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Category: Legal Filings

U.S. Supreme Court Will Consider Whether to Review Suspicionless Stops Case

U.S. Supreme Court Will Consider Whether to Review Suspicionless Stops Case

On June 3, 2013, Ron Calzone was driving his farm truck to gather gravel for his daughter’s chicken coop when a Missouri State Highway Patrol officer pulled him over. Had Calzone been speeding? Did he change lanes improperly? No. The officer admitted that he had not observed any violation of the law. So why had he pulled Calzone over? Because he could. Missouri law authorizes highway patrol officers to stop and inspect almost any kind of vehicle on Missouri’s highways…

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VICTORY: Eighth Circuit Rules First Amendment Protects Citizen Activists’ Speech

VICTORY: Eighth Circuit Rules First Amendment Protects Citizen Activists’ Speech

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 1, 2019 CONTACT:  Dave Roland, (314)604-6621 Eighth Circuit: First Amendment Protects Unpaid Activists Who Share Policy Ideas With Legislators Nearly three years ago the Missouri Ethics Commission ordered Ron Calzone, an unpaid grassroots activist, to pay a $1,000 fine and prohibited him from discussing policy with lawmakers until he registered and filed reports as though he was a professional “lobbyist.” Because the First Amendment guarantees the freedom to share one’s policy ideas with public officials, Calzone…

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Eighth Circuit: Farmers Surrender Fourth Amendment Rights When Driving Their Own Trucks

Eighth Circuit: Farmers Surrender Fourth Amendment Rights When Driving Their Own Trucks

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                         CONTACT: Dave Roland July 26, 2019                                                                                          (573) 567-0307 Eighth Circuit: Farmers Surrender Fourth Amendment Rights When Driving Their Own Trucks Mexico, Missouri—Today a three-judge panel of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a person surrenders their Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures simply by getting behind the wheel of any vehicle the state defines as a “commercial vehicle” – and that this applies to farmers who…

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Freedom Center Challenges St. Louis City’s Brazen Defiance of Transparency

Freedom Center Challenges St. Louis City’s Brazen Defiance of Transparency

Tragedy struck Darla Nieder in October 2017 when her daughter fell victim to a double-murder in St. Louis City. In February 2018, desperate to learn whatever she could about her child’s death, Nieder exercised her right to request unredacted, unedited copies of records related to the investigation of her daughter’s death.  State law says that a law enforcement agency receiving such a request must within thirty days either produce the requested materials or file a motion with the circuit court…

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VICTORY: St. Louis County Drug Task Force Admits Violating Sunshine Law

VICTORY: St. Louis County Drug Task Force Admits Violating Sunshine Law

14779 Audrain Rd. 815            Mexico, Missouri            www.mofreedom.org              (573) 567-0307 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                      CONTACT:  Dave Roland April 19, 2019                                                                                                   (573) 567-0307 VICTORY: St. Louis County Admits Drug Task Force Violated Sunshine Law, Bringing Strategic Litigation Campaign to Successful Conclusion Mexico, Missouri—Late Friday afternoon St. Louis County Circuit Judge Thea Sherry signed a Consent Judgment approved by the parties in Malin v. St. Louis County Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force, et al. The Consent Judgment reflects the County’s…

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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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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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Briefing Completed in Suspicionless Stops Appeal

Briefing Completed in Suspicionless Stops Appeal

Several months ago the Freedom Center began its appeal in our Suspicionless Stops case, in which we are challenging a state law that allows certain law enforcement officials to randomly stop almost any vehicle and driver, anywhere and at any time along a state highway or interstate, “with or without probable cause” to believe that the vehicle or driver are in violation of any laws.  Today we filed the last of the briefs in this appeal, and we wanted to make…

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