No Written Reports in Greitens Criminal Investigation

Here is another interesting opinion piece on the Greitens criminal prosecution.

This particularly jumped out at me: “why were they hired and then told not to produce any written reports?”

If you don’t know, the St. Louis Prosecutor prosecuting Greitens spent $10,000 (likely more when it’s over) for a private, out of state investigation company.

If you are ever accused of a crime, almost definitely, the case will be investigated by official investigators of your own county and, in some cases, sent in from other counties, such as expert investigators for the Highway Patrol.

These investigators produced written reports which are then read and analyzed by the defense counsel, and they are very helpful and necessary for both the State and the Defense to prepare for the case.

Apparently, the private investigators in this case were told by the Prosecutor not to produce written reports. Why not? Is Greitens, as Governor, a special kind of Defendant who must be prosecuted differently than a regular person?

I have been posting periodically about the Greitens prosecution on my Facebook page. Like my Facebook page to keep up with my posts.

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Posted in Constitutional Law, criminal defense, criminal law, politics, technology

Criminal Conviction and Visitation Rights

Trial and conviction of a crime will typically affect an individual’s visitation rights. Based on the type of crime, the conviction, and whether or not the court deems you fit to maintain the initial custody agreement, your situation may be altered. Though the outcome will vary case by case, in general, the court may try to keep the child’s life as stable as possible. It is rare for the court to change the child’s arrangement for the worse by removing a parent from the child’s life. If the criminal act the parent was found guilty of could potentially affect the child negatively, like drug crimes, rape, or murder, the court may immediately nullify visitation rights until additional review is conducted. Though, the court generally views a mentorship and relationship with each parent as in the child’s best interest. Parenting time could be supervised and a certified organization may join the child each visit if the court concludes that the convicted parent can’t be left alone with the child.


If a parent is guilty of a severe crime, the court also can establish restrictions for the duration of the visit with the child. For example, if the parent was guilty of driving under the influence, the court could have a separate party transport the child, as opposed to the parent. Or, in situations where the parent was guilty of drug abuse, the courts may only allow the parent to visit with the child in public. The recurrence of your crimes may also be considered by the court. Suppose you weren’t charged with a violent crime, however, if you received numerous convictions or spent a significant amount of time in jail, your visitation arrangement may be impacted. Long sentences can cause stability issues in a child’s life. However it must be obtained, the court will base decisions off of whether or not the custody arrangement will provide a stable living environment for the child.

Hiring a Child Custody Attorney

It may prove beneficial to consider seeking a professional child custody attorney if you have been recently convicted of a crime. If the question of how the crime may impact your visitation rights is worrisome, a lawyer such as the child custody lawyer Bloomington IL locals trust may be able to guide you through your options. They may help explain the complicated elements involved in these situations in order for you to make legal decisions that best benefit you.

Thanks to authors at Pioletti&Pioletti for their insight into Criminal Defense and Child Custody Law.

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Posted in criminal defense, criminal law, divorce

Relocating Home of a Child

Missouri’s Child Relocation Statute is so confusing, it befuddles parents, it befuddles attorneys, and it befuddles judges.

Parts of it aren’t confusing, though. If you want to move, and you have a child subject to a parenting plan where you share custody or visitation with another parent who no longer lives with you, look closely at Missouri’s relocation statute and try to follow what it says.

1. Send a letter to the other parent (type written is best) (ALWAYS KEEP A COPY).
2. By certified mail, return receipt requested.
3. 60 or more days before the date of your move.
4. Give your new address.
5. Your new phone number (if you’re getting one).
6. Some specific reasons for why you’re moving.
7. Describe any changes you want in the parenting plan.
8. If any of this information changes as the move gets closer, update the other parent.

If you are moving and you fail to take these steps, the Court can actually use the fact of your move without proper notice as a legally sufficient reason to change custody. While this probably happens less than half the time it is tried, it is not a risk worth taking. Following the relocation requirements is not that difficult. Losing custody of a child is.

Of course, the statute has nuances that are not included in the eight steps above. If you are planning to move, I recommend (a) reading the statute in full and (b) consulting with an experienced Family Law Attorney. If you are in or around Rolla, Missouri or Houston, Missouri, the Law Offices of Jaired B. Hall is here to help.

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Posted in divorce, Uncategorized

Updating Your Existing Estate Plan

If you once had an estate plan prepared by an attorney, you may be wondering, is it still valid? Do you need a new one? This is actually a fairly common question. Some people pull out their old file, dust it off, and notice with surprise that they haven’t looked at their estate plan in twenty plus years. Maybe you need a whole new plan. Maybe an inexpensive, simple amendment is all that’s necessary.

Chances are, if you had an estate plan drawn up by an attorney, you don’t need a new one. You might, but probably not. But you might need amendments to bring it up to date and deal effectively with your changed circumstances.

Many people prepare estate plans when their children are minors. While at this stage in your life, you may not have many worldly goods to put in an estate planning vehicle such as a trust, your children are vastly more important than any property you’ll ever own, you so make sure your wishes regarding your children are clearly written down.

