Morley Swingle

Morley Swingle delivering the closing argument in the Ryan T. Patterson murder trial.

Morley Swingle delivering the closing argument in the Ryan T. Patterson murder trial.

Before joining the firm, Morley Swingle served 25 years as the elected prosecuting attorney of Cape Girardeau County, Missouri, plus a year as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri. About making the move to Parker to join Jim Anest’s firm, Swingle says: “I loved my years as a state and federal prosecutor, but I am excited now about using my trial skills to help individual clients get through tough times in their lives with the best legal representation possible.”

Law Career

After graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law in 1980, Swingle began his career with the Spradling & Spradling law firm in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Although he handled all types of civil cases, the highlight of those years was the case of Smith v. Western Electric Company, 643 S.W.2d 10, 37 A.L.R.4h 473 (Mo. App E.D. 1982), where his client’s case established the common law duty of an employer to provide a non-smoking area for employees. The case laid the groundwork for the parade of successful tobacco litigation later to come nationwide. The American Lung Association featured Swingle as a speaker at its national convention in Kansas City 1983.

Swingle left the Spradling firm to spend four years as an assistant prosecuting attorney before being elected prosecuting attorney in November of 1986 at the age of 31. He was reelected six times before resigning to take a job as an Assistant United States Attorney in November of 2012. He joined James T. Anest, P.C. in November of 2013.

During his three decades as a state and federal prosecutor, Swingle tried 136 jury trials and prosecuted 79 homicide cases. Several cases gained wide-spread attention. He briefed and/or argued 35 cases before appellate courts. A legal scholar, he served more than a decade on the Missouri Supreme Court’s Criminal Procedures Committee, taught more than 600 hours of seminars for prosecutors, police officers and judges, and published over 20 law journal articles.

High Profile Cases

The Pagano Casephoto (3)
In 1991, Swingle tried William N. Pagano, a former police chief for Festus, Missouri, for the murder of Mark Timothy Todd, the right-hand man in Pagano’s security business, is a case described by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as the “most notorious in years.” Walter “Buck” Buerger, the Sheriff of Jefferson County, Missouri, announced to the media before charges were filed that the case was justifiable self-defense. After he was appointed, Swingle disagreed and charged Pagano with murder and armed criminal action. A 22-day jury trial resulted in Pagano’s conviction. The case was covered gavel to gavel by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Columnist Bill McClellan wrote after the trial that at the trial Swingle “came across as the Lone Ranger, the lawman who rode into Jefferson County to fight for Right and Justice.” Pagano later committed suicide when his conviction was affirmed on appeal.

Screen Shot 2013-12-31 at 2.20.32 PM 1The Hazing Cases
In 1994, Michael Davis, a college student at Southeast Missouri State University, was beaten to death during a fraternity hazing ritual. The fraternity members had taken Davis, a pledge, to a secluded field where they took turns hitting, punching kicking and picking him up and slamming him to the ground. At some point he suffered a subdural hematoma that caused him to die during his sleep later than night. Swingle charged each of the seven fraternity members who had thrown a blow with involuntary manslaughter, and eight others with misdemeanor hazing, and all were convicted. Afterward, the case was featured by Dateline and The Oprah Winfrey Show, among others. On appeal, one of the cases established the constitutionality of Missouri’s criminal hazing statute.

The Death Penalty Cases
Swingle obtained the death penalty four times as a Missouri prosecutor. To date, only one of the killers has been executed. In 1993, Swingle prosecuted Gary Lee Roll for a triple homicide, where Roll had robbed and killed a seventeen-year-old drug dealer for his drugs and money, and also killed the boy’s mother and brother. It was the first time a killer had received the death penalty for a Cape Girardeau County crime since 1963. Roll was executed on August 30, 2000. The case was later profiled in the syndicated television series Arrest & Trial.

In 1996, Swingle prosecuted Andrew Lyons for a triple homicide, for the brutal killing of his ex-girlfriend, her mother, and her 11-month-old son. The jury returned a verdict of death and it was affirmed on appeal. Later, after the United States Supreme Court ruled that mentally retarded defendants could not be executed, Lyons’ sentence was reduced by the Missouri Supreme Court to life in prison without parole.

