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Suber v. State

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Second Division

March 21, 2017

CARLOS A. SUBER, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of St. Louis County Cause No. 15SL-CC02426 Honorable Michael T. Jamison.

          OPINION

          Colleen Dolan, Judge.

         I. Introduction

         Carlos A. Suber ("Movant") appeals the motion court's denial of his Rule 24.035 motion for post-conviction relief and request for an evidentiary hearing arguing the motion court was without jurisdiction to revoke his probation under § 559.036.8, because his probationary period had ended.[1] The motion court found that it had the authority to revoke Movant's probation because it had manifested an intent to do so during the term of Movant's probation, put Movant on notice of this intent, and made every reasonable effort to conduct the revocation hearing prior to the end of his probation. The court found that Movant had not shown he was entitled to relief, and had not pled unrefuted facts which if true would show he was entitled to relief, and denied his request for an evidentiary hearing. We affirm.

         II. Factual and Procedural Background

         On January 14, 2010, Movant pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree assault, two Class A felonies and one Class B felony, in violation of § 565.050.[2] The court sentenced him to three concurrent terms of ten years, then suspended the execution of the sentences and placed Movant on probation for five years. Movant was given 180 days to pay court costs from the date of his sentencing. On January 12, 2012, Movant's probation was suspended and a capias warrant was issued for his arrest following possible probation violations. On March 16, 2012, Movant waived his probation violation hearing and admitted to violating the law. The court continued Movant on probation. On November 7, 2012, Movant was confined on a probation officer's warrant based on Movant's violations of conditions of his probation.[3] No capias order suspending Movant's probation for these alleged violations was issued by the court. However, on November 13, 2012, the court set Movant's bond at $100, 000.00 and scheduled a revocation hearing for January 23, 2012.

         Between January 23, 2012 and June 10, 2015, Movant's probation revocation hearing was continued or re-scheduled at the request of the parties 12 times. This was based on the parties' mutual desire to resolve Movant's new charges prior to holding a revocation hearing. The majority of requests for continuances were "respectfully submitted" by Movant's counsel and Movant did not object when the continuances were requested by the State. These new charges were ultimately dropped when the State's key witness could not be located for trial. On June 10, 2015, the court held a probation revocation hearing and revoked Movant's probation on June 11, 2015, finding Movant violated three conditions of his probation (association with a convicted felon, failure to pay court costs, and failure to pay intervention fees).[4] On July 2, 2015, Movant timely filed his pro se Rule 24.035 motion. Counsel was appointed on July 28, 2015, and given an additional 30 days to file an amended motion. The court clerk filed the guilty plea, sentencing, and probation revocation hearing transcripts on July 22, August 31, and October 29, 2015, respectively. On October 20, 2015, motion counsel timely filed an amended motion for post-conviction relief. Rule 24.035(g).[5]

         On May 23, 2016, the motion court entered its order and judgment denying Movant's Rule 24.035 motion without an evidentiary hearing. The court found it had manifested an intent to conduct a probation revocation hearing and notified Movant of that intent. Although the court never formally suspended Movant's probation, the court stated that scheduling a revocation hearing prior to the expiration of Movant's probationary term put Movant on notice of the court's intent. Additionally, the court found it made every reasonable effort to hold the hearing before the probationary term ended, and the court would have held the hearing prior to the expiration of the probation term but for Movant's requests and/or consent to numerous continuances. On June 30, 2016, Movant filed a timely notice of appeal to this Court.

         III. Standard of Review

         This Court reviews the denial of a Rule 24.035 motion using a "clearly erroneous" standard. Routt v. State, 493 S.W.3d 904, 910 (Mo. App. E.D. 2016); Rule 24.035(k). "Findings and conclusions are clearly erroneous if, after a review of the entire record, we are left with the definite and firm impression that a mistake has been made." Routt, 493 S.W.3d at 910. A movant is entitled to an evidentiary hearing only when: (1) the movant pleads facts, not conclusions, which if true would warrant relief; (2) the facts alleged are not refuted by the record; and (3) the matters at issue resulted in prejudice to the movant. Id.; see also State v. Coates, 939 S.W.2d 912, 914 (Mo. banc 1997). Furthermore, "[a] movant is not entitled to an evidentiary hearing if the motion and files of the case conclusively show [he] is not entitled to relief." Routt, 493 S.W.3d at 910-11 (citing Rule 24.035(h)); see also Coates, 939 S.W.2d at 914.

         IV. Discussion

         Movant claims on appeal that the motion court clearly erred in denying his motion for post-conviction relief because the court lacked statutory authority to revoke his probation and execute the previously-imposed sentences. Movant alleges this is because the revocation occurred after his probation had expired. Movant claims that the court did not make every reasonable effort to conduct the revocation hearing within the probationary period as required by § 559.036.8.

         The court's power to revoke a defendant's probation is governed by § 559.036, which states a term of probation begins the day that it is imposed. § 559.036.1. See also State ex rel. Strauser v. Martinez, 416 S.W.3d 798, 801 (Mo. banc 2014). The court's authority to revoke a defendant's probation if he or she violates its terms generally only extends until the end of the probation term. § 559.036.8; Strauser, 416 S.W.3d at 801. However, § 559.036.8 permits a court to extend this authority under certain limited conditions.

The power of the court to revoke probation shall extend for the duration of the term of probation designated by the court and for any further period which is reasonably necessary for the adjudication of matters arising before its expiration, provided that some affirmative manifestation of an intent to conduct a revocation hearing occurs prior to the expiration of the period and that every reasonable effort is ...

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