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Kansas City Criminal Defense Law Blog

New measure could change sex crime plea deal strategy

Criminal defendants accused of specific crimes against children could be facing longer prison sentences if convicted under proposed changes to the law in Missouri. Potential modifications, supported by advocacy group Missouri KidsFirst, would result in longer prison terms for family members accused of sex crimes against kids. Adults accused of abandonment could face similarly heightened consequences.

Missouri lawmakers in both the House and Senate have passed two different versions of the new criminal code. Now, they must work together to hammer out a new draft by mid-May. The bills are designed to bridge sentencing gaps for those who commit sex crimes; however, they could also lead to longer prison terms for those convicted of certain offenses. Defendants who are convicted of repeat offenses, inflicting serious injury, engaging in a ritual and other contributing factors could also face additional punishment. Kansas attorneys may be able to help defendants learn more about the impact of these changes on their individual criminal cases.

Missouri driver pleads guilty for fatal 2012 DWI crash

A 22-year-old man has pleaded guilty to three criminal counts in connection with a fatal 2012 drunk driving accident. The man, who was 20 at the time of the accident, had been charged with two counts of second-degree assault and a single allegation of involuntary manslaughter. Sentencing in the DWI case is scheduled for early June.

Prosecutors in the case say they are seeking a seven-year prison term, but the man's criminal defense attorneys say they will push for a more lenient sentence. They argue that their client may qualify for a reduced sentence under a Missouri law that limits prison time and encourages rehabilitation instead of long-term punishment. A sentence drafted under Missouri law 559 would lead to a 120-day minimum prison stay, and the defendant would be required to attend rehabilitation for alcohol use. The man would then be subject to probation instead of an extended prison term.

Band teacher accused of sex offenses for touching student

An assistant teacher at a Missouri school is facing serious allegations after reportedly engaging in inappropriate conduct with an 11-year-old student. The band teacher, 53, is accused of sex offenses including second-degree child molestation and third-degree assault, according to news reports. The man taught at the private St. Thomas More School, a Kansas City institution.

Authorities report that the man supposedly touched the girl by pretending to fall and then grabbing onto her for balance. The victim alleged that the defendant committed the sex crimes throughout the school year, perhaps as often as once a week. Official reports show that the victim confronted the man about the fact that he had not really fallen down, and she told the teacher that his actions made her uncomfortable.

House-sitter facing felony charges after cooking meth in home

A 34-year-old Missouri woman is facing serious legal consequences after allegedly allowing her friends to cook drugs in a home that belongs to her neighbors. News reports indicate that the woman was pet-sitting and house-sitting for her neighbors, who had left on a vacation. Police officers say that the woman's friends left behind an enormous environmental mess that could cost more than $37,000 to remedy. The woman is accused of a felony offense in connection with the methamphetamine production incident.

Official reports show that the woman, also accused of using methamphetamine herself, is accused of first-degree property damage in connection with the case. The alleged offense occurred in September 2013, when the woman was given the key to her neighbor's house so she could watch their home and cat. The woman admitted that she purchased ingredients used in the production of methamphetamine, and she then allowed her friends to cook the drugs in the home. She said she agreed to allow her friends to use the home in exchange for a share of the meth.

Missouri mayor's son avoids DUI charges, license suspended

The son of Kansas City's Mayor Sly James has been charged with careless driving in connection with a traffic stop in December. The 25-year-old man was originally arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, but he has not been charged with DUI in the case. This is the second time that the man has been arrested on suspicion of drunk driving but has avoided charges for driving while intoxicated.

Missouri officials say that the man was arrested on Dec. 18 after officers observed him driving erratically. The man reportedly drove two of his tires over a curb, which prompted officers to become suspicious. The police officers said the man's speech was incoherent, his pupils were dilated, and he appeared to be intoxicated. However, the man exercised his right to refuse a breath test, telling news media that he was not intoxicated and did not think he should be tested. Although the refusal has caused the man's license to be revoked, in this case he will not face drunk driving charges.

Man pleads guilty to single meth drug charge

A Missouri man who had been accused of trafficking methamphetamine over state lines has pleaded guilty to other allegations out of Adams County. Authorities report that the 24-year-old man pleaded guilty to unlawful possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine. Three other drug charges were dropped in the case, including two counts of drug trafficking. The man could face a seven-year prison term in connection with the matter, but he would also be eligible for probation.

The man was one of three people who were apprehended in connection with a task force investigation in the area. An informant reportedly set up a drug purchase from a Missouri group; this defendant was among the alleged suppliers. The confidential source reportedly purchased meth for $220 while an officer watched. The money from the transaction was later found in the defendant's vehicle after he was stopped by authorities. Officers allege that the man was also carrying a firearm, along with prescription drugs and other contraband.

Missouri man arrested for sex crimes against 5 girls

The father of a man who had been convicted of a series of sex crimes in the southern U.S. has been arrested. The older man was arrested on Jan. 10 in Missouri in connection with a string of alleged sex offenses perpetrated against five girls in the state. Those children were all between the ages of 9 and 16, according to detectives' reports.

Authorities say that an investigation against the man began in 2004, but the process stalled because key witnesses decided not to testify in the matter. In some cases, it appears that the witnesses were coerced into rescinding their testimony, thanks to the influence of others. The defendant in this sex crimes case is accused of providing a variety of expensive gifts for individuals used to convince witnesses not to testify. The case is under investigation again because one of the alleged victims turned 18 and decided to have the case reopened. Now, the older man is awaiting extradition to Missouri.

Man pleads guilty to murder of girlfriend as children watched

A Kansas City man has admitted to killing his former partner in November 2012. The defendant, age 43, was accused of beating and stabbing the woman to death as the couple's two young children watched. Official reports show that the man had been put on probation for domestic assault in 2010, but that probation has been revoked because he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in connection with the woman's death.

News reports show that the man has been sentenced to 25 years' prison time for his role in the woman's death. Relatives of the victim reportedly supported the plea agreement, which requires the man to serve at least 85 percent of the prison term before he can be eligible for release. In addition to the 25-year term for the murder charges, the man will serve a concurrent five-year sentence for the preexisting domestic assault charges.

Missouri assault defendants bailed out by Saudi Arabia

Two men from Missouri has been released from custody after the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia posted a whopping $2 million bail in connection with a criminal case. The men had been arrested in June on allegations that they had kidnapped and sexually assaulted a woman. The man, ages 21 and 27, are facing formal charges of kidnapping and forcible sodomy, according to news reports. Each was held on a $1 million bail. Those men had been attending Missouri State University at the time of the assault incident.

A taxi driver who dropped the two men and a woman off at their apartment called police after he became suspicious of the men's actions toward the woman. Police officers who followed up on that report found the woman in a distraught state at the apartment, where she was discovered vomiting, crying and only partially clothed. The woman suspected that she had been abducted from a nightclub she was visiting that evening, and she believed she might have been drugged.

Missouri man spends life in jail for contentious drug case

He's the only man in America serving a life sentence for weed.

The convict, age 60, is incarcerated at Missouri's Jefferson City Correctional Center, where he serves as a shop foreman in the woodworking shop. A mild-mannered man who once smoked marijuana as a way to relieve stress from his job, the man has been put away for life in one of the most controversial drug cases on the books.

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