Missouri Lawmakers Look to Overturn State Supreme Court’s Bail Rules

 Laclede Couty Sheriff David Millsap’s deputies have been busy serving more than 1,100 warrants in the last eight months.

“690 people have failed to appear on their warrants after they’ve been issued,” Millsap told the Missouri House Judiciary Committee Tuesday night.

That means his deputies are spending more time trying to track people down. It’s something his officers didn’t have to do before.

“I don’t have the operation manpower to go out chasing people down that should have probably stayed in jail,” Millsap added.

He’s not the only sheriff who’s having a hard time keeping people who should be in jail, from easily being back on the streets.

“We’ve arrested one in the morning, and arrested him later on in the afternoon. Same offense,” said Osage County Sheriff Mike Bonham.

Sheriffs say it’s all because judges must now consider bond options that don’t involve money first.

Missouri’s Supreme Court ruled in 2019 many people can’t afford bail for low level offenses, and could lose their jobs waiting for trial.

Bail bondsmen like Janet Garms feel they’re making the situation a little better.

“We help people in that we care,” Garms told the committee.

One of Garms’ clients, Molly Lake, was in and out of jail for relatively minor crimes. She says Garms helped her get her life back on track.

“I’d probably still be in and out of county jail,” Lake told the committee.

More than 80 Missouri lawmakers are pushing to repeal the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Republican Representative Justin Hill of Kirkwood filed the bill.

“I’m for criminal reform,” Hill said. “However, we’ve gone too far, or the court has gone too far. I want to repeal these rules, and have this discussion.”

Others, including St. Louis County Democrat Gina Mitten, don’t want to see the new rules go anywhere. Her county’s courts developed a form that allows a judge to explain​​ their bail decision.

“It doesn’t say you can’t do it. It doesn’t say you can’t do it anywhere,” Mitten said of the ruling. “All it says is if you’re going to do it, you need to let us know why.”

The House Judiciary committee has not voted on the bill, but it is expected to make it to the House floor for debate.

By Andrew Havranek | KY​3​ News

Sheriff Lends Support to Increased Police Chase Penalties

Missouri state lawmakers heard testimony Monday on a bill that would make all police chases felonies.

Right now a majority end up being classified as misdemeanors and usually don’t lead to additional penalties on top of the charges the suspect is running from.

Quasheena Cadenhead was charged Monday in Cass County for leading deputies on a chase at speeds that topped 100 mph while going the wrong way down Interstate 49. A deputy who brought the chase to an end as she exited on an entrance ramp was injured.

Sheriff Jeff Weber said if it weren’t for the deputy’s injuries, ​​Cadenhead may have only faced a misdemeanor in the wild chase.

In 1995, Cass County Dep. Jeff Mayse was chasing a suspect on a rural Cass County road when he slammed into a tree.

“I just remember the next days just feeling numb, knowing my life was never going to be the same,” his daughter Brandy Whitten said.

Whitten was 12 when Mayse was killed, her little sister was born 4 weeks later, but never got to meet the man who wore badge 619.

A Missouri legislator introduced House Bill 619 last year to strengthen penalties for running from the law, but it never picked up traction.

On Monday, one day after one of his deputies was injured in a high-speed pursuit, Weber testified in favor of this year’s version, House Bill 1620.

“It’s been our experience that individuals who run once, run twice, three, four times. They do it all the time, and we’ve trained them to do that,” he said.

Weber wants the line in Missouri statue that says it’s a misdemeanor “unless the person fleeing creates a substantial risk of serious injury or death” eliminated and replaced with a Class E felony.

“We are just gambling. We are letting them out on a signature bond to continue to do these things until someone finally gets hurt,” Weber said.

Or in the case of Jeff Mayse, killed in the line of duty. His daughter said it should be simple.

“There’s no reason to injure anyone else or yourselves, injure someone else that’s in the path or put the deputies’ lives on the line. They are doing their job, just pull over,” Whitten said.

​​But according to Weber, suspects aren’t the getting the message. He said chases in the county have become almost a daily occurrence.

A deputy injured in a chase in September only returned to duty Friday. There’s no telling when the deputy who stopped Sunday’s wrong-way, speeding suspect will be back to work.

Kansas law is similar to Missouri’s right now, though it makes a third arrest for fleeing and eluding an automatic felony.

