Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Ballard v. State

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Second Division

August 30, 2016

ISLA BALLARD, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis Cause No. 1422-CC09507 Honorable Philip D. Heagney

          Colleen Dolan, Judge.

         I. Introduction

         Isla Ballard, ("Movant"), appeals the denial of his amended Rule 24.035 motion for post-conviction relief without an evidentiary hearing. In his first point, Movant contends the motion court erred because he pled facts establishing ineffective assistance of counsel in that his counsel had an actual conflict by accepting legal fees from a complaining witness in the underlying case, and plea counsel coerced Movant into pleading guilty by stating he could not afford to go to trial. In his second point, Movant alleges plea counsel was ineffective in that he failed to adequately advise Movant, and failed to sufficiently investigate the case as instructed by Movant. For both points, Movant claims he would not have pleaded guilty had plea counsel been effective and plea counsel's deficiencies rendered Movant's guilty plea unknowing, unintelligent and involuntary. We affirm the motion court's decision.

         II. Factual and Procedural Background

         On July 28, 2008, Movant entered a guilty plea to twelve counts, one count of class B felony kidnapping, four counts of class C felony domestic assault in the second degree, and seven counts of class A misdemeanor domestic assault in the third degree. At the plea hearing, Movant waived a sentencing assessment report, and was sentenced by the motion court to 15 years for each of the five felony counts, the sentences to run concurrently, and to one year for the seven misdemeanor counts, with credit for time served. The court suspended the execution of the felony sentences and granted Movant supervised probation.

         a. Plea Hearing

         At his plea hearing, defense counsel, Cleveland Tyson, stated, "pursuant to the extensive conversations with the Court and the State and my client, my client is (sic) authorized me to withdraw his former pleas of not guilty and enter pleas of guilty on all twelve counts." Movant had a separate criminal charge of domestic assault in the third degree against the same victim pending in another division of the St. Louis City Circuit Court in which Movant was represented by the Public Defender's Office. Movant testified it was his intent to also plead guilty to that charge after pleading in the present case.

         The State advised Movant and the motion court of the range of punishment for each of the offenses. Therefore, Movant was advised he was facing up to 90 years or life. The court asked Movant if he understood the range of punishment and whether his attorney had discussed it with him, and Movant answered affirmatively. Additionally, the court extensively questioned Movant about his constitutional right to trial, reviewing his rights and the work Mr. Tyson had done for him. An excerpt of the plea colloquy demonstrates the thoroughness of the motion court:

THE COURT: Okay. I'm gonna focus on what Mr. Tyson has done for you or not done for you. He's been your lawyer from the time he took over up til now, is that correct?
A. Yes.
THE COURT: Have you had enough time to talk to Mr. Tyson about all aspects of your case before making the decision to plead guilty?
A. Yes.
THE COURT: Did you tell Mr. Tyson everything you know about the facts and circumstances surrounding these twelve charges against you?
A. Yes.
THE COURT: Do you have any witnesses that you want Mr. Tyson to interview for you or to bring to Court for you, if you go to trial?
A. If I go to trial?
THE COURT: Yeah.
A. I'm pleading guilty, right?
THE COURT: You are. But you have the choice of going to trial.
A. Oh, okay.
THE COURT: And before you make your final decision about what you want to do, you might have witnesses that you want Mr. Tyson to check on for you to see if they would be strong witnesses or weak witnesses or somewhere in between. Do you have any people like that that you want Mr. Tyson to check on for you or bring--- bring to trial if you go to trial?
A. No.
THE COURT: Has Mr. Tyson answered your questions and done the things you've asked him to do?
A. Yes.
THE COURT: Are you satisfied with the work he's done and the answers ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.