What’s the deal with the “Bazell” ruling?

A ruling issued by the Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday has some claiming that, due to sloppy wording in a particular portion of the state’s criminal code, many stealing charges may no longer be considered felonies.

The issue arises from a specific legal definition of “stealing” that does not align with other areas of the criminal code, creating contradictory wording and thereby establishing the apparent loophole.

In State v. Bazell, a criminal case involving burglary and theft, the Missouri Supreme Court clarified the matter. It is not the Court’s place to override poorly conceived legislation, the judges asserted.

“If the words are clear, the Court must apply the plain meaning of the law,” read part of the Supreme Court’s opinion. “When the meaning of a statute is clear, the Court should not employ canons of construction to achieve a desired result.”

Read the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s coverage of the ruling here.

MU enrollment drops

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Student enrollment at the University of Missouri has declined by over 2,000, according to preliminary totals the school released Monday.

The decrease was expected, but still presents a problem: Fewer students means less tuition revenue.

Some believe last year’s racially-charged protests, which resulted in the resignations of UM System President Tim Wolfe and MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin, had an effect on enrollment totals. Others point to changing high school demographics and competition from colleges in neighboring states.

Even with the budget shortfall, there is still room for hope. According to the university, the newest freshman class boasts record-setting ACT scores.

Read KOMU’s coverage of the story here and the Missourian’s coverage here.