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The Supreme Court made permanent its preliminary writ of prohibition barring Respondent, Judge Bryan E. Round, from enforcing his order disqualifying the entire Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (PAO) in the underlying post-conviction case, holding that Respondent’s order failed to comply with the Supreme Court’s holding in State v. Lemasters, 456 S.W.3d 416 (Mo. banc 2015), and will cause irreparable harm if relief is not granted. Jeanette Wolpink of the Missouri Public Defender System (MPDS) was appointed to represent on appeal Defendant in the underlying case. After Defendant’s convictions and sentences were affirmed on appeal, but before his amended post-conviction motion was filed, Wolpink left the MPDS and was hired by the PAO. After Defendant filed his amended post-conviction motion, he moved to disqualify the entire PAO because Wolpink represented him in his direct appeal. Respondent sustained the motion and disqualified the entire PAO. Relator, Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney Jean Peters-Baker, then sought this writ of prohibition. The Supreme Court granted the writ, holding that Wolpink’s conflict is not imputed to the entire PAO under the appearance of impropriety test, and by disqualifying Relator, Respondent infringed upon Relator’s ability to carry out her duties as a public officer. View "State ex rel. Jean Peters-Baker v. Honorable Bryan E. Round" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court made permanent its preliminary writ of prohibition barring Respondent, Judge Timothy J. Boyer, from enforcing his order disqualifying the entire City of St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office (CAO) in the underlying case, holding that Respondent’s order failed to comply with the Supreme Court’s holding in State v. Lemasters, 456 S.W.3d 416 (Mo. banc 2015), and will cause irreparable harm if relief is not granted. Defendant in the underlying case was charged with several offenses. Officer A.F. resorted to the use of deadly force to apprehend Davis and, consequently, Relator, City of St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner, initiated an investigation into Officer A.F.’s use of force against Defendant. Prior to Defendant’s preliminary hearing, Officer A.F. moved to disqualify the CAO. Respondent disqualified the CAO from prosecuting Defendant’s case, concluding that there was an appearance of impropriety because the CAO was actively prosecuting Defendant while simultaneously reviewing the conduct of the officer upon whom it was relying to effectuate the prosecution. Relator then sought this writ of prohibition. The Supreme Court granted the writ, holding that Respondent failed to recognize the limitations placed on his authority to disqualify counsel and that Respondent’s order unnecessarily interfered with Relator’s duty to represent the interests of the public. View "State ex rel. Gardner v. Honorable Timothy J. Boyer" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the motion court overruling Appellant’s Mo. R. Crim. P. 29.15 motion for postconviction relief after an evidentiary hearing, holding that the motion court did not err. After a jury trial, Appellant was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder. The circuit court adopted the jury’s recommendations and sentenced Appellant to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for one murder and to death for the other murder. The Supreme Court affirmed the convictions. At issue in this appeal was the motion court’s judgment overruling Appellant’s Rule 29.15 motion after an evidentiary hearing. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellant was not entitled to postconviction relief for ineffective assistance of counsel because Appellant did not show by a preponderance of the evidence that he was entitled to relief under Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984). View "Anderson v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court made permanent its preliminary writ of prohibition sought by PPG Industries, Inc. directing the circuit court to dismiss the underlying claim against it for lack of personal jurisdiction, holding that the circuit court lacked jurisdiction over PPG. Hillboldt Curtainwall, Inc. sued PPG, a Pennsylvania-based corporation that made a product coating aluminum extrusions, for negligent misrepresentation based on PPG’s online representation on its website that Finishing dynamics as an “approved excursion applicator.” PPG filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, asserting that its website was insufficient to render it subject to the state’s personal jurisdiction. The circuit court overruled the motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court granted a writ of prohibition, holding (1) because there was no tortious act within the state, the circuit court lacked personal jurisdiction over PPG; and (2) therefore, the circuit court should have sustained PPG’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. View "State ex rel. PPG Industries, Inc. v. Honorable Maura B. McShane" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court convicting Defendant of unlawful use of a weapon, third-degree domestic assault, first-degree burglary, and armed criminal action, holding that the evidence was sufficient to support Defendant’s assault and burglary convictions. On appeal, Defendant argued that the circuit court erred in overruling his motion for a judgment of acquittal because the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions for third-degree domestic assault and first-degree burglary. