Case summaries for July 2 - July 8, 2021
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.
Bad Acts Admissible in Sentencing
Statutes penalizing the same conduct are not ambiguous, they are merely redundant, and prosecutor has discretion as to which statute to cite. Evidence inadmissible in guilt phase may be admissible in sentencing phase, including uncharged criminal conduct. “[T]he purpose of having a separate penalty phase is ‘to permit the presentation of a broad range of evidence that is relevant to punishment but irrelevant or inflammatory as to guilt.’”
State of Missouri vs. Theaun Romaine Hardridge
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD83755
Breath Test Okay
The foundation for breath test results does not include the zip code of the manufacturer of test supplies, and does not include proving that radio interference compromised the test. An inference that radio interference occurred did not outweigh clear evidence that the test was uncompromised by radio interference.
Matthew Rosche vs. Director of Revenue
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD84073
Videoconferencing Issue Transferred
On direct appeal challenging sufficiency of the evidence supporting a finding of guilty, the standard is the same whether the action was juvenile or criminal. On a charge of first-degree statutory sodomy, the specified contacts do not infer the intent of sexual arousal or gratification, but supported an inference of intent to terrorize. If appellant were an adult, the evidence would support a finding that appellant was guilty of first-degree statutory sodomy. Confrontation Clauses apply to juvenile proceedings and circuit court made no findings to support testimony by videoconference. COVID-19-related Operational Directives do not except juvenile adjudication proceedings from confrontation. All evidence was admitted in violation of Confrontation Clauses, so the Court of Appeals would reverse the conviction and remand for a new trial, but transfers the matter to the Supreme Court of Missouri.
In the Interest of: C.A.R.A. vs. Jackson County Juvenile Office
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD83967
Evidence Must Support Allegations
Circuit court was free to believe movant’s testimony at the plea hearing, as to whether any threats coerced him into pleading guilty, over movant’s testimony at the evidentiary hearing on the motion. A threat from the victim of a killing cannot coerce one into pleading guilty of that killing. No evidence supported motion’s allegations of a threat from another source, and no evidence of a sudden passion supported an instruction on the lesser included offense of manslaughter. “Allegations in a post-conviction motion are not self-proving.” Circuit court need not believe movant’s testimony on whether, but for trial counsel’s allegedly inadequate advice, movant would have insisted on going to trial.
Micah Wynes vs. State of Missouri
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD83891
Initial Motion Too Late
Initial motion was late, movant pleaded no exception, and abandonment does not apply to initial motions. Movant, therefore, waived all claims. Circuit court did not err in denying the motion without hearing.
Edward Walker, Movant/Appellant, v. State of Missouri, Respondent/Respondent.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District - ED109158
As to circuit court’s failure to read a preliminary instruction to jury before introduction of evidence, no presumption of prejudice arises on a motion for post-conviction relief, trial counsel was not ineffective for agreeing to the circuit court’s remedy, and the record of juror compliance with the instruction refutes movant’s allegation of prejudice. Because movant’s defective point relied on provides sufficient notice, the Court of Appeals exercises its discretion in favor of review. The record refutes movant’s allegation that trial counsel failed to object to evidence, and the record shows a reasonable trial strategy in dealing with that evidence. Circuit court did not err in denying the motion without hearing.
Andrew Bullard, Appellant, v. State of Missouri, Respondent.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District - ED108907
Direct Appeal Precludes Post-Conviction Relief
Prejudice is a higher standard in post-conviction relief than on direct appeal, so if the exclusion of evidence did not prejudice movant on direct appeal, it did not prejudice defendant for a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. That applies to trial counsel’s failure to give notice of an alibi defense and failure to call an alibi witness, whether movant’s theory of prejudice is that a different outcome would have been reasonably likely, or that the trial was fundamentally unfair. “[F]inding no prejudice on direct appeal precludes finding prejudice in the present post-conviction proceeding.”
KARL DAVID LAWRENCE, Movant-Appellant v. STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent-Respondent
Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District - SD36873
Presentment of Claim Defined
A creditor’s claim is presented a claim to a trustee when the claim comes to the trustee’s attention, which occurred through notice from the personal representative of an action in probate, and by creditor’s written communications with trustee about that action. The Court of Appeals dismisses a point relied on so defective that it requires advocacy to reach the merits.
In the Estate of: Shawn Edward Jacobs, Deceased.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District - ED109026
Income Tax Deficiency Properly Determined and Re-Determined
Statutes impose a tax on income, which includes appellants’ money received for services rendered. Appellants’ challenge to the constitutionality of income tax statutes is “meritless” and “preposterous [.]” Statutes authorize the Director of Revenue to determine the correct amount of income tax due. The Director’s notice of income tax due, even if erroneous, constituted a final decision subject to review before the Administrative Hearing Commission. The Commission’s exercise of authority to re-determine the tax due, initiated by appellant’s filing, does not aggrieve appellant. Because appellants did not carry their burden of proof, any ruling erroneously admitting the Director’s evidentiary is irrelevant.
Brad and Christine Francis vs. Director of Revenue
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD84199