Tag Archives: Missouri Supreme Court

Quick Missouri Supreme Court Bleg: Springfield v Adolph Belt Jr.

I received an email from Beth Riggert, Communications Counsel for the Missouri Supreme Court, noting today’s Missouri Supreme Court decision in the Springfield red-light camera case, City of Springfield, Missouri v. Adolph Belt, Jr. Riggert’s email noted that neither her email nor the summary of the case were to be quoted (does anyone know why this is the case?), but here is an excerpt from the decision:

This is a $100 case. But sometimes, it’s not the money – it’s the principle. When Adolph Belt, Jr., a 30-year veteran of the Missouri State Highway Patrol and a former Kansas City police officer, received a notice that his car had been photographed running a red light in Springfield, he did not take the matter lightly. Undeniably a traffic expert, Belt timed the yellow caution light at the intersection and found that it was rather quick. He also concluded that the stoplight and the cameras needed to be synchronized.

The Springfield city code provides that hearings for violations of this ordinance are to be heard in an administrative proceeding. In Belt’s proceeding, the hearing examiner denied Belt’s challenge to his citation and found him liable for the prescribed $100 penalty. Belt then appealed, requesting a trial de novo before the circuit court. The circuit court dismissed the request for a trial de novo, finding it had no jurisdiction to hear the appeal. Belt now appeals the circuit court’s dismissal, arguing he is entitled to a trial de novo for a municipal ordinance violation.

Violations of municipal ordinances such as this one cannot be determined administratively but must be heard in a division of the circuit court. Section 479.010, RSMo Supp. 2009.1 The administrative proceeding is void, and Belt’s $100 penalty is vacated.

You can also listen to the audio of the oral arguments here.

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Today at the Missouri Supreme Court

Got the email about the latest at the Missouri Supreme Court from communications counsel Beth Riggert, and thought that I don’t know of any Missouri blogs that blog Missouri Supreme Court decisions, so I thought I’d at least post the decisions:

1. Orla Holman Cemetery and Susan Rector vs The R. Plaster Trust, Stephen Plaster, Village of Evergreen:

The undisputed facts establish that Laclede County owns Row Crop Road. Because the Village of Evergreen did not annex the road, it is not within the Village’s boundaries, and the Village has no authority to regulate it. Because Orla Holman Cemetery has not proven it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law to an easement over the parking area, this Court reverses that part of the judgment and remands the case. In all other respects, the judgment is affirmed.

2. Manion vs. Elliott: The court decides in favor of a defendant in a probation revocation action where the presiding judge denied a request for a change of judge.

3. Akins vs. Director of Revenue: The court decides that 3 convictions stemming from one drunk driving incident meets the criteria for a ten-year license revocation.

4. Engel vs. Dormire: A rather sordid tale of government agents bribing informants and an innocent man’s 26-year struggle for justice.

5. Missouri vs. Brooks: Prosecutors use a defendant’s post-Miranda silence to impeach the defendant’s credibility. The court agrees with the defendant that this is unfair, reversing the decision and remanding the case back to the trial court.

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