Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, First Division
from the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri The
Honorable Robert Michael Schieber, Judge
Anthony Rex Gabbert, P.J., Thomas H. Newton, and Alok Ahuja,
ANTHONY REX GABBERT, JUDGE.
Donnell Simms appeals the circuit court's judgment
finding him guilty of one count of domestic assault in the
first degree, armed criminal action, unlawful use of a
weapon, domestic assault in the second degree and assault in
the third degree. Simms raises two points on appeal. In his
first point on appeal, Simms argues that the circuit court
failed to ascertain his waiver of jury trial on the record in
open court as required by both the Missouri and the United
States Constitutions. First, Simms argues that because his
blindness and advanced glaucoma rendered him unable to read
the waiver of the right to a jury trial form which was signed
and presented to the trial court, he did not knowingly,
voluntarily, and intelligently waive his right to a jury
trial. Next, Simms argues that the trial court exceeded its
jurisdiction and violated his due process right to be
notified of his charges by finding him guilty of the class A
felonies of domestic assault in the first degree and armed
criminal action. We affirm.
Simms does not allege that there was insufficient evidence to
support his convictions, it is not necessary to recite the
facts of the offenses here, other than noting that Simms
contended at trial that he acted in self-defense.
12, 2014, Simms was charged, as a prior and persistent
offender, with the following: one felony count of domestic
assault in the first degree, one felony count of armed
criminal action, one felony count of domestic assault in the
second degree, one felony count of unlawful use of a weapon
and one misdemeanor charge of assault in the third degree. On
August 21, 2014, Simm's attorney filed a waiver of right
to jury trial with the court. It read: "[d]efendant has
discussed his Constitutional rights to a jury trial with
counsel and has determined it to be in his best interests to
waive said rights and try to the matter to the Court."
The waiver was signed by both Simms and his attorney.
case was called for bench trial on September 9, 2014. When
the court asked for appearances, defense counsel noted on the
record that Simms was present, appearing in person. The court
then proceeded with the following exchange:
THE COURT: "We are here for a bench trial correct?"
DEFENSE COUNSEL: "Correct, Your Honor."
THE COURT: "Are we ready to proceed?"
DEFENSE COUNSEL: "Yes, Your Honor."
conclusion of the bench trial, Simms was found guilty of all
five counts and subsequently sentenced to eighteen years
imprisonment. Simms appeals.