Well, in ten years, your children may very well be adults.

In twenty years, they will be.

Maybe you haven’t touched your estate plan in thirty years.

A lot can change in ten, twenty, or thirty years. Children grow up, people get divorced, assets increase, minds change. Maybe when your children were young, you made a sibling your trustee. Now you have responsible children working high-responsibility jobs and you realize one or more of your children would be better trustees.

Some estate plans are so out of line with current realities that a whole new plan becomes necessary. Maybe one of your children or grandchildren has special needs. Special trust terms can help with that. Maybe one of your children has crippling debt. Special trust terms can help you benefit your child without all the money going to the debt. These types of issues can develop years after you first put your estate plan in place.

In most cases, the structure of what you have will work fine. Instead of a more expensive “new” plan, a few simple less expensive amendments may be in order.

Whether you have an estate plan you want updated, or you have no estate plan and you want to set one up, call us at 417.967.0066 and schedule an appointment.

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Posted in estate planning

Chronicles of Barsetshire

Anthony Trollope, 1815-1882 (a contemporary of Charles Dickens, 1812 to 1870) was a prolific English novelist. This year, I’ve listened to the first three novels of his six novel series, the Barsetshire Chronicles, his most well known works.

While the six books are all loosely connected, involving the fictitious county Barsetshire, the first two are very tightly connected and are essentially the same continuous story. These first two have been turned into a six hour mini series in 1982, and the third book (an unrelated story, but for its fictional time and place setting) Doctor Thorne was turned into a 2016 tv series. There are very few cross references of people and events from the first two stories to the third.

All three were excellently narrated by volunteers on The first two by Nick Whitley (reads a tad slowly, but you can listen at a faster speed) (he is in the process of narrating Doctor Thorne, it appears).

Doctor Thorne is read by Nicholas Clifford.

Regarding the narration—Nick Whitley I’m sure will do a fantastic job with Doctor Thorne. At first, listening to the third book by someone else was a bit jarring, but I quickly came to appreciate the effect of the different voice. Rather than becoming accustomed to one voice for all things Trollope—as if it was the author himself reading—I was able to feel a difference in the very different stories in the very voices reading the story.

Clifford’s voice and the personality behind it, dictating the various voices of the characters of the story, could very easily be the voice and personality of the hero, Dr. Thorne himself. It is a clear, mellow voice, not given to dramatic exuberance, and perhaps somewhat proud of its clarity and fluency.

Whitley, on the other hand, has a calm, intellectual, English voice and accent, slow, sonorous, and also happy to erupt in the bellow of Dr. Grantly’s righteous anger and brilliant in a perfect interpretation of good old Mr. Harding. It is a perfect voice for two novels concerning themselves primarily with the internecine church conflicts among the many prelates, deacons, prebendaries, etc., of the Church of England in 19th century Barsetshire.

Doctor Thorne, on the other hand, has very little to do with the church and its servants. It is much closer akin to a Jane Austen romance with its stuck up aristocracy looking down its collective nose at doctors and attorneys, dashing young men falling in love with the right ladies while seriously flawed family members are trying to get them suitably rich and well-bred brides.

Attorneys play important but not particularly extensive vital or dramatic roles in all three stories. They are not excoriated in any vicious manner, yet Trollope does pike quite a bit of fun at them. He is definitely a master at intertwining clever whit throughout his books.

Of the three, the first, The Warden, was rather dull with an extremely simplistic storyline. It served nearly as a prelude to the second, Barchester Towers which continued the story and added a good bit more interest and complexity. Read together, these two are a good and worthwhile read. Doctor Thorne is also a good read – worth a pleasant read or, as I did, a listen.

Posted in Book Review

Complications of Child Support – Ask Rolla Attorney, Houston Attorney

You have one or more children, but you and your co-parent have separated.

Even in many 50/50 custody arrangements, one of the parties is probably going to pay child support.

Child support can be a tricky subject. It can be set by a court. It can be set by the Family Support Division – Missouri Division of Social Services.

It’s supposed to be based on any and all relevant factors, but unless you have substantial evidence to justify a more personalized number, the most likely support amount will be based on the Form 14.

The Form 14 looks relatively simply, just a 1 page form, right? How hard can that be? And then you see it’s got 14 pages, an appropriate number, of “comments” to explain how to fill out the one page form. And then there’s this fun table showing you how much it costs to support a child based on the combined income of the two parties.

It is particularly difficult to navigate this issue when you are self employed. Suddenly, the “gross income” needed to fill out the Form 14 is a lot more complicated. You can’t just look at a paystub and, voila! there’s your number.

If you live in Rolla, or anywhere in Phelps County, or Houston, or anywhere in Texas County, please call me at 417.967.0066 or email me to discuss your child support issue. I will walk you through the knotty complications of Missouri child support, whether you are the one who will be paying or the one who needs help raising your child.