By Dave D’Marko | Fox 4 KC

Lawmakers Slam Missouri Supreme Court Over Bail Rules

​​Dozens of Missouri lawmakers have asked the state Supreme Court to undo new rules limiting when judges can impose bail, a move that was aimed at reducing court costs that can derail the lives of low-income defendants.

More than 80 legislators signed on to a letter sent by Rep. Justin Hill to Supreme Court judges this week. In it, the Republican complained that a new rule requiring judges to first consider non-monetary conditions for pretrial release went too far.

“Now, individuals who are potentially dangerous or have a history of failing to appear for court are being released on recognizance — with no conditions at all — because the rules that went into effect in July make it too difficult for judges to impose bail,” Hill wrote.

He cited one of the two convicted felons facing criminal charges over a Kansas bar shooting that killed four people. Both men allegedly involved had previous brushes with the law that could have kept them behind bars had judges and other officials made different decisions, although only 23-year-old Javier Alatorre’s case dealt with Missouri judges.

Alatorre was released from jail in September in Jackson County, Missouri, where he still faces charges of fleeing from police in a stolen vehicle. A judge released him on his own recognizance after his attorney sought to have his bail lowered.

Missouri judges are still able to set bail under the new rules if needed, but only at an amount necessary to ensure either public safety or that the defendant will appear in court. Courts may not order a defendant to pay costs associated with conditions of their release, such as the costs of an ankle monitoring bracelet, without first considering reducing or waiving those costs.

Prior court rules directed judges to impose bail only to ensure that defendants returned to court, although the Missouri Constitution gave judges leeway to deny bail or set limits on release as a way to protect victims or public safety.

During a speech before the Legislature last year, Missouri Supreme Court Judge Zel Fischer praised the changes as a way to ensure defendants are treated fairly in the justice system.

“Too many who are arrested cannot afford bail even for low-level sentences and remain in jail awaiting a hearing,” Fischer said. “Though presumed innocent, they lose their jobs, cannot support their families and are more likely to reoffend.”

Hill and other lawmakers want the new rules tossed. Hill instead proposed limiting bail for minor offenses, requiring judges to hear bail appeals quickly, and ensuring that defendants don’t stay in jail before trial for a longer period of time then the possible sentence for their alleged crime.

A spokeswoman for the Supreme Court didn’t immediately comment Friday.

By Associated Press | Missouri Lawyers Weekly molawyersmedia.com

US AG William P. Barr Announces the Establishment of the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice

Today, Attorney General William P. Barr announced the establishment of the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice. On Oct. 28, 2019, President Donald J. Trump signed Executive Order No. 13896, authorizing and designating the Attorney General to create such a Commission that would explore modern issues affecting law enforcement that most impact the ability of American policing to reduce crime.

“There is no more noble and important profession than law enforcement.  A free and safe society requires a trusted and capable police force to safeguard our rights to life and liberty,” said Attorney General William P. Barr.  “But as criminal threats and social conditions have changed the responsibilities and roles of police officers, there is a need for a modern study of how law enforcement can best protect and serve American communities.  This is why the President instructed me to establish this critical Commission, whose members truly reflect the best there is in law enforcement.  Together, we will examine, discuss, and debate how justice is administered in the United States and uncover opportunities for progress, improvement, and innovation.”

The Executive Order instructs the Commission to conduct its study by focusing on the law enforcement officers who are tasked with reducing crime on a daily basis.  It also directs the Commission to research “important current issues facing law enforcement and the criminal justice system,” and recommends a variety of subjects for study, such as, but not limited to:

The challenges to law enforcement associated with mental illness, homelessness, substance abuse, and other social factors that influence crime and strain criminal justice resources;
The recruitment, hiring, training, and retention of law enforcement officers, including in rural and tribal communities;
Refusals by Stat​​e and local prosecutors to enforce laws or prosecute categories of crimes;
The need to promote public confidence and respect for the law and law enforcement officers; and
The effects of technological innovations on law enforcement and the criminal justice system, including the challenges and opportunities presented by such innovations.

The Commission will principally conduct its study through a series of hearings, panel presentations, field visits, and other public meetings.  At these events, the Commission will hear from subject matter experts, public officials, private citizens, and other relevant stakeholders and institutions who can provide valuable insight into these issues.

