Author

Rebecca Rivas

Rebecca Rivas

Rebecca Rivas covers civil rights, criminal justice and immigration. She has been reporting in Missouri since 2001, most recently as senior reporter and video producer at the St. Louis American, the nation's leading African-American newspaper.

St. Louis judge orders civilian oversight of city jails to continue, but not of police work

By: - October 11, 2022

A St. Louis judge issued an order Tuesday walking back part of his decision to block a city ordinance that expanded civilian oversight of local law enforcement.  In September, three police organizations were successful in convincing St. Louis Circuit Judge Jason Sengheiser to issue a preliminary injunction ordering the city to stop implementing its new […]

COMMENTARY

The ‘Adelante method’ helped me succeed as a Latina journalist

By: - October 10, 2022

A Mizzou student asked me last month how I was able to succeed as a Latina journalist in a white-dominated industry. The question followed a similar theme of those asked by other members of the Latin American Student Association, which had invited me to the university’s Columbia campus to speak as part of Hispanic Heritage […]

Prosecutors’ biggest roadblock in wrongful conviction cases? Missouri’s attorney general

By: - October 6, 2022

Up until last year, if elected prosecutors believed a person was wrongfully convicted, there wasn’t anything they could do about it.  A state law, passed in May 2021, changed that, giving them a pathway to present evidence of innocence to a judge. And since then, three prosecutors have filed motions to set people free from […]

Legal fight over civilian oversight of St. Louis police could have statewide implications

By: - September 22, 2022

A St. Louis ordinance aimed at transforming the way the city investigates allegations of police misconduct went into effect on Sept. 2.  A week later, three police organizations successfully got a preliminary injunction, putting a pause on the city’s expansion of civilian oversight of police work.  In a decision with statewide implications, St. Louis Circuit […]

Missouri Court of Appeals revives ‘old school’ self-defense law in resisting arrest case

By: - September 19, 2022

Two Newton County sheriff deputies were dispatched to a trailer park north of Neosho to evict a man and his wife on Nov. 13, 2017. According to the deputies, the man refused to leave, fought off the deputies and stole a patrol car that he would later crash in town. The local prosecutor would go […]

Voters, local election officials working to navigate Missouri’s new voting law

By: - September 15, 2022

The first time Maureen Loyacono voted was in 1960, when she cast a ballot for John F. Kennedy. “And I’ve never missed an election since,” said Loyacono, 84, a Kansas City resident who also served as a poll worker for 40 years.   But she’s worried this might be the first election where her vote won’t […]

Conservationists celebrate milestone in effort to save Missouri’s endangered hellbenders

By: - September 5, 2022

In dripping black wetsuits and scuba masks, standing in the middle of a southern Missouri river last month, a state herpetologist and two zookeepers hugged each other and cheered. “Number 10,000!” That day, state herpetologist Jeff Briggler with the Missouri Department of Conservation and two Saint Louis Zoo keepers released into the wild the 10,000th […]

St. Louis prosecutor asks court to free Lamar Johnson after nearly 30 years in prison

By: - August 31, 2022

It’s been three years since Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner asked a St. Louis circuit judge to set aside the 1995 murder conviction of Lamar Johnson.  It was the first exoneration case Gardner’s conviction-integrity unit had brought forth — and a case that prosecutors statewide were watching closely. But Gardner hit a major roadblock when the […]

Missouri Supreme Court fines Kim Gardner $750 for professional misconduct

By: - August 30, 2022

The Missouri Supreme Court reprimanded St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner Tuesday and fined her $750, finding that she violated professional misconduct rules during the investigation of former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.  The court’s decision marks the final step in an ethics probe that began in July 2018. It aligns with the recommendation from a […]

Missouri’s new voter ID law faces lawsuit claiming it’s unconstitutional

By: - August 24, 2022

Voting-rights advocates filed a lawsuit Tuesday arguing that a new law requiring Missourians to present a government-issued photo ID to vote is unconstitutional. While lawmakers have approved voter ID laws numerous times, and voters signed off on putting it in the state constitution in 2016, the proposal has never withstood a legal challenge.  The voter […]

NAACP, League of Women Voters sue to block Missouri’s new election law

By: - August 23, 2022

The League of Women Voters of Missouri and Missouri NAACP filed a lawsuit Monday attempting to block a wide-ranging elections bill they argue violates the right to core political speech by curtailing voter engagement. The lawsuit focuses on provisions of the law, which is set to go into effect on Aug. 28, that prohibit compensating […]

St. Louis police associations sue city to block the new civilian oversight law

By: - August 9, 2022

Three St. Louis police organizations have filed a lawsuit against the city to block a law expanding civilian oversight of the police.  The law, which was approved by the St. Louis Board of Alderman last month and signed last week by Mayor Tishaura Jones, would create the Division of Civilian Oversight. Over the next year, the […]