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Case Summary for October 4, 2012

THE FOLLOWING DOCKET SUMMARIES ARE PREPARED BY THE COURT'S STAFF FOR THE INTEREST AND CONVENIENCE OF THE READER. THE SUMMARIES MAY NOT INCLUDE ALL ISSUES PENDING BEFORE THE COURT AND DO NOT REFLECT ANY OPINION OF THE COURT ON THE MERITS OF A CASE. COPIES OF ALL BRIEFS FILED WITH THE COURT ARE AVAILABLE AT THE SUPREME COURT BUILDING, COURT EN BANC DIVISION. SUMMARIES ARE UNOFFICIAL AND SHOULD NOT BE QUOTED OR CITED.


Attached to the following docketed cases are electronic copies of briefs filed by the parties. These electronic briefs have been converted to PDF to accommodate various word processors. If you do not already have Acrobat reader, which is necessary to open the PDFs, you may obtain it free at the Adobe website. (A set of free tools that allow visually disabled users to read documents in Adobe PDF format is available from access.adobe.com.) These briefs do not reflect any opinion of the Court about the appropriateness of the format of the briefs or the merits of the case, nor are they official court records. Copies of all briefs filed with the Court are available at the Supreme Court Building in the court en banc division.

The attachments below may not reflect all briefs filed with the Court, the complete filing or the format of the original filing. Appendices and other attachments generally will not be posted here. To see what documents have been filed in a particular case, visit Case.net.



DOCKET SUMMARIES
SUPREME COURT OF MISSOURI
9:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012

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SC91021
State ex rel. Mark Woodworth v. Larry Denney, warden
Clinton County
Innocence challenge to murder conviction

Listen to the oral argument: SC91021.mp3
Woodworth was represented during arguments by Robert B. Ramsey of the Law Offices of Michael R. Bilbrey PC in Glen Carbon, IL, and the state was represented by Theodore A. Bruce of the attorney general's office in Jefferson City.

Mark Woodworth was charged with the November 1990 shooting deaths of two neighbors in their home in Chillicothe. At trial, Woodworth sought to present evidence of another suspect, who had dated the victims’ daughter and whom police had investigated but not charged. The trial court excluded several portions of this evidence. Woodworth was found guilty of second-degree murder, first-degree assault, first-degree burglary and armed criminal action and first degree burglary and was sentenced to 31 years. The court of appeals reversed the conviction and remanded (sent back) the case. State v. Woodworth, 941 S.W.2d 679 (Mo. App. 1997). During the retrial, Woodworth was permitted to present additional evidence of the other suspect. Woodworth again was found guilty and was sentenced to four life sentences plus 15 years in prison. These convictions and sentences were upheld on appeal. State v. Woodworth, 55 S.W.3d 865 (Mo. App. 2001). Woodworth then sought post-conviction relief, which was denied. Ultimately, Woodworth filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus (release from the conviction and sentence) in this Court, which appointed a master to hold an evidentiary hearing regarding the petition. In his findings of fact and conclusions of law filed with this Court, the master noted certain evidence presented during the hearing. This evidence included letters apparently written before the second trial from one of the victims to the trial judge, from the prosecutor to the trial judge regarding the prosecutor’s recusal from the case and from the trial judge to the special prosecutor in the first trial, which included copies of the first two letters. The hearing also included presentation of evidence that one of Woodworth’s attorneys also was representing – in a separate matter – an informant in Woodworth’s case.

Woodworth argues this Court should issue a writ of habeas corpus releasing him from his convictions and sentences. He contends his convictions for second-degree murder, first-degree assault, armed criminal action and first degree burglary – as well as the four life sentences and the 15-year additional prison sentence – are unconstitutional. He asserts his rights to due process and fundamental fairness under the Fifth, Sixth and 14th amendments to the United States Constitution and article I, section 10 of the Missouri Constitution as well as Supreme Court Rule 25.03 were violated. Woodworth argues the judge, in essence, acted as a prosecutor. Woodworth contends the investigators in his case were biased and did not attempt to discover the truth in violation of his rights. He also asserts his trial counsel was disloyal. Woodworth argues the master found evidence that the letters presented during the hearing never were presented to defense counsel in the second trial for review and found the non-disclosure of these letters was highly prejudicial to his case. He contends the master also found evidence that a private investigator hired by one of the victims was entrusted with the police investigative file and pieces of evidence. Woodworth assets the master’s report recommends that this Court grant habeas relief. He argues the lack of the letter evidence at trial and violations of his constitutional rights amount to a need for this Court to discharge his convictions and sentences outright without another opportunity for retrial.

