Federal judge says grand juror argument against secrecy belongs in state court

May 29, 2015
St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch announces that the grand jury declined to indict Darren Wilson on any of five counts that were presented to it.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Updated 4:30 p.m. May 29 with suit filed in state court - A grand juror who served in the Darren Wilson case is taking a lawsuit against St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch to state court.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri says its client hopes to challenge secrecy requirements that prevent talking freely about the grand jury investigation and what evidence was presented. In a release, the ACLU says the grand juror wants to contribute to public discussions on race relations.

A group of activists say Andre Cole didn't receive a fair trial nor a proper defense. They're asking Gov. Nixon to halt Cole's execution Tuesday.
Courtesy of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

A group of activists is calling on Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to put a hold on Tuesday's execution of a black man they say was unfairly convicted by an all-white jury.

In addition, a letter they sent to Nixon asks him to establish a special board of inquiry to "investigate whether the St. Louis County Prosecutor’s Office has intentionally and systematically excluded African Americans from jury service in capital cases." 

Tony Rothert and Mary Bruntrager on February 25, 2015 after oral arguments on the World Series ticket case
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Once again, the Missouri Court of Appeals finds itself considering whether or not records generated as part of an internal police probe should be made public.

The question this time: Whether public employees like police officers can claim their right to privacy is being violated by the release of records that a court has said are subject to the Missouri sunshine law.

Lilly Leyh and Sadie Pierce wait to get their marriage license on Nov. 5, 2014, at the St. Louis recorder of deeds office.
Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 4:50 p.m. with comments from plaintiff Kyle Lawson.

Two days after a state judge in St. Louis came to the same conclusion, a federal judge in Kansas City has struck down Missouri's ban on same-sex marriage.  

ACLU of Missouri "Mobile Justice" app. Screenshoot
(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

When the St. Louis County grand jury completes its investigation into the death of Michael Brown, protests are expected to erupt. And now, the people who participate have a new tool to monitor police.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri unveiled a tool Thursday that allows people to monitor the interactions between police and citizens with their smart phones.


"People have told us they don't feel protected," said Jeffrey Mittman, the ACLU of Missouri's executive director. "This app will empower Missourians who have traditionally felt powerless." 

(via Flickr/Paul Sableman)

Updated with comments from the ACLU press conference, additional information on cameras, and additional comments from the city.

A new report from the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri finds the city of St. Louis is doing a poor job preserving the privacy rights of residents and visitors as it expands its network of surveillance cameras. 

From a march in Ferguson on Aug. 15
Durrie Bouscaren I St. Louis Public Radio / St. Louis Public Radio

A federal judge in St. Louis has ruled that police in Ferguson cannot enforce what became known as the "five-second rule."  

The rule was a crowd-control strategy to respond to violence in Ferguson developed by the St. Louis County Police Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol, along with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.  Officers had noticed that whenever marchers paused, crowds would spread into the streets, blocking vehicle and foot traffic.

Janice Barrier (left) and her wife Sheri Schild were one of the 10 couples who sued the state to have their marriage recognize in Missouri.
Rachel Lippmann I St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 5:30 p.m. to reflect the correct number of couples involved in the suit.

Ten same-sex couples from Missouri will head to court in Kansas City on Thursday for the first day of a case seeking recognition of their marriages.  

Fred Epstein, in his office at Indeeco
Provided by the family

Fred Epstein took the reins of the industrial heater factory his father founded in 1929 (just days after the stock market crashed) and adroitly steered it into the 21strst century, all the while giving chunks of time to transform the local ACLU into a formidable organization. He died Wednesday at the age of 79.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

A second St. Louis judge has ruled that police officers have no right to expect that statements they make during internal investigations won’t be released to the public.

via Wikimedia Commons

Updated with additional information from the press conference, copy of the case.

Eight same-sex couples in Missouri have filed suit seeking to have their out-of-state marriages recognized in the state.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

A long-running legal battle over whether records of  internal St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department investigations are subject to Missouri's Sunshine Law will continue for possibly another six months.

Here's a timeline of the case:

(via Wikimedia Commons/California Department of Corrections)

A month ago, St. Louis Public Radio reported on the questionable manner in which the state of Missouri got ahold of its potential execution drug. Now Missouri has a new plan to go ahead with two upcoming executions, but the process is anything but open.

Updated 11/14/13 3:24 p.m.

(via Wikimedia Commons/Noahudlis)

Governor Jay Nixon said Missouri will be moving forward with two executions later this year, in spite of objections from the American Civil Liberties Union and the European Union.

The executions could have a very real impact on hospitals throughout the United States, as the European Union considers possible export limits of the drug as part of its anti-capital punishment policies. Most propofol comes from Europe, where its leading manufacturer only wants it used for medical purposes.

(via Wikimedia Commons/Noahudlis)

The American Civil Liberties Union hopes to block two executions in Missouri this fall by seeking to disqualify the anesthesiologist used by the Department of Corrections.

Jeffrey Mittman is Executive Director of the ACLU of Eastern Missouri.  He says the American Board of Anesthesiology has recently adopted the same standards used by the American Medical Association, meaning that they cannot participate in ending someone's life.

(via Flickr/s_falkow)

Updated 11:08 a.m., 12:42 p.m., 3:19 p.m. (with reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Brian Mackey)

A lengthy legal battle over an abortion notification law appears to be ending, clearing the way for Illinois to begin enforcing a 1995 measure requiring doctors to notify a girl's parents before she undergoes the procedure.

Thursday's Illinois Supreme Court ruling says the case shouldn't be reconsidered and has to be enforced - unless there's an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

via Flickr/BluEyedA73

Twenty five same-sex couples want to see a quick verdict in their lawsuits regarding the Illinois gay marriage ban.

Attorneys representing the couples suing over the ban asked a judge Wednesday to rule through summary judgment. 

Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois filed a motion Wednesday for a judge to rule quickly in the couples’ favor.

Albrecht Dürer / Wikimedia Commons

The American Civil Liberties Union says it will keep fighting against Missouri's new constitutional amendment on prayer after a federal judge dismissed its initial lawsuit.

(via Flickr/s_falkow)

Updated to correct spelling of Patti Hageman's name

A St. Louis taxi driver has filed a religious discrimination lawsuit against the Metropolitan Taxicab Commission, the City of St. Louis and Whelan Security.

Raja Naeem filed the lawsuit this morning following his Dec. 7 arrest at Lambert Airport.

(via Flickr/lilhelen)

Brian Mackey contributed reporting for this story.

A decades-long battle over an Illinois law that requires girls to notify their parents before having an abortion was in front of the state's Supreme Court on Thursday.

The parental notification law has been on the books since the 1990s, but a series of federal and state court challenges have kept it from being enforced. It was supposed to take effect in 2006, which set off a fresh round of lawsuits.