Supreme Court: If A Cop Wants to Use a Drug-Sniffing Dog During A Traffic Stop, Make It Quick

Score another victory for supporters of the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches. This year's term of the U.S. Supreme Court has been kind to supporters of the Fourth Amendment. The Court today held in a 6-3 decision that police may not extend a traffic stop in order to wait for drug-sniffing dogs when there is no probable cause to search the vehicle. The Court's majority opinion held "that a police stop exceeding the time needed to handle the matter for which the stop was made violates the Constitution's shield against unreasonable searches." As such, once a driver is pulled...

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Most Fines in Nearly Every County Municipal Court Will Now Be Uniform

Another major reform to St. Louis County's many municipal courts was announced last night by the St. Louis County Municipal Court Improvement Committee. No longer will certain fines like speeding, driving without insurance, red light violations, etc. vary by hundreds of dollars depending on where the ticket is issued. Instead, it was announced last night that 80 of our 82 municipal courts have agreed to issue uniform fine and court costs amounts for most ordinance violations. Under this new standard, fines are $70.50 plus court costs for most routine moving violations (speeding, lane violations, illegal u-turns, etc.), and $50.50 for...

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National Media’s Scrutiny of Our Municipal Courts Extends Beyond Ferguson

After the Department of Justice's Report on Ferguson was released earlier this month, news outlets worldwide broke down the scathing report and often added their own stories of just how terrible this court has treated defendants. We all know that these problems are by no means limited to Ferguson. Go five miles in any direction from Ferguson and you can see the same unconstitutional practices happening on a daily basis. This story on the Huffington Post this morning illustrates some troubling but all-too-common instances of injustice in "cities" like Pasadena Hills, Pine Lawn, and Jennings. It's a bit of a...

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