Actus Reus

ac·tus re·us \ˈak-təs-ˈrē-əs, ˈäk-tu̇s-ˈrā-u̇s\

noun : the wrongful act that makes up the physical action of a crime

Latin: guilty act

Southern Center for Human Rights hiring for death penalty attorney position

The Southern Center for Human Rights is currently accepting applications for a new death penalty attorney.  Attorneys at all stages of their career, including 3Ls with criminal defense experience, are invited to apply. The deadline to apply is Sunday August 28, 2016. The job description and application requirements are available here. … [Read more...]

Director of Missouri’s State Public Defender System Assigns Case to Governor

In a letter to Governor Jay Nixon accessible here, Michael Barrett, Director of the Missouri State Public Defender, starts seven years ago, with Governor Nixon's veto of legislation which would have addressed caseload problems faced by public defenders in Missouri.   Barrett notes that Governor Nixon then acknowledged the "significant stresses" faced by public defenders and vowed to work toward remedying them. Seven years later, Barrett says that due to a continued lack of funding, he faces a … [Read more...]

Jonathan Rapping: We must talk about public defenders when we talk about criminal justice reform

In a post on the National Association for Public Defense website, available here, Jonathan Rapping (President of Gideon's Promise) makes the case for why any discussion about criminal justice reform should include a discussion of public defenders. … [Read more...]

Dismantling the debtors’ prison, clinical style

The latest good work from St. Louis University School of Law clinical professor Brendan Roediger, whose Civil Litigation Clinic has jumped in with both feet to challenge racial disparities in the criminal justice system in Missouri, particularly in the wake of the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson.  This NY Times article details one brilliant result of that work—a $4.7 million settlement reached with the city of Jennings, Missouri to compensate poor people jailed for unpaid fines. The use of … [Read more...]

Reflections from the Criminal Defense Clinic – Anthony Gallegos (Fall 2014)

Everything in the coat of arms is symbolic. Here's what everything means: The Shield: The shield stands for defense. It is colored grey, which stands for fortitude. The Swords: The swords stand for zealous advocacy. They are gilded in red and green which represent boldness and optimism. They are engraved with the words: Suppression and Due Process. Shield segments: The top segment is white to represent purity. It contains images of justice, including scales and a gavel. The lower shield … [Read more...]

Reflections from the Criminal Defense Clinic – Jeff Wilson (Fall 2013)

They serve and protect But what they servin’ is cold Four walls, three meals, And a place to grow old   A place where time passes Just to let it pass by Where so very few Have the gall to ask why   It’s taken as fact As truth, not trend That those it controls Brought about their own end   As if it naturally followed Like winter does fall As if it wasn’t A human decision at all   But we made it all up And we make … [Read more...]