The Commissioners, appointed by the Attorney General and announced today, are urban police chiefs, state prosecutors, county sheriffs, members of rural law enforcement, federal agents, U.S. Attorneys, and a state attorney general.  In addition to their diverse experiences and backgrounds, each member brings to the Commission an expertise in formulating and shaping law enforcement policy and leading police departments and law enforcement organizations.

Commissioners on the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice include:

Chair: Phil Keith, Director, Community Oriented Policing Services
Vice-Chair: Katharine Sullivan, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs
David Bowdich, Deputy Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation
Donald Washington, Director, United States Marshals Services
Regina Lombardo, Acting Director, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives
Erica Macdonald, United States Attorney, District Of Minnesota
D. Christopher Evans, Chief of Operations, Drug Enforcement Administration
James Clemmons, Sheriff, Richmond County, North Carolina
Frederick Frazier, City Council, McKinney, Texas/ Police Officer, Dallas Police Department
Robert Gualtieri, Sheriff, Pinellas County, Florida
Gina Hawkins, Chief of Police, Fayetteville, North Carolina
Ashley Moody, Florida Attorney General
Nancy Parr, Commonwealth’s Attorney, Chesapeake, Virginia
Craig Price, South Dakota Secretary of Public Safety
Gordon Ramsay, Chief of Police, Wichita, Kansas
David B. Rausch, Director, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
John Samaniego, Sheriff, Shelby County, Alabama
James Smallwood, Police Officer, Nashville Metropolitan Police Department

The Commission will meet monthly for the next year and then report its findings to the Attorney General, who will submit a final report to the President.

Proposed Law Would Make Fentanyl Trafficking a Felony

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, there were more than 1,600 opioid related deaths in Missouri in 2018. Many of those deaths were attributed to fentanyl.

“The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency is seizing 100 pounds of fentanyl across the country a week,” said Brad Thielemier with the Missouri State Troopers Association. “They’re estimating that’s only 10% of what’s coming across the country.”

“The best way, the only way we can really, effectively combat that is if we have the proper tools,” Tim Lohmar, St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney.

Rep Nick Schroer, R-O’Fallon, believes a bill he’s reintroduced this year could be that tool.

“If it wasn’t for stripping a couple of bills from the house committee substitute last year, this would’ve been on the governor’s desk, and would be law now,” Schroer said during a hearing on the bill Monday afternoon.

Schroer wants the state to add the trafficking of more than 10 milligrams of fentanyl as a Class B Felony charge. That would carry between five to 15 years in prison.

Trafficking more than 20 milligrams would be a Class A felony – meaning 10 to 30 years behind bars.

“I think this is something that gives us the tools along the same lines as trafficking heroin, trafficking cocaine, methamphetamine. This puts it in the same category,” Lohmar added.

Schroer says this will not affect those who are legally prescribed the painkiller, as those doses are much smaller than what is used for trafficking.

Not everyone is convinced increasing jail time for those who intentionally illegally distribute the often deadly drug will help fight the opioid epidemic.

“I do agree there needs to be a stiff penalty, though,” said Rep. Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis. “I guess, what I’m trying to understand is what is the appropriate number and why? How does 30 years help us compared to 15 years?”

The Missouri State Troopers Association, Sheriff’s Association, and Association of Prosecuting Attorneys all expressed support of the bill. There was no testimony against it during Monday’s hearing.



By Andrew Havranek | KY3

LE Writer Suggests Ways to ‘Harden’ Soft Targets

Will the year 2020 mark the moment in our nation’s history when we dramatically pivot and truly harden so-called “soft targets”—places that are frequently the targets of deranged killers bent on delivering death?

Several recent events—and more importantly, subsequent actions taken by both citizens and law enforcement agencies alike—lead me to ponder the prospect of such a significant change in our society.

Earlier this week, we reported that Sheriff Rick Singleton had amended the policy of the Lauderdale County (AL) Sheriff’s Office, now allowing deputies to drive to church in their squad cars.

Singleton pointed to a recent rash of active shooter incidents in houses of worship—notably the shooting at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, TX, that left two parishioners dead.

The carnage could have been much worse had it not been for the fact that one churchgoer fatally shot the gunman just six seconds after he launched his attack.

Then we reported that Chief Ed Kraus of the Fort Worth (TX) Police Department had told his officers that officers should attend religious services in full uniform as a deterrent against violence in houses of worship.

