Case summaries for Oct. 14, 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.
Allegations of Reckless Pursuit Stated No Claim
On a claim for negligence, the elements include proximate cause, which means that “an injury is the natural and probable consequence of the defendant’s negligence.” That consequence requires more than conjecture and speculation. The petition alleged that police officers’ pursuit of criminal suspects led to a collision. Treating the petition’s allegations as fact, the pursuit was so brief and the officers were so distant from the suspects, that a fact-finder cannot conclude that the pursuit proximately caused the collision without resorting to conjecture. Judgment on the pleadings for defendants affirmed.
Jemerio Harris and Jacqueline Armstrong, Plaintiffs/Appellants, vs. City of St. Louis, Missouri, James Zwilling, Michael Scego, and Timothy Boyce, Defendants/Respondents.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District - ED110325
Proportionate Sentencing Explained
Constitutional provisions bar “extreme sentences that are grossly disproportionate to the crime.” Sentencing within a statutory range is almost always proportionate. If a balancing of the offense’s gravity and the penalty’s harshness does not show that the sentence is disproportionate, a comparison with other sentences is irrelevant. No prejudice to movant resulted when trial counsel did not argue the matter, so movant did not show that trial counsel was ineffective.
Shawn Michael Yuille vs. State of Missouri
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD84802
Reasonable Strategy and No Prejudice
“Failure to call a witness only constitutes ineffective assistance of counsel if the witness’s testimony ‘unqualifiedly support[s] Movant.’” That does not describe a witness whose testimony could have corroborated, and offered nothing to negate, the State’s evidence. “Strategic choices made after a thorough investigation of the law and the facts relevant to plausible options are virtually unchallengeable.” Trial counsel’s closing argument constituted a reasonable strategy and movant did not show any prejudice to the outcome of trial.
George E. Martin vs. State of Missouri
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD84781