In 1996, Swingle prosecuted Russell Earl Bucklew for kidnapping and raping his ex-girlfriend and shooting to death the man who had been letting her morleybioopTkhide out in his home. The jury returned a verdict of death for the killer Swingle described in closing argument as a “homicidal Energizer bunny.” Bucklew has exhausted his appeals and is expected to be executed in the near future.

In 2004, Swingle prosecuted Mark Anthony Gill for kidnapping a man named Ralph Lape in order to murder him for his money. Gill and his accomplice dug Lape’s grave in a cornfield while the victim, bound and gagged, listened to his own grave being dug, before they fired a shot into his brain. The jury returned a verdict of death. The Missouri Supreme Court later awarded Gill a retrial on his penalty phase on the grounds that his trial attorney had rendered him ineffective assistance of counsel.

The Stolen Faulker Letters
In 2003, Swingle prosecuted Robert Hardin Smith, a disbarred lawyer, for stealing letters of the novelist William Faulkner from the museum at Southeast Missouri State University. Smith received a sentence of seven years in prison. Swingle announced that unlike Faulker, as a writer Swingle favored short sentences, but not for Smith.

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A demonstration of a choke-hold being applied to Morley Swingle during the murder trial of Steven Rios.

The Steven Rios Case
In 2005, Swingle prosecuted Steven Rios, a police officer in Columbia, Missouri, for the murder of college student Jesse Valencia. Rios met Valencia when he arrested him at a loud college party, and then began a sexual affair with him. Valencia was found with his throat slashed after telling friends that he was having an affair with a police officer and was going to disclose the affair to the police department if Rios did not dispose of a ticket he had issued Valencia. Swingle tried Rios twice. In the first trial, he was found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to life without parole, but a retrial was ordered after the Missouri Court of Appeals ruled that certain hearsay testimony should not have been admitted. In the second trial carried live on Court TV, Rios was found guilty of second degree murder and armed criminal action and received a sentence of life plus 23 years. The case was featured on an episode on the television show Forensic Files.

The Krajcir Case
In 2007, Swingle prosecuted Timothy Wayne Krajcir, a serial murderer, for the previously unsolved murders of five women in Cape

Morley Swingle at a press conference announcing the charges filed against serial murderer Timothy Wayne Krajcir.

Morley Swingle at a press conference announcing the charges filed against serial murderer Timothy Wayne Krajcir.

Girardeau. Krajcir ultimately pled guilty and received thirteen life sentences for the five murders, plus seven sexual assaults and a robbery. In a difficult decision for Swingle, he waived the death penalty for Krajcir at the request of the surviving family members of the victims, who unanimously felt it was more important to find out what had happened to their loved ones than for Krajcir to be executed. Swingle’s prosecution of Krajcir, who murdered at least nine women in four states, has been the subject of at least two books, Predator by Steven Walker, and Serial Murder 101 by Bridget DiCosmo.

The Farrow Case
In 2000, Swingle prosecuted Samuel Farrow, Jr. for the kidnapping and rape of a 4-year-old girl. Swingle has often used the Farrow case as an example of one of the justifications for having the death penalty in that Farrow had confessed that had it not been for Missouri having the death penalty, he would have killed the little girl after sexually assaulting her, instead of driving her outside of town and setting her free.

Pornography Survey
In 1992, pressed by a woman whose husband had rented a pornographic video from a local video store to prosecute the store employee for promoting pornography, Swingle conducted a survey of Cape Girardeau County voters to learn the “community standards” of his community. Swingle felt the “community standards” were relevant since a violation of them was part of the definition of the crime. For the cost of $137.46 in postage, he learned that 75% of the county’s population did not favor prosecution of a store owner for renting to an adult a sexually explicit video showing a man and woman having sexual intercourse. After he used the results of the survey to establish the pornography policy for his office, he was surprised to later learn that Adult Video News had editorialized: “How refreshing to hear such rational words from a prosecutor! Is it too early to run this guy for Congress?” Swingle later wrote in Scoundrels to the Hoosegow: “What a bittersweet development. One of the nicest compliments I had ever received was emblazoned upon the editorial page of a publication in which I’d be embarrassed to have anyone see my name.”

