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.

Roberts v. State

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Fourth Division

October 25, 2016

BRANDON ROBERTS, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Buchanan County, Missouri The Honorable Daniel F. Kellogg, Judge

          Before: Mark D. Pfeiffer, Chief Judge, Presiding, Victor C. Howard, Judge and Gary D. Witt, Judge

          Gary D. Witt, Judge

         Brandon Roberts ("Roberts") was convicted after trial of one count of felony[1]stealing by deceit, section 570.030, [2] and sentenced as a prior and persistent offender to eight years in prison. Roberts now appeals the denial, after an evidentiary hearing, of his Rule 29.15 amended motion for post-conviction relief by the Circuit Court of Buchanan County. As relevant to his appeal, Roberts argued in his post-conviction motion that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to investigate exculpatory evidence. We affirm.

         Factual Background [3]

         A. Trial

         Roberts was charged and tried for one count of stealing, section 570.030, arising out of his unlawful receipt of certain benefits from the Missouri Department of Social Services, Family Support Division (the "Department"). On August 23, 2010, Roberts completed and submitted an application for benefits with Melissa Smolke ("Smolke"), eligibility specialist with the Department. Based on the information provided, Roberts was deemed eligible to receive food stamps, temporary assistance, Medicaid, and child care for his daughter.

         As part of the application process, Smolke reviewed with Roberts his responsibilities, listed in a packet provided to him, which noted Roberts was required by law to report any changes to address, income or employment, household members, or resources within ten days of any change. Smolke discussed with Roberts that it is illegal to receive benefits to which he is not entitled and that any false claim, statement, or concealment of a material fact could subject him to criminal liability. In addition, in order to be eligible to continue to receive benefits, Roberts had to actively reaffirm his application every six months. Roberts signed the application for benefits under penalty of perjury.

         Linda Hayward ("Hayward") was Roberts's Department caseworker. Beginning in October of 2010, Roberts received temporary assistance benefits of $235 per month and food stamp benefits of $339 per month. These funds were transferred to Roberts's Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card issued by the State of Missouri. Roberts received this amount from October of 2010 through February of 2011, except that in February of 2011 his temporary assistance benefit was reduced to $175 due to Roberts's failure to complete required training.

         On March 8, 2011, Hayward learned from another member of Roberts's household that Roberts was employed. Hayward sent an employment request to Roberts for him to sign and to give to his employer. The employer sent the form back to Hayward with pay stubs showing that Roberts had been employed from October 1, 2010 to the end of February 2011. It was determined that based on the income Roberts earned during this period that he was not eligible for temporary assistance or food stamps from October 2010 to February 2011. Hayward had not received any notification from Roberts regarding his change in employment status prior to being informed by the third-party in March of 2011, despite the notice given to Roberts when he applied for benefits and three subsequent letters sent to him on September 22, 2010, October 20, 2010, and January 11, 2011, reminding him that he must report any changes in employment within ten days of the change.

         At trial, Roberts did not testify or present any evidence. He was convicted of stealing by deceit through the making of false representations to the Department that he was unemployed so that he could obtain benefits, to which he was not entitled, in the form of payments in excess of $500. Roberts was sentenced as a prior and persistent offender to eight years imprisonment to be served consecutively to any other sentences he was serving. This Court affirmed Roberts's conviction in State v. Roberts, 450 S.W.3d 793 (Mo. App. W.D. 2014).

         B. Post-Conviction Proceedings

         Roberts timely filed his Rule 29.15 motion for post-conviction relief that was subsequently amended by counsel. As relevant to his appeal, Roberts claimed that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance for failing to adequately investigate his case. Specifically, Roberts claimed that trial counsel failed to investigate (1) whether Roberts actually reported a household of six rather than a household of two, (2) whether funds were deposited on Roberts's EBT card or his girlfriend's card, and (3) whether Roberts's employment verification form was misfiled in his girlfriend's file at the Department.

         An evidentiary hearing was conducted at which Roberts's trial counsel testified. Roberts provided his own testimony through a deposition. The motion court denied Roberts's claim that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to investigate his case. The motion court found credible the ...


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.