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August 31, 1993


Appeal from the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis. Honorable Daniel T. Tillman.

William H. Crandall, Jr., Presiding Judge James R. Reinhard, Judge and Robert E. Crist, Judge: Concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Crandall

Defendant, Eric Chandler, appeals from judgments of conviction, after a jury trial, of two counts of assault in the first degree, two counts of armed criminal action, and one count of tampering in the second degree. He was sentenced as a class X offender to imprisonment for a total of twenty-five years. He also appeals from the denial of his Rule 29.15 motion after an evidentiary hearing. We affirm the judgments of conviction; we dismiss defendant's appeal from the denial of his Rule 29.15 motion.

Defendant does not challenge the sufficiency of the evidence. The evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to dhdH01A 2'n suspending Petitioner's license is unsupported by competent and substantial evidence that Petitioner was convicted in the State of Georgia for any offense, and the DOR is ordered to re-instate petitioner's drivers license and to erase from his record the assessment of points.

The Director of Revenue appeals from this order.

The director's only point on appeal contends the court erred in setting aside the suspension action taken by the director because the action was proper becanvolving the St. Louis Housing Authority security guards. During the course of this pursuit, defendant was shot in the left arm by one of the guards. Defendant's gun was recovered in a nearby trash can.

On appeal, defendant first contends the trial court erred in denying his objection, pursuant to Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79, 106 S.Ct. 1712, 90 L.Ed. 69 (1986), to the state's use of six peremptory strikes to remove black venirepersons from the jury panel.

"Once a party has established a prima facie case under Batson, the other party must give race-neutral reasons for the challenged peremptory strikes . . . To be sufficient the explanation need only be race-neutral, reasonably specific and clear, and related to the particular case to be tried." State v. Parker, 836 S.W.2d 930, 934 (Mo. banc 1992), cert. denied, 113 S.Ct. 636 (1992). Once the state has offered sufficient race-neutral explanations for the strikes, the defendant must then show that the state's proffered reasons were merely pretextual and that the strikes were racially motivated. Id. at 939.

Trial Judges are vested with considerable discretion in determining whether the defendant established purposeful discrimination. State v. Parker, 836 S.W.2d at 934. Much of their determination turns upon evaluation of intangibles such as credibility and demeanor. Id. The trial court's determination regarding purposeful discrimination is a finding of fact that will not be overturned on appeal unless clearly erroneous. Id. at 939, n.7; State v. Antwine, 743 S.W.2d 51, 66 (Mo. banc 1987), cert. denied, 486 U.S. 1017 (1988).

Here, defendant timely made his Batson challenge, and the trial court exacted explanations from the prosecutor for the challenged peremptory strikes. An experienced trial Judge found the prosecutor's explanations to be valid and race-neutral. We defer to the trial court's assessment of the prosecutor's credibility and his explanations for striking the venirepersons. State v. Hudson, 822 S.W.2d 477, 481 (Mo. App. 1991). Defendant's first point is denied.

Next, defendant claims the trial court erred in allowing the state to impeach one of its own witnesses with prior inconsistent statements.

During direct examination, the state's witness denied that he knew anything about the incident involving the defendant. He did not recall telling the police that he had been shot at during the incident. He denied identifying the person that had fired the shots.

To impeach this testimony, the state offered the testimony of the police officer who took the statement of the witness the morning of the incident. This testimony disclosed that the witness had voluntarily arrived at the site of defendant's capture and had informed the police officer that he had been shot at two times. This testimony also revealed that the witness had identified the defendant as his assailant.

The state offered the statement given to the police officer as substantive evidence pursuant to ยง 491.074, ...

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