Screen Shot 2013-12-31 at 2.05.00 PMAwards

• In 2007 the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law awarded Swingle the Order of the Coif.
• In April of 1999, the Missouri Supreme Court named Swingle to its Committee on Procedure in Criminal Cases. This Committee, on which he served until November, 2012, writes the jury instructions used in all criminal trials in Missouri.
• In every year from 1993 to 2010, Swingle taught the Criminal Law Update at the Missouri Judicial College (the continuing legal education provided to Missouri’s judges) and was graded the highest-rated presenter each year.
• In 2013, Swingle’s article on warrantless searches of smartphones won the W. Oliver Rasche Award from the Missouri Bar Association for being the most “outstanding article” published in the bar journal in 2012.
• In 1995, Swingle’s article on prosecutorial ethics entitled “Warning: Pretrial Publicity May be Hazardous to Your Bar License,” won the W. Oliver Rasche Award from the Missouri Bar Association for being the most “outstanding article” published in the bar journal in 1994.
• In both 2003 and 1992, the Missouri Mothers Against Drunk Driving named Swingle Missouri’s “Prosecutor of the Year.”
• In 1992, the FBI selected Swingle as one of only 50 prosecutors in the nation to attend and graduate from the Advanced Course for Prosecutors at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia.
• In 2004, a study conducted by the University of Missouri School of Law concluded that Cape Girardeau County’s procedure for handling of domestic violence cases (which Swingle developed) was among the best in the state. The results were published. See Rebekah E. Bromberg & Brendan O. Kelly, “Investigating the Response to Domestic Violence in Four Missouri Counties,” 60 J. of Mo. Bar 70 (2004).
Writing Career

Swingle is also an author of both novels and non-fiction. In 2006, Swingle was voted into membership in Mystery Writers of America.

Books

scan0022TyLfThe Gold of Cape Girardeau
In Swingle’s first novel, he wove together the law of treasure trove with the history of steamboating on the Mississippi and the Civil War in Southeast Missouri to create an historical mystery. Published by Southeast Missouri State University Press in 2002, it won the 2005 Governor’s Book Award from the Missouri Humanities Council for being the book that best “increased our understanding and appreciation of Missouri’s history and culture.” Elmore Leonard called it “the most amazing historical novel I’ve ever read, opening and closing with absorbing courtroom drame.”

4DsampleTyLfBootheel Man
Swingle’s second novel combines the historical mystery of the disappearance of the 30,000 souls who inhabited Cahokia ten centuries ago with a contemporary murder mystery and legal thriller. Published by Southeast Missouri State University Press in 2007, it was a finalist for the 2008 William Rockhill Nelson Award for excellence in fiction.

 

prosecrestsSNjLHard Blows
Swingle’s short story “Hard Blows” is one of the twenty-two short stories featured in the Mystery Writers of America anthology The Prosecution Rests edited by Linda Fairstein and published by Little Brown in 2009. Swingle thought of the two worst things that could happen to a prosecutor – you may have sent an innocent man to prison and someone is coming after your family – and had both happen to his protagonist at the same time. Publishers Weekly gave the book a starred review, singling out the story for special praise. Kirkus Reviews especially liked Swingle’s “well-planned twist.” Reviewer Dick Stodghill praised “Hard Blows” as a “spine-tingler to the final sentence.” “Hard Blows” was a finalist for the 2010 Barry Award for best mystery short story published in the United States in 2009.

scanTyLfScoundrels to the Hoosegow: Perry Mason Moments and Entertaining Cases From the Files of a Prosecuting Attorney
Published by the University of Missouri Press in 2007, Swingle shares more than thirty entertaining stories about cases he prosecuted, “recreating with verve and wit, villains, heroes, and ordinary citizens, in cases both tragic and hilarious.” He “combines true crime and legal analysis with a healthy dose of humor – and shares the occasional ‘Perry Mason moment’ in which a trial dramatically changes direction.” Vincent Bugliosi called it “consistently fascinating.” It is in the law libraries of one-third of the nation’s law schools.

