Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Fifth Division
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Jefferson County. Honorable Raymond H. Dickhaner.
For Appellant: Erika R. Eliason, Columbia, Mo.
For Respondent: David C. Casey, St. Louis, Mo.
ANGELA T. QUIGLESS, CHIEF JUDGE. Lawrence E. Mooney, J., and Sherri B. Sullivan, J., Concurs.
ANGELA T. QUIGLESS, CHIEF JUDGE
Patrick K. Rudolph (" Defendant" ) appeals from the judgment of the trial court entered after a jury convicted him of two counts of the class A misdemeanor of assault of a corrections officer in the third degree, in violation of section 565.083, RSMo 2000. Specifically, Defendant contends the trial court plainly erred in not sua sponte ordering a mistrial after an alternate juror participated in jury deliberations. We affirm.
I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Viewed in a light most favorable to the judgment, the evidence is as follows: On June 6, 2011, Defendant was brought into the booking area of the Jefferson County Jail. Defendant appeared intoxicated and created a disturbance. An officer approached Defendant, and Defendant pushed him in the chest. Another corrections officer entered the booking area to assist the first officer, and Defendant grabbed his wrist.
Defendant was charged by amended information with two counts of the class A misdemeanor of assault of a corrections officer in the third degree. He was tried by a jury on October 3, 2013. Twelve jurors and an alternate juror heard the evidence. The jury was released to begin deliberations. The alternate juror, however, was not discharged from duty; he accompanied the other twelve jurors to the jury room.
Shortly after deliberations started, the court discovered the alternate juror had not been discharged. At the direction of the court, the alternate was removed from deliberations thirty-three minutes after they began. The court informed both sides that it intended to question the alternate juror about the extent of his involvement in deliberations. The State and Defendant agreed this course of action was acceptable to them.
The alternate juror was brought into court and asked to explain how he was involved in deliberations. He stated he participated as follows: he voted to elect a foreperson; he suggested they obtain reports to clarify whether the correction officers were actually telling the truth when they testified Defendant was intoxicated; and he questioned the ability of the correction officers to recall details twenty-eight months after the incident.
The court confirmed the alternate juror had no additional interactions or communications with the jury. Counsel from both sides were given the opportunity to ...