Tuesday, May 29, 2012

How can I keep a theft case from goping on my record?

A diversion can be a useful tool if applied correctly.  Whether it be utilized in a DUI case, a criminal charge, or a speeding ticket diversion can surely help you keep your record clean and avoid some stiff penalties in a criminal case.

Here is a common way this question gets brought up.

Q: I am charged with theft in when I took a few items from a Walmart.  My brother told me I should try to get a diversion.  What is a diversion?

A.  A diversion agreement often referred to as “a diversion” is a contract between you and the prosecutor. When someone has committed a crime sometimes the prosecutor will offer the offender a way to divert the charge; by using a diversion agreement. Basically, if you do everything that the agreement requires you to do and don’t violate any of the conditions of the agreement the prosecutor will not move forward with the case. Additionally, you will usually have to stipulate to the facts you are accused of committing. If you break the agreement the prosecutor will proceed with the case, along with the facts that you stipulated to, making their case much easier to prove. Diversions can work great if you don’t make any more mistakes.  I always advise clients to really look at themselves and their past.  It they are the type of person who gets in trouble often then a diversion may just be setting yourself up for failure.  They have their place but now right for everyone. Just in case you happened to stumble across this blog because of a Kansas Theft case Then here is a video for you.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Kansas vs. Missouri. It's a border war for jobs and tax revenue.

I have heard it a hundred times.  This policeman gave me a ticket or pulled me over because I had Missouri plates and I was driving in Kansas.  Especially in Leawood.  Well on a similar not jobs and people are moving out of Missouri and into Kansas for tax incentives and Missouri is losing out big.  Here is the article in the Bradenton Herald.

Business Raids cost Kansas City millions in taxes.
By John Hanna and David Lieb

The states of Missouri and Kansas are divided here only by the yellow stripe of State Line Road. It's a single community, but the division is sharp when it comes to the cutthroat business of economic development.  The two states have burned through hundreds of millions of dollars to lure businesses to one side of that stripe or the other in the pursuit of jobs. Yet sometimes, those jobs merely have shifted to different buildings across the border with little real growth for the region's economy.  Amid ramped-up competition nationwide for "job creation," Missouri and Kansas have committed more than $750 million of tax incentives and bonds in the past five years for nearly 200 businesses to locate or expand in the Kansas City area, according to state records obtained by The Associated Press. The cross-town battle, among the most intense anywhere, also has drawn in millions more dollars in incentives from cities and suburbs.

The two states sacrificed revenue and incurred debt even during tough budget times that forced cuts to public school districts, universities and social services. Kansas and Missouri each had projected budget shortfalls of around $500 million last year.  Calls for a truce in the business border war have been growing from local business leaders, some lawmakers and even from former officials who once doled out the incentives.  "You get to a point where you have to say we are wasting taxpayer money," said Greg Steinhoff, who served as Missouri's economic development director from 2005 to 2008. He added: "At a time when you need to value ever dollar, it's silly."

Yet a truce appears unlikely anytime soon - in part because the states are still scrambling for every job.
"Politically, it sounds good - can't we all get along? - but competition's competition," said Gary Sherrer, who served as Kansas lieutenant governor and commerce secretary about a decade ago.  About three-fourths of the $750 million of tax breaks and bonding approved in the past five years has come from Kansas, though Missouri has given incentives - in smaller amounts - to about twice as many businesses to keep them from leaving or to attract new firms. Some of the companies are new to the Kansas City area.  In part because of the glimmer of its big-ticket projects, Kansas appears to be winning the business border battle.  The spoils of success are highly visible in the sprawling Village West district at the junction of Interstates 70 and 435. Anchoring the development is the Kansas Speedway, the NASCAR track the state landed more than a decade ago with a $150 million package of bonds, tax breaks and infrastructure aid after Missouri's $42 million incentive package failed in the Legislature. The Kansas incentives included bonds with a 30-year repayment life.