Search & Seizure Law in Missouri (2013)
This manual on search and seizure law is updated every year and was provided regularly to every trial judge in Missouri through the Missouri Judicial College and to every prosecutor’s office through the Missouri Office of Prosecution Services.

Law Review & Law Journal Articles
(1) H. M. Swingle, “Blood Draws & Drunk Drivers in Colorado,” ___ Colo. Law. ___ (2014) (accepted for publication in February 2014 issue).
(2) H. M. Swingle & Lane P. Thomasson, “Big Lies and Prosecutorial Ethics,” 69 J. Mo. Bar 84 (2013).
(3) H. M. Swingle & Lane P. Thomasson, “Beam Me Up: Upgrading Search Warrants With Technology,” 69 J. Mo. Bar 16 (2013).
(4) H. M. Swingle, “Cell Phone Searches Incident to Arrest in Wyoming,” 35 Wyoming Lawyer 24 (2012).
(5) H. M. Swingle, “Smartphone Searches Incident to Arrest,” 68 J. Mo. Bar 36 (2012).
(6) H.M. Swingle, “Drug Recognition Experts in Missouri,” 66 J. Mo. Bar 250 (2010).
(7) H.M. Swingle, “Coroner’s Inquests: Modern Usage of the Hue and Cry,” 63 J. Mo. Bar 80 (2007).
(8) H.M. Swingle, “Depositions in Criminal Cases in Missouri,” 60 J. Mo. Bar 128 (2004).
(9) H.M. Swingle, A. M. Woodruff & J. A. Hunter, “Unhappy Families: Prosecuting and Defending Domestic Violence Cases,” 58 J. Mo. Bar 200 (2002).
(10) H.M. Swingle, “Prosecutors Beware: Pretrial Publicity May be Hazardous to Your Career,” 35 The Prosecutor 29 (2001).
(11) H. M. Swingle, “Criminal Attempt Law in Missouri: The Death of a Tale of Two Theories,” 56 J. Mo. Bar 144 (2000).
(12) H.M. Swingle & K. M. Zoellner, “Knock and Talk Consent Searches: If Called By a Panther, Don’t Anther,” 55 J. Mo. Bar 25 (1999).
(13) H.M. Swingle, “Criminal Investigative Subpoenas: How to Get Them, How to Fight Them,” 54 J. Mo. Bar 15 (1998).
(14) H.M. Swingle & K.M. Zoellner, “Criminalizing Invasion of Privacy: Taking a Big Stick to Peeping Toms,” 52 J. Mo. Bar 345 (1996).
(15) H.M. Swingle, “Warning: Pretrial Publicity May Be Hazardous to Your Bar License,” 50 J. Mo. Bar 335 (1994).
(16) H.M. Swingle, “Motions to Seal Search Warrant Files: How, When and Why the Prosecutor Should Seek Closure of a Court’s File,” The Missouri Prosecutor, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Jan. 1994).
(17) H.M. Swingle, “Criminal Conspiracy Law in Missouri,” 48 J. Mo. Bar 451 (1992).
(18) H.M. Swingle, “Judge Minces No Words in Criticism of Court System,” Book Review, Missouri Police Chief (Autumn 1987).
(19) H.M. Swingle & J.W. Hahn, “Child-Snatching: A Remedy Reinforced,” 40 J. Mo. Bar 549 (1984).
(20) H.M. Swingle, “The Legal Conflict Between Smokers and Nonsmokers: The Majestic Vice Versus the Right to Clean Air,” 45 Mo. L. Rev. 444 (1980).
(21) H.M. Swingle, “Constitutional Law – When Push Comes to Shove: The Newsman’s Privilege Versus the Criminal Defendant’s Right to Compulsory Process,” 44 Mo. L. Rev. 74 (1979).

