Case summaries for Feb. 10 - Feb. 16, 2023
Each week, The Missouri Bar provides links to all hand downs published online during the past seven days by the Supreme Court of Missouri and the Missouri Court of Appeals. The Missouri Bar has created headings and summaries for each case. Summaries are not part of the opinions of the Court. They have been prepared for the convenience of the reader and should not be quoted or cited.
Point Relied on Must Cite Erroneous Ruling
Rule sets forth the elements of, and a template for, points relied on for review of an administrative decision. Multifarious point relied on, consisting solely of abstract statements of law but describing no error, preserves nothing for review. That and other violations of error make review impossible. Dismissed.
Keith Lewis, Appellant, vs. State of Missouri, Second Injury Fund, Respondent.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District - ED110715
No Good Cause to Set Aside Default
Rule allows circuit court to set aside a default judgment in an underlying action. The rule requires the filing, within a reasonable time of the default judgment, of a motion showing a meritorious defense in the underlying action and a good cause for the default. The latter includes “a mistake or conduct that is not intentionally or recklessly designed to impede the judicial process [,]” which an affidavit alone may support, but movant’s affidavit shows recklessness that negates good faith. Without a showing of good cause, the circuit court abused its discretion in setting aside the default judgment. Motion for attorney fees granted under the default judgment’s award and the homeowners’ covenants that were at issue in the underlying action.
Sharon Dash, et al., Appellants, vs. Tressa Mitchell, et al., Respondents.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District - ED110698
No Mistrial Required
Appellant showed no particularized prejudice from circuit court’s denial of appellant’s motion to sever because the verdicts were separate, and the evidence was uncomplicated, with separate victims for separate offenses. A ten-year time span between alleged offenses did not require severance of those charges because the evidence and instructions were clear and straightforward. On a charge of enticement, the elements include a purpose of engaging in sexual conduct, which the State showed with evidence that appellant bought victim a dress, and had victim pose in it for sexy pictures [.]” Appellant did not show plain error in the absence of a sua sponte mistrial over State’s evidence of appellant’s prior domestic assault and statutory rape convictions, nor of fathering eight children whose whereabouts he did not know; nor over State’s closing argument that “no other child should have to promise not to tell what [appellant] did to them[.]” Circuit court’s written judgment misnamed the offense of which appellant was convicted, which was a clerical error subject to correction by a later order nunc pro tunc pending appeal, so that matter is moot.
State of Missouri, Respondent, vs. Clinton M. Boyd, Appellant.
Supreme Court of Missouri - SC99625
Lifetime Sex Offender Registration Required for Federal Registrants
The elements of burglary in the first degree include unlawful presence “for the purpose of committing an offense [,]” not the specific intent to take the items eventually stolen. The evidence supported an inference that defendant intended to steal something in general, not a specific target. “The State was not required to prove that [d]efendant went into the garage with the specific intent to steal pants,” so the Court of Appeals affirms defendant’s conviction. Missouri statute required registration, with no expiration for that requirement, for any person required to register under federal law. Federal law required defendant to register, and defendant failed to update his registered address, so the Court of Appeals affirms defendant’s conviction for failure to register.
STATE OF MISSOURI, Plaintiff-Respondent v. LONNIE STULL TILTON, JR., Defendant-Appellant
Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District - SD37339
Facts on Disparate Treatment Disputed
Plaintiff filed an action under the Missouri Human Rights Act for gender discrimination in public accommodations, specifically a co-ed high school wrestling team, which was subject to standards governing hair. Plaintiff alleged that a coach forcibly cut the hair of plaintiff, a male, while providing a cap for a female wrestler’s hair. Deposition testimony raised a genuine dispute as to the material fact of whether the high school treated males and females differently as to hair, so the Court of Appeals reverses summary judgment for defendants.
J.H., A Minor, By and Through His Natural Mother and Next Friend, Roxanna Louis Meudt-Antele vs. Jefferson City Public School District, et al.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD85288
Points relied on must not include references to the record and citations of law. A list of authorities must follow each point relied on. Applying the law to the facts must happen in the argument section that supports each point relied on. Appellant must also explain how appellant preserved error for review and the standard of review. Dismissed.
Robin L. Mecey, Appellant, v. Harps Food Stores, Inc., and Division of Employment Security, Respondents.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District - ED110701
No Favorable Inferences for Terminated Parent
The claims for relief on appeal are limited and distinct. Combining any one of those claims with any other one of those claims in one point relied on preserves nothing for review. Two relate to the law: either the circuit court erroneously declared the law, or the circuit court misapplied the law. Two relate to the evidence: either the evidence was insufficient to support the challenged finding, or the finding was against the weight of the evidence. Those last two require similar argument; but the last one requires appellant to gather all evidence favoring the challenged ruling, and, then show why that evidence does not support the challenged ruling, without citing evidence favoring appellant. Failure to follow that format renders an argument “analytically useless [.]” Deference to the circuit court’s findings of facts means that appellate courts “must ignore” inferences that favor the terminated parent. Judgment terminating parental rights affirmed.
IN THE INTEREST OF: Z.Y.M.B., a minor child under seventeen years of age. PHELPS COUNTY JUVENILE OFFICE, Petitioner-Respondent v. W.S.B., Respondent-Appellant
Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District - SD37564
Juvenile Sentencing Statutes Are Retroactive
Defendant juvenile committed murder in the first degree and other offenses, and received certification for trial under the criminal code. The criminal code provided life without parole, which was unconstitutional as applied to defendant, so the General Assembly amended the statutes. The statutes as amended applied to defendant’s sentencing under a plea agreement. That plea agreement resulted in an unlawful sentence, defendant argued in a motion for post-conviction relief, arguing that the pre-amendment offense is not subject to a post-amendment sentence. The circuit court denied that motion, and the Court of Appeals affirms because the Missouri Supreme Court “expressly recognized that the General Assembly has the authority to remediate a sentencing scheme that is unconstitutional as applied, and to do so retroactively.” Retroactive application is the express purpose of the amendments. The amendments do not increase the penalty, so a general savings statute, barring ex post facto increases in penalties, does not bar the amendments’ application.
Trevon Henry vs. State of Missouri
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD84685
Prosecutor’s Standing to File Motion for Vacatur Is Unambiguous
Statutes authorize a post-conviction relief of vacatur for persons who “may be innocent or may have been erroneously convicted.” As a post-conviction relief, that procedure constitutes a collateral attack on the conviction, so courts enforce the remedy’s requirements. Those requirements include a petition filed by the prosecuting, or circuit attorney, in the “jurisdiction” where the conviction occurred. Jurisdiction, in that statute, means county. The conviction occurred in one county, but the petition was filed by the prosecuting attorney of another county, which does not comply with the statute. Compliance with the statute is necessary to vest the circuit court with authority. Absent authority, dismissal is the remedy. The Missouri Supreme Court makes permanent its writ of prohibition, barring the circuit court from any further exercise of authority over the motion except to dismiss.
State ex rel. Andrew Bailey, Relator, vs. The Honorable Robin E. Fulton, Respondent.
Supreme Court of Missouri - SC99813