Missouri Supreme Court upholds investigator licensing law

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 | 5:22 p.m. CST

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Supreme Court has upheld a state licensing law for private investigators, rejecting claims that it could restrict the public's ability to conduct basic research into people and organizations.

A private investigator from Columbia challenged the law, arguing its requirements were too broad and could violate free speech rights.

The state high court rejected the arguments in a unanimous decision Tuesday. The state Supreme Court concluded the licensing requirements are intended for those who carry out investigations as part of a for-profit enterprise.

Missouri's private investigator licensing law was enacted in 2007. It bars unlicensed people from working in the "private investigator business." Violators can be charged with a misdemeanor for a first offense and a felony thereafter.

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