External Links
“Morley Swingle On His Career As Author and Prosecutor,” Jacob McClellan Interview for Cape Chronicle, December 12, 2012, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQ5Y-p7gIhY.

Southeast Missouri State University Press Web Page: http://www6.semo.edu/universitypress/books/GCG.htm

University of Missouri Press Web Page: http://press.umsystem.edu/(S(cj45mi55wvjxojequ13x2155))/catalog/productinfo.aspx?id=1061&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

Mystery Writers of America Web Page: http://mysterywriters.org/

Notes & References:

“Morley Swingle to Join County Prosecutor’s Staff,” Southeast Missourian, November 22, 1982.
Joshua Marquis, “Employees’ Suits Seek Work Rules To Limit Smoking,” The Wall Street Journal, September 22, 1982; Jay Wolz, “’Second-hand’ Smoke
Can Be Dangerous,” The Southeast Missourian, September 20, 1982; Sandra Bowler Ross, “Court Says Non-Smokers Can Sue Bosses Over Air,” St. Louis
Globe-Democrat, September 15, 1982.

Program, “Update in Kansas City: 1983 Annual Meeting, American Lung Association,” May 8-11, 1983.

Tammy Raddle, “Swingle Well-Prepared For Prosecutor’s Post,” Southeast Missourian, January 2, 1987.
David Bloom, “Swingle Resigns as County Prosecuting Attorney to Take Federal Position,” The Cash-Book Journal, November 14, 2012.
David Bloom, “Swingle Resigns as County Prosecuting Attorney to Take Federal Position,” The Cash-Book Journal, November 14, 2012.

Morley Swingle, “Smartphone Searches Incident to Arrest,” 68 J. Mo. Bar 36 (2012), n. 1.
“Missouri Bar Assn. Honors Swingle, Oliver,” The Cash-Book Journal, October 4, 1995.
David Bloom, “Swingle Resigns as County Prosecuting Attorney to Take Federal Position,” The Cash-Book Journal, November 14, 2012.

