Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Second Division
from the Circuit Court of Marion County - Hannibal Cause No.
13MR-CR00533 Honorable Rachel L. Bringer-Shepherd
Colleen Dolan, Judge.
an interlocutory appeal in which the State of Missouri
("the State") appeals the trial court's order
granting Jeffrey Nichols's ("Defendant's")
motion to suppress his statements made during a police
interview. In the underlying criminal case, Defendant was
charged with one count of first-degree murder, three counts
of first-degree assault, one count of second-degree assault,
four counts of first-degree robbery, two counts of
first-degree burglary, one count of second-degree burglary,
two counts of first-degree tampering, one count of stealing,
one count of knowing burning or exploding, and three counts
of armed criminal action. We reverse the grant of
Defendant's motion to suppress and remand for further
we discuss the background and merits of the State's
appeal, we will address Defendant's contention that
jurisdiction lies in the Supreme Court of Missouri and this
appeal should be dismissed. Jurisdiction is proper in this
Court. "The court of appeals shall have general
appellate jurisdiction in all cases except those within the
exclusive jurisdiction of the supreme court." Mo. Const.
art. V, § 3. Therefore, any appeal not reserved for the
Supreme Court of Missouri lies properly in the Missouri Court
of Appeals. Defendant argues that jurisdiction lies in the
Supreme Court of Missouri under § 547.200.3, RSMo since
this case "involve[s] first degree murder and capital
murder." We disagree.
547.200.3 references two statutes (§§ 565.001 and
565.003) that were repealed and replaced, effective July 1,
1984. RSMo. Cum. Supp. 1983. The State argues that once these
statutes were repealed their references in § 547.200.3
no longer intended to confer jurisdiction to the Supreme
Court. We agree. Moreover, even if the statute intended to
confer original appellate jurisdiction to the Supreme Court
of Missouri, it would not have authority to do so. Mo. Const.
art. V, § 3 controls the Supreme Court's
jurisdiction, and it cannot be enlarged or diminished by a
statute. See Cochran v. State, 835 S.W.2d 954, 955
(Mo. App. W.D. 1992).
Mo. Const. art. V, § 3, the Supreme Court has exclusive
appellate jurisdiction over, inter alia, "all
cases where the punishment imposed is death." Although,
this case involves a charge of first-degree murder, "the
punishment of death [has] not been imposed, and might never
be imposed." Cochran, 835 S.W.2d at 956.
Accordingly, the Supreme Court of Missouri does not have
exclusive jurisdiction over this interlocutory appeal, and
therefore, our Court has appellate jurisdiction. See
Mo. Const. art. V, § 3. Based on the foregoing,
Defendant's request for dismissal is denied.
Factual and Procedural Background
April 1, 2013, Detective Tracy Whearty and Detective Mark
Arnsperger of the Moberly Police Department interviewed
Defendant in an interview room at the Moberly Police
Department about several crimes that occurred on or about
March 31, 2013. The record contains a transcript and video of
it. Before the interview began, the detectives read
Miranda warnings to Defendant, then Defendant
signed and initialed a Rights of Persons form to confirm he
understood the warnings. Shortly thereafter, Defendant began
answering the detectives' questions about the series of
crimes. Defendant admitted that he had stolen a knife, and he
drew a picture of it for the detectives. Shortly after
drawing the picture, the Defendant stated that he wanted a
lawyer present before proceeding with the interview. Here is
the pertinent part of the conversation between Detective
Arnsperger and Defendant:
Det. Arnsperger: All right. Where did that
knife come from?
Defendant: From Wal-Mart.
Det. Arnsperger: I mean what section out at
Defendant: The sporting goods aisle.
Honestly, from this point on, I want a lawyer present.
Det. Arnsperger: Okay. Well, you're
getting charged with murder.
Defendant: Who, me?
Det. Arnsperger: Yeah, you.
Defendant: Just me?
Det. Arnsperger: Yeah.
Defendant: That's crazy.