Jackson County Detention Center To Offer Mental Health Services

From Jackson County Sheriff Darryl Forté and Jackson County Jail Administrator Diana Turner:

We are pleased to announce that by unanimous vote the Jackson County Legislature approved a contract yesterday for comprehensive mental health services at the Jackson County Detention Center with Advanced Correctional Healthcare, Inc.

For the first time in the jail’s history, mental health services for the population will be provided to national standards. We regard this as a crucial step in the direction of becoming a premier agency.

“This mental health service contract is a significant step toward our commitment to provide our inmate population a resource for their overall mental health needs,” Sheriff Forté said.

We want to thank the County Executive’s team for their support in this endeavor and the members of the Legislature who continue to make the well-being of our inmates, and the safety and security of our facility, a priority.

Sheriff, Former MSA Site Coordinator Appointed to POST Commission

On June 19 Governor Mike Parson announced six appointments to various boards and commissions. Two – Gary Hill and Sheriff David Marshak  – were appointed to serve on the Peace Officer Standards and Training Program (POST) Commissio​n​.

Hill, of Holts Summit, currently serves as the chief of police and director of public safety at Lincoln University. Previously, he served with the Cole County Sheriff’s Department for 18 years, beginning ​​as a deputy sheriff and advancing to Patrol Division Commander.

Hill has also served as a site coordinator for the Missouri Sheriffs’ Association Training Academy, adjunct instructor at Lincoln University, Joint Terrorism Task Force officer for the F.B.I., and panel member for the Missouri Police Chiefs Association’s Assessment Center. 

He is also a member of the F.B.I. National Academy Associates, Missouri Police Chiefs Association, Missouri Task Force on Children’s Justice, and Jefferson City Crime Stoppers. 

Hill is active in his community, serving as a member of the Jefferson City Lions Club, Capital City Boys and Girls Club, and the Disciples of Christ Youth Outreach Program. He holds a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice from Lincoln University and a Master of Science in criminal justice administration from Columbia College. Hill is also a graduate of the F.B.I. National Academy.

Sheriff Dave Marshak, of Festus, has served as the sheriff of Jefferson County since 2016. Previously, he served 22 years with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, beginning as a deputy sheriff and advancing to captain. In this role, he was responsible for training employees and ensuring their compliance with governing standards.

Sheriff Marshak has trained both civilians and law enforcement officers from local, state, and federal agencies. He has also served as an adjunct instructor at Jefferson College, teaching courses in criminal investigations and corrections. Sheriff Marshak holds a Bachelor of Arts in human resources and a Master of Arts in communications from Lindenwood University.

POST is a regulatory program with responsibility for licensing peace officers, ensuring compliance with peace officer continuing education requirements, and conducting investigations for disciplining the licenses of peace officers as specified by Chapter 590, RSMo.

The POST Program also licenses law enforcement basic training centers, basic training instructors, approves law enforcement training curricula, and provides staff support for the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Commission.

Court OKs Ruling Denying Defender Caseload Relief

A Missouri appeals court has set a high bar for public defenders to overcome when appealing circuit-court denials of their motions for caseload relief.

In a June 9 ruling, a three-judge panel of the Missouri Court of Appeals Western District adopted an abuse of discretion standard of review for cases stemming from a 2013 law that provides a mechanism for district defenders to ask circuit court presiding judges for caseload relief for individual attorneys.

Mary Fox, director of the Missouri State Public Defender System, said she anticipates the standard of review being a key part of a motion to transfer the case to the Missouri Supreme Court.

“I think if the statute is going to have value to the state, there would be value in getting a decision from the Supreme Court as to how they would like to see it put into practice,” she said in an interview.

Jackson County District Defender Ruth Petsch had sought to overturn Jackson County Circuit Court Presiding Judge David M. Byrn’s order denying caseload relief for two individual attorneys in her office, David Wiegert and Walter Stokely, as well as her office as a whole.

