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Langhans v. State

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Fourth Division

October 18, 2016

CASEY LANGHANS, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Jefferson County Honorable Nathan B. Stewart

          KURT S. ODENWALD, JUDGE

         Introduction

         Casey Langhans ("Langhans") appeals from the judgment of the motion court denying his amended Rule 24.035[1] motion for post-conviction relief without an evidentiary hearing. In his sole point on appeal, Langhans argues that the motion court clearly erred in denying him an evidentiary hearing, in that the record did not conclusively refute his ineffective assistance of counsel claim. Because Langhans did not file his initial pro se Rule 24.035 motion within 180 days of his first delivery to the Missouri Department of Corrections, his amended Rule 24.035 motion was untimely and therefore barred. Accordingly, we vacate the judgment of the motion court and remand the cause to the motion court with directions to enter an order dismissing Langhans's amended Rule 24.035 motion as untimely.

         Factual and Procedural History

         The State charged Langhans with one count of second-degree robbery ("Count I") and with one count of second-degree assault ("Count II")- Langhans pled guilty to both counts under a plea agreement. The plea agreement provided that, in exchange for Langhans's guilty plea, the State would recommend ten years' imprisonment for Count I with no objection to sentencing pursuant to Section 559.115.[2] Under Section 559.115, the circuit court could release Langhans on probation after his successful completion of a 120-day treatment program with the Missouri Department of Corrections. For Count II, the plea agreement recommended a consecutive five-year prison sentence, but with the execution of the sentence suspended.

         After a plea hearing, the circuit court accepted Langhans's guilty plea on both counts. The circuit court sentenced Langhans pursuant to the plea agreement and applied Section 559.115 to Count I's sentence. On or about June 17, 2013, Langhans was delivered to the Missouri Department of Corrections to complete the 120-day treatment program for the sentence on Count I. Langhans successfully completed the 120-day treatment program, resulting in his release from custody and the circuit court ordered supervised probation for the sentence on Count I.

         Within a year of Langhans's release from prison, the State sought revocation of his probation based on purported violations to the terms of his probation. At the resulting probation revocation hearing, the circuit court revoked Langhans's probation and ordered the execution of the sentences on both Count I and Count II. As a result, Langhans was delivered to the Missouri Department of Corrections on November 7, 2014.

         On February 9, 2015, Langhans filed a pro se motion for post-conviction relief asserting ineffective assistance of counsel. After amendment, Langhans's Rule 24.035 motion alleged that his counsel was ineffective in that plea counsel failed to communicate to him the recommendation of Langhans's father on the plea agreement. Specifically, Langhans argued that because he had difficulty communicating with plea counsel and comprehending the proceedings in his case, he needed his father's assistance in order to facilitate his ability to render a voluntary guilty plea. Langhans avers that plea counsel did not inform him of his father's recommendation to reject the plea agreement and that plea counsel led him to believe that his father instead approved of the plea agreement. Consequently, Langhans insists that, but for plea counsel's ineffectiveness, he would have rejected the plea agreement based on his father's recommendation and assistance in understanding his case.

         After addressing the merits of the motion and finding that the record conclusively refuted Langhans's contentions, the motion court denied Langhans's amended Rule 24.035 motion in its entirety without an evidentiary hearing. This appeal follows.

         Points on Appeal

         In his sole point on appeal, Langhans asserts that the motion court clearly erred in denying his ineffective assistance of counsel claim without an evidentiary hearing, in that the record did not conclusively refute his contention that plea counsel failed to inform him of his father's recommendation to reject the plea agreement.

         Discussion

         Before reaching the merits of Langhans's amended Rule 24.035 motion, we must first address the timeliness of the motion. Pettry v. State, 345 S.W.3d 335, 337 (Mo. App. E.D. 2011). Langhans maintains that his amended Rule 24.035 motion was timely for his conviction on Count II as he filed his initial pro se motion on February 9, 2015--within 180 days of his November 2014 delivery to the Missouri Department of Corrections for his sentence on Count II. In contrast, the State argues that Langhans's delivery to the Missouri Department of Corrections in June of 2013 for the 120-day treatment program on Count I's sentence initiated the 180-day period in which Langhans could timely file a Rule 24.035 motion on any sentence within the multi-count ...


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