays observed on the preceding Friday)

What is a Form 14?

In Missouri, Supreme Court Rule 88.01 provides that, “There is a rebuttable presumption that the amount of child support calculated pursuant to Civil Procedure Form No. 14 is the correct amount of child support to be awarded in any judicial or administrative proceeding.”  You can find a copy here.

Be careful.  The form no more intuitive than typical income tax forms.  There are instructions and worksheets and ambiguities that lawyers argue in court.

Heien v. North Carolina

If you are interested in criminal defense, you are likely hearing about the Heien decision handed down on December 15. 

It doesn’t really matter whether you follow the law, you’re getting stopped either way.

In a nutshell, police officers may make objectively reasonable mistakes in law as a justification for a traffic stop without implicating the exclusionary rule for evidence discovered as a result of the bad stop.  In Heien, the officer effected a stop because a driver had a tail light out when the law in North Carolina only required one tail light, so the stop was based upon the officer’s mistaken understanding of the law.  As a result of the stop, the officer found contraband.

Lesson to law enforcement:  Don’t train your officers about traffic law and they will find more contraband.

Lesson to motorists:  It doesn’t really matter whether you follow the law, you’re getting stopped either way.

Filed for Alderman, Ward One, Buffalo, Missouri

I filed today as a candidate for Alderman, Ward One, Buffalo, Missouri in the April 7, 2015 election.

HalfGig, CC BY-SA 3.0

HalfGig, CC BY-SA 3.0

Don’t forget to vote!

Will I Get Points on My License?

I often get the question, “Will I get points on my license?” or “How many points will I get on my license?”

The Missouri Department of Revenue uses Form 899 to set out the point schedule.  You can view it here.

Froth82, CC BY-SA 3.0

Froth82, CC BY-SA 3.0

Missouri’s Christmas Law

Last year the Missouri General Assembly passed HB278 which amended the Missouri Revised Statutes, Chapter 9, “Public Holidays,” to include Sect. 9.015, RSMo.  The new section reads as follows:

No state or local governmental entity, public building, public park, public school, or public setting or place shall ban or otherwise restrict the practice, mention, celebration, or discussion of any federal holiday.

Dean Beeler, CC BY 2.0

Dean Beeler, CC BY 2.0

Federal holidays are listed in 5 U.S.C. 6103 and include New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Some commentators have suggested the Missouri law is unconstitutional, but it doesn’t look like any court has yet invalidated it.  So, if you see some more Christmas trees and caroling in public buildings and schools this year, you can thank the Missouri General Assembly.

Where can I go to SATOP?

Missouri Department of Mental Health

Missouri Department of Mental Health

For those who get a DWI, a Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program completion is generally required.  I got the question from a client today, “Where do I go for my SATOP?”  The Missouri Department of Mental Health publishes a list of providers.

Here’s the list.

Proudly powered by WordPress
Theme: Esquire by Matthew Buchanan.