She also argued that the 2013 law is unconstitutional, asserting that a provision that prohibits public defenders from declining to take on new cases because they already have too many to ethically handle is at odds with attorney ethics rules that require attorneys to provide effective assistance of counsel for their clients.

Under the new standard of review, appeals courts would largely defer to presiding judges and place the burden on public defenders to show that the judges abused their discretion in reaching their decisions.

The ruling also closes the door to Petsch and district defenders across the state who seek to raise concerns about the law’s constitutionality using the process set out in the caseload-relief law.

Since 2017, Petsch has sought caseload relief from the Jackson County Circuit Court under Section 600.063 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri. Following an evidentiary hearing in 2019, Byrn denied relief, finding that neither the individual attorneys nor the wider office were too overburdened to accept new cases while providing effective representation to existing clients.

Before addressing Petsch’s arguments, the court panel first had to decide the applicable standard of review — an issue of first impression.

The parties disagreed on what the correct standard should be. Petsch argued the court should review Byrn’s factual findings for competent and substantial evidence and that de novo review was appropriate for the application of law to the facts, or to interpreting the statute.

The Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office, however, contended that appeals courts should affirm presiding judges’ decisions if factual findings are supported by competent and substantial evidence and to defer to the presiding judges’ credibility findings.

The Western District concluded that the case-relief law describes a procedure for the exercise of a court’s inherent authority and responsibility to manage its dockets.

“As such, and consistent with appellate review of other trial court rulings involving the exercise of discretion pursuant to inherent authority, orders issued by a presiding judge following a section 600.063 conference are presumed to be correct, are reviewed for an abuse of discretion, and the burden of showing an abuse of discretion is on the appellant,” Judge Cynthia L. Martin wrote in the opinion.

Petsch argued that Byrn erred in refusing to declare provisions of the caseload-relief law subordinate to the Rules of Professional Conduct and that the law was unconstitutional as applied if it was interpreted to limit the ability of public defenders to decline or delay appointments in order to comply with ethics rules.

The court ruled that in a proceeding under the caseload-relief statute, a district defender cannot ask a presiding judge for a declaratory judgment about the constitutional validity of the statute.

“The District Defender remains free to challenge the constitutionality of sections 600.062 and 600.063 in any other proceeding where those issues can be properly raised,” Martin said. “But the constitutionality of sections 600.062 and 600.063 cannot be raised in a section 600.063 motion, nor determined by a presiding judge following a section 600.063 conference.”

Judges Lisa White Hardwick and Thomas N. Chapman agreed.

Petsch and her attorney, John C. Aisenbrey of Stinson, declined to comment. A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office also declined to comment.

The case is In re: Area 16 Public Defender Office III v. Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, WD82962.

By Jessica Shumaker | Missouri Lawyers Media molawyersmedia.com

Amazon Pauses Police Use of Its Facial Recognition Software

Nicole Hardy-Smith with the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office, uses a facial recognition software tool to provide identity resolution on cold cases. Photo by Carline Jean/Sun Sentinel/TNS

Answering widespread demands for new curbs on aggressive policing in the wake of George Floyd’s killing, Amazon is halting law enforcement use of its facial recognition platform for one year, the company said Wednesday.

The company has marketed its software platform, called Rekognition, to law enforcement agencies for years, and its short blog post announcing the shift did not provide an explicit reason for the change of direction. The post did note that Amazon supports federal regulation of facial recognition technology, and that the company hopes the one-year moratorium “might give Congress enough time to implement appropriate rules.”

The move came two days after IBM announced that it was getting out of the facial recognition business entirely, citing ethical concerns over the powerful technology. In a letter to Congress, the company’s chief executive, Arvind Krishna, wrote that “IBM firmly opposes and will not condone uses of any [facial recognition] technology, including facial recognition technology offered by other vendors, for mass surveillance, racial profiling, violations of basic human rights and freedoms,” or any other purpose that goes against the company’s core principles.