Fort Worth PD said in a statement that the policy change comes “in the wake of the local attack on the West Freeway Church of Christ last Sunday, as well as the attacks on Jewish communities and church services nationally.”

Then we reported on the fact that the class offered to citizens by the Clayton (NC) Police department on civilian response to an active shooter event filled up in just two hours.

The agency posted on Facebook, “This class filled up extremely quickly. This is the first time we’ve offered this class and based on feedback, we will be looking to offer an additional class in February, perhaps in a larger venue.”

Here are some thoughts on two ways to make it significantly harder for an armed assailant to commit mass murder in “soft targets.”

For the purposes of this discussion—and because of the high number of religious institutions coming under attack in recent years—I’ll focus on better protecting churches, synagogues, and mosques.



Armed Security

Step one is to post armed guards in as many houses of worship as possible. It’s unreasonable to expect total coverage, but the mere fact that there MIGHT be a “good guy with a gun” inside might be sufficient deterrent to keep parishioners safe.

I know what you’re going to say.

“Did Wyllie just suggest posting armed security in churches, synagogues, schools, and mosques? That’s impossible! There isn’t money to fund that.”

I contend that if the call went out for it, countless capable volunteers would quickly spring from the woodwork—and most of them would be retired police officers, retired military, and well-trained citizens who regularly take advanced firearms classes.

Note that Jack Wilson—whose immediate response saved countless lives at the West Freeway Church of Christ—is a former reserve deputy sheriff and a firearms instructor. At his church, he is the head of an all-volunteer security force.

Note also that Jeanne Assam—a former police officer—was a volunteer security guard at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs when a 24-year-old gunman shot and killed two and wounded two others in December 2007.

Assam engaged the assailant, who then took his own life, ending the carnage.

I concede that not every jurisdiction is populated by a bunch of Jack Wilsons and Jeanne Assams—willing and able to defeat a deadly threat—and that some houses of worship might have to shell out cash for the service, but there are plenty of cities and towns in America where this would be a pretty easy fix.

Doing this one simple thing is certainly a whole lot better than doing nothing.



End “Gun-Free” Zones

At the state level, abolish the notion of “gun-free” zones.

With gun violence by disturbed gunmen usually occurring in “gun free zones” such as houses of worship, perhaps the possibility exists that those “safe spaces”—which are clearly not particularly safe—might begin to tolerate the bearing of arms.

The fact is, even in the 30-plus states that have “shall issue” gun laws—allowing concealed and open carry of firearms by law-abiding citizens and law enforcement officers alike—those legal guns largely remain prohibited in places like churches, synagogues, and mosques.

I know what you’re going to say.

“Did Wyllie just suggest that legal gun owners be allowed to carry everywhere? That’s impossible! The anti-gun segment of the population would never have it.”

I contend that at least half of the states in this country could legislate “gun free zones” out of existence.

I concede that no such bill stands a snowball’s chance in places like California, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, or Massachusetts. But a law banning “gun free zones” would WIN IN A WALK in almost every state if you took out a map of the country and drew a triangle from Montana south to Arizona, then east to Georgia, then northwest back to Bozeman.

Further, I would wager a waist-high stack of green money that violent crime in those states would drop pretty rapidly over time.

In that time, the states that cling to the idea that a posted placard can prevent evil from raining down on parishioners—as they exercise their Constitutional rights of freedom of assembly and religion—might take notice.

Would-be attackers would most definitely take notice—and reconsider unleashing hell on innocents for fear that one of them might abruptly end the assault.

Doing this one simple thing is certainly a whole lot better than doing nothing.



Final Words

In addition to the recent attack on the church in Texas, there have been many other shootings at places of worship in recent years.

There was the synagogue shooting in California in December. There was the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pennsylvania in 2018, the Sutherland Springs church shooting in 2017, the mosque shooting in New York in 2016, and the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church shooting in South Carolina in 2015.

Sadly, there are too many to list.

The point is, what we’ve done up to now isn’t working. What we’ve been doing is patently and obviously failing.

I regularly recite the adage that “an armed society is a polite society.”

I say so because I firmly believe it to be true.

Consider that in Chicago—a city with a population of just over two million people and some of the most restrictive gun control laws in the country—there were 555 murders in 2019.

Contrast that with Houston—a city with a population of just over two million and some of the most permissive gun laws in the country—there were 210 murders in 2019.