The state responds Woodworth’s convictions and sentences are constitutional. It argues he is not entitled to a writ of habeas corpus because he has failed to uphold his burden of proof. The state contends Woodworth did not prove that the three letters were not disclosed to his trial counsel because he did not present the defense file at the hearing, did not have anyone review the defense file and failed to offer testimony from his defense attorney. The state asserts that Woodworth did not present any new evidence to the master and that the evidence presented is insufficient to prove innocence or to overturn his conviction. The state argues the three letters do not provide a sufficient basis to discharge Woodworth’s conviction because they pertain to the first conviction, which already was overturned on appeal, and because a habeas petition only can be used to challenge the present conviction, to which these letters do not relate. It contends Woodworth was given a fair trial, which protects against biased police work. The state asserts the trial judge and defense counsel in the first trial were not involved in nor could have impacted Woodworth’s second trial, which is the only one at issue in this case. It argues that Woodworth’s trial counsel was ruled effective in the post-conviction relief proceedings and that Woodworth has failed to prove that counsel was biased as opposed to merely strategic in making decisions. The state contends Woodworth also has failed to prove there is a reasonable probability that the evidence presented in his petition would cause the results of a trial to be different.

SC91021_Woodworth_brief.pdfSC91021_Denney_brief.pdfSC91021_Woodworth_reply_brief.pdf



SC92230
State of Missouri v. Grant L. Mixon
Greene County
Constitutional validity of a statute

Listen to the oral argument: SC92230.mp3
The state was represented during arguments by Evan J. Buchheim of the attorney general's office in Jefferson City, and Mixon was represented by Rosalynn Koch of the public defender's office in Columbia.

In January 2011, the state filed a complaint charging Grant Mixon with the felony of receiving stolen property for events occurring in May 2008 in Springfield. Mixon was served with the arrest warrant in October 2011. Mixon filed a motion to dismiss the case, arguing that section 556.036.5, RSMo, was unconstitutional on the basis that it conflicted with article I, section 17 of the Missouri Constitution and that the charges were filed after the three-year statute of limitations had expired. The statutory subsection provides that a “prosecution is commenced” for a felony “when the complaint or indictment is filed.” The constitutional provision provides that “no person may be prosecuted” for a felony “otherwise than by indictment or information” and that this provision “shall not be applied … to prevent arrests and preliminary examination in any criminal case.” The circuit court held the subsection five unconstitutional, finding the filing of a complaint to initiate proceedings does not “commence prosecution” in the manner required by the constitution, and dismissed the case with prejudice (without leave to refile). The state appeals.

The state argues the circuit court erred in finding section 556.036.5 unconstitutional. It contends subsection five does not clearly violate the provisions of article I, section 17. The state asserts subsection five merely identifies the triggering effect that determines when the statute of limitations begins to run. It argues the legislature is empowered to determine a statute of limitation’s length and triggering or tolling events. The state contends Mixon’s case should not have been dismissed because the three-year statute of limitations in section 556.036 began to run the day after the offense was committed and was tolled (stopped) by the filing of a complaint or indictment. It asserts that here, the statute of limitations began to run the day after Mixon committed the offense in January 2011 and was tolled when the felony complaint was filed in January 2011 – within the three-year time limit.

