Chad Flanders | St. Louis Public Radio

Chad Flanders

Chad Flanders has been an assistant professor of law at Saint Louis University Law School since 2009. He teaches and writes in the areas of criminal law, constitutional law and the philosophy of law.

Black semi-automatic pistol
(via Flickr/kcds)

In the next few weeks and months, we’ll be arguing and disagreeing over the evidence disclosed in the massive data dump from the Ferguson grand jury materials. But if you skip to the end of the grand jury transcripts, all the way in volume 24, the last 15 or so pages, there’s an important point about Missouri law we should all agree on: The Missouri statute on law enforcement officer’s use of force needs to be changed, and now.

(via Flickr/davidsonscott15)

If the St. Louis County grand jury fails to indict Officer Darren Wilson, we may have the Missouri legislature to blame.

The problem is an old statute that most people agree is unconstitutional: As it is written, the Missouri statute says that an officer is justified in his use of deadly force if he believes that it is necessary to effect the arrest of a person and the officer also believes that the person “has attempted to commit or has committed a felony.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: This last month has seen a surge in stories about the death penalty: the Boston bomber charged with a federal crime that carries the death penalty; the jury in the Jody Arias trial deadlocked on whether she deserves to be executed; and prosecutors in Ohio weighing whether to pursue capital punishment in the Castro kidnapping case.