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St. Peters Criminal Defense Law Blog

Student gets jail time for Internet crimes

A 25-year-old former student at Lindenwood University has received a 90-day jail term in connection with alleged Internet crimes. The man, from St. Charles, Missouri, must also pay financial restitution to the university for publishing confidential student data, according to news reports, as well as a fine to the St. Charles County unit that investigated the crime.

In addition to those penalties, the man will not be able to return to the campus, and he must pen a letter of apology to the Lindenwood student body. That admission will be published in school media sources, including the student newspaper. He is also subject to a 2-year probation term.

Men facing charges for synthetic pot sale

Two Missouri men have pleaded not guilty to drug charges in connection with the alleged sale of synthetic marijuana. The men, ages 44 and 51, are facing a 21-count indictment in connection with the case. Those charges include distributing drugs and drug paraphernalia, along with conspiracy. The younger man is also accused of money laundering, while the older is accused of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Interestingly, federal law does not expressly prohibit the sale of many of the synthetic substances, as listing the chemical compositions of potential copy-cat substances would be an overwhelming task. Instead, federal investigators are able to press charges if the substances are chemically or pharmacologically similar to other prohibited drugs.

Mother cleared in child's trash bin death

A St. Louis woman who was accused of several felony crimes after allegedly dropping her toddler in a trash bin has been cleared of all wrongdoing. The woman, who was slated to go to trial for first-degree murder and child abuse in late October, has had all charges dismissed in connection with the case. Now, an internal investigation is pending against a local police officer who is suspected of compromising the evidence in the case.

Authorities report that the 30-year-old woman was charged with the death of her 18-month-old son after he was found dead in a trash bin behind her apartment building. The toddler had suffered serious injuries as the result of a beating, according to officers, who noted that the child's brain, neck and ribs had been injured. Further investigation showed that the baby's liver was lacerated and he began bleeding internally.

Man facing weapons charges after road rage

A Missouri man is facing criminal charges in connection with a road-rage incident that occurred in Lincoln County on Oct. 5. The man, age 23, is accused of first-degree assault in connection with the incident, which happened when the man fired a pistol at another vehicle. In addition to the assault charges, the man faces allegations of unlawful use of a weapon and resisting arrest.

Authorities report the defendant is accused of tailgating a vehicle with three 18-year-old occupants. The man reportedly flashed his lights at the other driver, so the young people pulled into the slow lane to accommodate his desire to go faster. As the man pulled past the vehicle, he made an obscene gesture at the other driver. After the man had passed, the occupants of the other vehicle said they found him waiting for them at an overpass. The defendant drove next to the younger driver at a slow rate of speed and pulled out a gun, which he aimed at the passenger in the front seat, according to police officers. Luckily, the shot did not strike an occupant, but it did damage the front end of the car.

Sheriff says he didn't commit sexual misconduct

A sheriff from central Missouri is facing a variety of criminal charges after he was accused of sexual harassment, stalking and assault. The 27-year-old man, who serves as the sheriff in Osage County, contends that the allegations have no basis in fact, and some even believe that the charges may have some political motivation.

Authorities report the man allegedly harassed a woman who had been at a party with him in June. That woman had traveled with the man on an emergency call to break up a fight at a tire store. The woman alleges that the defendant used his flashlight to touch her in an intimate way while she was assisting with that call. In addition, the woman has accused the defendant of coming to her house and bothering her fianc? when she was not home. In fact, she was so afraid that he might be at her house that she drew her gun when she returned one morning. The man also is accused of making offensive sexual comments to the victim.

Man shoots car after yard is papered

A man from St. Charles, Missouri, is facing charges for felony crimes after he brandished and fired a shotgun at people who were toilet-papering his yard. The man, age 51, was reportedly irate when he noticed the group on Sept. 21 after his wife brought the activity to his attention. He is now facing charges of discharging a weapon at a motor vehicle in connection with the incident.

Authorities report that the man's wife noticed several people with toilet paper in the couple's front yard at about 11:30 p.m. When the man knocked on the window, the trespassers fled back into their vehicles. At that point, the man ran into the house to fetch the gun. He ran outside, brandishing the weapon and pointing at several vehicles without firing. It appears that the man may have mistaken a neighbor returning home for a member of the toilet-papering party, however, shooting her vehicle instead. The 61-year-old woman was driving her 64-year-old sister and another 26-year-old passenger at the time of the incident. When the woman attempted to drive around the defendant as he stood in the road, he struck her vehicle with his hand and then shot the small SUV.

City leaders' gun court efforts stymied

Even though St. Louis city leaders had expressed interest in creating a specific court for weapons crimes related to assault, robbery and a variety of other charges, Missouri judges have rejected the legislators' proposals. The judges agree that expedited handling of these cases is in everyone's best interest. As a result, they pledge to speed the proceedings for those accused of weapons crimes and first-degree robbery charges. Still, the more comprehensive reforms proposed by city leaders conflict with the proper handling of the cases, according to the judiciary, who chided the politicians for getting too involved in judicial affairs.

The changes would have created a special court specifically for weapons crimes. Known as the "Armed Offender Docket," the division would have been overseen by two designated judges. Politicians in the area said the changes would have provided for swifter processing of the 600 to 700 weapons-related cases that come through the St. Louis courts each year. In addition, the opportunity would have encouraged judges to be more accountable, and it would have given a more accurate research base for academic professionals who want to study the crimes.

Weapons bill would protect criminal defendants

Three indictments filed in August and September in the St. Louis, Missouri, area have resulted in the filing of weapons and drug charges against 25 local residents. The defendants are accused of felony crimes in connection with the operation of a methamphetamine distribution ring, which prosecutors allege dates back to Oct. 2010. Several people who were indicted are members of the same motorcycle group, the Saddle Tramps Motorcycle Club.

News outlets report that the indictments come at an appropriate time. Even as the methamphetamine ring members are facing criminal charges, the U.S. Attorney's Office in St. Louis released a statement opposing the expansion of gun rights for individual citizens. That office is formally speaking out against a measure that would make it a misdemeanor for federal officials to infringe upon Missourians' rights to bear arms. That bill would ban the practice of publishing the names of gun owners, along with lowering the age restriction for concealed weapons and allowing select school personnel to be armed.

Priest gets 3-year term for child porn

A priest from the St. Louis Archdiocese has been sentenced to a 37-month prison term after pleading guilty to several Internet sex crimes. The man, age 37, admitted on Aug. 30 that he had stored child pornography on his computer. He further confessed to sending graphic sexual images to a minor boy. Investigators reported finding 20 images of child pornography on the man's computer, along with several pictures of male genitals.

The defendant was sentenced immediately, a relatively unusual occurrence. In general, criminal defendants go through a plea hearing and then a subsequent sentencing hearing.

Missouri legislator under fire for pot possession

A Missouri state representative has resigned from one of his posts after he was arrested for drug charges in August. The man, age 33, had held a major leadership position in the state government, heading up the House Democrats' fundraising efforts. He was arrested on Aug. 25 when officers discovered the drug in his vehicle after a routine traffic stop. The man had reportedly failed to pay for a previous traffic citation, which prompted the confrontation with officers.

The man is accused of possessing less than 1.2 ounces of marijuana. He was also said to be in possession of a pipe.

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