I concede that some of the murders in those cities were committed with a weapon that wasn’t a firearm, and that the cultures of those two cities couldn’t be much more different—but this dramatic difference in the data cannot be ignored.

Another adage I routinely recite is, “When seconds count, police are just minutes away.”

Jack Wilson ended that attack in Texas in six seconds.

Six seconds.

Placing well-trained armed security in houses of worship and allowing well-trained law-abiding citizens to carry concealed in formerly “gun free zones” would go a long way in reducing this plague of violence in churches, synagogues, and mosques.

Doing these two simple things is certainly a whole lot better than doing nothing.



By Doug Wyllie | Policemag.com


Doug Wyllie has authored more than 1,000 articles and tactical tips aimed at ensuring that police officers are safer and more successful on the streets. Doug is a Western Publishing Association “Maggie Award” winner for Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column. He is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers’ Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

Medical Marijuana Raises Questions for Law Enforcement

Since the legalization of medical marijuana in Missouri in November of 2018, law enforcement agencies have expressed concern that the change could lead to an increase in recreational use.

St. Joseph law enforcement agencies often see marijuana use, but St. Joseph Police Capt. Jeff Wilson said the biggest concerns are related to young people and driving.​​

“Our concerns are that it may lead to an increased use in the younger age bracket, and that’s something we’ll monitor,” Wilson said.

Driving while under the influence of marijuana is something Wilson said police officers are trained to detect.

“With the legalization you can probably assume that there will be more impaired drivers because it’s legal for them to use marijuana, but definitely don’t operate a motor vehicle,” Wilson said.

Wilson also urges people with medical cards to keep their substances secure, where kids won’t have access to it.

There’s also a procedure police use to check medical identification cards when they come across them in a traffic stop. Checks are done to make sure the cards are not duplicates or false, which Wilson said is a concern for the department.

Buchanan County Sheriff Bill Puett said his staff is concerned with recreational marijuana use, but they’re more focused on the harsher drugs going through the community.

“Our priorities are concerns about illegal drug use in the county, especially issues of methamphetamine, opioids, heroin and crack cocaine,” Puett said.

Puett said the use of those illegal substances is what brings violence and issues with property crimes. Those in the sheriff’s office still are concerned with medical marijuana issues, but they’re waiting for all of the parameters to be put in place.

“Recreational marijuana use is still illegal and I don’t know if that’ll change, but we’re focused on enforcing the laws on the books and what the Legislature passes,” Puett said.

As the rules involving medical marijuana use move along, Puett said his officers will learn what actions they need to take and what their biggest concerns will be in the future.

Wilson said police recover a variety of illegal substances on the streets, but typically they have specific officers focused on marijuana-related cases to help stop recreational use.

Overall, both law enforcement agencies hope medical marijuana users take the appropriate actions that won’t lead to the substances getting in the wrong hands, causing an increase in recreational use.

By Bailey Ketchum | News-Press Now

State Approves 21 Medical Marijuana Transportation Facilities

Missouri has issued the first round of certifications for medical marijuana transportation facilities.

The state Department of Health and Senior Services issued certifications to 21 of 24 applicants across the state.

Transportation applications may be submitted at any time. DHSS will continue to review and approve or deny any applications it receives going forward.

The department notified the approved applicants for transportation facilities by email. It also issued notifications of application denials. Denials are issued for several reasons, including failure to meet minimum qualifications, failure to return applications after rejection notices or application withdrawals.

The list of approved and denied applicants for medical marijuana transportation facilities may be found at health.mo.gov/safety/medical-marijuana

The application fee for a distribution facility is $5,000. Distribution facilities are required to use unmarked vehicles that contain clean, smooth-sided storage containers. The containers (or cargo areas) must be lockable. Vehicles must contain a lockable box for storing payments, with video monitoring. Vehicles must have GPS tracking. They must contain video monitoring of the driver and passenger compartment of the vehicle, and of any area where the products are being stored during transit.

Transportation facilities are required to deliver products to their destination within 24 hours. Staff are to be trained in the statewide track and trace system — developed to track marijuana from seeds (or small plants) to sale.

Last week, the DHSS released a list of approvals and denials for applicants for medical marijuana testing facilities.

