Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, First Division
DANIAL M. RINEHAKT, Appellant,
STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent.
from the Circuit Court of Cass County The Honorable William
B. Collins, Judge
Before: Anthony Rex Gabbert, P.J., and Thomas H. Newton and
Alok Ahuja, JJ.
Rinehart was convicted in the Circuit Court of Cass County of
felony murder in the second degree, child endangerment in the
first degree, statutory rape in the second degree, two counts
of incest, and two counts of abandonment of a corpse. The
charges stemmed from Rinehart's long-standing sexual
relationship with one of his daughters, which produced four
children, three of whom died without receiving medical care.
Rinehart's convictions were affirmed by this Court on
November 13, 2012. State v. Rinehart, 383 S.W.3d 95
(Mo. App. W.D. 2012). Our mandate issued on December 5, 2012.
filed a pro se motion for post-conviction relief
under Supreme Court Rule 29.15 on March 7, 2013. Counsel was
appointed and an amended motion was filed on June 17, 2013.
After an evidentiary hearing, the circuit court denied the
motion on the merits on April 30, 2015. Rinehart appeals.
State argues that Rinehart's initial pro se
post-conviction relief motion was untimely, and that the
circuit court therefore had no authority to address the
merits of Rinehart's post-conviction claims. We agree.
In a motion filed pursuant to Rule 29.15, the movant must
allege facts showing a basis for relief to entitle the movant
to an evidentiary hearing. The movant also must allege facts
establishing that the motion is timely filed. The movant then
must prove his allegations. Rule 29.15(i); Rule 24.035(i)
("The movant has the burden of proving the movant's
claims for relief by a preponderance of the evidence.").
In addition to proving his substantive claims, the movant
must show he filed his motion within the time limits provided
in the Rules. The movant must allege facts showing he timely
filed his motion and meet his burden of proof by either: (1)
timely filing the original pro se motion so that the
time stamp on the file reflects that it is within the time
limits proscribed in the Rule; (2) alleging and proving by a
preponderance of the evidence in his motion that he falls
within a recognized exception to the time limits; or (3)
alleging and proving by a preponderance of the evidence in
his amended motion that the court misfiled the motion.
Dorris v. State, 360 S.W.3d 260, 267 (Mo. banc 2012)
State did not argue in the circuit court that Rinehart's
motion was untimely, and the circuit court did not address
the issue. Nevertheless, Dorris held that "[i]t
is the court's duty to enforce the mandatory time limits
and the resulting complete waiver in the post-conviction
rules - even if the State does not raise the issue."
Id. at 268.
the issuance of our mandate on December 5, 2012,
Rinehart's initial pro se Rule 29.15 motion was
due no later than Tuesday, March 5, 2013. Rule 29.15(b). The
file stamp on Rinehart's original motion is dated March
7, 2013, however.
acknowledges in his Reply Brief that the motion appears to be
untimely based on the time stamp affixed by the circuit
court. He argues, however, that we should remand the case to
the circuit court to determine whether or not his motion was
timely. Rinehart contends that the timeliness of his motion
"is not completely clear from the record, " based
on three circumstances: (1) the fact that the trial court
proceeded to address the merits of Rinehart's
post-conviction claims without questioning the timeliness of
his initial motion; (2) the fact that the copy of the motion
sent to the Public Defender's office on March 18, 2013,
did not bear a file stamp; and (3) the fact that
Rinehart's signature on the motion was notarized on
February 27, 2013.
Rinehart's pro se motion, nor his amended
motion, alleged facts to demonstrate that his initial motion
was timely, or that he fell within one of the exceptions to
the time limits recognized in Dorris. Even assuming
that Rinehart could allege such facts for the first time on
appeal, none of the circumstances described in Rinehart's
Reply Brief establishes a colorable basis to find that his
pro se motion was timely, or that the untimeliness
of the motion should be excused. First, although the
circuit court addressed Rinehart's post-conviction claims
on the merits, the court simply did not consider the
timeliness of Rinehart's initial pro se motion
(presumably because the State did not raise the issue). The
circuit court's merits disposition does not constitute an
implicit finding that Rinehart's initial motion was
timely filed; indeed, the circuit court's order
explicitly finds that Rinehart filed his original motion on
March 7, 2013 - two days late. Second, the lack of a
file stamp on the copy of Rinehart's motion provided to
the Public Defender likewise tells us nothing concerning the
accuracy of the file stamp on the original motion retained in
the court file. Finally, the fact that Rinehart may
have executed the pro se motion on February 27,
2013, without more, does not tend to prove when he actually
dispatched the motion to the circuit court, much less when
the court received it (or how the court processed the motion
upon receipt). None of the circumstances discussed in
Rinehart's Reply Brief justifies a remand to the circuit
Rinehart's pro se motion was untimely, "the
motion court lacked authority to review the merits of [his]
claim and should have dismissed the motion as untimely."
Dudley v. State,459 S.W.3d 499, 502 (Mo. App. W.D.
2015); accord, Green v. State,481 S.W.3d 589,
591-92 (Mo. App. S.D. 2015); Lenoir v. State, 475
S.W.3d 139, 142 (Mo. App. E.D. 2014). We accordingly vacate