Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, First Division
LEONARD K. STRICKLAND, Appellant,
STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent.
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF LAFAYETTE COUNTY, MISSOURI THE
HONORABLE DENNIS A. ROLF, JUDGE
Gary D. Witt, Presiding Judge, Alok Ahuja, Judge and Edward
R. Ardini, Jr., Judge.
R. ARDINI, JR., JUDGE.
K. Strickland ("Strickland") appeals the denial of
his motion for post-conviction relief under Rule 24.035 by
the Circuit Court of Lafayette County. Because the
motion court failed to adjudicate all claims raised in the
motion, the appeal is dismissed for want of a final judgment.
and Procedural Background
November 4, 2013, Strickland entered guilty pleas in separate
cases each involving a single felony charge of driving while
revoked or suspended. These guilty pleas were the product of
an agreement reached with the State under which Strickland
would be sentenced to seven years' imprisonment for each
offense, to run consecutive to each other, with execution of
the sentences suspended and Strickland placed on five years
of supervised probation. The court accepted Strickland's
pleas in both cases and imposed sentences consistent with the
February of 2014, Strickland was again charged by felony
complaint with driving while revoked or suspended and
subsequently failed to appear for his initial court
appearance in this case. The State thereafter obtained an
indictment on the felony driving while revoked or suspended
charge and added an additional count of felony failure to
appear. The State also filed applications to revoke
Strickland's probation from his 2013 cases. On November
17, 2014, Strickland appeared before the same court that had
accepted his guilty pleas a year earlier and entered open
guilty pleas on the two new felony charges. In addition,
Strickland admitted to violating the conditions of his 2013
probation. The court accepted Strickland's pleas and
admissions and ordered a sentencing assessment report.
December 15, 2014, the court addressed Strickland's
probation status and imposed sentence in the pending felony
cases. With regard to the 2013 matters, the court revoked
Strickland's probation and executed on the consecutive
seven-year sentences. As to the 2014 charges, the court
sentenced Strickland to seven years on both the driving while
revoked or suspended and failure to appear offenses, with the
sentences ordered to run concurrent with each other but
consecutive to the sentences in the 2013 cases.
filed a pro se motion for post-conviction relief
pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 24.035 regarding all three
cases. The court appointed him counsel who timely filed an
amended motion. As required by local court rule, appointed
counsel filed the amended motion by uploading it through the
court's electronic filing system. In addition to raising
three claims for relief in the body, the amended motion
specifically incorporated the claims from the pro se
motion and noted that those claims were being "filed as
an attachment to the electronic filing this [sic] Amended
Motion." Contemporaneous with the filing of the
amended motion, Strickland's counsel electronically filed
an attachment labeled "attachment of movant's
pro se claims." On June 9, 2016, the motion
court issued findings of fact and conclusions of law denying
Strickland's motion without an evidentiary hearing. As to
the three claims for relief raised in the body of the amended
motion, the motion court denied each claim individually. With
regard to the claims incorporated from the pro se
motion, the motion court set forth no ruling but rather
stated that "[t]his Court does not find any pro se
claims attached to the Motion and thus has no pro se claims
to review in this motion." This appeal follows.
review of the denial of a post-conviction motion is limited
to a determination of whether the findings of fact and
conclusions of law of the motion court are clearly
erroneous." DePriest v. State, 510 S.W.3d 331,
337 (Mo. banc 2017) (quoting Moss v. State, 10
S.W.3d 508, 511 (Mo. banc 2000)). "A judgment is clearly
erroneous when, in light of the entire record, the court is
left with the definite and firm impression that a mistake has
been made." Davis v. State, 486 S.W.3d 898, 905
(Mo. banc 2016) (quoting Swallow v. State, 398
S.W.3d 1, 3 (Mo. banc 2013)). We presume the motion
court's findings are correct and defer to it on all
matters of credibility. Id.
final judgment is a prerequisite to appellate review."
Ndegwa v. KSSO, LLC, 371 S.W.3d 798, 801 (Mo. banc
2012). "A final judgment disposes of all issues as to
all parties, leaving nothing for future determination."
Brooks v. State, 242 S.W.3d 705, 708 (Mo. banc
2008). If the motion court's "judgment [is] not a
final judgment, then the appeal must be dismissed."
Ndegwa, 371 S.W.3d at 801.
does not challenge the merits of the motion court's
ruling as to any of the claims set forth in the body of his
amended motion. Rather, his sole point on appeal contends
that the motion court erred in failing to adjudicate his
pro se claims that he asserts were properly
incorporated into his amended motion. The State does not
contest that Strickland's pro se claims were
properly pleaded or that the motion court failed to dispose
of all claims, and both parties maintain that the motion
court's failure to rule on each of Strickland's
claims renders this appeal premature for lack of a final
judgment. However, the parties' consonance does not
dictate the disposition of this ...