Mixon responds that the circuit court properly found section 556.036.5 unconstitutional and properly dismissed the case against him. He argues subsection 5 directly contradicts article I, section 17 because it authorizes prosecutions to be commenced by “complaint.” He contends article I, section 17 provides that prosecutions may be commenced only by indictment or information. Mixon asserts the legislature is not authorized to contravene the constitution for the limited purpose of a statute of limitations. He asserts the constitution’s reference to “the criminal process” does not include a prosecution or its equivalent and that its reference to a “preliminary examination” is the proceeding to determine the state has probable cause to proceed before the defendant is required to plead guilty. Mixon argues it is only at this latter point that a prosecution begins, which in his case was in October 2011, after the three-year statute of limitations expired. He contends that the plain language and the effect of section 556.036.5 contravenes the constitution.

SC92230_State_brief.pdfSC92230_Mixon_brief.pdfSC92230_State_reply_brief.pdf



SC92450
State of Missouri v. Jeffrey D. Anderson
Greene County
Constitutional validity of a statute

Listen to the oral argument: SC92450.mp3
The state was represented during arguments by Evan J. Buchheim of the attorney general's office in Jefferson City, and Anderson was represented by Alexa I. Pearson of the public defender's office in Columbia.

In February 2011, the state filed a complaint charging Jeffrey Anderson with the felonies of burglary and stealing for breaking a window, entering a business and stealing cash and checks in March 2008 in Springfield. Anderson was served with the arrest warrant in March 2011. The state filed an information charging Anderson in May 2011. Anderson filed to dismiss the case, arguing that section 536.036.5, RSMo, was unconstitutional on the basis that it conflicted with article I, section 17 of the Missouri Constitution and that the charges were filed after the three-year statute of limitations had expired. The statutory subsection provides that a “prosecution is commenced” for a felony “when the complaint or indictment is filed.” The constitutional provision provides that “no person may be prosecuted” for a felony “otherwise than by indictment or information” and that this provision “shall not be applied … to prevent arrests and preliminary examination in any criminal case.”. The circuit court held the subsection five unconstitutional, finding the filing of a complaint to initiate proceedings does not “commence prosecution” in the manner required by the constitution,and dismissed the case with prejudice (without leave to refile). The state appeals.

The state argues the circuit court erred in finding subsection five of section 556.036, unconstitutional. It contends subsection five, which merely defines when a prosecution begins, does not clearly violate the provisions of article I, section 17 of the Missouri Constitution, which states that an indictment or information must begin a prosecution. The state asserts subsection five merely identifies the triggering effect that determines when the statute of limitations begins to run. It argues the legislature is empowered to determine a statute of limitation’s length and triggering or tolling events. The state contends Anderson’s case should not have been dismissed because the three-year statute of limitations in section 556.036 began to run the day after the offense was committed and was tolled (stopped) by the filing of a complaint or indictment. It asserts that here, the statute of limitations began to run the day after Anderson committed the offense in March 2008 and was tolled when the felony complaint was filed in February 2011 – within the three-year time limit..

Anderson responds the trial court properly found section 556.036.5 unconstitutional and properly dismissed the case against him. He argues the plain language of subsection five directly conflicts with article I, section 17 of the Missouri Constitution because it authorizes prosecutions to be commenced by complaint. Anderson contends the constitution only allows prosecution of a felony by an information or an indictment. He asserts he is entitled to certain substantive rights, which are available only once prosecution commences and a felony charge is filed against him, which in this case was in March 2011, after the three-year statute of limitations expired. Anderson argues a complaint is not a criminal charge and does not commence prosecution. He contends the prosecution did not commence until the information was filed, and that was after the statute of limitations had run. Anderson asserts the circuit court’s finding that subsection five is unconstitutional and dismissal of the case with prejudice should be upheld.


SC92450_State_brief.pdfSC92450_Anderson_brief.pdfSC92450_State_reply_brief.pdf




SC92101
Terrance L. Anderson v. State of Missouri
Cape Girardeau
Post-conviction relief in death penalty case

Listen to the oral argument: SC92101.mp3
Anderson was represented during arguments by William J. Swift of the public defender's office in Columbia, and the state was represented by Daniel N. McPherson of the attorney general's office in Jefferson City.