News Tribune

Clay County Must Cover Jail Contracts, Attorney Fees

The Court of Appeals Western District agreed on Dec. 5 that the Clay County Commission must restore nearly $1 million in funding it had removed from the county sheriff’s budget.

The appeals court said the cuts, which left Sheriff Paul Vescovo’s department without enough money to cover the costs of the county detention center, were as “disturbing as they are indefensible.” And in a rare move, the court also said the county could be on the hook for some of the sheriff’s attorneys’ fees.

Judge Anthony Rex Gabbert — who was a Clay County circuit judge until his appointment to the Western District in 2013 — said the county commission’s actions “left the Sheriff with no option but to litigate.” Judges Alok Ahuja and Gary D. Witt concurred.

Fritz Riesmeyer and Chris Tillery of Seigfreid Bingham, who represented the sheriff, said the ruling sets parameters on the discretion that county officials have in making spending decisions, at least when it comes to funding that is necessary for county departments to carry out their required duties.

“You have to make a good-faith effort to fund a complete financial plan for the upcoming year,” Riesmeyer said. “I think that’s where this decision is huge and will be cited here on out in these battles.”

The case also hinged on the unusual facts proven at trial.

“It’s not usually going to be the case where they don’t budget to pay their own contracts, but here they did,” Tillery said.

Lowell Pearson, a partner with Husch Blackwell’s Jefferson City office who represented the county, declined to comment.

On a 2-1 vote, the Clay County Commission had approved a 2019 budget of about $1.79 million for the sheriff’s office — less than its prior year’s budget and lacking sufficient funds to pay contracts with vendors for the jail, which houses about 300 detainees. The budget also stripped Vescovo of authority to move money around within his budget to pay those previously approved contracts.

The sheriff alleged the cuts were in retaliation for his investigation of allegations that the county budget officer, Laurene Portwood, had tampered with public records. Portwood was indicted on state charges and later entered into a deferred-prosecution agreement.

In August, Daviess County Associate Circuit Judge Daren Adkins, who was specially appointed to the case, ordered the county to allocate about $755,000 to cover existing contracts for detainees’ food and health care and an additional $230,000 for the detention center’s administrative costs. He didn’t disturb any budget decisions that weren’t covered by contract.

The Western District’s ruling also noted that it was stepping into a legislative body’s appropriations process. Under a set of state statutes known as the County Budget Laws, Missouri’s counties are required to meet certain financial standards — including that budgets “shall contain adequate provisions for the expenditures necessary” for county offices and that department heads must be consulted about cuts.

Gabbert was careful to note that counties aren’t required to simply accept whatever budget a department head proposes and that counties can trim budgets to address revenue shortfalls, so in many cases court action would be inappropriate. However, Gabbert wrote, Clay County’s case had “unique facts,” including that the county had continued to enter into contracts even while it cut the money to pay for them.

“Once the County was bound by the vendor contracts, the amount due on those contracts became the minimum sum necessary to adequately fund those lines within the Sheriff’s department’s budget,” Gabbert said.

In addition, the judge wrote, the county provided “no justification whatsoever” for its decision and had “knowingly underfunded the Sheriff in a manner calculated to make it impossible for the Sheriff to carry out his lawful duties for reasons that are as disturbing as they are indefensible.” Gabbert added that the county “has made no attempt to rebut the alarming assertions” that the cuts were connected to the sheriff’s investigation of the county budget officer.

“Despite the County’s impassioned argument that these facts are irrelevant and that the law does not allow a writ to issue here, we cannot overlook facts as egregious as these,” Gabbert wrote.

Adkins’ earlier ruling had denied Vescovo’s request for attorneys’ fees. The Western District agreed there was no statutory authority for the sheriff to recover those fees, but it added that this was one of the unusual cases where “special circumstances” allowed the court to award them.

“If [Vescovo] is now forced to pay his attorney’s fees from his existing budget appropriations, the County would be gifted yet another opportunity to punish the Sheriff by refusing additional appropriations to offset his legal fees in this case, and we are under no illusions as to how the County would likely respond to a request for additional appropriations,” Gabbert wrote.

Once again, Gabbert noted the rarity of a court forcing one government entity to pay another department’s legal bills.

“Though one could characterize this case — where funds would be transferred between county coffers — as robbing Peter to pay Paul, here we are considering if Peter should pay Paul’s lawyer,” Gabbert wrote.

