Case summaries for May 20 - May 26, 2022
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.
Contempt Judgment Not Final
Circuit court entered a judgment of contempt. A judgment of contempt is interlocutory when entered and final only when enforced. “[T]he judgment of contempt delays a determination of the means of enforcement for 30 days to determine [whether appellant] has purged himself of the contempt.” No enforcement occurred, so appellant’s appeal brought only an interlocutory judgment before the Court of Appeals. Appeal dismissed.
Elmer F. Keipp vs. Rhonda I. Keipp (N.K.A. Rhonda Gruer)
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD84756
Deficient Brief Requires Dismissal
Rules require appellant’s brief to include references to the record, a list of authorities, and why the ruling challenged requires reversal. Appellant’s arguments are not discernable. Appeal dismissed.
Bernadette B. Indelicato, Appellant, vs. McBride & Son Management Co., LLC, and Division of Employment Security, Respondents.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District - ED110121
Insufficient Evidence for Resisting Arrest
The elements of resisting arrest include that defendant reasonably should have known that a police officer was making an arrest, of which there was no evidence, because police officers approached defendant bicyclist without lights and without siren. Failure to raise an objection during voir dire leaves only plain error review, and appellant failed to describe plain error in his argument, because appellant did not allege any effect on the outcome.
STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent vs. JULIUS D. PARHAM, Appellant
Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District – SD37085
Jury Finding Required for Predatory Sexual Offender Status
Statutes enhance sentencing on a conclusion that defendant is a predatory sexual offender, the elements of which include specified findings of fact, including commission—not necessarily conviction—of a specified prior offense. The circuit judge found that defendant committed the prior offense and imposed the enhanced sentence accordingly. But that does not satisfy the constitutional requirement that “[o]ther than the fact of a prior conviction, any fact that increases the penalty for a crime beyond the prescribed statutory maximum must be submitted to a jury, and proved beyond a reasonable doubt.” Reversed for a new sentencing hearing.
STATE OF MISSOURI, Plaintiff-Respondent v. STEPHEN GREGORY PERRY, Defendant-Appellant
Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District - SD37201
Evidence Obtained by Deception Okay
The delay from charges to trial did not reach the threshold of a presumptive violation of the right to a speedy trial, so no further analysis of other factors was necessary, and circuit court did not err in denying defendant’s motion to dismiss. “The State has the burden of production and persuasion to show by a preponderance of the evidence that a defendant’s motion to suppress should be overruled at trial.” A confession is involuntary and subject to exclusion when obtained by coercion, determined by a totality of circumstances, either physical or psychological. Physical factors include length of detention, duration of questioning, and deprivation of food or sleep. Psychological factors include age, experience, intelligence, gender, degree of education, infirmity, unusual susceptibility to coercion, advisement of rights, demeanor of interrogators, and restraints on defendant. Deception does not render defendant’s confession involuntary “unless the deception offends societal notions of fairness or is likely to produce an untrustworthy confession.” Promises of leniency render a confession involuntary but defendant’s hope for leniency, or divine forgiveness, does not. Circuit court did not err in denying defendant’s motion to suppress.
STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent vs. ERIC A. HINES, Appellant
Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District – SD37164
Plain Language of Trust Prevails
Courts apply the provisions of a trust according to the settlor’s intentions, which the court determines from the words of the trust; legal terms according to the law, and other terms according to plain meaning, as found in a dictionary. The trust gave authority to appoint a trustee to a majority of “adult eligible income beneficiaries” and not to an adult “income beneficiary.” The latter term is defined by statute but the former is not, so the circuit court erred in substituting the statutory definition for the dictionary definition, as underscored by the Trust’s distinction between the two in multiple provisions. And circuit court’s findings on earlier trustee’s malfeasance had no basis in the record. Reversal requires re-consideration of an attorney fees award. A multifarious point preserves nothing for review and, on ex gratia review, the challenge to summary judgment referenced nothing in the statement of undisputed material facts in support.
In Re: The GLENDALE LEE BECKING TRUST, under date of February 21, 1995 as amended on December 4, 1997 and the G.L. BECKING TRUST f/b/o CYNTHIA BECKING CYNTHIA BECKING, Co-Trustee, Plaintiff-Appellant/Respondent v. DUSTIN K. NEELEY, Co-Trustee, Defendant-Cross-Appellant/Respondent and LANA BECKING and COBY AYERS, Intervenors/Cross-Appellants
Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District – SD37039, SD37048, and SD37049