Terrance Anderson was charged with two counts of first-degree murder for the July 1997 shooting deaths of his daughter’s grandparents in CITY. During the sentencing phase of the trial, Anderson submitted evidence submitted of his good character, while the state presented evidence that, shortly before the murders, the mother of Anderson’s daughter obtained an order of protection against him relating to allegations of physical abuse. Anderson was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to one life sentence and one death sentence. This Court reversed the judgment and remanded (sent back) the case for a new sentencing-phase trial. Anderson v. State, 196S.W.3d 28 (Mo.banc 2006). During the sentencing retrial, Anderson was represented by two assistant public defenders, who were assisted by a mitigation specialist. Anderson again was sentenced to death for one of the murder convictions. On appeal, this Court affirmed the sentence. State v. Anderson, 306S.W.3d 529 (Mo.banc 2010). Anderson then sought post-conviction relief. Evidence presented at the post-conviction relief hearing focused on potential abuse by Anderson’s stepfather and possible mental defects caused by the abuse. The judge at the hearing stated he had a conversation with the foreperson of the jury after Anderson’s first trial regarding mental health evidence presented at trial. The judge also presented a magazine article to Anderson’s counsel regarding one of Anderson’s expert witnesses. Anderson asked the judge to disqualify himself. The judge overruled the motion ,and the circuit court ultimately overruled Anderson’s motion for post-conviction relief. Anderson appeals.

Anderson argues the circuit court erred in overruling his motion for relief. He contends his constitutional rights to due process, freedom from cruel and unusual punishment, and a full and fair hearing were violated because the trial judge could not consider his mental health claims fairly. Anderson asserts the judge was unable to be fair because, after the first trial, he spoke to the jury foreman, who made statements discrediting the mental health evidence that had been presented. He argues the judge also showed he could not be fair when he handed Anderson’s counsel at the post-conviction relief hearing an irrelevant magazine article regarding Anderson’s expert witness. Anderson contends his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to call several witnesses to testify regarding his stepfather’s abusive behavior. He asserts trial counsel also was ineffective for failing to call several witnesses to testify that he suffered from a psychotic depression with paranoia and delusions along with impaired intellectual functioning. Anderson argues counsel also should have called several witnesses to testify regarding his disoriented and distressed mental state before and after the murders. He contends the evidence provided in the witnesses’ testimony would have lessened his moral culpability and supported a life sentence instead of death. Anderson asserts his trial counsel should have objected to the prosecutor asking one witness if another witness was lying. He argues trial counsel should have objected to the court’s admission of a protection order and related factual allegations because Anderson was not present at the proceeding at which the order was issued to challenge the allegations. Anderson contends the protective order prejudiced him by casting doubt on his testimony that he did not physically abuse his daughter’s mother. He asserts trial counsel should have advised him he should not testify. Anderson argues trial counsel should have challenged his sentence as disproportionate under section 565.035.3, RSMo.

The state responds that the judge correctly overruled Anderson’s motions for post-conviction relief and to disqualify. It argues that the record shows the circuit court reached its judgment in the post-conviction relief proceeding without bias, based on the law and facts and not on communications with the jury foreman. The state contends the judge’s presentation of the article to Anderson’s counsel in the post-conviction relief proceeding was an innocent action that was unrelated to the case. The state asserts Anderson’s trial counsel used valid trial strategy in not presenting evidence of Anderson’s stepfather’s abuse, his mental health and his mental state at the time of the murders. It argues that two of the witnesses Anderson proposed resisted trial counsel’s efforts to contact and interview them and that counsel cannot be found ineffective in this instance. The state contends Anderson has failed to show that trial counsel was ineffective for not objecting to the prosecutor’s cross-examination because the questions did not affect the jury’s decision. It asserts trial counsel was not ineffective for not objecting to admission of the protection order because the order was admissible and Anderson failed to show he was prejudiced by its admission. The state argues counsel was not ineffective for recommending that Anderson testify. It contends that counsel advised Anderson of the pros and cons of testifying and that Anderson failed to show he would have not have testified had counsel advised against it. The state asserts counsel was not ineffective for failing to challenge Anderson’s sentence as disproportionate because this Court conducted its independent proportionality review according to section 565.035.

SC92101_Anderson_brief.pdfSC92101_State_brief.pdfSC92101_Anderson_reply_brief.pdf

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