Nearby is a new 18,500-seat stadium for the Major League Soccer team Sporting Kansas City, built with $145 million of bonds after Kansas lured the franchise away from Kansas City, Mo. Also in the  neighborhood is a new office complex for Cerner Corp., a medical computer systems firm that employs about 5,500 people on the Missouri side and planned to expand. Missouri and Kansas offered nearly equal incentives of about $85 million for Cerner's expansion, which is projected to employ an additional 4,000.
Kansas' willingness to issue bonds backed by tax revenues, which Missouri couldn't match, helped cinch the deal, said Marc Naughton, Cerner's executive vice president and chief financial officer.  "From our standpoint, we're a public company. We've got obligations to our shareholders to find the best opportunity to build a new campus," he said.  Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican, was unapologetic about so freely giving away public revenue that otherwise would go for schools, police and public services. Last year, Kansas cut basic aid to public schools by nearly 6 percent.  "You've got to go out to compete and hustle," Brownback said after a recent ground-breaking ceremony for Cerner's office complex.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, appears only slightly more open to a truce. In the past two years, he has cut funding for public colleges and universities by more than 12 percent.  "I'm going to compete for jobs for our state, I'm not backing up on that," Nixon said. "But I think that the real long-term solution is how do we get more out of the region as far as joint economic impact?"  States with border cities have been struggling with that question for decades. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut compete in the nation's largest metropolitan area. In a southeastern rivalry, Continental Tire moved in 2009 from Charlotte, N.C., to adjoining Lancaster County, S.C., which South Carolina scored as a gain of 300 jobs.

In Kansas City, the most recent cross-town defection came in April, when Teva Neuroscience Inc. announced that it would move its headquarters - and 400 jobs - from Kansas City, Mo., to a site about 4 miles away in suburban Overland Park, Kan. Records provided to the AP show that Missouri offered $11 million of incentives to try to keep Teva. Kansas did not disclose how much it offered, but the Kansas City Star reported the package totaled nearly $31 million.  Some firms have bounced back and forth across the state line. Restaurant chain Applebee's International moved its headquarters from Kansas City, Mo., to a Kansas suburb in 1993. Last year, it was lured back to the Missouri side with nearly $10 million of state incentives plus additional local aid. But Missouri's victory was short-lived. A few months later, movie-theater operator AMC Entertainment Inc. announced it was moving to the suburb of Leawood, Kan. Missouri offered $4.2 million of incentives to keep the company, according to state records. Kansas declined to disclose its incentives, but media reports have valued the total aid at $47 million.

The recent business shifts may result in less in overall taxes without any overall employment boost for the Kansas City region. The winning state hopes to gain temporary construction jobs, some sales taxes from employees dining during their lunch breaks and the long-term potential for more income taxes.  But the defections of Teva and AMC are projected to cost Kansas City about $800,000 in employee earnings taxes - equivalent to the annual cost of two pumper truck crews for the city fire department, which already has been hit by $7.6 million in budget cuts this year, said Danny Rotert, a spokesman for Kansas City Mayor Sly James. Add to that losses in local sales, property and corporate profit taxes and the blemish of two vacant office spaces.  "Empty buildings obviously do not produce much revenue, and they're just not good - that's the added pain to Kansas City for this to happen," Rotert said.

A group of 17 Kansas City area business owners- from both sides of the state line- sent a letter to the governors of Kansas and Missouri decrying the "economic arms race" and urging them to concentrate on attracting businesses from outside the Kansas City area.  "Money has been given to companies that would've stayed here anyway," Robert Regnier, president of the Bank of Blue Valley in Overland Park, Kan., said in an interview. "We're almost defaulting to an environment where everyone is expecting something, and that's not the way it's supposed to work."

Read more here: http://www.bradenton.com/2012/05/16/4041354/business-raids-cost-kansas-city.html#storylink=cpy

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Public Officials take time out to remember victims of violent crime.

Across the United States as well as the Kansas City area people take time out to remember the victims of violent crime.  Short video of the local KCTV 5 coverage.

Both nationally and in the Kansas City area, public officials and family members are remembering victims of violent crimes.  National Crime Victims' Rights Week aims to help change the way victims are treated in the criminal justice system and remember those killed. Locally, those who work to protect children from exploitation are also remembered. Almost 15,000 were murdered in the United States in 2010 with 106 killed in Kansas City. Thus far in 2012, Kansas City has seen 39 homicides compared to 22 at the same period of time in 2011.  "There is no way anyone knows what that feels like unless you have been there," said Greg Smith whose teen daughter Kelsey Smith was abducted from the Target near Oak Park Mall.