Call your local child support attorney today.

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Posted in divorce, Uncategorized

Gresham King of Torts – Houston, Mo. Attorney Book Review

I’d say I’m a book collector, but maybe a book hoarder would be more accurate. I picked up John Gresham’s The King of Torts (2003) for $1 at the Houston, Mo. Library. They’ve always got the front entryway piled high with books for sale. I don’t typically get my “light, fun reading” from the latest, greatest New York Times best seller. Something 15 years old is fine.

True to Gresham Form, The King of Torts is a fast, easy, exciting read with characters about as shallow as cardboard cutouts. Clay Carter emerges on the scene, a burned out public defender suddenly given a bizarre, completely unbelievable opportunity making millions as a mass tort attorney.

I don’t do mass torts (massive class action lawsuits, such as, in this book, against pharmaceutical companies that have marketed harmful products), so I don’t know whether there’s an ounce, a pound, or maybe a fraction of an ounce in how Gresham lampoons the greedy, unethical, materialistic, and wasteful mass tort segment of the law profession. In any event, the book portrays Clay as sucked into the vortex of unethical, money grabbing mass torts, rising to fame and just as quickly crashing and burning.

And of course, when he crashes and burns, he gets back with the girl he’s always loved, marries, and moves on with life presumably to “live happily ever after.” Of course, as a ready, you find yourself neither interested in Clay’s past nor his future. You had fun with the colorful cardboard figures as they performed across the pages for you, and that’s about it.

Here are some take away messages if you feel like pausing long enough to apply a thriller’s take away messages to your life: first, don’t sell your soul for wealth and power; second, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t true, and there’s some nefarious, harmful, ugly underbelly to the situation that will get you in the end; and third, even if you succeeded (with all those disgusting, wealthy, slovenly folk who didn’t crash and burn) would you really like to be one of them anyway?

king of torts

Posted in Book Review

Courthouse Wednesday Continues

A new year is upon us.

Due to operating out of Rolla and Houston, I will not be as available for walk-ins as I was in the past, so please call ahead at 417.967.0066 and schedule an appointment by phone, whether you are a current or prospective client.

Someone should always be in the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 to 4:30, but it’ll be fairly hit or miss on the other days, so call ahead.

If you are not following me on Facebook, now’s a good chance to do that:

Since November, I’ve been posting a picture of a beautiful or interesting or historic courthouse on my Facebook page each Wednesday.

Here is an interesting and beautiful modern Federal courthouse in Springfield Massachusetts which combines classical architectural features with a very modern flair.

US courthouse, springfield, mass (Jan 24)

A few other items of note:

1) As usual, I hit the books (reading) at a good rate. I usually am in the mood to read a lot in January, but I peter off late in the year. I don’t make new years resolutions, but I do make myself a reading schedule and a book list. My book list evolves throughout the year. I am “ahead of schedule” for 2018 so far. But I only got about half-way through my 2017 list.

2) I am working on some short children’s stories. I hope to have a collection together to give to my daughter Charlotte who turns 5 in February. This isn’t something I plan to publish, but is a fairly quick project that I think Charlotte and her siblings will enjoy.

3) I didn’t make any formal new years resolutions this year, but besides reading a lot, I tend to focus a little better on fitness in the early part of each year. This year, I’m trying again to establish a schedule and regularity in exercising, with the goal of being more fit and more healthy than ever. A healthy body, by the way, helps one’s mind stay healthy and clear, and a healthy, clear mind is a good trait for an attorney.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Great Family Law Blog

is the best family law blog I have ever come across in my searches over the years for law related blogs and websites. Every now and again, when I’m interested in looking up a law blog, this is one of the first places I look. Many bloggers come and go. I sometimes let my own blog languish for several months without new content, and many blogs, that once were active, die, and you go to check on them only to find there hasn’t been a post in years.

True to form, Mr. Wortman’s blog seems to have fairly recent posts every time I look for it, and the posts are typically informative and useful, both from the standpoint of a practitioner and a non-practitioner interested in a family-law topic because of what he or she is going through. I have seen fairly lengthy gaps (well over a month), but I have been going back to this blog on occasion for several years.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Review in Reading

2017 Reading – 2

On January 12, 2017, I posted about reading. It was my “2017 Reading – 1” post. And why did I label it like that? Because I was going to do several “Reading” posts in 2017.

Silly me. Here we are ten months later, the year 2017 nearly in the books, and I’m just now getting round to a second Reading post.

It appears that I will not reach 30 books for the year, but I have completed 14. I think 20 is definitely attainable, while 30 is probably unrealistic. This 13 includes 4-5 audio books.

I read a few pretty lengthy history books (two biographies of Catherine the Great (18th century Empress of Russia), a book about Russia against Napoleon (19th century), and an account of the 1917 Communist Russian Revolution), which definitely bogs the process down. Maybe I’ll knock out some easy novels to fluff things up a bit in the last few weeks of the year.

Massie C the Great Cover

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Posted in Uncategorized, update