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The Supreme Court concluded that the circuit court exceeded its authority by sustaining Robby Ledford’s Rule 29.07(d) motion to withdraw his plea of guilty to felony stealing and resentencing him as a misdemeanor offender. In his Rule 29.07(d) motion, Ledford claimed his conviction and sentence for felony stealing were unlawful and constituted manifest injustice pursuant to State v. Bazell, 497 S.W.3d 263 (Mo. banc 2016). The circuit court sustained the motion, issued an order amending the stealing charge from a felony to a class A misdemeanor, and resentenced Ledford. The Supreme Court made permanent a preliminary writ of prohibition, holding that the circuit court’s order erroneously assumed that Bazell applies retroactively, and therefore, Ledford’s claim was both procedurally defaulted and substantively meritless. View "State ex rel. Fite v. Honorable Laura Johnson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the motion court overruling Appellant’s amended Rule 24.035 motion for post-conviction relief without an evidentiary hearing and remanded the case, holding that Appellant’s amended motion was filed out of time, but the motion court did not conduct an abandonment inquiry to determine whether appointed counsel abandoned Appellant. Appellant pleaded guilty to two counts of the class C felony of possession of a chemical with the intent to create a controlled substance. Appellant later filed a pro se Rule 24.035 motion for post-conviction relief. The motion court appointed a public defender to represent Appellant. Appellant later filed his amended motion. The Supreme Court held that the amended motion was untimely. View "Bearden v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Appellant of murder in the second degree and armed criminal action. The court held (1) Appellant’s claim that the self-defense instruction submitted was incorrect was not meritorious because Appellant jointly drafted the instruction, thereby waiving plain error review of this claim; (2) Defendant also waived plain error review related to his claim that the trial court erred in refusing his instruction on his lack of duty to retreat; (3) the trial court did not commit plain error by declining to instruct the jury on the lesser included offense of voluntary manslaughter; (4) the trial court did not plainly error by failing to exclude evidence of uncharged misconduct; and (5) there was no error in the trial court’s rulings regarding closing arguments. View "State v. Clay" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court in this class action finding that every class member suffered damage as a result of alleged misrepresentations on the part of Nissan North American, Inc. and entered judgment for Nissan pursuant to Mo. R. Civ. P. 84.14. Plaintiff, on behalf of a class of similarly situated plaintiffs, sued Nissan for violations of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act, Mo. Rev. Stat. 407.010 to 407.130, based on alleged misrepresentations concerning the dashboards in certain Nissan Infinity FX vehicles. After a jury trial, the trial court entered judgment requiring Nissan to pay $2,000 in damages to each class member and $1.9 million in attorney fees. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the statements at issue were not actionable “misrepresentations” under section 407.020.1. View "Hurst v. Nissan North America, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Consumer Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s judgment terminating Mother’s parental rights to her twin girls and approving the adoption of the twins by their foster parents, holding that clear, cogent and convincing evidence supported the circuit court’s termination of parental rights under Mo. Rev. Stat. 211.447.5(2). On appeal, Mother challenged the sufficiency of the evidence to support the circuit court’s finding that grounds for termination under section 211.447 were satisfied. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Mother’s consent to the adoption was not needed where, as in this case, one of the grounds for termination under section 211.447 was satisfied by clear and convincing evidence. View "In re T.T.G." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Court denied habeas relief to Petitioners, four individuals, who were incarcerated for their convictions for the class C felony of stealing property worth $500 or more but less than $25,000, in violation of Mo. Rev. Stat. 570.030.3(1). Petitioners were sentenced to either six or seven years’ imprisonment based on the felony classification. Petitioners sought habeas corpus relief, claiming that they were sentenced in excess of the maximum sentence authorized by law because the offense of stealing is a class A misdemeanor that could not have been enhanced to a felony pursuant to the statute then in effect. The Supreme Court denied habeas relief, holding that Petitioners received a sentence that was authorized by a different interpretation of section 570.030 without objection and should not receive the benefit of retroactive application of this court’s decision in State v. Basel, 497 S.W.3d 263 (Mo. 2016). View "State ex rel. Windeknecht v. Mesmer" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court terminating Father’s parental rights to Child and granting the petition for the adoption filed by Mother and Stepfather. The circuit court concluded that Father’s consent to the adoption was not required pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. 453.040(7) because Father willfully abandoned Child and willfully, substantially, and continuously neglected to provide Child with necessary care and protection. In affirming, the Supreme Court held (1) the circuit court’s conclusions regarding abandonment and neglect were not against the weight of the evidence; and (2) there was clear, cogent, and convincing evidence to support a statutory ground for terminating parental rights and support a finding that Father’s consent was not necessary for adoption. View "S.S.S. v. C.V.S." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the circuit court dismissing Appellants’ petitions against Respondents for failure to state a claim for relief. The circuit court ruled that the petitions, which alleged, in part, the improper collection of post-judgment interest, failed to state a claim because nontort judgments automatically accrue post-judgment interest even when the judgments do not expressly award such interest. The Supreme Court held that the circuit court correctly ruled that nontort judgments automatically accrue post-judgment interest, but the petitions may have adequately stated a claim for relief against Respondents for other reasons. The court remanded the case to the circuit court to consider Appellants’ remaining claims following the dismissal of their claims related to post-judgment interest. View "Dennis v. Riezman Berger, P.C." on Justia Law

Posted in: Consumer Law, Contracts

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the motion court overruling Appellant’s amended motion for postconviction relief filed under Mo. R. Crim. P. 29.15. On appeal, the State asserted that the motion court erred by considering Appellant’s amended Rule 29.15 motion on the merits because it was untimely filed by Appellant’s retained counsel on Appellant’s behalf. Appellant argued that the untimely filing must be excused because his retained counsel abandoned him. The Supreme Court held (1) Appellant’s amended Rule 29.15 motion was untimely filed, but the abandonment doctrine does not apply to retained counsel and therefore does not excuse retained counsel’s untimely filing; and (2) the ineffective assistance of counsel claim raised in Appellant’s timely filed pro se motion was without merit. View "Gittemeier v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the decision of the the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission awarding Employee workers’ compensation benefits representing fifty percent permanent partial disability of the body as a whole and the right to future medical care for her work-related mental injury. On appeal, Employer argued that the Commission misapplied the law and that the award was not supported by sufficient, competent, and substantial evidence. The Supreme Court remanded the cause, holding that the Commission failed to apply the the applicable and clear statutory standards when reviewing Employee’s claim. View "Mantia v. Missouri Department of Transportation" on Justia Law