Man Awarded Money After Prison Time For A Neosho Crime - FOX 14 TV Joplin and Pittsburg News Weather Sports |

Man Awarded Money After Prison Time For A Neosho Crime


A man who spent close to 20 years in a Missouri prison is awarded money for lost wages. The case stems from an incident that happened in Neosho during the early '90's. Dwight Laughlin was convicted of trying to break into a locked room inside the Neosho Post Office. His current attorney argued to a jury last week that this comes down to how the case was handled, not the fact this man committed a crime.

"He was caught in the post office. He was caught red handed. But that's all the more reason your attorney should be looking for defenses," says Joplin attorney Bill Fleischaker who represented Laughlin. Fleischaker says his client didn't get chances for key defense. Laughlin was sentenced in the Circuit Court of Newton County to 40 years in prison for his crime at the Neosho Post Office.

"I can't tell you why the federal authorities declined to prosecute the case," says Fleischaker. "I suspect they had bigger fish to fry." Fleischaker says his client wanted his public defenders at the time to investigate if a circuit court could prosecute crimes on federal property. Fleischaker successfully argued to a jury last week that Laughlin's attorneys at the time didn't pursue this request.

"Didn't put that evidence into the court, didn't make any argument on it, didn't do any research to point out to the trial court, look, there was never any jurisdiction here in the first place," says Fleischaker.

Laughlin spent 17 years in prison…

"Educating himself so that he could learn the proper form, the proper way to plead the case in court," says Fleischaker.

In 2010, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled the circuit court should've had no jurisdiction in Laughlin's case. Laughlin was freed, since federal officials in 1993 had already decided not to pursue charges against him. A jury last week agreed with Fleischaker that his client deserves $600,000 for wages lost during prison time. Fleischaker hopes this latest court action, in particular, serves as a wake up call.

"It's a lesson that when your client says something to you, you need to listen. I think it's a lesson to the state of Missouri and to the legislature that they need to increase the funding for the public defender system," says Fleischaker.

Fleischaker says Laughlin has been an outstanding citizen since his release from prison in 2010. The $600,000 lawsuit goes against two public defenders who represented Laughlin in the early '90's who have not returned our phone calls.

Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 KFJX. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.

KFJX - Licensed to Pittsburg, Kansas
FCC Public File
Send tips, ideas and press releases to: tips@fox14tv.com
Send newsroom questions or comments: to comments@fox14tv.com
Phone: (417) 782-1414 or (620) 230-0565
Web comments or questions: webmaster@fox14tv.com
Newsroom Fax: (417) 624-3158