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Rollins v. State

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Third Division

February 3, 2015

SHANNON J. ROLLINS, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri. The Honorable W. Brent Powell, Judge.

S. Kate Webber, Kansas City, MO, for appellant.

Daniel N. McPherson, Jefferson City, MO, for respondent.

Before Division Three: Victor C. Howard, Presiding Judge, James E. Welsh, Judge and Gary D. Witt, Judge. All concur.

OPINION

Page 381

Gary D. Witt, Judge

Shannon Rollins (" Rollins" ) appeals from the denial of his Rule 29.15[1] motion following an evidentiary hearing. In his sole

Page 382

point on appeal, Rollins argues that his appellate counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to raise an open and obvious claim of error that a reasonably competent attorney would have raised. Specifically, Rollins argues that his appellate counsel failed to raise on direct appeal that Rollins did not unequivocally waive his right to counsel. Rollins argues that, but for his counsel's ineffectiveness, Rollins's direct appeal would have been granted on this basis and he would have received a new trial. Because we agree with the motion court that appellate counsel appropriately chose not to raise a non-meritorious claim and further that Rollins's waiver of right to counsel was unequivocal, we affirm.

Factual and Procedural History[2]

A. Underlying Facts[3]

On the evening of October 18, 2008, officers James Hopper and Warner Stumpenhaus of the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department were patrolling a high crime area of the city. They spotted a white Pontiac van and entered its license plate number into their computer. The computer search revealed two outstanding warrants associated with the van. As soon as the officers saw the warrants, they activated the lights of their patrol car to stop the van. The van pulled over, and the driver and passenger immediately began to exit the vehicle. Out of concern for officer safety, the officers also immediately exited their vehicle. One officer approached the passenger, Rollins, while the other contacted the driver, Rollins's brother, Theron. The officers obtained identifying information from both men and entered the information into the patrol car's computer, which indicated each had outstanding arrest warrants.

After Rollins was placed under arrest, the officers searched him and discovered 5.45 grams of crack cocaine in his front right jacket pocket. Rollins admitted possessing the crack cocaine found in his pocket.

The State charged Rollins with second degree drug trafficking.

B. Pre-Trial Proceedings

The issue of Rollins's waiver of his right to counsel first appeared during a case management hearing on February 16, 2010, before Judge Charles E. Atwell. The court opened the hearing by noting that Rollins had previously expressed a desire to represent himself. In addition to the general discussion of the problems of self-representation, the court also discussed the ...


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