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Mitchell v. State

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Second Division

August 26, 2014

MICKEY H. MITCHELL, Movant/Appellant,
v.
STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent

Appeal from the St. Louis County Circuit Court. Honorable Michael T. Jamison.

FOR APPELLANT: Maleaner R. Harvey, Public Defender's Office, St. Louis, Missouri.

FOR RESPONDENT: Todd T. Smith, Assistant Attorney General, Jefferson City, Missouri.

Philip M. Hess, Judge. Sherri B. Sullivan, P.J. and Mary K. Hoff, J. concur.

OPINION

Page 821

Philip M. Hess, Judge.

Introduction

Mickey H. Mitchell (Movant) appeals the motion court's denial, without an evidentiary hearing, of his Rule 24.035 amended motion for post-conviction relief. In his sole point relied on, Movant contends that the motion court erred by denying his motion without an evidentiary hearing because counsel pressured him into entering his guilty plea, thereby rendering his plea involuntary, and that, but for counsel's deficient performance, Movant would not have pleaded guilty but would have proceeded to trial. We affirm.

Factual Background

In December 2003, Movant had deviate sexual intercourse with an eight-year-old victim. Once the victim disclosed the abuse, police contacted Movant and Movant, after receiving his Miranda [1] rights, confessed to the sexual contact. Movant was indicted in April 2010 and, in May 2011, Movant entered a blind plea of guilty to first-degree statutory sodomy.[2] The circuit court accepted the plea and, at a later hearing, sentenced Movant to 15 years' imprisonment in the Department of Corrections.

In August 2011, Movant filed a pro se Rule 24.035 motion seeking post-conviction relief. Subsequently, appointed counsel filed an amended motion alleging that defense counsel's performance was " ineffective for pressuring [Movant] to enter a plea of guilty even though [Movant] wanted to proceed to trial to prove his innocence" and that " [b]ut for counsel's ineffectiveness,

Page 822

[Movant] would not have entered a plea of guilty, but would have insisted on going to trial." The motion court denied the motion without an evidentiary hearing, finding that " the record clearly refutes Movant's claim that he was pressured into pleading guilty . . . ." This appeal followed.

Standard of Review

We review the denial of a Rule 24.035 post-conviction motion to determine whether the findings of fact and conclusions of law of the motion court are clearly erroneous. Rule 24.035(k). Findings and conclusions are clearly erroneous if, after a review of the entire record, we are left with the definite and firm impression that ...


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