Cities around the country, including Berkeley, Oakland and San Francisco, have banned the technology’s use by public agencies outright over fears that the software, which employs machine learning algorithms to automatically detect human faces in digital video and match them to names, presents too great a risk to privacy to be used responsibly.

A 2019 California law banned the use of facial recognition software — and any other biometric surveillance that can identify people by tattoo, gait or other individually distinguishable characteristics — on photos or video collected by law enforcement agencies.

The text of the law summarized the concerns about the use of the technology, calling its potential widespread application the “functional equivalent of requiring every person to show a personal photo identification card at all times in violation of recognized constitutional rights,” regardless of consent. It added that its use runs the risk of creating massive, unregulated databases about Californians never suspected of committing a crime, and “may chill the exercise of free speech in public places” as the identities of anyone in a crowd could be immediately discerned.

Amazon has been one of the leading providers of facial recognition technology to law enforcement agencies in recent years, a role that has drawn criticism. In June 2018, the Washington state branch of the American Civil Liberties Union called on the Seattle company to stop providing the technology to governments, including local law enforcement.

The Amazon executive who oversees Rekognition told reporters at PBS’s “Frontline” in February that the company did not know how many police departments used the technology. “We have 165 services in our technology infrastructure platform,” said Andrew Jassy, c​​hief executive of Amazon Web Services, “and you can use them in any combination you want.”

Fight for the Future, a digital rights group that has been leading a coalition calling for an outright ban on facial recognition technology in all applications, said a one-year pause is not enough.

“This is nothing more than a public relations stunt from Amazon,” Evan Greer, deputy director at Fight for the Future, said in a statement. Greer said the appeal for federal regulation is consistent with a strategy — familiar from the fight over California’s landmark privacy law passed last year — in which powerful tech companies lobby for broad federal regulation that is ultimately weaker than state or municipal-level regulation of their business.
By Sam Dean | Los Angeles Times

Missouri Supreme Court Issues Directives for Reopening Courts

The Missouri Supreme Court has issued additional guidance for circuit courts as they navigate resuming jury trials in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The court issued an order supplementing its May 4 order and operational directives for gradually reopening the state’s courthouses to in-person proceedings.

In the new order, the court said that the safety of jurors, visitors, court personnel, parties and attorneys is paramount, and no jurisdiction may resume jury proceedings without first undergoing sufficient planning and preparation.

“The resumption of jury proceedings too early would not only risk the health of participants, but it could also undermine public confidence in the courts and damage the integrity of trial by jury, a cornerstone of our justice system,” the order said.

The Supreme Court pointed to new research indicating that COVID-19 may be spread through the air by normal breathing and conversation in addition to the spread of droplets from sneezes and coughs.

“Therefore, every reasonable precaution should be taken in the context of jury proceedings,” the order said.

Under the new guidelines, in order to resume grand or petit jury proceedings under any operating phase, presiding judges first must determine whether their circuits have the proper facilities and equipment in place to conduct jury proceedings in compliance with social distancing protocols, local restrictions on occupancy rates and other recommended health and safety strategies.

Jury proceedings are not generally anticipated to resume before a court implements Phase Three of the Supreme Court’s operating phases, the order said. The order noted that the earliest a court could enter Phase Three under its requirements is June 13.

The order said courts should take efforts to educate the general public about the importance of jury service and the steps the courts are taking to ensure the safety and well-being of potential jurors as jury trials resume.

The Supreme Court also recommended that courts suspend warrants for jurors who fail to appear when summoned and to suspend the execution of warrants previously issued for that reason until after the pandemic subsides.

Instead, the court recommended that circuits follow up with non-responders with a second notice and second summons. Courts may offer deferral in place of a warrant.

Additionally, the order recommended that courts should be capable of seating jurors 6 feet apart, limiting the number of potential jurors involved in jury selection and ensuring that members of the public may view public court proceedings.


Zoom Meeting to Prepare New Drivers for the Road

On July 28, 2020, First Impact will have its first ZOOM presentation!  

