Category Archives: Judiciary

Veteran’s Courts Bill to Be Heard by Committee Next Tuesday

The veteran’s courts bill, HB 73, will be heard by the House Veteran’s Committee next Tuesday morning at 8:00 a.m. Chairman Charlie Davis is the bill’s first co-sponsor – so chances are pretty good. I’m grateful Rep. Davis has scheduled a hearing so early in session so that we can get the legislation moving quickly, and hopefully, get it over the goal-line this year. It’s the right thing to do to help veterans suffering from PTSD whose lives are taking the wrong turn. They’ve earned our help. 

Strengthening Missouri’s Laws on Rape

I filed a bi-partisan bill this morning to update Missouri’s law on rape to protect women attacked while unconscious. HB 280 updates the definitions of consent and incapacity in Missouri’s rape laws to clarify that it is rape for a perpetrator to have sex with a victim who is incapacitated. This closes a loophole in our current rape law which requires the incapacity to be caused only by the perpetrator. Rep. Bonnaye Mims (D-Kansas City) is the first co-sponsor.

Veterans’ Courts – Coverage by the Missourinet

The Missourinet reports on the veterans’ court bill:

“Our veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome as a result of their service in combat deserve our help. They’re exhibiting these signs that they’ve got these problems and haven’t received treatment. We need to make sure they get that help … we owe it to them because of their service to our country, and in the end it’s going to save taxpayers money and reduce crime.”

JCNT Endorses Veteran’s Courts

The NewsTribune weighs in with an editorial in favor of veteranns’ courts:

Veterans courts, like drug courts, are not for every offender and outcomes are not always perfect. But every success restores someone to a productive life and saves taxpayers the high costs of incarceration. From a moral, societal and governmental perspective, we believe that’s a goal worth pursuing.

Veteran’s Courts Legislation Filed Today – First Bill of New Term for Me

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Representative Jay Barnes filed legislation today that would create veteran’s courts to help Missouri combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress get treatment. The same piece of legislation was passed swiftly through the House of Representatives last year. 

House Bill 73 authorizes Missouri courts to refer veterans to substance abuse or mental health treatment provided by the Veteran’s Administration upon agreement of the veteran, judge, and prosecutor in the case. Veterans who enter the program will be under close supervision of the judge on the case and must undergo drug testing. Upon successful completion of the program, charges can be dismissed, reduced, or modified upon agreement of the judge, prosecutor, and veteran.

“If a veteran is suffering mental health problems as a result of their service to our country, we owe them the effort to get them help,” Barnes said. “This legislation will help ensure that veterans who sacrificed for our country receive the treatment they need to help them keep their lives on the right track.”

The bill is supported by veterans’ organizations including the Silver Star Families of America and Veterans of Foreign Wars. Missouri is one of several states considering legislation to create veteran’s courts – an idea supported by the Department of Defense and VA.

Radio – Protecting Missouri Families – Elections are About Choices

This ad started airing this morning on local radio: 

Protecting Missouri Families - click on the link to hear the ad

Hi, this is Jay Barnes. As your state representative, I’ve worked hard to protect Missouri families from violent predators. I passed legislation to protect women who were victims of violent assaults from having their assailants abuse our civil court system, harass their victims, and avoid criminal charges. And I won the legislator of the year award for Children & Families. Next year, I plan to propose legislation which will toughen our laws against child predators.

NARRATOR: Unfortunately, while Jay’s been working to protect women and children, his opponent’s tried to help violent predators get out of prison early. His opponent’s a board member of a radical organization pushing to reduce prison sentences for murderers, rapists, and child predators by as much as 50 percent. That’s the wrong way to go, an immoral way to go, and will never happen so long as Jay Barnes is your state representative.

Elections are about choices. On November 6, vote for Jay Barnes, the man who’s worked to protect Missouri families, not the other guy who wants to let violent criminals get out of prison early. 

Vote Jay Barnes on November 6. 

A FEW SIDE-NOTES:

1. The legislation I sponsored and passed was House Bill 1208 which was added in a modified form to Senate Bill 628.

Protecting Missouri Families – Today’s Mailer

The following mailer is going out today:

In January, I received a call from a woman outside my district who informed me that the man who violently attacked her daughter was using the civil justice system to further harass their family. I sponsored legislation to ensure that violent criminals cannot leverage our civil justice system to harass their victims or avoid criminal charges. This new law enhances the rights of Missouri women by giving them the ability to get their attacker completely out of their lives.

I’m proud to say my work ensured this bill became law. As your representative, I pledge to continue working to protect victims of violent crimes and I ask for your vote on November 6.

Rep. Jay Barnes Wins Award from the Missouri Bar

I’m honored to announce here that I earned a legislative award from the Missouri Bar this weekend at the organization’s annual conference in St. Louis. I pledge to keep working hard on legislation that might not make any headlines, but makes our legal system better for everyone.

60 Minutes Makes the Case for Veteran’s Courts

60 Minutes reports from Texas on one of the first veteran’s courts in the entire country. Veterans suffering from PTSD have earned the treatment they need to lead meaningful lives. Veteran’s courts are good for veterans – and good for our society as a whole. This court in Texas is working – and I hope we can get more veteran’s courts going here in Missouri.

Paul Wilson for the Supreme Court!

Glad to hear Jefferson City’s own Paul Wilson made the panel for possible selection to the Missouri Supreme Court. Having practiced law in front of Judge Wilson – and spoken with him numerous times about the law and the role of judges, I know he has the perfect mind and temperament for our state’s highest court.

Most cases which reach the Supreme Court are not easy. They involve difficult questions of law and applications of fact to that law. In the cases I had in front of him, Judge Wilson always asked the right questions – and often more. And that was true whether it was a fairly high-profile case that might go to the Supreme Court or a “run-of-the-mill” family law case.

In one case I represented a person without much money – and there was a complicated legal issue which would have been a case-of-first-impression. The issue was whether my client would owe the state a couple thousand dollars or not based on a statute which had never been litigated in a Missouri appellate court. Judge Wilson treated that case as carefully as he would have treated a case with a million dollars on the line. He worked hard to make sure he got it right – even on just a tiny case in which he knew my client would never have the money to appeal if Judge Wilson ruled against us. He did so because our courts are the only place left in American government where the average citizen – heck, the pauper – can stand on a level playing field as the prince. Judge Wilson didn’t favor one side or the other. He just tried to make sure he got it right – every time – regardless of who the litigants were on each side of the case.  

In another case in front of him, we had an oral argument on a 50+ page brief that I had spent weeks preparing. Judge Wilson had the brief for a couple weeks before the hearing. A lot of times in situations like these the attorneys will need to spend a good deal of time laying out the issues in the case before getting to questions from the judge. Not Judge Wilson. He came prepared and had obviously read both sides’ briefs in incredible detail. His questions of both sides were right on (even the questions that were difficult for me to answer). That case was eventually appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court. Comparing the hearing before Judge Wilson and the one before the Supreme Court, I can confidently say that Judge Wilson did his job just as well as those on the current Court. And, it must be added, Judge Wilson did so in this case while still handling the large docket of a circuit court judge.  

I don’t know if it’s true but I’ve been told Judge Wilson had the highest grades in the history of Mizzou Law School for a very long time. I believe it, and hope Governor Nixon appoints him to the Missouri Supreme Court.