Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Third Division
from the Circuit Court of St. Francois County Honorable Sandy
VAN AMBURG, JUDGE.
Bearden appeals from the judgment of the circuit court
denying, without an evidentiary hearing, his motion for
post-conviction relief after a guilty plea, pursuant to Rule
24.035. We reverse and remand for an evidentiary hearing.
2013, Movant appeared before the plea court as one of six
unrelated defendants in ten separate cases disposed in a
"group plea" procedure. All defendants were
represented simultaneously by the same public defender. The
court began by explaining that the purpose of the group
procedure was to save time; to that end, the court
would pose questions to the group and "move straight
down the line" for their responses and, when necessary,
would speak to each defendant individually regarding his or
her particular case. Movant was fourth in line. The court
asked counsel and each defendant if anyone objected to the
procedure, and they all replied no.
with group questions, the court first conducted an inquiry
whether the defendants were satisfied with their
attorney's services. Twelve questions on this topic were
followed by consecutive responses of yes or no, unanimously.
Q: Has your attorney done all the things that you have
requested him to do for you in your case?
A1: Yes, sir.
A2: Yes, Your Honor.
A4: Yes, Your Honor.
A5: Yes, Your Honor.
A6: Yes, Your Honor.
court's subsequent inquiry, comprised of thirteen
questions as to the defendants' understanding of their
right to a jury trial and the consequences of the waiver of
that right, proceeded in the same fashion.
Q: Do you understand that you have a right to have a jury
determine your guilt or innocence of the charges against you