Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Third Division
from the Circuit Court of Lafayette County, Missouri The
Honorable Dennis A. Rolf, Judge
Anthony Rex Gabbert, Presiding Judge, Victor C. Howard, Judge
and Cynthia L. Martin, Judge
Cynthia L. Martin, Judge
Esparza ("Esparza") appeals from the denial of his
Rule 29.15 motion following an evidentiary hearing. Esparza
argues that the motion court clearly erred in denying his
motion because the sentence imposed by the trial court was in
excess of the maximum sentence authorized by law. In
particular, Esparza asserts that the State failed to meet its
burden to prove that he had been previously convicted of
driving while intoxicated six times in Georgia because the
State failed to comply with the statutory requirements set
forth in section 490.130 for introducing records of judicial
proceedings from other states. We affirm.
and Procedural History
underlying criminal case, the State charged Esparza with one
count of driving while intoxicated in violation of section
577.010. The information alleged that, in addition
to operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of
alcohol on December 5, 2012, Esparza previously had been
convicted seven times of driving while intoxicated in
Georgia. Thus, the information alleged that Esparza was a
chronic offender and subject to an enhanced penalty pursuant
to section 577.023.
prior to trial, the State offered Exhibits 9, 10, 11, 12, 13,
and 14 as evidence of Esparza's six prior convictions for
driving while intoxicated in Georgia.Esparza's counsel stated
that he had "no objection" to Exhibits 9 through
14, and the trial court received them into evidence. The
trial court then stated, "Based on Exhibits 9 through
14, the Court finds the Defendant to be a prior, persistent,
aggravated, and chronic driving while intoxicated
matter then proceeded to trial. Following the presentation of
evidence, the jury found Esparza guilty of driving while
intoxicated, and the trial court later sentenced Esparza to
fifteen years imprisonment in the Department of Corrections.
Esparza appealed, and we affirmed the trial court's
judgment in State v. Esparza, 447 S.W.3d 200 (Mo.
App. W.D. 2014).
filed a timely pro se Rule 29.15 motion. Appointed
counsel timely filed an amended motion. The amended motion
asserted that Esparza was entitled to post-conviction relief,
in relevant part, because: (1) Esparza's sentence
exceeded that allowed by law because the State failed to
prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was a chronic
offender pursuant to section 577.023; and (2) Esparza
received ineffective assistance of counsel because his
counsel failed to object to the inclusion of Exhibits 9
through 14 into evidence. The motion court held an
evidentiary hearing during which Esparza entered Exhibits 9
through 14 into evidence and Esparza's trial counsel
testified. Following an evidentiary hearing, the motion court
issued its findings of fact and conclusions of law denying
the amended motion.
review the motion court's denial of a Rule 29.15 motion
to determine whether the motion court's findings of fact
and conclusions of law are clearly erroneous. Rule 29.15(k).
Findings of fact and conclusions of law are "clearly
erroneous if, after reviewing the entire record, we are left
with 'a definite and firm impression that a mistake has
been made.'" Cothran v. State, 436 S.W.3d
247, 251 (Mo. App. W.D. 2014) (quoting Moore v.
State, 328 S.W.3d 700, 702 (Mo. banc 2010)).
sets forth a single point on appeal. Esparza asserts that the
motion court's denial of his Rule 29.15 motion was
clearly erroneous in that Esparza's sentence was in
excess of the maximum sentence authorized by law. Esparza
claims that Exhibits 9 through 14 did not meet the statutory
requirements set forth in section 490.130 for the entry of
the records of judicial proceedings into evidence. Thus,
according to Esparza, the State ...