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NEW YORK (AP) - A federal appeals court says prosecutors can't use a defendant's request for a lawyer as evidence of guilt.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York noted Monday that it was touching new legal ground as it ruled against the government in a case prosecuted in Albany, N.Y.

The appeals court has ordered a new trial for a man convicted of charges relating to illegally bringing an alien into the United States. The case involved the arrest of a U.S. citizen who had tried to enter the country with a German citizen in 2010 near Buffalo, N.Y.

The appeals court says prosecutors unfairly used the U.S. citizen's request for an attorney as evidence of his guilt.

Published in National News

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Missouri prosecutors advising police on undercover investigations now have greater legal protection that their conduct won't violate ethical rules.

A recent change to the Missouri Supreme Court's Rules of Professional Conduct explicitly allows government lawyers to collaborate on undercover operations without risking sanction for professional misconduct.

The amendment further codifies a tactic that former Cape Girardeau County prosecutor Morley Swingle calls "the oldest trick in the criminal investigator's book" - lying to a suspect to help solve a case. Swingle is now an assistant U.S. attorney.

Missouri is among 10 states to make similar revisions to its conduct codes for lawyers. Many came in response to a Colorado case in which a prosecutor's law license was suspended after he posed as a public defender to elicit a murder confession.

Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Some Missouri House Democrats are looking to reduce the punishment for marijuana possession.

Under a bill outlined Thursday, first-time offenders for marijuana possession would be allowed to do community service and avoid jail. If offenders complete the sentence, the convictions would be removed from their record.

Rep. Rory Ellinger, a criminal defense attorney and Democrat from St. Louis, said the legislation would help people with marijuana convictions in their youth get jobs later by not having to disclose the conviction.

Ellinger said the measure could save the state money by keeping first-time drug offenders out of jail.

The new sentencing structure would apply only to people carrying less than 35 grams of marijuana.
Published in Local News

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