Beltway Pressure

6 10 2015

Washington, D.C.


The Silver Mine floats a few theories, some better than others.

Saddle Up and Ride

4 10 2015

Tower Grove South

All you need to know:

Snead was released from jail five weeks before the robbery and shooting. Snead pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a firearm in St. Louis City, but was ordered to be released until his sentencing hearing by a judge even though prosecutors wanted him to remain behind bars.

When Dotson rides the “lenient judges” hobby horse, it’s the one he should ride.  (He certainly can’t blame “weak” gun laws, at least not in this particular case.)  Interestingly, we never hear Slay nor Joyce talk about the judges, even though they’re probably thinking it.  But the reasons for their brain-mouth filter is obvious:  Both of them are elected politicians, elected Democrats, and the slap on the hand judges in the 22nd are almost always brought to us by Democrat governors of the state, and in Joyce’s case, she’s the Circuit Attorney, and she sometimes and more often her ACAs plead criminal and on occasion civil cases in front of these same judges, therefore the politics of diplomacy preclude her from speaking so frankly.

Howdy Neighbor

27 08 2015


P-D on Jennings changing its dastardly ways when it comes to municipal courts.


The cities of Jennings and Ferguson were sued earlier this year by the nonprofit law group ArchCity Defenders, the St. Louis University School of Law Legal Clinics and the Washington-based group Equal Justice Under Law.

And then:

Jennings mayor Yolanda F. Henderson could not immediately be reached for comment. City Clerk Cheryl Balke referred a reporter to attorney D. Keith Henson, who also could immediately be reached.

There’s the thing. Jennings has been heavily black for a long time, so its city leadership has been black for quite awhile. However, that didn’t preclude Jennings from being the same kind of overglorified ticket mill that Ferguson was. All we hear about is how white the Ferguson city government and police department are.

Remember from my post that showed a pic of the Fergaza Strip just after the November riots, the Fergaza Strip being the part of Ferguson where all the action took place, that part of the Fergaza Strip is actually in Jennings, not Ferguson. That has to be the maddening part about everything that has happened in the past year and change for Ferguson, that it was only a matter of maybe a few hundred yards and the name “Jennings” would have become internationally (in)famous, not “Ferguson.”

The Excuse Engine Is Running Again

25 08 2015


URL later, but a SLU Law Prof is claiming that since SCOMO finding absolute felon in possession laws square with the state constitution was on pre-Amendment 5 grounds, it means that some felon could bring yet another case trying to bork absolute felon in possession based on Amendment 5.

Non-starter, because SCOMO pretty much already explained that in their decision last week — Strict scrutiny applies both pre and post Amend 5, nothing about Amend 5 changed that.  If S/S couldn’t shoot down absolute felon in possession before Amend 5, then it won’t be able to shoot it down with Amend 5.

But, between the time some felon does file such a lawsuit and SCOMO upholding both the circuit court and the appellate court in the decision we know they will make, that will be enough time for the Slay-Joyce-Dotson triumvirate (*) to start revving up the excuse engine and start bitching about Amendment 5 so that nobody blames either them or the black undertow for the city’s violent crime and homicides.


(*) – “Triumvirate” refers to three consequential and similarly positioned men (“trium” + “vir”), “triumgynate” refers to women (“trium” + “gyn”).  “Triumvirate” is also the gender neutral or gender mixed sense of the word, which is why I used it here even though Jennifer Joyce is a woman.


The story.  At the end, he concedes the point about strict scrutiny and also concedes that they’d rule the same way even through the lens of Amendment 5.

SCOMO’s Red Light

18 08 2015

Jefferson City

More SCOMO news:  They wound local red light camera ordinances almost to the point of, but not quite to, absolute death.

The court’s rationale is pretty easy.  Burden of proof issues and question of offending party issues.  In that the ticket is mailed to the registered owner of the car without knowing for sure that the owner of the car ran the red light, and even if that was the case, the ordinances shift the burden of proof from the city attorney to the traffic court defendant.

Sappy Is a Mashup of Sad and Happy

18 08 2015

Jefferson City

Breaking news, URL to corroborate later:  SCOMO finds with a unanimous 7-0 decision that state level absolute felon in possession laws are square with Amendment 5.  As I knew they would.

Slay, Joyce and Dotson are happy today, but they’ll be sad tomorrow.  Why?  They just lost an excuse.


Skip the news URL, here’s the actual court opinion.

What is really interesting here is that the felon filed his lawsuit before Amendment 5 was passed, meaning he tried to use the pre Amendment 5 Constitutional language of Art 1 Sec 23 (Missouri’s “second amendment”) to strike down his felon in possession conviction (which led to a seven-year state prison bit, and I suspect that that was the result a plea deal between the felon’s defense attorney and the ACA). While this case was making its way up the judicial ladder in the state, Amendment 5 passed, and the felon’s lawyers tried to change the pitch halfway between the mound and the plate, because they thought Amendment 5’s stronger language would have meant a greater chance of success.

SCOMO found that: (1) The pre Amendment 5 language of A1S23 had to be used, that the plaintiff couldn’t change the pitch while it was on its way to the plate, but (2) It was a moot point anyway because either the pre or post Amendment 5 language of A1S23 compelled the judiciary to apply strict scrutiny when analyzing challenges to state and local gun restrictions. And even applying strict scrutiny, absolute felon in possession laws stay in place, they survive strict scrutiny.

Ironically, as the decision states, SLPD Chief Sam Dotson lent his name to another Amendment 5 lawsuit of earlier this year, trying to get Amendment 5 overturned because the ballot language didn’t tell the voters that gun restrictions would be faced with strict scrutiny in state courts. As I just wrote, they were faced with strict scrutiny in state courts even before Amendment 5, the amendment did not result in any actual change. Of course, as I wrote more than a year ago in this space before Amendment 5 was voter approved in August 2014, I was going to vote for it but I didn’t understand how anything would be changed by it legally-substantively, and now we have our first run through the state courts to prove that I was right.

Ironically, the state’s own felon in possession law was not absolute until 2007.

Remembering Things, More People Should Try It.

20 07 2015

Your Blogmeister’s Desk

Slay, Dotson, Joyce, and just about everyone of civic prominence and importance in this town is preaching gloom and doom and disaster if SCOMO doesn’t find state level absolute felon in possession laws to be square with Amendment 5.

I wrote in this space four days ago:

…even though before Amendment 5, the state’s felon in possession laws were hardly ever enforced.  Felon in possession raps, then and now, almost always fall to the Feds.

To add some clarity to that, I’m wondering why everyone in this town is so antsy pantsy about having a state level absolute felon in possession law when I don’t recall it ever being used that much, maybe except as an add on charge as plea bargain fodder.

But then I remembered something else:  Until 2007, Missouri’s actual felon in possession law was not absolute itself.  It only disallowed felons to possess firearms during their probation.  Once they were off papers, they were good to go.  In theory only, because the Feds’ felon in possession law has been absolute since it was enacted in 1968.  What happened in 2007 is that the General Assembly made the state’s felon in possession law absolute at the same time it got rid of the ridiculous permit to purchase scheme.

Therefore, the time period before the state’s felon in possession law was made absolute in August 2007 must have been the end of the world.  Right?

I think the source of the anxiety is that Joyce and Dotson know that even if the state level absolute prohibition remains, that it’s not going to result in waves of ex-felons found to be in possession of guns filling up state prisons.  It’s not like there’s that much room in state prisons anyway.  No, what they want is for yet another technical process crime relating to felons and firearms to exist to use as plea bargain fodder.



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