Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, First Division
RODNEY A. WILLIAMS, Appellant,
STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent.
from the Circuit Court of St. Louis County, Honorable Steven
H. Goldman Judge.
S. ODENWALD Judge.
A. Williams ("Williams") appeals from the judgment
of the motion court denying his Rule 24.035 motion for
post-conviction relief without an evidentiary hearing.
Because Williams absconded custody for approximately two
years, we dismiss the appeal pursuant to the escape rule.
and Procedural History
State charged Williams with one count of second-degree
burglary and one count of stealing $500 or more. The State
subsequently dismissed the burglary charge, and Williams
entered into a blind guilty plea for the amended charge of
receiving stolen property. The plea court released Williams
and continued sentencing so that Williams could complete
school. The plea court set sentencing for July 15, 2013.
15, 2013, Williams did not appear at the sentencing hearing
on time. The plea court issued a capias warrant.
Shortly thereafter, Williams arrived at the sentencing
hearing, but left the courtroom when he saw "them
locking people up." Police arrested Williams two years
later in Louisiana and extradited him to Missouri.
then filed a Rule 29.07(d) motion to withdraw his guilty
plea. Williams attempted to justify his two year absence-he
asserted that he took care of his mother and wife until they
died, completed school, was "productive, ... [and]
stayed out of trouble." The plea court denied the motion
to withdraw Williams's guilty plea, and sentenced
Williams to six years in prison.
filed for post-conviction relief, alleging that he improperly
entered into the blind guilty plea due to ineffective
assistance of counsel. Specifically, Williams claimed that
plea counsel ineffectively advised Williams that if he
entered into a blind guilty plea, the plea court would likely
sentence him to probation or less time in prison. In
addition, Williams asserted that his plea counsel only met
with him once, did not go over the police reports with him,
and did not counsel him about his chances of success at
trial. The motion court denied Williams's Rule 24.035
motion on the merits, without an evidentiary hearing.
Williams now appeals.
raises a single point on appeal: the motion court clearly
erred in denying, without an evidentiary hearing, his Rule
24.035 motion claiming that plea counsel was ineffective.
Williams contends that plea counsel failed to provide
accurate and meaningful advice regarding the amended charge
and potential consequences of the blind guilty plea.
we discuss the merits of Williams's appeal, we address
the State's argument that we apply the escape rule to
this case. The State maintains that under Missouri precedent
in Nichols v. State, 131 S.W.3d 863, 865 (Mo. App.
E.D. 2004), and State v. Troupe, 891 S.W.2d 808, 811
(Mo. banc 1995), Williams committed a willful escape from
justice by absconding for two years. Further, the State
contends that because the capias warrant for
Williams remained outstanding for approximately two years,
the criminal justice system was necessarily adversely
escape rule is a judicially-created doctrine that operates to
deny the right of appeal to a criminal defendant who escapes
justice.'" Parsons v. State, 383 S.W.3d 71,
73 (Mo. App. E.D. 2012) (quoting Crawle ...