Case summaries for Sept. 4 - Sept. 10
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.
Adequate Period of Discovery Required
In response to plaintiff’s claim for damages, defendants alleged release of liability by settlement with a third party, and moved for summary judgment on those facts. In reply, plaintiff alleged mutual mistake in that contract, supporting a claim for reformation, and sought to add a claim for reformation to the petition. Opportunity for discovery to support the new claim is subject to review for abuse of discretion. An abuse of discretion occurred when the circuit court granted summary judgment against the claim just two weeks after it granted the motion to add the claim.
Tiffany Traweek vs. Timothy Smith and Davis & Bell Auction Service, L.L.C.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD83291
Right to Silence Already Made Known
When defendant decided to testify, circuit court did not commit a manifest injustice or miscarriage of justice in not informing defendant that he had the right not to testify, after defendant had heard trial counsel describe the same right.
STATE OF MISSOURI, Plaintiff-Respondent v. GABRIEL A. PULLIAM, Defendant-Appellant
Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District - SD36344
Life Without Parole Okay at 19
On a charge of first degree murder, evidence that defendant brought a gun to the crime scene had “ample opportunity to terminate the crime prior to the killing,” and “a lack of concern for and a failure to attempt to aid the victim [,]” each independently supports an inference of deliberation. Statutes allowing life without parole for, only after specified considerations, apply to persons 18 years old or younger. No constitutional prohibitions on cruel and unusual punishment require those statutes to apply to anyone else. Because defendant’s arguments on appeal are merely colorable, Court of Appeals has jurisdiction. Affirmed.
STATE OF MISSOURI, Plaintiff-Respondent vs. DEION D. MARTIN, Defendant-Appellant
Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District - SD35889
Factual Basis for Enhanced Sentence Waived
A conclusion that defendant is a persistent offender does not require express findings of fact in support. Sentencing constitutes effectively concluding that defendant is a persistent offender. If such findings were required, any error is not subject to post-conviction relief, and any omission is a procedural deficiency that does not invalidate the judgment. Statute governing enhanced sentences for persistent offenders provides that “[a] defendant may waive proof of the facts to prove his or her status as a . . . persistent offender [,]” which movant did when pleading guilty.
Christopher L. Wright vs. State of Missouri
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD82948