Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Fourth Division
from the Circuit Court of Platte County, Missouri The
Honorable Thomas C. Fincham, Judge
Before: Mark D. Pfeiffer, Chief Judge, Presiding, Victor C.
Howard, Judge and Gary D. Witt, Judge
D. Witt, Judge
Cornelius Moore ("Moore") appeals the judgment of
the Circuit Court of Platte County denying his Rule
29.15 amended motion for post-conviction relief.
Moore was convicted of one count of assault in the first
degree, section 565.050,  and sentenced to fourteen years'
imprisonment. In his amended post-conviction motion for
relief, as relevant to this appeal, Moore argued that his
trial counsel was ineffective for failing to adequately
advise him of the benefits of a jury trial. Following an
evidentiary hearing, the court denied his motion. Moore now
appeals. We affirm.
and Procedural Background
25, 2010, Moore was almost in a vehicular collision with Chad
Pauley ("Pauley") in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Moore
followed Pauley's vehicle to a nearby Payless Shoe store.
Moore exited his vehicle and pounded on the window of
Pauley's vehicle, ordering him to exit. When Pauley
opened his door, Moore punched Pauley multiple times in the
face knocking Pauley to the ground. A security guard
testified that he ordered Moore not to leave the scene as
police were on their way. Moore got back in his vehicle and
State charged Moore with the class A felony of assault in the
first degree. Moore waived his right to a jury trial, and the
court conducted a bench trial. At trial, Pauley testified
that he had permanent damage to the iris of his right eye,
resulting in blurred vision. Moore testified in his own
defense at trial. He alleged that Pauley was the aggressor
and that he only punched Pauley after Pauley attempted to
trial court found Moore guilty of assault in the first
degree, resulting in serious physical injury. It further
found that Moore's version of events and claims of
self-defense were not credible. On August 2, 2012, the trial
court sentenced Moore to fourteen years' imprisonment.
Moore's conviction and sentence were affirmed by this
Court in State v. Moore, 414 S.W.3d 580 (Mo. App.
timely filed a pro se Rule 29.15 motion on March 24,
2014. The court appointed counsel, and an amended motion was
timely filed on June 24, 2014 ("Amended Motion").
The Amended Motion alleged, inter alia, his trial
counsel was ineffective for failing to fully advise him
regarding jury trials and caused him to make an unknowing,
involuntary, and unintelligent waiver of his right to a jury
evidentiary hearing was held on June 11, 2015, at which both
Moore and his trial attorney testified.
17, 2015, the motion court issued its findings of fact and
conclusions of law denying Moore's Amended Motion. Moore
This Court will affirm the judgment of the motion court
unless its findings and conclusions are clearly erroneous.
Rule 29.15(k). The motion court's judgment is clearly
erroneous only if this Court is left with a definite and firm
impression that a mistake has been made. The motion
court's findings are presumed correct. Additionally, a
movant bears the burden of proving the ...