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Strosnider v. Colonel Ronald Replogle

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District

November 9, 2016

RICKY LEE STROSNIDER, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
COLONEL RONALD REPLOGLE, Missouri State Highway Patrol Superintendent, Defendant-Respondent, and RANDY MARTIN, Crawford County Sheriff's Department, and J. KENT HOWALD, Crawford County Prosecutor, Defendants-Respondents.

         APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF CRAWFORD COUNTY Honorable Kelly W. Parker

         AFFIRMED

          DON E. BURRELL, J. - OPINION AUTHOR.

         Ricky Lee Strosnider ("Plaintiff") appeals the judgment denying his petition for declaratory judgment seeking to have his name removed from the Missouri sex offender registry. See section 589.400.[1] Plaintiff's sole point on appeal claims "[t]he trial court erred as a matter of law . . . because [Plaintiff] did not knowingly fail to comply with the sex offender registration requirements of § 589.400." Finding no merit in the claim, we affirm.

         Applicable Principles of Review and Governing Law

Although the trial court denied [Plaintiff's] declaratory judgment and issued a judgment in favor of the Respondents, we review this case under the same standard as if the declaratory judgment was ordered. This court reviews a declaratory judgment under the standard applicable to other court-tried cases. We affirm the trial court's judgment regarding issues of fact unless there is no substantial evidence to support it, it is against the weight of the evidence, or it erroneously declares or applies the law. We review questions of law de novo.

Andresen v. Bd. of Regents of Mo. W. State Coll., 58 S.W.3d 581, 585 (Mo. App. W.D. 2001) (footnotes omitted).

         At the time of Plaintiff's guilty plea, a person required to register on the sexual offender registry ("the registry") had to do so "within ten days of . . . placement upon probation" after being convicted of a qualifying sexual offense. Section 589.400.1 and .2.[2] Unless certain exceptions apply, registration is a life-long requirement. Section 589.400.1, .2 and .3. One exception is for a registrant who "petition[s] the court for removal or exemption from the registry under subsection . . . 8 of this section and the court orders the removal . . . of such person from the registry." Section 589.400.3(4).

         Section 589.400.8 provides that someone on the registry

having pled guilty . . . to an offense included under subsection 1 of this section may file a petition after two years have passed from the date the offender . . . pled guilty . . . in the civil division of the circuit court in the county in which the offender . . . pled guilty . . . to the offense . . . for removal of his or her name from the registry if such person was nineteen years of age or younger and the victim was thirteen years of age or older at the time of the offense and no physical force or threat of physical force was used in the commission of the offense[.]

         After the petition is filed, "[t]he court may grant such relief under subsection . . . 8 of this section if such person demonstrates to the court that he or she has complied with the provisions of this section and is not a current or potential threat to public safety." Section 589.400.9(1). A person whose name is removed from the registry based upon subsection 8 "shall no longer be required to fulfill the registration requirements . . . unless such person is required to register for committing another offense after being removed from the registry." Section 589.400.11.

         Evidentiary and Procedural Background

         Plaintiff testified at the hearing on his petition in October 2015. No exhibits or other testimony was presented. Plaintiff's testimony was as follows.

         In February 2006, Plaintiff pleaded guilty to child molestation in the second degree ("the offense"), a misdemeanor, and he was ordered to complete a period of probation. See section 566.068, RSMo 2000. The victim was 15 at the time ...


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