Freed burglar says Missouri court system is broken

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 | 7:15 a.m. CDT; updated 10:08 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, September 8, 2010

JEFFERSON CITY — A convicted burglar ordered released by the Missouri Supreme Court says he learned two things during 17 years in prison.

First: Being a criminal is stupid. Second: Missouri's court system isn't working well.

Dwight Laughlin, 51, now lives on his mother's property in Neosho.

He was released a few days after the court's Aug. 23 ruling that the state had no jurisdiction in his case. The court said Laughlin should have been tried in federal court because the burglary occurred at a U.S. post office.

Laughlin doesn't claim to be innocent. But he expresses frustration that lower courts ignored his argument for so many years. Had Laughlin been convicted in federal court, his sentence likely would have been shorter.

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