They've got muck; we've got rakes. TPM Muckraker

In an opinion that went largely unnoticed, the Missouri Supreme Court issued a ruling Tuesday that had the effect of making most stealing offenses no longer felonies thanks to an apparently inadvertent change to state law way back in 2002. The far-reaching decision sent criminal defense attorneys across the state scrambling.

The case – State v. Bazell – was brought by a woman who had been convicted of multiples felonies for stealing firearms, among other things, in a burglary case. The court said the firearm felonies should be knocked down to misdemeanors because a portion of the state's criminal code designating certain types of offenses as felonies is written in a way that doesn’t make it applicable to the state’s definition of stealing itself.

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A grieving Lebanese family in Oklahoma says the judicial system did not do enough to keep them safe from a next-door neighbor arrested on suspicion of murdering their loved one.

In interviews with TPM, local attorneys and a professor who researches stalking said that the years of ethnic harassment and physical abuse that Stanley Vernon Majors directed towards his neighbors, the Jabaras, provided a Tulsa County judge with ample evidence of the grave threat he posed. Yet those legal experts also weren't surprised Majors was allowed to go free on bail in the face of that evidence.

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Police in Tulsa, Oklahoma were called to respond to altercations between a Lebanese Christian family and their next-door neighbor twice in the past year. In both cases, members of the Jabara family were violently injured shortly after officers came to investigate the initial complaints.

Stanley Vernon Majors was charged last September with assault and battery with a deadly weapon, among other charges, for allegedly striking matriarch Haifa Jabara with his car hours after calling police on the family over a parking violation. Having been released from jail in May on reduced bond for that hit-and-run, Majors was then booked on suspicion of murder for the fatal shooting of Khalid Jabara Friday night.

That shooting occurred just minutes after police left the East Avenue street where the neighbors lived. Khalid Jabara had called in a suspicious activity complaint, after reportedly learning from Majors' husband that Majors had acquired a gun and hearing tapping on his window. Officers were unable to make contact with Majors, however.

This disturbing pair of events had long roots that took hold soon after Majors moved from southern California to Tulsa in 2011.

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Late update 6:01 p.m.: The City of Baltimore has terminated its contract with Allen, the New York Daily News reported.

“None of the historical facts and alleged facts recently publicized about Mr. Allen’s political views and affiliations were disclosed or discussed when his contract was agreed to,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's office said in a statement. “The Law Department does not as a general practice question it’s [sic] hired or contract attorneys about their political views."

Original story below:

A lawyer recently hired by the city of Baltimore to defend police in a wrongful murder conviction suit has ties to a neo-Nazi group, according to an investigation from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) published on Wednesday.

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Khalid Jabara knew that he had reason to fear his next-door neighbor.

Jabara's family, who immigrated to the United States from Lebanon, felt that their neighbor, Stanley Vernon Majors, had targeted them for years with ethnic slurs and frivolous calls to the police. The tension peaked last September in a violent hit-and-run attack on matriarch Haifa Jabara outside the family’s Tulsa, Oklahoma home, for which Majors was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, among other charges.

So when Khalid Jabara learned on Friday evening that Majors had come into possession of a gun, he called the police to report his concerns.

Officers came to Jabara’s East Avenue residence, surveyed the scene, and left, unable to make contact with Majors. Eight minutes later, police said Majors repeatedly shot Jabara on his front porch while he collected the mail.

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Texas has decided that it will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review a major appeals court ruling against its voter ID law.

"To protect the integrity of voting in the State of Texas, our office will appeal the Voter ID ruling of the Fifth Circuit to the United States Supreme Court,” Marc Rylander, a spokesman for state Attorney General Ken Paxton, said in a statement Tuesday.

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