Circuit Attorney

Paul Sabelman | Flickr

In March 2014, Rose Marie Hewitt was pulled over in St. Louis, where she lived at the time. Police found Vicodin in an unmarked bottle — narcotics Hewitt says she was holding for her boyfriend at the time to keep him from taking too many.

Police charged her with two counts of drug possession. "And that's a felony," she said.

Hewitt originally wanted to take her case to trial. But her lawyer told her that would probably result in two years of probation and a criminal record. Instead, she took a chance on the circuit attorney's Felony Redirect Program.

Money gift

With a week left to go, Missouri’s four Republican candidates for governor are engaging in a final money-raising – and spending – frenzy.

Just since July 1, the four – former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens, former House Speaker Catherine Hanaway, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and businessman John Brunner – combined have raised almost $6 million and spent more than $10 million.

Most of that spending is for the mass of TV ads that are flooding Missouri homes.

Come January, there will be a new prosecutor in the city of St. Louis for the first time in 16 years.

The election to replace Jennifer Joyce as circuit attorney comes as the city is struggling to get homicides and other violent crime under control. Relations between law enforcement and some communities remain strained as well, with Joyce herself having been the target of protests.

Patrick Hamacher (standing) addresses a crowd gathered at Saint Louis University on June 18, 2016 for a forum with the Democratic candidates for circuit attorney.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

A two-hour debate about the root causes of crime and disparities in the system helped some St. Louis voters better understand the Democratic candidates for circuit attorney.

Mary Pat Carl, Kimberly Gardner, Patrick Hamacher and Steve Harmon gathered Saturday for the forum, sponsored by Decarcerate St. Louis.

Budget director Paul Payne gives a presentation at a public hearing on the city's 2017 spending plan on May 18, 2016.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

For the past two weeks, the heads of city departments have come to the Ways and Means Committee asking the aldermen for additional money to cover their needs.

On Monday, it was the aldermen's turn to have their say on the spending plan for 2017.

Lawmakers in St. Louis are limited in how they can affect the budget. The city's budget must be balanced, so any addition to one department has to be balanced by a subtraction from another area.

James Cridland via Flickr

If all goes according to plan, a surveillance drone could be policing the skies of St. Louis by this time next year. According to SLMPD Chief Sam Dotson, the drone would be used in public spaces, and would enable the police to avoid dangerous high-speed chases. But what are the legal parameters? And what is considered public?

Several public defender offices around the state have notified courts they will not be taking cases beyond their maximum caseload this month.

The 18 offices around Missouri include ones in St. Louis, St. Charles, Jefferson City and Springfield.

In St. Louis instead of turning away all cases public defenders met with the 22ndCircuit Court and the Circuit Attorney’s office to craft a different solution.