Case summaries for Aug. 7 – Aug. 13
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.
Contempt Judgment Final When Order of Commitment Issues
Notice of appeal is due ten days from a final judgment. Final judgment in a contempt action occurs on enforcement. Enforcement of incarceration includes issuance of an order of commitment. Order of commitment issued nearly two months before appellant filed a notice of appeal. Filing a notice of appeal ten days after the circuit court released a bond to respondent’s counsel did not constitute a timely appeal from execution on a fine, because the contempt judgment did not impose a fine, it imposed incarceration.
Victoria Frawley vs. Matthew J. Frawley
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District – WD83397 and WD83442
Partial Summary Judgment Affirmed in Mobile Home Arson
Citations to the summary judgment record are necessary either to establish, or raise a genuine issue as to, material facts. Plaintiff established that defendant injured plaintiff and her property by retaining a third person to burn down plaintiff’s mobile home. Defendant’s failure to file a response constituted an admission of those facts. Matters attached to plaintiff’s motion, but not cited by any party, do not alter that outcome because facts come into a summary judgment record only via the numbered-paragraphs-and-responses framework set forth in the governing rule. Case law suggesting otherwise is overruled.
Marcia Green, Respondent, vs. Mehrdad Fotoohighiam, Appellant.
Supreme Court of Missouri – SC98262
Felony Conviction Was Plain Error Without Proof of Property Value
Statute on stealing provides a penalty for almost every circumstance that the statute describes, and those for which it does not provide a penalty, it classifies as a class A misdemeanor. “There is no overlap.” Approved instructions are in accord. The jury found appellant guilty without evidence of, or instructions on, property value, which described two class D misdemeanors, but the circuit court sentenced defendant for two class A misdemeanors. Because the circuit court imposed a sentence greater than that provided for the offense committed, Court of Appeals remands for re-sentencing. On a third charge of stealing, evidence of cash in appellant’s pocket when leaving a robbery scene supports conviction for a class D felony but not a class C felony. Because the sentence imposed is within the range of the offense committed, Court of Appeals remands for a correction of the offense’s class nunc pro tunc.
State of Missouri, Respondent, vs. Rodney Knox, Appellant.
Supreme Court of Missouri – SC98298
Disposition of Detainers Motion Incomplete
Under the Interstate Agreement on Detainers, the time to dispose of a detainer starts with the filing of a motion for disposition in the State that lodged the detainer, but only if the motion is complete. A complete motion is one that omits nothing essential. The essentials include a certificate of service on the prosecuting attorney in the foreign State and any decisions about parole. Those items were absent from appellant’s motion, so the motion was not complete, and its filing did not start the time running. Appellant did not show a violation of the Act.
STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent vs. KEITH A. MASH, Appellant
Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District – SD36251
Burglary Includes Subterfuge
Elements of burglary may include entry when “not licensed or privileged to do so.” Defendant was not allowed in the space where victim’s employees were detailing motorcycles for auction, and defendant’s use of a mask and employees’ safety vest to enter that space inferred a guilty mental state, so the record supported a finding of guilty.
State of Missouri vs. Erin Graves
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District – WD83058
SIS Is Not a Conviction
Statutes requires revocation of driver’s license “upon a finding of guilt to a violation of [a statute] for one year from the date of conviction.” That statute requires both a finding of guilt and a conviction. Conviction means the final judgment in a criminal action, which does not happen until imposition of sentence, so when circuit suspends imposition of sentence, no conviction has happened. The Director of Revenue revoked respondent’s license on a suspended imposition of sentence, the circuit court reinstated respondent’s license, and the Court of Appeals affirms the circuit court.
Spencer Bradley Ekstam, Respondent, vs. Director of Revenue, State of Missouri, Appellant.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District – ED108230
Mootness Exception for Juveniles Inapplicable to Adults
An appeal is moot when no practical relief is possible, which may happen after the record has closed, and which an appellate court may determine from matters outside the record. An exception for collateral consequences to a juvenile does not apply to adults.
In the Interest of: P.D.W.; Juvenile Officer vs. S.W. and M.W.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District – WD83186
Logo Liability Discussed
The logo liability doctrine presumes that a carrier is liable for the negligence of the carrier’s lessee, if the lessee is hauling regulated freight, if “a sign or identifying legend was furnished by the carrier in connection with a lease[.]” But the record contains no evidence of any lease between respondent carrier and any driver, only employment relationships. Therefore, appellant’s theory of logo liability did not require a directed verdict and did not support instructions on that theory.
Lisa Hearn and Daniel Hearn, Appellants, vs. ABF Freight System, Inc., Respondent.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District – ED108315
Motion Was Successive
Circuit court’s order of incarceration did not have to use the verb “commit”, so the sentence as spoken did not conflict with the sentence as written, and any ambiguity had to be among the claims in a motion to vacate. A motion raising any such claim is successive, and successive claims are barred by rule, so Court of Appeals reverses judgment and remands for dismissal.
State of Missouri vs. Billy Joe Bellamy
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District – WD83066
Failure to Advise Made Plea Involuntary
Rule governing guilty plea hearings requires circuit court to advise defendant of defendant’s maximum possible penalty. Defendant’s maximum possible penalty was concurrent sentences. Concurrent sentences were not among the possible sentences of which the circuit court advised defendant during defendant’s plea hearing, the motion alleged. Those allegations, if true, made the plea involuntary and entitled appellant to an evidentiary hearing unless refuted in the record. The record in the plea hearing shows defendant acknowledging only that defendant “could potentially get the maximum across the board[,]” and counsel’s statements in the sentencing hearing do not add anything to that, so the record does not refute the motion’s allegations. Appellant was entitled to an evidentiary hearing on the motion.
Ryan G. Beamgard vs. State of Missouri
Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District – WD82891
No Hancock Amendment Protections for School Retirement System
A retirement system challenged a legislative bill that reduced the age for employees to retire. The Missouri Constitution’s original purpose clause did not bar a change . The Retirement System had no standing under the Hancock Amendment because the Retirement System is not a political subdivision, and no standing under the bill because the reduced retirement age is not a new benefit. Because the reduced retirement age is not a new benefit, the bill’s conditions for a new benefit—including a determination of funding ratio, did not apply. Circuit court did not err in granting judgment on the pleadings against the retirement system.
Public School Retirement System of the City of St. Louis, et al., Appellants, vs. State of Missouri, et al., Respondents.
Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District – ED108450