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Missouri Criminal Law - Process, Issues, and Research: Secondary Sources

Missouri Practice Series

The Missouri Practice Series is published by West Publishing. It covers a vast array of topics in law, and provides a number of volumes on criminal law. Online, these may be accessed through Westlaw for a fee. They are also accessible through courthouse law libraries for free. Public Defenders and prosecutors will have free access to these resources in print form in their offices.

Criminal Law – Missouri Practice Series

This book provides overviews and legal analysis of a vast array of crimes in Missouri. This source is one of the best starting points for understanding the law regarding a given criminal offense. It functions as a more targeted version of the American Law Reports series. One can look up a number of different crimes in Missouri, such as “Drug Trafficking and Possession,” and obtain a succinct and effective summary of the law in that area. It provides citations to numerous cases that have dealt with the issue and act as the leading cases defining the law for that crime.

Criminal Practice Forms - Missouri Practice Series

This book provides a vast array of sample documents. It provides samples of everything from an initial summons and arrest warrant to the various sentencing and appellate forms. While these documents may not necessarily work as exact templates in many cases, they can at least enable to the attorney to understand how the documents are generally drafted and then tailor the document to the needs of their case.

Criminal Practice Handbook – Missouri Practice Series

This is an invaluable resource as one navigates criminal practice. It provides information to the reader that enables them to understand what each aspect of the criminal justice process entails in Missouri, what is expected of them during that process, and what needs to occur in order to maintain the necessary procedures. It even includes checklists to allow the attorney to keep track of events and considerations that must take place in order to effectively advocate for their client.

Criminal Practice and Procedure

This book functions as a criminal procedure version of Criminal Law – Missouri Practice Series. It provides summaries and analysis of the law regarding criminal procedure. This includes Fourth Amendment searches, arrests, interrogations, interviewing witnesses, the right to counsel, trial procedure, and numerous other issues. This book can help an attorney understand the rights of the defendant during the course of a criminal prosecution, and understand the constitutional issues that may arise.

MoBar CLE

The MoBar CLE series is very similar to the Missouri Practice Series. It functions in the same manner, in that it provides summaries and analysis of numerous legal issues throughout Missouri law. Unfortunately, the MoBar CLE for criminal law is somewhat more limited than the Missouri Practice Series. It covers much much of the same information as the Criminal Practcie Handbook and the Criminal Practcie and Procedure books, but it does not provide the in-depth analysis of various criminal offenses. In that sense, it functions as another source available to lawyers to help them understand the criminal justice process and the constitutional issues that arise regarding a defendant’s rights in the course of a criminal prosecution. Like the Missouri Practice Series, it provides citations to leading cases on the topics it covers, and assists the lawyer in developing their understanding of the law and the path their research must take.

The MoBar CLE is accessible online through LexisNexis for a fee. Public Defenders and prosecutors should have access to print copies in their offices. Print copies should also be accessible through courthouse law libraries.

Blogs

Blogs are becoming very common in the legal field as lawyers attempt to generate business and make names for themselves by providing information about developments in the law through the internet. Unfortunately, many blogs in the field of criminal law are directed at informing the public at large, rather than attorneys who need to understand developments in the law. The result is that these blogs are of dubious value to the new attorney who needs to get up to speed in understanding the field of criminal law and their developments.

However, many agencies will provide attorneys with periodic updates regarding the developments in criminal law relevant to them. In the case of Public Defenders and prosecutors, they are provided with updates regarding cases and statutes that affect criminal law. These updates are often accompanied by comments from experienced attorneys to assist in understanding what the new cases and statutes mean.

Other Lawyers

One of the realities of legal practice is that the best sources of information are usually other lawyers. This is particularly true in criminal law. When confronting a difficult issue, it may be useful to talk to colleagues within one’s own office in order to get a sense of how to proceed with the case. They may be able to provide assistance to enable one to better understand the issues that should be litigated most vigorously, and which issues are of little consequence.