Her body was later found near Longview Lake and her killer has been sentenced to life in prison.  Smith and his wife created a charitable foundation, pushed to make it easier for law enforcement officials to get cell phone records and Smith successfully ran for the Kansas Legislature.  "It's because the rights of the accused were more important than the rights of Kelsey," Smith said. "The right to a speedy trial was more important than my daughter who was kidnapped, raped, sodomized and strangled and left to lay in the woods."

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker joined Smith in the ceremony honoring crime victims.
"It's a week where we honor the victims of crimes, but it's also a week to put focus back on the victims and try to balance the rights of the defendant against the rights of the crime victim," Baker said.  The hope is to find ways to quell violence and find justice for homicide victims so that their killers don't roam free.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Have you gotten a speeding ticket in Leawood Kansas?

You were driving along minding your own business and you check the rear view mirror to see flashing lights.  You pull over and a police officer approaches.  You are receiving a speeding ticket and your probably not happy about it.  Now your going to have to worry about a penalty on your license and an increase in your insurance premiums.

But that may not be all.  If you have a suspended license your in real trouble. If you have been issued a situation or arrested for a traffic charge call the Law Office of Brandan Davies LLC @ 913-732-3014.

If you find yourself pulled over in Leawood Kansas on the business end of a Leawood speeding ticket remember a few things.

1. Always be polite with the officer. (Even if you feel that you weren't in the wrong, you will never help yourself by arguing with a police officer)
2. Provide the officer with your insurance information if asked.
3. Do not miss your court dates. (Leawood will suspend your driver's license)
4. Call an attorney that helps people with traffic tickets to keep the ticket from going on your record.

Here is a video to help explain how we can fix a Leawood Speeding Ticket.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Kansas City Bishop to stand trial for abuse case

This case just seems to keep going and going.

By Joshua J. McElwee
National Catholic Reporter

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The first criminal case against a sitting U.S. bishop in the decades-long clergy sex abuse crisis will go forward after a county judge's decision Thursday that Bishop Robert Finn, head of the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese, must stand trial on charges of failing to report suspected child abuse. The decision, released April 5 by Jackson County, Mo., Circuit Court Judge John Torrence, denies several motions Finn's lawyers had brought in the case, arguing that charges against the bishop should be thrown out over questions of constitutionality and whether Finn can be considered a "mandated reporter" according to Missouri law.

"The Court finds that the evidence in this case is sufficient to allow a jury to conclude that Bishop Finn was a designated reporter as defined by Missouri law," Torrence wrote in his decision.  The charge against Finn centers on the case of Fr. Shawn Ratigan, a diocesan priest who was arrested last May on charges of possession of child pornography. While the bishop said he was aware of questionable images on the priest's laptop as early as December 2010, Ratigan was not reported to police by the diocese until May 2011.
In separate indictments in October, prosecutors charged both Finn and the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese as a whole with criminal misdemeanors in the case.
Finn and the diocese have pleaded not guilty to the charges. In motions filed by his lawyers in mid-February, the bishop had said that because others in the diocese were primarily tasked with reporting abuse, he was absolved of primary responsibility in the case and should not be considered a mandated reporter.  Thursday's decision clears the way for a trial in the case. A press statement Thursday morning from the Jackson County prosecutor's office -- which said prosecutors "were pleased" to read Torrence's ruling -- said the trial is currently set to begin Sept. 24.

In his six-page decision, Torrence answers the seven motions filed by lawyers in February for Finn and the diocese, denying all but two of their requests.  Among those Torrence denied is a request by Finn's lawyers to hold separate trials for the bishop and the diocese.  The motion, filed by Finn's lawyers, had alleged that a combined trial would necessarily subject the jury to "substantial prejudice" toward the bishop once they hear the evidence presented by prosecutors against the diocese. It also claimed that by trying the cases together, the judge would essentially pit the diocese and the bishop against one another at trial, creating "the potential for a mutually antagonistic situation between Bishop Finn and the Diocese."  Torrence writes, "The trial will not consist of complex issues and the jury should have no problem compartmentalizing the evidence" against the diocese and the bishop.

Torrence also writes that "serious consideration" will be given by the court to the use of "limiting instructions" in order to ensure that the jury is not biased in either case.  "This Court genuinely believes that a joint trial of both defendants will not result in actual prejudice to either party," he continued.  Two of the other motions denied by Torrence had argued that the charges against the bishop were unconstitutional both as applied in the case and "on their face."  Finn's lawyers argued that Missouri law requiring mandated reporters to "immediately report" suspected abuse was "unconstitutionally vague" because it doesn't specify exactly how quickly people are expected to report those suspicions.