First Impact is a 90 – minute evidence-based traffic safety program that educates parents and new and soon-to-be teen drivers about Missouri’s Graduated Driver License law.  Agencies and safety partners who serve parents and their teens are also invited to join the presentation..

The goal of First Impact is to eliminate new driver crashes and reduce resulting injuries and fatalities, by increasing parental awareness and enforcement of Missouri’s Graduated Driver License law.  

Objectives of the program are to increase:

•        Awareness of teen driving risks

•        Understanding of Missouri’s GDL law

•        GDL monitoring and enforcement at home

•        Importance of being a positive role model

The program is delivered by trained facilitators and law enforcement officers who coach parents by presenting key facts and proven strategies to help parents lower their teens’ crash risk by utilizing the Missouri GDL law. The statewide program is available free of charge.  Funding is provided by MoDOT’s Highway Safety & Traffic Division and State Farm ​​Insurance.

Watch a brief video to learn more about First Impact ​by visiting​https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPK1JJlhtwA

You can also visit the First Impact website at firstimpact.missouri.edu  

Pre-register at:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/first-impact-new-driver-parent-teen-education-program-on-zoom-tickets-106153447820

Sheriff to be Commemorated With Apparel Fundraiser

​’​Hold the Line’ campaign to feature special apparel in honor of Sheriff Andy Clark of DeKalb County.

A sheriff killed in a crash in DeKalb County, Missouri this week will be remembered with a charitable fundraiser for his family.

Shield Republic Charities will run a “Hold the Line” apparel campaign to raise funds for Sheriff Andy Clark of the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office, who died in a car accident while responding to a call the morning of Wednesday, June 3. The fundraiser will include commemorative t-shirts, long-sleeved shirts, hoodies, ladies’ tank tops and decals made in America. All net proceeds from the campaign will be donated to the Clark family.

Sheriff Clark died while on duty after being called to assist a deputy near Highways 36 and MO 33 near Osborn, Missouri. En route to helping his colleague, his car collided with an SUV, fatally wounding the sheriff and injuring four people in the SUV.

The cause of the crash is currently being investigated; witnesses said Sheriff Clark’s vehicle had its hazard lights on as he crashed.

“Today we share in the heartbreak of the Clark family along with the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office team,” said Charlie Romero, spokesperson for Shield Republic. “Our Hold the Line campaign in Sheriff Clark’s honor recognizes the sacrifice of a committed officer who laid down his life in the line of duty. We commend him for his service.”

View the Hold the Line fundraiser page for Sheriff Clark  at https://www.shieldrepublic.com/products/100-donation-hold-the-line-sheriff-andy-clark.

Shield Republic’s Hold the Line fundraisers have donated more than $200,000 this year to the families and units of fallen first responders, police officers and K9 police dogs.

For more information about the Shield Republic Charities, email charities@shieldrepublic.com.

About Shield Republic

Established in 2016, Shield Republic is an American lifestyle brand based outside Raleigh, North Carolina. The company offers creative, fresh apparel and merchandise embody​​ing American pride. Everything sold by Shield Republic is designed and manufactured in the United States. Shield Republic appeals to patriotic Americans p​​assionate about personal strength, second amendment rights and military strength. Through Shield Republic Charities, the company shows appreciation to soldiers, first responders and their families.

Learn more about Shield Republic and shop the online store at https://www.shieldrepublic.com.  Read the Shield Republic lifestyle blog at https://patriot.shieldrepublic.com. Follow Shield Republic on Facebook (@ShieldRepublicCo), Instagram (@shield_republic), Twitter (@shieldrepublic) and Pinterest (@shield_republic).


Flags to Fly Half-Staff in Honor of DeKalb County Sheriff Andy Clark

Today, Governor Mike Parson ordered U.S. and Missouri flags be flown at half-staff at government buildings in DeKalb County on Wednesday, June 10, 2020, in honor of DeKalb County Sheriff Andy Clark.

On June 3, Sheriff Clark was killed in a​​ motor vehicle crash while carrying out his duties and responding to assist a deputy on an emergency call.

