John M Reeves is an Appellate Attorney in St Louis. On a Twitter thread, he lays out a case for why the felony firearms charges against Mark and Patricia McCloskey are without merit and should be dismissed. He also stated that the castle doctrine applies to this case, and makes dismissal imperative, information which he will post later.
Here are Attorney Reeves observations (all photos from John M. Reeves on Twitter).
THREAD re: McCloskey firearm prosecution in St. Louis.
1) The prosecution of Mark and Patricia McCloskey in St. Louis City for unlawful use of a firearm has no legal basis and should be dismissed. This thread will discuss the factual background to the case. pic.twitter.com/zkgbUKMsQd
— John M. Reeves (@reeveslawstl) September 14, 2020
“While I am a former Assistant Missouri Attorney General, and while @Eric_Schmitt has moved to dismiss the prosecution, all of my thoughts on this matter are made in my personal capacity. I do NOT speak on behalf of the Missouri Attorney General’s Office.
On the day of the incident, a group of protesters headed north on Kingshighway towards the residence of St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson …The green line on the map shows the route the protesters presumably intended to take to remain on public streets.
But instead of taking the public route, a sizeable amount of protesters decided to go through Portland Pl., as shown by the red line on the map.
All of Portland Pl. is a private street off limits to the general public. There is no indication that any of the residents on Portland Pl.–including the McCloskeys–gave the protesters permission to walk through Portland Pl.
The entrance to Portland Pl. from Kingshighway (“C” on the map, and displayed in the photos) is sealed off by 3 chained gates. The McCloskey’s residence (“A” on the map) is directly behind the north gate (the gate on the right side of the second attachment below).
All three gates are locked, including with chains and padlocks. All three gates also have large signs stating, “Private Street. Access Limited to Residents.”
As a personal aside–I know this area very well, as it is not far from Washington University in St. Louis, where I did both my undergrad and law school. I have regularly driven past this intersection for over 20 years, and the gates have always been shut and padlocked.
If you don’t have a key to these gates, literally the only way you can Portland Pl. from Kingshighway (short of hopping the gates/wall) is to break the locks and bust the doors open.
Missouri defines “trespasser” as someone who “enters the land without consent or privilege.” Hogate v. Am. Golf Corp., 97 S.W.3d 44, 47 (Mo. App. E.D. 2002).”
“As it is undisputed that none of the Portland Pl. residents gave the protesters permission to enter the street, every single one of them became trespassers upon passing through the north gate, as shown by the below video.”
“While the north gate does not appear, at the time of the below video, to have sustained the amount of damage it later would… this is irrelevant for purposes of trespassing.
If you walk up to someone else’s house, open their unlocked front door, and enter without permission, you are a trespasser. That you did not break open the door to enter is irrelevant.
Similarly, every protester who walked through the gate trespassed onto the McCloskeys’ private property, regardless of whether and/or to what extent the gate was damaged.
As the protesters trespassed onto the McCloskeys’ private property, this brings into play Missouri’s “Castle Doctrine,” which is designed exactly for this type of situation where trespassers enter onto someone’s private property.” John M. Reeves
Note: if you enter someone’s residence without permission and trespass, it does make a difference if you broke the door to do so – the crime changes then to forcible entry and can be charged as a different crime. That will not happen here, regardless of any damage to the gate after the incident.
Trespassing citations issued
Just a few days ago, only nine of the “protesters” were given trespassing citations. All who entered the gate should have been cited on June 28 when they entered the private property. But of course, police weren’t present to do that on the day in question.
Featured photo: Appellate Attorney John Reeves on Twitter