"This Court finds and concludes that persons of ordinary intelligence have no difficulty understanding the meaning of 'immediately report,'" Torrence writes.Finn's lawyers had also argued that Missouri law specifying people report to police when there is a "reasonable cause to suspect" child abuse could also be considered unconstitutionally vague in some situations. Torrence writes that it is not up to the judge to imagine a situation where charges would be unconstitutional, but to apply them as seen in the "facts at hand."  "Suffice it to say that the facts in this case appear sufficient to allow a jury to conclude that, at various times, the defendants had reasonable cause to suspect a child may have been subjected to abuse," the order continues.
The judge granted requests by the defendants to extend pre-trial deadlines in the case and to quash additional subpoenas from the prosecution, saying they amount to a "post-Indictment discovery tool" in violation of Missouri law.

Finn's lawyers' February motions seemed to direct blame for the diocese's lack of response in the Ratigan case to Msgr. Robert Murphy, the diocesan vicar general, who received the first reports of concerns about the priest's behavior.  Asserting multiple times that Murphy had not provided Finn with anything more than brief, insubstantial updates regarding Ratigan in the year before the priest's arrest, the motion requesting separate trials alleged that the diocesan sex abuse response team "became solely responsible" for making a report to police about the priest.  Citing Murphy, who served as a member of the diocese's clergy sexual abuse response team until he was removed from the position last summer, the motion alleges Finn's obligations to report the suspected abuse "extinguished" when Murphy, who remains the diocese's vicar general, became aware of it.

Torrence writes that the "evidence in this case is sufficient to allow a jury to conclude that Bishop Finn was a designated reporter as defined by Missouri law."  Thursday's decision concerns one of two Missouri jurisdictions in which Finn has come under criminal scrutiny for his actions in the Ratigan case.  In a separate agreement with prosecutors in Clay County, Mo., in November, prosecutors suspended misdemeanor charges against the bishop in the case so long as Finn agreed to give the prosecutors immediate oversight of the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese's sex abuse reporting procedures in their county.  As part of the agreement, Finn agreed to meet with diocesan parishes in the county to outline diocesan reporting procedures for suspected child abuse. Finn also agreed to monthly meetings with Clay County prosecutor Daniel White to discuss all reported suspicions of abuse in the county.  Finn held the parish meetings in the spring. A call to the Clay County prosecutor's office to inquire as to the status of the bishop's meeting with prosecutors was not immediately returned.

This column was originally published at the National Catholic Reporter. Joshua J. McElwee is an NCR staff writer. His email address is jmcelwee@ncronline.org.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Need help with a Criminal Case in Overland Park?

If your looking at a criminal charge in the Overland Park Municipal court you need help.  Criminal charges in Overland Park municipal court can have some drastic consequences.  Did you know that the Municipal court has the power to put you in jail for a year for some criminal charges?  Don't take chances with your future.  You need the help of an experienced Overland Park Criminal Lawyer.

Here is a video produced by an Overland Park Criminal Lawyer.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Looking at a Criminal Charge in Olathe Kansas?

If you are looking at a criminal charge in Olathe Kansas.  You need an Olathe KS criminal defense lawyer.  There are two different courts that your case can be heard in if you commit a criminal act in Olathe KS.  The severity of the offense and the arresting agency will most often be determinative of what court your case ends up.

The first court, Olathe Municipal Court, is the city court.  Cases the city court will hear are Olathe municipal code violations as well as some misdemeanors.  Examples would be DUI, theft, possession of marijuana, etc.  This court is located off old 56 hwy next to the Olathe police station.

The other court you may find yourself in if charged with a crime in Olathe KS is the Johnson County District court.  The Johnson County District court will hear all types of cases, it is not limited to hearing only criminal cases.  The Johnson County District Court has jurisdiction to hear any criminal case that a is in violation of state law or a municipal code infraction that occurs in Johnson County.  More serious crimes are often heard at Johnson County District Court.

If you find yourself looking at a criminal charge in Olathe Kansas.  You need to enlist the help of an experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer.  Here is a video produced by a criminal defense attorney in Olathe.