Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, Second Division
STATE OF MISSOURI ex rel. CRYSTAL BOLLINGER, Relator,
THE HONORABLE SCOTT L. BERNSTEIN, Respondent.
WRIT OF PROHIBITION MADE PERMANENT
E. SCOTT, J.
consider whether the trial court, sua sponte and
without stating grounds, could set aside a judgment and
sentence rendered after Crystal Bollinger's voluntary
was cited for careless and imprudent driving involving an
accident, a class A misdemeanor (§ 304.012). That ticket
was received by and filed with the court. Bollinger was
arraigned, entered a guilty plea that was accepted, was
sentenced to pay a fine and costs, and a written record was
made of the judgment and sentence. She set up a payment plan
and a traffic disposition record was sent to the Department
of Revenue and to the Highway Patrol.
that day, by order on its own motion and without stating
grounds, the court set aside the guilty plea and sentence,
directing Bollinger to appear for further proceedings.
months later, in denying Bollinger's motion to reinstate
the plea and sentence, the court first suggested of record
any reasons for its prior actions:
Court finds no prejudice to defendant in the "same
day" 9/19/14 set aside of the guilty plea. Specifically,
defendant has not paid the fine. In addition, the State had
not filed an Information and therefore there was no
jurisdiction for the plea, and the plea was not on the record
as required by case law.
petitioned this court for a writ of prohibition. We issued a
preliminary writ and directed Respondent to answer.
Respondent admitted all of the writ petition's factual
and procedural allegations.
judgment in a criminal prosecution becomes final when the
trial court enters a sentence. Entry occurs when a written
record is made. Once a trial court enters a sentence
consistent with the law, the trial court exhausts its
authority." State ex rel. Moore v. Brown, 270
S.W.3d 447, 449 (Mo.App. 2008) (citations omitted). "The
trial court cannot take further action in that case unless a
statute or rule provides the court with authority to do
29.13(a) allows a criminal judgment to be set aside within 30
days of entry if the court "specif[ies] of record"
that either the facts stated in the indictment or
information did not constitute an offense or the
court lacked jurisdiction of the offense charged. Respondent
waited 16 months to suggest of record the latter of these,
then abandoned that theory in its answer to Bollinger's
has chosen not to file a brief, which leaves us to weigh
Bollinger's arguments without benefit of
counter-argument. State ex rel. Old Dominion Freight
Line, Inc. v. Dally, 369 S.W.3d 773, 776 n.4 (Mo.App.
2012). As in Old Dominion, we
have only Respondent's answer to the writ petition, which
asserts only that Bollinger has a remedy by appeal if she is
tried and ...