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State v. Marquis

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, First Division

October 28, 2014


Page 312

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Platte County, Missouri. The Honorable Abe Shafer IV, Judge.

Adam Stephen Rowley, Jefferson City, MO Counsel for Respondent.

K, Louis Caskey, Stephanie Marie Burton, Kansas City, MO Counsel for Appellant.

Before Division One Joseph M. Ellis PJ., Karen King Mitchell, Anthony Rex Gabbert, JJ. All concur.


Anthony Rex Gabbert, J.

Page 313

James L. Marquis appeals the circuit court's judgment finding him guilty of three counts of possession of child pornography, one count of child abuse, and one count of endangering the welfare of a child. Marquis raises three points on appeal. First, Marquis argues that the circuit court erred in overruling his motion for a JNOV or for a new trial because there was insufficient evidence on the record to support the convictions. Second, Marquis argues that the court erred by allowing the State, over his objections, to repeatedly introduce unduly prejudicial evidence. Lastly, Marquis argues that the court erred in allowing the State to proceed in the prosecution of the class B felony of possession of child pornography because it was beyond the applicable statute of limitations. We affirm.

Page 314

Factual Background

In December 2009, L.M. played with Marquis's video games. When Marquis found out, he grabbed her arm and threw her across the room. He hit her in the face with the Playstation, spanked her, and made her stand in the corner. Marquis took away all of L.M.'s personal items, including her books, posters, pictures, and diary.

During L.M.'s Christmas break from school, she was forced to stand in the corner from when she woke up in the morning until she went to bed at night. She was allowed to leave the corner to eat, perform chores, and use the bathroom. L.M. was given a limited time to both complete the chores and eat. Marquis drilled a hole in L.M.'s door frame and placed a video camera so that he could monitor L.M. while she stood in the corner of her room.

Upon returning from break, L.M. was called to the office at her school for skipping a class. L.M. informed the school administrator that she was scared to go home. The administrator made a report to the child abuse and neglect hotline. An investigator with the Children's Division responded to the report and interviewed L.M. about why she was scared to return home. L.M. told the investigator that she was spanked with a belt and that sometimes it left marks. L.M. also told the investigator that she stands in the corner of her room and is videotaped by a camera that is mounted on the inside of her doorframe. L.M. reported to the investigator that she would run away if she had to go home. Marquis and his wife came to the school later that day and spoke with the investigator about L.M.'s concerns about returning home. Marquis and his wife agreed to let L.M. temporarily stay at a teen shelter until L.M.'s safety could be assessed.

The investigator went to Marquis's home to assess the safety of L.M. While at the home, the investigator viewed some videotape of L.M. standing in the corner on a computer screen played by Marquis. The investigator viewed the bedroom where she observed the camera mounted on the doorframe and facing the corner of the room where L.M. would stand.

Six days later, Marquis and his wife removed L.M. from the teen shelter. While L.M. still had to stand in the corner, L.M. was now allowed to sit while reading and doing homework. L.M. did not have to ask to leave the corner to use the restroom but still had a time limit on when she ate. L.M. continued to receive private visits from the Children's Division on Tuesdays, during which time she informed the worker that she feared Marquis was going to kill her if she did not get out of the home.

In response to L.M.'s allegations, Detective Al Devalkenaere interviewed L.M. Based on the fact that the police department had information that the punishment was captured digitally on a computer, the Detective applied for and was issued a search warrant to search Marquis's home. The items seized, among other things, included ten computers, twenty one hard drives, and three external hard drives. The computers and hard drives were later transferred to the Heartland Regional Computer Forensic Lab where they were examined by John Grant. Several weeks later, Grant contacted Detective Devalkenaere confirming that he had found numerous videos of L.M. Grant also found images of what he believed to be child pornography on at least one of the computers. ...

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