Thomas Patrick Deaton Jr.

Attorney at Law

Eagleton U.S. Courthouse
The Federal Courthouse in St. Louis (in the background)

Practice Areas

Criminal Defense

I have represented people accused of crimes in federal, state, and municipal courts in Missouri and Illinois.

I have been lead defense counsel in jury trials on charges from first degree murder to misdemeanor driving while intoxicated. These trials have included charges of burglary, stealing, receiving stolen property, robbery, murder, rape, carrying a concealed weapon, unlawful use of a weapon, and possessing, distributing, or manufacturing cocaine, crack cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamine.

Local Counsel

Court rules sometimes require out-of-town lawyers to affiliate with a lawyer admitted to practice in the local jurisdicition. Out-of-town lawyers have asked me to serve as local counsel during my years of practice in Springfield and St. Louis.

As local counsel, I have provided a variety of services, including filing court documents, making court appearances, consulting on strategy, and sitting at counsel table during trial. I have been local counsel for civil and criminal cases.

Appeals and Appellate Practice

I have prepared appellate briefs or made oral arguments in numerous cases. The appellate decisions have been reported in Westlaw, an electronic legal research database. Some of the decisions may be available for free on the Internet. I have handled appeals in the United States Court of Appeals (Seventh and Eighth Circuits), the Missouri Supreme Court, and the Missouri Court of Appeals (Eastern, Western, and Southern Districts).

Missouri Court of Appeals E. D. courtroom

First Amendment Law

I represented a citizen who successfully challenged Missouri's campaign contribution limits passed by voter initiative in November 1994. On appeal the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled the contribution limits were unconstitutional because they violated the citizen's First Amendment rights of free speech and association. The citation for the opinion is Carver v. Nixon, 72 F.3d 633 (8th Cir. 1995).

Election and Campaign Finance Law

I have had first hand experience with federal and state campaign finance laws. I learned about election law when I was the Democratic candidate in Missouri's Seventh Congressional District in 1990 and 1992. I also ran as a Democrat for circuit judge in November 1998 after Governor Mel Carnahan had appointed me to fill a vacancy in September 1998.

Mo. App. E.D. window detail

Sunshine Law

Missouri's laws for open records and meetings are popularly known as the sunshine law. The current laws are in sections 610.010 through 610.225 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri.

I became aware in 1993 that the State of Missouri was violating its sunshine law by trying to make a profit of the sale of its state statutes in electronic format. I thought an electronic version of the statutes should be available to all Missouri residents for use in their computers--especially since ignorance of the law is not a defense to violating a statute.

In 1994, I sued the Missouri Revisor of Stautes for failing to make an electronic copy of the Missouri Revised Statutes available to anyone for the cost of the copy and the staff time necessary necessary to make the copy. The courts ruled in my favor and awarded me attorney fees for the violation. The citation for the final decision by the Missouri Court of Appeals (Western District) is Deaton v. Kidd, 932 S.W.2d 804 (Mo. App. 1996).

Office Chair