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J.L. v. Lancaster

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Second Division

January 27, 2015

J.L., Respondent,
v.
MARC LANCASTER, Appellant

APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF JACKSON COUNTY, MISSOURI. THE HONORABLE MARGARET L. SAUER, JUDGE.

Jacqueline Lancaster, Respondent, Pro-se.

Marc Lancaster, Appellant, Pro-se.

Before Division Two: Joseph M. Ellis, Presiding Judge, Victor C. Howard, Judge and Mark D. Pfeiffer, Judge. All concur.

OPINION

VICTOR C. HOWARD, JUDGE.

Page 349

Marc Lancaster appeals the trial court's judgment granting J.L. a full order of protection. Because of Lancaster's failure to substantially comply with the requirements of Rules 84.04 and 81.12, J.L.'s motion

Page 350

to dismiss the appeal is granted. The appeal is dismissed.

Lancaster appears pro se. Pro se appellants are held to the same standards as attorneys. Duncan-Anderson v. Duncan, 321 S.W.3d 498, 499 (Mo. App. E.D. 2010). " Although we are mindful of the difficulties that a party appearing pro se encounters in complying with the rules of procedure, we must require pro se appellants to comply with these rules." M.H. v. Garcia, 385 S.W.3d 489, 490 (Mo. App. W.D. 2012)(internal quotes and citation omitted). " It is not for lack of sympathy, but rather is necessitated by the requirement of judicial impartiality, judicial economy, and fairness to all parties." Duncan v. Duncan, 320 S.W.3d 725, 726 (Mo. App. E.D. 2010)(internal quotes and citation omitted). Accordingly, pro se appellants must comply with Supreme Court rules, including Rule 84.04 governing appellate briefing and Rule 81.12 concerning the record on appeal. State v. Ricker, 400 S.W.3d 11, 14 (Mo. App. W.D. 2013); Duncan, 321 S.W.3d at 499.

Compliance with the Rule 84.04 briefing requirements is mandatory to ensure that the appellate court does not become an advocate by speculating on facts and arguments that have not been made. Garcia, 385 S.W.3d at 490. Violations of Rule 84.04 are grounds for dismissal of an appeal. Id.

Whether to dismiss an appeal for briefing deficiencies is discretionary. That discretion is generally not exercised unless the deficiency impedes disposition on the merits. It is always our preference to resolve an appeal on the merits of the case rather than to dismiss an appeal for deficiencies in the brief.

Id. (internal quotes and citation omitted).

Lancaster's brief is deficient in many respects. First, Rule 84.04(c) provides that the statement of facts " be a fair and concise statement of the facts relevant to the questions presented for determination without argument." Lancaster's ...


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