Case summaries for Oct. 2 - Oct. 8
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.
Caseload Review for Public Defenders Required
Amendment to statutes, governing non-adversarial managerial review of public defender caseload, changed the issue from the caseload for an office to the caseload of “any individual public defender or defenders” that a district defender identifies to the circuit court, even if the district defender names every attorney in the office.
In Re: Area 5 Public Defender Office vs. The Honorable Daniel F. Kellogg, Presiding Judge of the Circuit Court of Buchanan County, Missouri
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD83535
Back-Shooting Not Defense
Statutes allow physical force in defense of another to the same extent as self-defense, which is the amount reasonably necessary when unlawful use of force reasonably looks imminent, but do not support deadly force in a simple assault and battery. Defendant shot victim in the back from a distance during a scuffle with a third party and fled. On those facts, the jury was free to reject defendant’s theory of self-defense.
State of Missouri vs. Travon Marcel Williams
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD82757
Discussing the Standard of Proof Is Dangerous
The circuit court allowing the State to define reasonable doubt is reversible error, but instructions properly defining reasonable doubt cures that error, and the State’s opening argument constituted a harmless discussion of the standard of proof. “[T]he State risks the reversal of convictions by violating our decades-old decree against discussing the meaning or application of reasonable doubt during voir dire.” The presence of contraband within defendant’s easy reach and control, in defendant’s purse, is sufficient to show possession; and purse’s presence in defendant’s kitchen next to drug paraphernalia, and other drug paraphernalia throughout defendant’s house, support a finding that defendant knew of contraband’s nature and presence. State’s arguments against probation were not retaliatory and not attributable to circuit court.
State of Missouri, Respondent, vs. Brenda Thurmond, Appellant.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District - ED108253
No Review of Waived or Invited Error
Appellant did not show that the State’s failure to disclose victim’s written statement caused a Brady violation, because appellant did not show that the statement was material, in that it could only have harmed the defense. The admission of cumulative evidence is never prejudicial, especially when cumulative of defendant’s testimony. Defense’s cross-examination of State witness adduced detailed propensity evidence that, if error, was invited error not subject to review. Defense statement of “no objection” to instructions waives normal review and Court of Appeals declines plain error review. When no error occurs, no cumulative prejudice occurs. Remanded to conform written sentence to sentence as spoken in open court.
STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent v. DAVID RODNEY SCHACHTNER, Appellant
Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District - SD36093
No Plain Error Review for Confrontation Clause Argument
Hearsay is not prejudicial when the declarant is subject to cross-examination. An objection to testimony, on that grounds of hearsay, does not preserve a challenge based on the Confrontation Clause. The Confrontation Clause applies only to statements “made to law enforcement personnel or governmental agents [.]” Court of Appeals declines plain error review.
STATE OF MISSOURI, Plaintiff-Respondent v. KEITH ANDRE DANIEL, Defendant-Appellant
Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District - SD36306
Too Late to Seek GAL
Statute mandates the appointment of a guardian ad litem for child when, but only when, petition alleges abuse with specificity; pleading the appearance of unexplained bruises is too generalized.
RAYMOND WINFREY, Respondent vs. CHEYENNE N. CAHALAN, Appellant
Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District - SD36505
CODS Started Time for Filing Motion
Rule starts the time for filing an initial motion at delivery to the Department of Corrections. That includes a court-ordered detention sanction program for treatment as a condition for probation. A motion filed after revocation of probation was untimely.
Stacey I.M. Morehead vs. State of Missouri
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD82925
Action Against Second Injury Fund Too Late
Statute limits the filing of a claim against the Second Injury Fund to the later of two years after the injury or one year from the filing of a claim against the employer. A claim against the employer begins with the filing of a claim form naming, or a settlement agreement with, employer but not both—if claimant has already filed a claim form, filing a settlement does not constitute filing a claim. Appellant did not show that the differing treatment for the filing of settlements violates due process or equal protection. An amended claim can constitute a new claim if it supplements or amends the complaint against the employer. Appellant’s claim against the Second Injury Fund was untimely.
RICK HUNSAKER, Claimant-Appellant v. TREASURER OF THE STATE OF MISSOURI - CUSTODIAN OF THE SECOND INJURY FUND, Respondent
Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District - SD36450