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Author: Dave

A Long Time Coming

A Long Time Coming

In the fall of 2009, more than one year before Dave and Jenifer Roland founded the Freedom Center of Missouri, an African-style hair braider named Salimato Kouyate contacted Dave to ask for help.  The Missouri Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners had sued her, trying to put her out of business because she earned money by braiding hair and had not first completed the 1,500 hours’ worth of training that state law requires to act as a licensed cosmetologist.  That…

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Little Pink House

Little Pink House

A decade and a half ago a courageous woman, Susette Kelo, waged a desperate battle to save her neighborhood from a city’s effort to condemn the neighborhood’s homes and business and to hand those properties over to a private developer.  Susette’s little pink house became the focal point of one of the most important property rights battles in American history.  Now a new movie, Little Pink House, starring Catherine Keener and Jeanne Tripplehorn, dramatizes her story. Although the film has been…

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VICTORY: Court Rules Sheriff May Not Withhold Documents, But Shortchanges Victorious Attorneys

VICTORY: Court Rules Sheriff May Not Withhold Documents, But Shortchanges Victorious Attorneys

14779 Audrain Rd. 815            Mexico, Missouri            www.mofreedom.org              (573) 567-0307 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                     CONTACT:  Dave Roland April 18, 2018                                                                                                            (573) 567-0307   VICTORY: Circuit Judge Rules Sheriff May Not Withhold Documents Related to Law Enforcement Officer’s Death, But Shortchanges Victorious Attorneys   Mexico, Missouri—Early in 2007 a mid-Missouri narcotics officer named Melissa Winnie alleged misconduct on the part of several of her co-workers.  Less than a year later, she was dead. For more than a decade…

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BLOOMING RIDICULOUS: Federal Judge Rules Property Rights Not “Fundamental,” Okays Twenty-Year Prison Sentences for Growing Harmless Flowers

BLOOMING RIDICULOUS: Federal Judge Rules Property Rights Not “Fundamental,” Okays Twenty-Year Prison Sentences for Growing Harmless Flowers

14779 Audrain Rd. 815            Mexico, Missouri            www.mofreedom.org              (573) 567-0307 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                     CONTACT:  Dave Roland March 29, 2018                                                                                                      (573) 567-0307   BLOOMING RIDICULOUS: Federal Judge Says City May Force Senior Citizens to Grow Plants That Make Them Sick, Twenty Years in Prison for Noncompliance Not “Excessive”   Mexico, Missouri—Late yesterday afternoon U.S. District Judge John Ross ruled that even though the U.S. Constitution says that it protects citizens’ property rights, cities can force homeowners to devote…

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Public Officials, Social Media, Transparency, and the First Amendment

Public Officials, Social Media, Transparency, and the First Amendment

The past few decades have seen the development of technologies that raise challenging new questions about citizens’ rights under open records laws, open meetings laws, and the First Amendment.  Several current situations in Missouri may require courts to answer some of these questions. One question has to do with public officials’ use of social media to interact with the public.  Ordinarily, if a public official is hosting an event in a public setting, they cannot selectively exclude citizens from attending. …

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Sometimes Victory Means Avoiding Litigation

Sometimes Victory Means Avoiding Litigation

The Freedom Center’s primary goal is to help shape our legal landscape by winning victories in the courtroom.  But sometimes we can score victories without ever needing to file a lawsuit.  We have a brand-new story to share about just such a victory. A few weeks ago Jerry Dollar, a resident of St. Louis County, let us know that the St. Louis County Police Department was refusing to return a handful of lawfully-obtained, lawfully-owned firearms that it had confiscated from…

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Briefing Completed in Cutting Edge First Amendment Case

Briefing Completed in Cutting Edge First Amendment Case

On December 21, 2017, the Freedom Center of Missouri and our co-counsel at the Institute for Free Speech filed our final brief on behalf of Ron Calzone in our Citizen Activist Speech case.  The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to hear oral arguments in this case early next year – we will post an announcement when the court sets the date for those arguments. Last month we shared a video in which Ron explains the importance of this case,…

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Ron Calzone Explains Our Citizen Activist Speech Case

Ron Calzone Explains Our Citizen Activist Speech Case

In the above video, Ron Calzone explains in his own words the basis and critical importance of our Citizen Activist Free Speech case.  This case involves a Missouri statute that requires citizen activists to register as lobbyists and (under threat of huge fines and criminal penalties) to file regular reports with the government regarding efforts to talk to government officials about public policy – even if no one is paying the activist to speak on their behalf.  The Missouri Ethics…

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Congratulations, You Won! Now Pay Up.

Congratulations, You Won! Now Pay Up.

On paper, Missouri’s Sunshine Law offers hope that if a citizen can prove in court that the government unlawfully denied a citizen’s access to public records or a public meeting, the citizen might recover the expenses they incurred associated with the lawsuit as well as limited civil penalties.  In practice, however, it is very, very rare for courts to award expenses or civil penalties – although it does sometimes occur, as in our Cole County Prosecuting Attorney case.  To win…

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VICTORY: Eighth Circuit Revives Fourth Amendment Challenge to Suspicionless Vehicle Stops

VICTORY: Eighth Circuit Revives Fourth Amendment Challenge to Suspicionless Vehicle Stops

P.O. Box 693            Mexico, Missouri            www.mofreedom.org              (314) 604-6621 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                     CONTACT:  Dave Roland August 7, 2017                                                                                                       (314) 604-6621   Eighth Circuit Revives Missouri Rancher’s Challenge to Suspicionless Vehicle Stops   Mexico, Missouri—The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals today revived a lawsuit in which Ron Calzone, a rancher and small businessman who lives in the country near Rolla, Missouri, is challenging a Missouri law that allows highway patrol officers to seize and search vehicles even if…

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