Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, First Division
APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF LAFAYETTE COUNTY. THE HONORABLE DENNIS A. ROLF, JUDGE.
Ellen H. Flottman, Columbia, MO, for appellant.
Todd T. Smith, Jefferson City, MO, for respondent.
BEFORE: MARK D.
PFEIFFER, PRESIDING JUDGE, LISA WHITE HARDWICK AND KAREN KING MITCHELL, JUDGES.
Lisa White Hardwick, Judge
Robert Frantz appeals from the judgment denying his Rule 24.035 motion without
an evidentiary hearing after he pled guilty to money laundering. Frantz contends the motion court clearly erred in denying his post-conviction motion because there was an insufficient factual basis for his plea and defense counsel was ineffective for failing to advise him that the State's evidence would not establish the elements of money laundering. Because there was not a sufficient factual basis for Frantz's guilty plea, we reverse the motion court's judgment and remand the case to the motion court to set aside Frantz's guilty plea and vacate his money laundering conviction and sentence.
Factual And Procedural History
In March 2009, police pulled Frantz over in his car and found " a very small amount" of marijuana and " two large bundles of money held together by green rubber bands" in the vehicle. Frantz admitted to the police that the money was from a sale of drugs that took place in Iowa. He was arrested and charged with the class B felony of money laundering, in violation of Section 574.105(2)(2), RSMo Cum. Supp. 2013. Specifically, the information charged that Frantz committed the crime of money laundering by " conducting a currency transaction with unknown persons with the purpose to conceal and disguise the nature, location, source, ownership and control of the proceeds of felony criminal activity, namely distribution of controlled substances."
Frantz entered a plea of guilty to the charged offense. At the plea hearing, the court read the charge to Frantz, and he agreed that he was guilty of the charge. The court then asked how much money was involved. The prosecutor told the court $3830. There was no discussion of the factual circumstances leading to Frantz's arrest or the charge. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the State recommended, and the court approved, a suspended imposition of sentence and a five-year term of probation. In October 2012, Frantz's probation was revoked, and the court sentenced him to eight years in prison.
Frantz subsequently filed a pro se Rule 24.035 motion for post-conviction relief, which was later amended by appointed counsel. He alleged in his amended motion that there was an insufficient factual basis for his plea because, while there was evidence that he was pulled over and found with money that he admitted was from a drug sale, there were no facts establishing that he conducted a currency transaction with those proceeds with the purpose to conceal and disguise the nature, location, source, ownership, and control of the proceeds. Frantz also alleged that his counsel was ineffective for failing to investigate ...