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Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon

Judge upholds Missouri limit on funeral protests

Wednesday, 12 March 2014 00:44 Published in Local News
   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A federal judge has upheld a Missouri law barring protests within 300 feet of a funeral.
   The Missouri law creates a buffer zone around funeral sites from one hour before until one hour after a funeral.
   Attorney General Chris Koster said Tuesday that the law is now in effect as a result of a federal court ruling a day earlier.
   But an attorney for the Kansas woman who challenged the law said it has been enforced since last April, when a federal appeals court rejected a free-speech challenge to the buffer zone.
   The latest ruling by U.S. District Judge Fernando Gaitan Jr. dismissed a claim that the time restriction was unconstitutionally vague.
   The lawsuit was brought by a member of a Topeka-based church that denounces homosexuality and frequently protests at funerals.
 
   EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - Two more former inmates of a southern Illinois jail are suing over strip searches they claim were unconstitutional.
   The Belleville News-Democrat reports Teresa Hale and Leticia Jackson of Belleville filed the federal lawsuit against St. Clair County and jail officials. Seeking more than $350,000 in damages, the lawsuit alleges the women were strip searched while jailed in 2012 for suspected drunken driving.
   In December, 29 inmates filed a similar lawsuit, seeking $10 million in damages.
   Sheriff Rick Watson told The Associated Press the cases have no merit, and that his department follows state and federal statutes.
   A lawsuit echoing similar allegations against the jail was dismissed in December after a federal judge ruled strip searching prisoners as a group isn't unconstitutional if the searches weren't intended to humiliate.
 

Ballwin lawmakers oppose city-county merger

Tuesday, 11 March 2014 03:13 Published in Local News

   Lawmakers in one West County community are against a merging of the City of St. Louis with St. Louis County.

   The Ballwin Board of Aldermen voted 7-1 Monday night to draft a resolution opposing a city-county merger.

   Alderman Frank Fleming was the lone no-vote.  Fleming says he couldn't approve the proposal because it wasn't on the agenda for Monday and had been introduced as an emergency measure. Fleming saysd he's in favor the resolution otherwise.

   The resolution will be on the agenda of the March 24 board meeting.

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