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not err in overruling Defendant’s motion for judgment of acquittal. View "State v. Stewart" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court denying Lender’s application to compel arbitration and stay proceedings on the claims brought by Borrower, holding that the plain language of the parties’ arbitration agreement showed they agreed to arbitrate before a specified, but unavailable, arbitrator and no other arbitrator. The contracts between the parties contained an arbitration agreement stating that any dispute between the parties shall be resolved by binding arbitration by the National Arbitration Forum (NAF). Thereafter, NAF entered into a consent decree requiring it immediately to stop providing arbitration services for consumer claims nationwide. After Borrower defaulted, Lender filed suit. Borrower counterclaimed. Lender moved to compel arbitration on Borrower’s counterclaim and asked the circuit court to designate a new arbitrator where NAF was unavailable as an arbitrator. The circuit court denied Lender's application. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because Lender made the choice to insist upon NAF, and only NAF, as the arbitration forum, Lender could not now expand the arbitration promise it extracted from Borrower in the agreement. View "A-1 Premium Acceptance, Inc. v. Hunter" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court of Missouri affirmed the circuit court's judgment committing appellant to the custody of the Department of Mental Health under the Sexually Violent Predator Act. The court held that appellant failed to show how counsel was ineffective under either the "meaningful hearing based on the record" standard for ineffective assistance of counsel now applied in Missouri termination of parental rights cases or under the Strickland v. Washington standard. The court held that appellant's counsel was not ineffective in failing to object to evidence that appellant watched animalistic pornography, played a pedophilic video game, and was sexually attracted to animals. The court held that the evidence was admissible because the State's expert relied on it in assessing appellant's diagnosis and risk of reoffense. View "In re Grado" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court of Missouri affirmed the circuit court's judgment committing appellant to the department of mental health as a sexually violent predator. The court held that appellant failed to show how counsel was ineffective under either the "meaningful hearing based on the record" standard for ineffective assistance of counsel now applied in Missouri termination of parental rights cases or under the Strickland v. Washington standard. The court held that the circuit court did not err in allowing testimony concerning appellant's prior murder arrest and in refusing to strike Juror 4. View "In re Braddy" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the motion court overruling Appellant’s motion for postconviction relief, holding that Appellant’s postconviction counsel created a presumption of abandonment, and therefore, Appellant was entitled to an abandonment hearing. Appellant’s probation was revoked and his sentence for trafficking drugs in the second degree was executed. Thereafter, Appellant filed a pro se Mo. R. Crim. P. 24.035 motion for postconviction relief. The motion court appointed the public defender’s office to represent Appellant. The motion court denied the motion. On appeal, Appellant argued that he was abandoned because postconviction counsel filed a statement in lieu of an amended motion beyond the sixty-day deadline for filing an amended motion. The Supreme Court held that postconviction counsel’s failure to file either an amended motion or a statement in lieu of an amended motion within the sixty-day deadline in Rule 24.035(g) created the presumption that Appellant’s postconviction counsel failed to comply with the postconviction rules and thereby abandoned Appellant. The Court remanded the case for an abandonment hearing. View "Latham v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of sodomy in the first degree and attempted sodomy in the first degree, holding that the trial court abused its discretion by failing to give a curative instruction following the State’s improper argument regarding the definition of deviate sexual intercourse. On appeal, Defendant argued, among other things, that the trial court abused its discretion by failing to issue a curative instruction after the State improperly argued during closing argument that there was more to the definition of “deviate sexual intercourse” than submitted in the jury instructions. The Supreme Court agreed and reversed the judgment, holding that the State’s improper closing argument was prejudicial, and the trial court abused its discretion by failing to correct the the argument under the facts and circumstances of this case. View "State v. Holmsley" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law