St. Louis courtrooms have introduced some furry friends to help lower stress levels and aid witnesses during the trial process. Therapy dogs have been present in hospitals and nursing homes for many years because of the documented benefits in lowering blood pressure and reducing stress reactions, and now those benefits are being put to use in local courts all over Missouri.
A man thought he was doing his neighbors a favor when he saw a police officer pull over and set up a speed trap near his home last year. The man decided to take his car a few blocks ahead of the officer and began flashing his headlights to signal to drivers that they should slow down.
The recent sentencing of a white collar offender to a life sentence in prison has raised some eyebrows and concerns in the criminal justice community. The life sentence for fraud crimes was allowed under the state's three-strikes law, which imposes a harsher penalty on repeat offenders. This man had already served time for two burglary charges in the 1990s, and prosecutors added a burglary charge in this case.
A recent report from the National White Collar Crime Center detailed some interesting new information about internet crime around the country and in this state. Missouri apparently ranked 20th overall in the number of internet crimes that were reported to authorities last year. Apparently Missouri residents lost about $4.5 million in internet thefts last year.
Attorneys often advise their clients to look clean and respectful for court appearances and trial to make a positive impression on the judge and jury, or at least avoid making a negative impression. Issues of appearance may seem trivial in light of criminal charges, but some studies have shown that people have a subconscious bias against people with an appearance that seems threatening.
A beauty queen and 2009 Miss USA winner was arrested last December and charged with drunk driving. She was sentenced this week after choosing to plead no contest to several misdemeanor counts. The pageant winner will pay several hundred dollars in fines and spend six months on probation.
Police in many states around the country have been conducting investigations into fraud allegations. The specific issue that has emerged recently surrounds the sale of time shares. Time shares are a popular way for people to secure a place at a certain vacation spot at a reasonable price for the long term. Many people choose time shares instead of a vacation home, but the arrangement can also be a risky investment and the downturn in the market has caused people to want to sell.
As in many states with a tight budget this year, Missouri lawmakers are looking in some unconventional places to cut costs. Prisons have previously been considered off the table for savings, since most Missouri residents agree that they are a necessary part of the criminal justice system. An updated study on the state's use of the prison system and an analysis of the costs versus the benefits of prison time tells a different story.