The Western District remanded the case to Adkins to determine the amount, though it declined to award fees for the appeal.

“Our criticisms of the County’s conduct stopped when they appeared before this body, and we found their appeal, though unsuccessful, to be an illuminating and well-argued treatment of a novel and challenging legal problem,” Gabbert wrote.

The case is State ex rel. Vescovo v. Clay County, WD83130.

 By Scott Lauck | Missouri Lawyers Weekly

FBI Releases 2018 NIBRS Crime Data

Law Enforcement Continuing Transition to More Detailed Reporting System 


The FBI released detailed data on nearly 6.6 million criminal offenses reported via the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) in 2018. The Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program’s latest report, NIBRS, 2018, presents data about victims, known offenders, and relationships for offenses reported in 52 categories. In addition, the report provides information on arrests for those crimes as well as 10 additional categories for which only arrest data is collected.

Highlights of NIBRS, 2018

In 2018, 7,283 law enforcement agencies, whose jurisdictions covered more than 117.1 million U.S. inhabitants, submitted NIBRS data to the UCR Program. These agencies comprised 43.7 percent of the 16,659 law enforcement agencies that submitted data to the UCR Program in 2018. Based on NIBRS submissions, the FBI compiled aggregate tables on 5,617,945 incidents involving 6,586,140 offenses, 6,944,242 victims, 5,652,156 known offenders, and 3,480,625 arrestees. (Currently, the FBI does not estimate for agencies that do not submit NIBRS data.)

Of the reported offenses, 59.5 percent were crimes against property, 24.1 percent were crimes against persons, and 16.4 percent were crimes against society. Among these categories, the offenses most reported include larceny/theft offenses, assault offenses, and drug/narcotic offenses, respectively.


Victim types, collected for all reported NIBRS offenses, include individuals, businesses, institutions, or society as a whole. For 2018, the data regarding victims who were individuals revealed the following:

Of the 4,720,900 individuals, 23.5 percent were between 21 and 30 years of age.
A little more than half (51.1 percent) were female, 48.1 percent were male, and the gender of 0.8 percent of victims was unknown.
Most victims (69.6 percent) were white, 21.6 percent were black or African-American, 1.9 percent were Asian, 0.7 percent were American Indian or Alaska Native, and 0.4 percent were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. The race of 5.8 percent of victims was unknown.

Known Offenders

In 2018, law enforcement identified and reported information on 5,652,156 known offenders, meaning some aspect of the suspect—such as age, gender, or race—was known.

Of these offenders, 40.2 percent were between 16 and 30 years of age.
By gender, most offenders (61.5 percent) were male, 25.5 percent were female, and gender for 13.0 percent was unknown.
By race, more than half (53.9 percent) of known offenders were white, 27.4 percent were black or African-American, and 2.2 percent were of other races. The race was unknown for 16.5 percent of reported known offenders.

Victim-to-Offender Relationships

Concerning the relationship of victims to known offenders, there were 1,593,326 victims of crimes against persons (e.g., murders, sex offenses, assault offenses) and robbery offenses from the crimes against property category.

More than half (51.0 percent) of the victims knew their offenders (or at least one offender when more than one was present) but did not have a familial relationship to them.
Nearly one quarter (24.7 percent) of the victims were related to their offenders (or at least one offender when more than one was present).


Law enforcement agencies submitted data to the UCR Program through incident reports and arrest reports for 3,480,625 arrestees.

Of these arrestees, 32.5 percent were 21 to 30 years of age.
By gender, 71.4 percent were male, and 28.6 percent were female.
By race, most arrestees (69.6 percent) were white, 24.7 percent were black or African-American, and 2.9 percent were of other races. The race was unknown for 2.8 percent of arrestees.

Agency-Level NIBRS Data

The interactive NIBRS map on the home page of NIBRS, 2018 provides agency-level data. In addition, state offense tables present statistics for each agency that reported 12 months of NIBRS data in 2018.

NIBRS in Crime Data Explorer

In addition to the annual NIBRS report, the UCR Program’s Crime Data Explorer (CDE) provides NIBRS data, including national and state-level downloads. Users can also access the CDE to build customized tables and to view Summary Reporting System (SRS) data for 2018 and some previous years by state.

Additional Resources

The full NIBRS, 2018 report is available online.
Information about the NIBRS transition is available on the NIBRS web page at fbi.gov/nibrs.