State Supreme Court judges are weighing arguments about just how far prosecutors can go during the penalty phase of a murder trial. Assistant Public Defender Janet Thompson argued before the Court that emotion took over when the jury recommended Earl Forrest be put to death for three murders in Dent County three years ago. Thompson zeroed in on the testimony of one of the victim’s relatives who told the jury one of her brothers had multiple strokes and another died shortly after their sister’s murder. But Assistant Attorney General Stephanie Morrell disagreed, arguing the prosecutor never crossed the line and directly linked the illness and death to the murder. Forrest shot and killed Michael Wells and Harriett Smith in December of 2002. Dent County Deputy Joann Barnes died of injuries sustained during a firefight at Forrest’s house. The Court has taken the case under consideration.
Archives for November 2005
Missouri’s Higher Education Commissioner is glad the state’s biggest university has decided against locking in tuition rates for students for the four years they attend. The University of Missouri abandoned the idea that had been proposed earlier this year. Commissioner Gregory Fitch says all school are working on keeping down costs to students. But Fitch says the idea of locking in tuition for four years just wasn’t a good idea this time.
A coalition of labor unions has launched a lawsuit over Missouri’s workers’ compensation law passed this year by the General Assembly and signed by Governor Matt Blunt. More than 70 labor organizations claim the workers’ compensation law is a bad law which violates the U.S. and State Constitutions. Louie Wright, President of a Kansas City local of the International Association of Fire Fighters, says the law denies workers due process under the State Constitution and violates the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by diminishing workers’ rights to the 1926 no-fault Workers Compensation Act remedy that replaced their right to sue employers. The plaintiffs claim the law shifts the costs of workplace injuries to the employees. The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which supports the workers’ comp law, maintains the legislation fixed much of what was broken with the system. Chamber President Dan Mehan claims the suit is ridiculous, and based only on the fact the unions didn’t like the bill. Mike Grote, the Chamber’s Vice President of Governmental Affairs, says this is a case of sour grapes in which the unions are disappointed with a legislative outcome.
The first game ever between the Missouri Tigers (2-1) and UMKC (2-1) Kangaroos may have left some wondering whether or not there should be a rematch. The two teams had trouble holding on to the ball and making shots, in a 60-42 win for the Tigers.
MU took a 24-15 lead into the locker room at half time. The Tigers out-shot the Kangaroos, hitting 26.1 percent of their shots. UMKC countered with a 17.2 percent performance from the field in the first 20 minutes. Both teams had four assists apiece at the half. MU turned the ball over 11 times and finished with 20 turnovers. UMKC had eight at the half and 14 for the game.
UMKC made their most threatening effort to come back early on in the second half when Dee Ayuba scored on a lay up and later hit a free throw, to cut the Tiger lead to 24-18. The Tigers then went on a 27-7 run to put the ‘Roos away.
Thomas Gardner led the way in scoring for the Tigers with 17 points and had a team-high 12 rebounds.
The much-touted guard combo of Tim Blackwell and Quinton Day were stifled on Tuesday. They were a combined 5-of-24 shooting. Blackwell finished with 10 points, Day had seven. UMKC’s leading scorer was Dee Ayuba, who had 11 points and 12 rebounds.
The Cardinals most effective bench player in 2005 will not be back in 2006. Infielder Abraham Nunez has signed a two-year agreement with the Phillies. Nunez became the regular third baseman for St. Louis after Scott Rolen went on the injured reserve with a shoulder injury. Nunez hit appeared in 139 games last season, hitting .285, with five home runs and 44 RBI’s
Nunez, who broke into the major leagues in 1997, came to the Cardinals as a free agent last year, after spending his entire career in Pittsburgh. He became the second Cardinal bench player in as many days to sign with another club. On Monday, John Mabry agreed in principle to a one-year offer from the Cubs.
Former Blues hockey player Mike Danton is asking to be released from jail, according to a report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. According to the article, Danton doesn’t believe that the plea agreement entered last year is being upheld by the Justice Department. Danton admitted to a plot to have his agent killed and received a seven-and-a-half jail sentence. A part of the deal included a request to be transferred to his native Canada, where he would serve the bulk of the sentence. He remains jailed in New Jersey. Danton believes the Justice Department isn’t acting quick enough to fulfill that request.
The Washington, D.C.-based Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids has released its annual State Spending report looking at how individual states are spending the multi-billion dollar tobacco settlement money. The rankings of the fifty states and the District of Columbia place Missouri at the bottom – tied with Michigan, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington, D.C. According to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, Missouri is spending no money from the settlement with the tobacco companies for tobacco prevention – absolutely nothing! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations call for Missouri to spend between $32.77-Million and $91.36-Million from the multi-billion dollar settlement with “Big Tobacco.”
Related web sites:
Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids
He was born in the small Missouri community of Florida, and later wrote, The village contained a hundred people and I increased the population by one percent. It is more than many of the best men in history could have done for a town….There is no record of a person doing as much – not even Shakespeare. But I did it for Florida and it shows that I could have done it any place – even London, I suppose. Mention the names John Briggs, Tom Blankenship, and Laura Hawkins, and no one will be familiar with them. They were the originals on which Samuel Clemens based his stories of Joe Harper(one of Tom Sawyer’s gang), Huck Finn, and Becky Thatcher. The roots of Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain extend deep into Missouri. He was four when his family moved from Florida to Hannibal. He spent fourteen years there and carried those years into his writing the rest of his life.
The faculty at the University of Missouri Law School is asking the University to give an honorary degree to a student the law school refused to admit almost 70 years ago. The student was Lloyd Gaines, a Black man whose rejection triggered a major civil rights lawsuit that forced the University to admit him or to set up a separate law school for Blacks. When the state set up the separate school for Blacks, Gaines challenged that action in court, too. Law School Dean Larry Dessem says Gaines deserves the attention. Lloyd Gaines never went to law school. He disappeared in Chicago in 1939. Nobody ever admitted knowing what happened to him.
A challenge to a New Hampshire abortion law is being argued Wednesday before the U.S. Supreme Court, and could have ramifications in Missouri. The Court is hearing arguments over New Hampshire’s law that requires 48-hours’ advance parental notification before a minor gets an abortion. Missouri has a law that requires parental consent for a minor’s abortion. Noted abortion opponent Senator Jon Loudon of Chesterfield believes Missouri’s law will only be helped, no matter which way the Court rules. Loudon says since Missouri’s law is more strict, requiring consent of parents, a favorable ruling for New Hampshire’s notification law would only prop up this state’s position. He believes the only way New Hampshire’s law would be struck down is on a technicality, still supporting the parental involvement part of both laws.