Articles Posted in Criminal Law

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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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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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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

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After a jury trial, Appellant was convicted of three counts of robbery in the first degree, three counts of armed criminal action, and one count of resisting arrest. Appellant’s convictions and sentences were affirmed on direct appeal. Appellant subsequently filed a timely pro se motion for post-conviction relief under Mo. R. Crim. P. 29.15. After Appellant’s public defender entered his appearance, post-conviction counsel filed an amended motion on Movant’s behalf, asserting that trial counsel provided ineffective assistance. The motion court denied relief without an evidentiary hearing. The Supreme Court reversed in part and affirmed in all other respects, holding (1) Appellant’s amended motion for post-conviction relief was timely filed; and (2) the motion court clearly erred in denying relief on Appellant’s pro se claims based on a finding of illegibility. Remanded. View "Creighton v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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After a jury trial, Appellant was convicted of murder in the first degree and armed criminal action. Appellant’s convictions and sentences were affirmed on direct appeal. Appellant later filed a pro se motion for post-conviction relief. After Appellant’s public defender entered his appearance, post-conviction counsel filed an amended motion on Appellant’s behalf. The motion court denied relief. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment denying Appellant’s motion for post-conviction relief, holding (1) Appellant’s amended motion for post-conviction relief was timely filed; and (2) trial counsel was not ineffective. View "Hopkins v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Bowman pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of receiving stolen property. Although restitution was not originally a condition of Bowman’s probation, the State filed a motion to modify Bowman’s probation by adding a condition of restitution. The State alleged that Bowman should pay the victim to compensate her for the items that were stolen from her apartment but not recovered from Bowman. The trial court granted the State’s motion and modified the terms of Bowman’s probation to add a condition that he pay the requested restitution. Bowman sought a writ of prohibition, arguing that the trial court lacked authority to add the restitution condition because Mo. Rev. Stat. 559.105.1 only authorizes restitution for losses connected to the offense for which he was charged - possession of stolen property. The Supreme Court issued a preliminary writ of prohibition, which it made permanent, holding that because the State failed to show that the victim’s unrecovered losses were “due to” Bowman’s offense, the trial court lacked the authority to require Bowman to require restitution as to these losses as a condition of his probation. View "State ex rel. Bowman v. Honorable Inman" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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When William Fleming failed to pay his court costs within the first three years of his probation, Fleming’s probation was revoked and execution of his concurrent seven-year sentences was ordered. Fleming filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus, arguing that the sentencing court violated his due process and equal protection rights by revoking his probation solely because he was indigent. The Supreme Court issued a writ of habeas corpus, holding that the sentencing court’s revocation of Fleming’s probation violated Fleming’s Fourteenth Amendment rights because the court failed to inquire into the reasons for Fleming’s failure to pay his court costs. View "State ex rel. Fleming v. Missouri Board of Probation & Parole" on Justia Law

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Charles Zimmerman filed a petition for writ of prohibition to prevent the circuit court from holding a revocation hearing. The court of appeals denied the writ. Zimmerman then filed a writ petition with the Supreme Court. While the writ was pending, the circuit court held Zimmerman’s probation revocation hearing and concluded that Zimmerman violated the terms of his probation. The Supreme Court subsequently issued a preliminary writ of prohibition commanding the circuit court to take no further action in the matter. Zimmerman argued that the circuit court had no authority over him under Mo. Rev. Stat. 559.036.8 because his probation terminated by operation of law years before the probation revocation hearing. The Supreme Court made the preliminary writ in prohibition permanent and directed the circuit court to discharge Zimmerman from probation, holding that the circuit court abused its discretion and exceeded its authority in holding Zimmerman’s probation revocation hearing because it failed to make every reasonable effort to conduct a hearing prior to the expiration of the probationary period. View "State ex rel. Zimmerman v. Honorable David Dolan" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law