Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Fourth Division
from the Circuit Court of Warren County 15BB-CR00391-01
Honorable Michael S. Wright
M. Gaertner, Jr, Judge.
Stufflebean (Defendant) appeals the judgment entered upon his
conviction for felony driving while revoked or suspended.
This case turns on how much evidence the State must produce
in order to prove that a defendant is criminally negligent
with respect to knowledge that the State had revoked or
suspended his or her driving privileges. While criminal
negligence is a very low standard, this standard still
requires the State to produce some evidence of a
defendant's mental state to convict a defendant of
driving while revoked or suspended. Because the State failed
to produce sufficient evidence of Defendant's mental
state to convict Defendant, we must reverse.
October 29, 2014, at about 4:00 p.m., Officer Robby Ryan
(Officer Ryan) was driving in a parking lot, where he
observed Defendant driving a car. Officer Ryan was not on
duty at the time, but he recognized Defendant and believed
Defendant's driver's license was suspended. Officer
Ryan called the Warren County Police Dispatch and asked them
to check the license plate number on the vehicle Defendant
was driving and to confirm Defendant's driving status.
The Warren County Police Dispatcher confirmed that
Defendant's license was suspended. Because Officer Ryan
was off-duty at that time, he called and informed another
officer of what he had observed rather than making a traffic
State charged Defendant as a prior and persistent offender
with one count of driving while revoked or suspended, a class
D felony based on Defendant's prior convictions for
driving while revoked or suspended. At trial, the State
presented Officer Ryan's testimony as well as a certified
copy of Defendant's driving record from the Department of
Revenue (State's Exhibit 15), showing two separate
"Child Support Enforcement Suspensions." These
entries became effective on October 4, 2014, and October 5,
2014, respectively, and the driving record showed both
suspensions were still active on October 29, 2014, when
Officer Ryan observed Defendant driving.
jury found Defendant guilty of driving while revoked or
suspended, and the trial court sentenced Defendant to a term
of three years' imprisonment. This appeal follows.
sole point on appeal is that the trial court erred in
entering judgment against him because the evidence was
insufficient from which the jury could find that he acted
with criminal negligence with respect to the knowledge of the
fact that the Department of Revenue had suspended his driving
privileges. We agree.
review of challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence
requires us to determine "whether, in light of the
evidence most favorable to the State, any rational
fact-finder could have found the essential elements of the
crime beyond a reasonable doubt." State v.
Nash, 339 S.W.3d 500, 509 (Mo. banc 2011) (quoting
State v. Batemam 318 S.W.3d 681, 687 (Mo. banc
2010)) (internal quotations omitted). We do not re-weigh the
evidence, but "give great deference to the trier of
fact." Nash, 339 S.W.3d at 509 (quoting
State v. Chanev, 967 S.W.2d 47, 52 (Mo. banc 1998)).
At the same time, we "may not supply missing evidence,
or give the State the benefit of unreasonable, speculative or
forced inferences." State v. Whalen. 49 S.W.3d
181, 184 (Mo. banc 2001) (internal quotation and alteration
Section 302.321.1, RSMo. (Supp. 2011), required the jury to
find that Defendant "act[ed] with criminal negligence
with respect to knowledge of the fact that [his] driving
privilege ha[d] been cancelled, suspended, or revoked."
Section 562.016.5, RSMo. (2000) states the following:
A person "acts with criminal negligence" . . . when
he or she fails to be aware of a substantial and
unjustifiable risk that circumstances exist or a result will
follow, and such failure constitutes a gross deviation from
the standard of care which a reasonable person would exercise
in the situation.
argues that the only evidence of his suspension in this case
was his driving record, that there was no evidence that he
had any knowledge that his driving privileges had been
suspended by the Children's Division, and that the State
failed to produce evidence that he was ...