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Doe v. Missouri State Highway Patrol Criminal Records Repository

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Second Division

August 18, 2015

JOHN DOE, Plaintiff/Respondent,
v.
MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL CRIMINAL RECORDS REPOSITORY, Appellant, and CITY OF UNIVERSITY CITY, ET AL, Defendants

Page 172

Appeal from the Circuit Court of St. Louis County. Honorable Maura B. McShane.

FOR APPELLANT: Katharine A. Dolin, Gregory M. Goodwin -- Co-Counsel, Assistant Attorney General, Jefferson City, Missouri.

FOR RESPONDENT: Michael B. Murphy, Clayton, Missouri.

Philip M. Hess, Presiding Judge. Gary M. Gaertner, Jr., J. and Angela T. Quigless, J. concur.

OPINION

Philip M. Hess, P.J.

Page 173

Introduction

The Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) appeals the trial court's Judgment and Order of Expungement of Arrest Records in favor of John Doe. On appeal, MSHP argues that the trial court erred in granting Doe's petition for expungement because Doe did not prove the elements entitling him to expungement under the statute and Doe was otherwise barred from seeking expungement under the doctrine of issue preclusion. We affirm.

Factual Background

In April 2014, Doe filed a petition for expungement of arrest records pursuant to § 610.122.[1] Doe's petition alleged he had been arrested on three counts of third-degree assault. MSHP filed its answer and motion to dismiss. MSHP argued

Page 174

that Doe was not eligible to have his arrest record expunged. Specifically, MSHP argued that Doe could not prove that the arrest was based on false information or that there was no probable cause to believe he committed the offense because Doe pleaded guilty to " an offense stemming from the arrest now sought to be expunged." MSHP also contended that Doe could not prove that he was " actually innocent."

At the expungement hearing, Doe testified that he and his younger brother were driving in University City in 2008. Doe was driving the car, and " before [he] knew what had happened," his younger brother leaned out the window and, using an air gun,[2] shot a man walking down the street. Doe testified that he did not shoot anyone and that, to his knowledge, his younger brother gave a statement to the police that he was the one who shot the air gun. Doe indicated he did not know that his brother had the air gun until he shot it. Doe testified that he believed the police tracked his license plate number to connect him and his brother to the incident. Doe recalled that he was arrested for a weapons violation, as well as three counts of assault. One count of assault arose from the air gun incident; the two other counts arose from an incident that Doe's younger brother was involved in previously. Doe testified that he was not with his brother at the time of the other incident.

The weapons violation was amended to illegal parking on a residential street, to which Doe pleaded guilty. The three assault charges were nolle prosequi.[3] Doe's trial counsel clarified that Doe sought to have the arrest records for the three counts of assault expunged. MSHP did not present any evidence at the hearing. The trial court granted Doe's request to expunge the record of his arrests. The court found that the arrests were based on false information and that there ...


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