“Sheriff Clark devoted more than 23 years of his life as a law enforcement officer committed to protecting his fellow citizens and making his community stronger,” Governor Parson said. “He served Missouri with heart and grit, and his final act of public service was responding to assist one of his deputy sheriffs at an emergency scene. Sheriff Clark’s career is an example of public service of the highest order.”

The flags will be held at half-staff on the day Sheriff Clark is laid to rest. To view the proclamation, click here.

Foundation Partners with SADD to Make Safe Summer for Teen Drivers

The period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is traditionally the most dangerous time for teen drivers, with a 21 percent spike in teen traffic fatalities. Traffic safety officials often refer to it as the 100 deadliest days, but the tens of thousands of young people active in SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) are partnering with The National Road Safety Foundation to instead make it “The Safest Summer Ever.”

SADD and The National Road Safety Foundation, a non-profit group, are mounting a massive social media campaign to call attention to a host of safe driving issues from distracted and drowsy driving to impaired and aggressive driving.

​​The campaign will have different safe driving messages posted on social media every day, with those posts amplified by shares and re-posts by SADD chapters and members nationwide.

“With an intensive social media initiative, we hope to make this the safest summer ever, not only for teens on the road, but for all drivers and passengers,” said SADD President and CEO Rick Birt.  “We’re mobilizing the tens of thousands of student safety advocates in the SADD community at the middle school, high school and college level to help spread important safe driving messages to peers, friends and family.”

Michelle Anderson, Director of Operations at The National Road Safety Foundation, a longtime SADD supporter and program partner, added, “The messages being shared by our friends in SADD are so important, and if we all heed them we can see a decline in teen crashes that will, indeed, make 2020 the safest summer ever.”

Messages will include material from the newly-expanded Driving Skills Passport, created by SADD students and NRSF to engage teens and parents on the driving skills they need to be safe.

Posts can be seen throughout the summer at #SADD and #NRSFSquad.

About SADD:  For almost 40 years, SADD, the nation’s premier youth health & safety organization has worked to empower teens, engage parents, mobilize communities, and change lives around the issues of traffic safety, substance abuse, and personal health and safety. Through a national network of peer-led chapters in middle schools, high schools and colleges, SADD equips our students with the resources they need to advocate for change on their campuses and in their communities. Join the movement by visiting www.sadd.org, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

About The National Road Safety Foundation:  For nearly 60 years, The National Road Safety Foundation (NRSF), a non-profit organization, has created driver education programs for free distribution to teachers, police, traffic safety agencies, youth advocacy groups and others.  NRSF has programs on distracted driving, speed and aggression, impaired driving, drowsy driving and other traffic safety issues.  NRSF also sponsors national contests for teens in partnership with SADD, FCCLA and Scholastic and regional contests partnering with auto shows in Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C. To view free programs and for more information, visit www.nrsf.org or www.teenlane.org.

The National Road Safety Foundation


DeKalb County Sheriff Dies in Duty-Related Car Crash

At approximately 11:20 a.m. this morning, while responding to assist one of his deputies, DeKalb County Sheriff Andy Clark was involved in a vehicle crash. Sheriff Clark died as a result of injuries he sustained.

Sheriff Clark took office on September 1, 2016. He is the first Missouri sheriff to die in the line-of-duty since 1994. Maries County Sheriff Roy Bassett was shot and killed while assisting a Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper investigate a minor traffic accident. Sheriff Clark was on his way to help his deputy who was trying to catch a man accused of fleeing after stealing a package of beer.

The Missouri Law Enforcement Funeral Assistance Team, Supporting Heroes, and the Missouri Sheriffs’ Association Fallen Star Benevolent Fund representatives, as well as representatives from many sheriffs’ offices across Missouri are providing support.

We pray for the family, friends, and loved ones. Sheriff Clark leaves behind a wife and four young children.

Kevin Merritt
Executive Director
Missouri Sheriffs’ Association