Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Second Division
from the Circuit Court of St. Charles County 1511-CC00863
Honorable Ted House, Judge
P. Page, Presiding Judge
Branch ("Movant") appeals from the denial of his
Rule 24.035 motion for post-conviction relief, contending he
was forced to plead guilty because Plea Counsel (I) failed to
file a motion for a speedy trial, and (II) failed to raise a
defense that the weapon used in the robbery could not be
traced back to Movant. We affirm.
12, 2014, Movant and his co-defendant lured a pregnant friend
("Victim") to their car in order to steal $120 from
her. When Victim entered the vehicle, Movant pointed a silver
revolver at her, demanded that she turn over her money, and
then forced her from the vehicle. After Victim called 911,
the police tracked Movant to the basement of a house, where
they discovered Movant hiding in a storage closet along with
a silver revolver.
a recorded interview while in custody, Movant confessed he
had used a gun to rob Victim. Movant also spoke to an
interviewer with the Missouri Department of Children's
Services,  where he again confessed his involvement
in the armed robbery with a gun. Movant was charged as a
prior felony offender with one count of first-degree robbery,
in violation of Section 569.020,  and one count armed criminal
action, in violation of Section 571.015.
the State offered Movant a plea bargain of twenty years'
imprisonment, but Movant informed his attorney ("Plea
Counsel") that his goal was to obtain a more favorable
plea. To that end, in September, Plea Counsel acquired a
change of judge in order to avoid the prosecutor assigned to
that particular division. The State thereafter offered Movant
sixteen years, and Movant told Plea Counsel he would accept
twelve. Movant's trial was set for February 17, 2015.
February 11, 2015, Movant sent a letter directly to the trial
court, which read:
I, [Movant] is herby [sic] asking the courts to grant me a
conference hearing with the Honorable Judge Ted House, The
District Attorney, as well as My Attorney. I know with this
conference hearing that I would be able to resolve this legal
matter in a timely manner without costing the county of St.
Charles for a trial [sic].
trial date was continued twice, and was ultimately docketed
for a June 23 trial.
pleaded guilty on June 6, 2015. At the plea hearing, Movant
stated that he wished to waive his right to a jury trial and
plead guilty, that no promises or threats had been made to
induce his plea, and that he had "a lot" of time to
consult with and discuss his case with Plea Counsel. The
trial court accepted Movant's plea, found no probable
cause to believe Plea Counsel was ineffective, and sentenced
Movant to eleven years' imprisonment.
October 9, 2015, Movant filed his Rule 24.035 pro se
motion for post-conviction relief. Counsel was appointed on
October 19, and the transcripts were filed in the underlying
criminal cause (1411-CR03496-01) on November 6. Movant's
amended motion was filed January 5, 2016. After an
evidentiary hearing on Movant's amended motion, the
motion court denied Movant's request for relief.