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The circuit court did not abuse its discretion in overruling Christine Delf’s motion to enforce her plea agreement or in failing to permit Self to withdraw her guilty plea, as the court’s ruling comported with Mo. R. Crim. P. 24.02(d). Delf pleaded guilty to forgery pursuant to a plea agreement. Delft later filed a writ of mandamus challenging the circuit court’s decision to overrule her motion to enforce her plea agreement or, in the alternative, to withdraw her guilty plea, arguing that the circuit court lacked the authority to impose special conditions of probation she argued were excluded by the plea agreement. The Supreme Court issued a preliminary writ of prohibition, which it subsequently quashed, holding that the circuit court followed the procedure set forth in Rule 24.02 by accepting the binding plea agreement the parties reached and imposing the sentence Delf bargained for with the state. View "State ex rel. Delf v. Honorable Darrell E. Missey" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Defendant, who was charged with multiple sex offenses, moved to disqualify the prosecuting attorney on the grounds that the prosecutor’s office obtained and disclosed phone calls made by Defendant to his attorneys from the county jail. The trial court overruled the motion but appointed a retired judge as special master to review the jail phone call files and to receive future recorded jail calls. After the special master carried out these orders the trial court ordered that the county pay the special master’s fees. The prosecutor requested a writ of prohibition vacating the trial court’s order. The Supreme Court issued the requested writ, which it made permanent, holding that the trial court lacked authority to order the county to pay the fees of the special master. View "State ex rel. Merrell v. Honorable Robert Craig Carter" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Appellants, who owned residential property located entirely in St. Louis County, argued that Jefferson and Franklin counties systematically undervalued property in those counties, causing Appellants to bear a disproportionate share of the cost of operating multi-county taxing districts. After exhausting their administrative remedies, Appellants filed a petition in the circuit court challenging their 2011-12 property tax assessments. The circuit court dismissed the petition for failing to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of Appellants’ administrative claims for review and their claim for declaratory relief, holding (1) Appellants failed to assert a violation of the uniformity clause in article X, section 3 of the Missouri Constitution; and (2) the State Tax Commission lacked jurisdiction to hear Appellants’ claims of inter-county discrimination on appeal from the St. Louis County Board of Equalization. View "Armstrong-Trotwood, LLC v. State Tax Commission of Missouri" on Justia Law

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The circuit court awarded Plaintiff $500,000 in damages on his claim against the Kansas City School District for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy. The Supreme Court remitted the award to $403,189 and affirmed the judgment of the circuit court in all other respects, holding that the circuit court (1) did not err in overruling the district’s motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict; (2) did not err in overruling the district’s motion for new trial based on alleged errors in a jury instruction; but (3) erred in overruling the district’s motion for remittitur because the award exceeded that which is allowed by law. View "Newsome v. Kansas City, Missouri School District" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed a petition against the State for declaratory judgment alleging that provisions of Senate Bill 5 violated the special laws provision in the Hancock Amendment to the Missouri Constitution, and five other constitutional claims. The trial court declared the SB 5 contained special laws and unfunded mandates and permanently enjoined the enforcement of those provisions. The Supreme Court (1) reversed the trial court’s judgment that Mo. Rev. Stat. 67.287 and 479.359.3 are Hancock violations because these claims were not ripe for review where the General Assembly has until August 28, 2021 to appropriate funds, and the alleged increased duty is de minimis; and (2) affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of Plaintiffs’ other constitutional claims. View "City of Normandy v. Greitens" on Justia Law

Posted in: Constitutional Law

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If evidence of alleged informed consent is introduced at trial, it should be subject to a withdrawal instruction because the evidence is irrelevant and can only mislead the jury in a medical malpractice case based on negligent performance of care and treatment. In this medical malpractice action, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court in favor of a gastroenterologist and his practice group (collectively, Defendants). Plaintiff claimed that an esophageal dilation that the gastroenterologist performed on her was medically unnecessary and below the standard of care. During trial, Plaintiff was cross-examined about an informed consent to the esophageal dilation that she signed prior to an endoscopy. Plaintiff subsequently requested a withdrawal instruction to remove the informed consent from the jury’s consideration. The trial court denied the request. The Supreme Court held that the trial court abused its discretion by refusing the withdrawal instruction because informed consent was irrelevant to the case as pleaded and could only confuse the jury in its determination of the facts. View "Wilson v. Patel" on Justia Law

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This original proceeding in certiorari stemmed from George Fisher’s pleas of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect (NGRI) in two separate cases, one originating in Audrain County and the other in Jackson County. Fisher filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus challenging his commitment to the Department of Mental Health (DMH) and alleging that the NGRI pleas entered in both cases were deficient. The circuit court granted habeas relief, concluding that the NGRI pleas were deficient. The Supreme Court (1) declared moot the record granting habeas relief in one case given the prosecutor’s nolle prosequi filing in the underlying criminal case; and (2) quashed the record granting habeas relief in the other case, holding that the circuit court abused its discretion by granting relief on the theory that Fisher failed to sign the NGRI notice. View "State ex rel. Hawley" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Defendant filed a Mo. R. Crim. P. 29.15 motion for post-conviction relief approximately sixteen months after the court of appeals issued its mandate affirming Defendant’s conviction for first-degree robbery, despite the rule’s requirement that it be filed within ninety days of the mandate’s issuance. The motion court overruled the motion without an evidentiary hearing on the grounds of untimeliness. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) although Defendant filed an untimely Rule 29.15 motion, his untimeliness was excused because the circuit court misinformed him about the appropriate deadlines to file his motion during his sentencing colloquy; and (2) the motion court clearly erred in overruling the Rule 29.15 motion because Defendant demonstrated he was entitled to an evidentiary hearing concerning his ineffective assistance of counsel claim. View "Watson v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Petitioner, who ran a kennel, filed a petition against the Humane Society of the United States and Missourians for the Protection of Dogs alleging that various statements made in documents related to the ballot initiative entitled the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act were defamatory and placed her in a false light. The circuit court dismissed the petition on the grounds that the statements were absolutely privileged opinions and because Petitioner failed to plead any facts cognizable under a false light cause of action. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not err in dismissing the petition because none of the statements pleaded in the defamation claims were actionable as a matter of law and because Petitioner did not plead any facts cognizable in a false light claim. View "Smith v. Humane Society of the United States" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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After a jury trial, Appellant was convicted of two counts of murder in the first degree for shooting and killing two deputies. Appellant was sentenced to death. Appellant’s convictions were affirmed on direct appeal. Thereafter, the motion court granted Appellant post-conviction relief and remanded the case for a new penalty phase. After the penalty phase retrial, the jury recommended that Appellant be sentenced to death on each count. The trial court sentenced Appellant in accordance with the jury’s recommendation. Appellant’s death sentences were affirmed on direct appeal. Appellant then filed a Mo. R. Crim. P. motion for post-conviction relief, alleging several claims of ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel. The motion court overruled the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the motion court did not clearly err in finding that Appellant failed to establish that he was provided ineffective assistance of trial or appellate counsel. View "Tisius v. State" on Justia Law