Thom Gross, “Pagano Found Guilty In Killing,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 25, 1991.
Paul Thompson, “Special Counsel to Probe Slaying,” St. Louis Sun, March 28, 1990.
Marcia Koenig, “Pagano is Charged in Killing,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 10, 1990.
Thom Gross, “Pagano Defense Shorted Promises,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 26, 1991.
Bill McClellan, “Cast Don Knotts as Buerger,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 27, 1991.
Roy Malone, “Pagano Kills Himself After Appeal is Denied,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 24, 1994.
Tim Bryant, “Guilty Verdicts Delivered in Hazing Trial,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 27, 1994.
Tim O’Neil, “Campus Nurtures Memory of Student Killed in Hazing,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 15, 1995.
Morley Swingle, Scoundrels to the Hoosegow: Perry Mason Moments and Entertaining Cases from the Files of a Prosecuting Attorney (2007), p. 53.
Tim O’Neal, “Campus Nurtures Memory of Student Killed in Hazing,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 15, 1995.“
Chuck Miller, “’Dateline’ Looks at Hazing,” Southeast Missourian, May 26, 1995.
Jerry Berger, “’Oprah’ Show to Focus on SEMO Hazing Case,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 9, 1997.
Chuck Miller, “High Court Upholds Law On Hazing,” Southeast Missourian, September 20, 1995.
Mark Bliss, “Roll Gets Death For Scheper Murders,” Southeast Missourian, November 17, 1993.
Marc Powers, “Roll Put to Death For Triple Murder,” Southeast Missourian, August 30, 2000.
Sam Blackwell, “’The Code’ Shows How Scheper Family Murders Were Solved,” Southeast Missourian, December 1, 2000.
Peggy O’Farrell, “Lyons Given Death,” Southeast Missourian, April 27, 1996.
Joni Adams, “Court Upholds Lyons Murder Convictions,” Southeast Missourian, August 22, 1997.
Rudi Keller, “Court: No Death Sentence in Cape Killing,” Southeast Missourian, January 27, 2010.
Scott Moyers, “Bucklew Guilty of All Charges,” Southeast Missourian, April 4, 1997.
Scott Moyers, “Jury Gives Bucklew Death,” Southeast Missourian, April 5, 1997.
Mike Wells, “Swingle: Murder of Lape Triggered By Greed,” Southeast Missourian, March 3, 2004.
Morley Swingle, Scoundrels to the Hoosegow: Perry Mason Moments and Entertaining Cases From the Files of a Prosecuting Attorney (2007), p. 234.
Mike Wells, “Jury Gives Gill Death Penalty,” Southeast Missourian, March 6, 2004.
Rudi Keller, “New Penalty Phase For Area Murder,” Southeast Missourian, December 2, 2009.
Mike Wells, “Arkansas Man Pleads Guilty in Theft of Letters,” Southeast Missourian, January 14 2003.
Greg Jonsson, “Man Gets 7 Years For Stealing Faulkner Letters From SEMO,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 14, 2003.
Bill McClellan, “The Case of the Secret $600 Million Account Ends in Guilty Plea,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 18, 2013.
Joe Meyer, “Ex-Cop to Get New Murder Trial,” Columbia Tribune, October 31, 2007.
Joe Meyer, “Ex-Cop to Get New Murder Trial,” Columbia Tribune, October 31, 2007.
Joe Meyer, “Ex-Cop to Get New Murder Trial,” Columbia Tribune, October 31, 2007.
Tram Whitehurst, “Rios Threatened Suicide Twice After Valencia Murder; Police Testify Wednesday,” Columbia Missourian, December 3, 2008.
Joe Meyer, “Rios Trial Testimony Begins,” Columbia Tribune, December 2, 2008.
Joe Meyer, “Rios Receives Life Plus 23 Years,” Columbia Tribune, January 16, 2009.
Joe Meyer, “Ex-Cop to Get New Murder Trial,” Columbia Tribune, October 31, 2007.
Bridget DiCosmo, “Man Confesses, Makes Deal to Avoid Death Penalty,” Southeast Missourian, December 11, 2007.
Gregory Dullum, “Krajcir Pleads Guilty; Gets 13 Life Sentences For Murder, Sexual Assault and Robbery,” The Cash-Book Journal, April 9, 2008.
Bridget DiCosmo, Serial Murder 101 (Berkley Books 2009), 215-218.
Tony Hall, “Man Charged With Kidnapping,” Southeast Missourian, November 4, 2000.
“Morley Swingle On His Career As Author and Prosecutor,” Cape Chronicle Interview, December 12, 2012, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQ5Y-p7gIhY.
David Bloom, “Survey Reveals Pornography Not Seen as Local Problem,” The Cash-Book Journal, June 17, 1982.
Morley Swingle, Scoundrels to the Hoosegow: Perry Mason Moments and Entertaining Cases From the Files of a Prosecuting Attorney (2007), p. 180.
“Missouri Prosecuting Attorney Maintains Pro-Speech Stance,” Adult Video News, November 1992.
Morley Swingle, Scoundrels to the Hoosegow: Perry Mason Moments and Entertaining Cases From the Files of a Prosecuting Attorney (2007), p. 188.

“Prosecutor Voted Into Mystery Writers of America,” The Cash-Book Journal, June 14, 2006.
http://www.capecounty.us/ProsecutingAttorney/Swingle%20Publications.aspx

http://www6.semo.edu/universitypress/books/GCG.htm

http://www.capecounty.us/ProsecutingAttorney/Swingle%20Publications.aspx

http://www.capecounty.us/ProsecutingAttorney/Swingle%20Publications.aspx

Gregory Dullum, “Swingle’s Short Story is Finalist For Barry Award,” The Cash-Book Journal, June 23, 2010.
http://press.umsystem.edu/(S(cj45mi55wvjxojequ13x2155))/catalog/productinfo.aspx?id=1061&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1.

“Morley Swingle On His Career As Author and Prosecutor,” Cape Chronicle Interview, December 12, 2012, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQ5Y-p7gIhY.


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