Case summaries for Oct. 28 - Nov. 3, 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.
Criminal | Juvenile | Post-Conviction | Tax
No Remedy for the State When Submitting a Lesser Instruction
The State charged appellant with resisting arrest and the circuit court imposed a sentence for that offense. But the State submitted only an instruction for resisting detention, and the jury found appellant guilty of that offense. For appellant, receiving a sentence greater than allowed by law is plain error. For the State, offering an instruction only for a lesser offense is invited error. Remanded for re-sentencing in accordance with the range of punishment provided for the offense of which appellant was convicted.
STATE OF MISSOURI, Plaintiff-Respondent v. GREGORY EARL STEVENSON, Defendant-Appellant
Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District - SD37246
In-Person Hearing Required for Certification
Constitutional provisions apply criminal-level protections to critical stages of juvenile proceedings. Proceedings to certify a juvenile as an adult are, therefore, specifically among the exceptions that the Missouri Supreme Court’s Operational Directives set forth for video appearances. A video appearance for certifying appellant as an adult is presumed prejudicial.
In the Interest of: K.D.D. vs. Juvenile Officer
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District - WD84232
Constitutional Argument Waived
Constitutional provisions protect due process in juvenile proceedings, which include a meaningful hearing on certification to stand trial as an adult, at which hearing the juvenile officer’s report is relevant. But appellant made no objection to the adequacy of the report on constitutional grounds, and so waived any constitutional objection, and preserved only statutory grounds for objecting to the report. The report addressed factors listed by statute, and the circuit court’s assessment of that and other evidence is not subject to re-assessment in an appellate court.
IN THE INTEREST OF M.T., PEMISCOT COUNTY CHIEF JUVENILE OFFICER DIEDRA ASHLEY, Respondent v. M.T., Appellant
Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District - SD37119
Appellate Counsel Need Not Challenge Sufficient Evidence
“[W]here the evidence was sufficient to support the movant's convictions, appellate counsel will not be deemed ineffective for failing to challenge the sufficiency of the evidence on direct appeal on those counts.” The evidence was sufficient to support convictions for endangerment of a child and abandonment of a corpse. Counsel’s decisions not to raise arguments unsupported, or already refuted, by case law did not show that counsel was ineffective.
Krystal M. Scroggs vs. State of Missouri
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District – WD84643
The purpose of an inquiry into abandonment is to determine which motion, initial or amended, the circuit court should rule on; so, when the circuit has ruled on all claims in both motions, such inquiry is moot. The motion’s allegations were insufficient to describe ineffective assistance of counsel in either of two counts. On a claim of failing to report non-disclosure of a venire person’s acquaintance with a witness, movant did not allege: the venire person’s identity, the witness’s identity, the extent of the acquaintance, that the venire person was on the jury, that the witness testified, that the non-disclosure was intentional, and how movant learned of the non-disclosure. On a claim of inadequate cross-examination in support of a duress defense, movant did not describe any evidence that would have furthered that defense, and trial counsel’s choice of what to ask and not ask was sound trial strategy.
Reno Whitt, Jr., Appellant, v. State of Missouri, Respondent.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District - ED110320
Record Refutes Motion’s Allegations
“[W]hen a movant claims to have pleaded guilty based on a mistaken belief about his anticipated sentence, the test is whether a reasonable basis exists in the record for the movant’s belief.” No reasonable basis existed in the record for the movant’s belief that he would receive a sentence of ten years when the plea hearing transcript showed that the circuit court repeatedly told movant, and movant repeatedly confirmed, that movant would receive a sentence of 17 years.
Julius White, Appellant, v. State of Missouri, Respondent.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District - ED110214
Sales Tax Due on Country Club Charges
Statutes impose sales tax on amounts paid for recreational activities, excluding amounts paid to participate in management, but appellant taxpayer did not show any such exempt amount was part of membership dues. “[T]here was no evidence showing the monthly membership dues secured the right to vote in the first place because those voting rights are tied to the initiation fees rather than monthly membership dues.”
Saddle and Sirloin Club of Kansas City, Appellant, vs. Director of Revenue, Respondent.
Supreme Court of Missouri - SC99453
Res Judicata Inapplicable
Statute requires notice of an additional sales tax assessment no later than three years after taxpayer files a return. The Director of Revenue sent such notice timely to taxpayer corporation, and no such notice was due for an assessment of those amounts against the taxpayer’s owner, made liable for the taxpayer’s unpaid amounts by statute. The Director brought an action in the probate division of circuit court, to collect sales tax from taxpayer’s owner’s estate, and the circuit court ruled against the Director. That judgment did not bar the Director from issuing a sales tax assessment against taxpayer’s owner, because the assessment determines the amount due, and does not seek to collect that amount.
Delores LaBlance, Personal Representative for the Estate of James Townsend, Appellant, vs. Director of Revenue, Respondent.
Supreme Court of Missouri - SC99238