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Johnson v. State

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Second Division

September 12, 2017

TYLER O. JOHNSON, Appellant/Movant,
v.
STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cape Girardeau County Honorable Benjamin F. Lewis

          Philip M. Hess, Judge

         Introduction

         Tyler Johnson (Movant) appeals from the judgment of the circuit court of Cape Girardeau County denying his Rule 24.035[1] motions for post-conviction relief without an evidentiary hearing. In his sole point on Appeal, Movant argues that the motion court clearly erred in denying his motions because he pleaded facts, unrefuted by the record, that his counsel induced his guilty plea by incorrectly promising him that the sentencing court would impose a sentence of no more than 120-days of drug treatment under § 559.115. Movant further asserts that the sentencing court's failure to conduct a Rule 29.07(b)(4) inquiry requires this Court to remand for an evidentiary hearing. Finding no error, we affirm.

         Factual Background

         On September 27, 2014, Movant robbed a man in his home. During the robbery, Movant threatened the man with a gun and forcibly stole his cash and credit cards. On September 28, 2014, Movant entered a Dollar General in Cape Girardeau in the early morning hours. Movant flourished a gun at one of the store's workers and demanded money, which he received.

         Movant was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree robbery, one count of kidnapping, one count of second-degree assault, and four counts of armed criminal action.[2] In November 2015, Movant pleaded guilty pursuant to a plea bargain he entered into with the State. As part of the plea bargain, Movant agreed to plead guilty to his two robbery charges, with the State dismissing all non-robbery charges and agreeing to a fifteen-year cap on his sentences with each sentence to run concurrently. Movant's two petitions to plead guilty specified that he understood the range of punishments he could receive were ten to thirty years' imprisonment or life, but that that the State was agreeing to recommend a 15-year sentence. The petitions also stated that

[i]f anyone else made any promises or suggestions, except as noted in the previous sentences, I know that he had no authority to do it. I know that the sentence I will receive is solely a matter within the control of the Judge . . . . I am prepared to accept any punishment permitted by law . . . .

Movant signed each page of his petitions to plead guilty.

         The plea court conducted a hearing, during which it questioned Movant about his knowledge of his rights and the voluntariness of his plea. During the hearing, the following exchange took place:

[Plea Court]: Has anybody promised you anything other than the plea agreement to get you to plead guilty?
[Movant]: No, sir.
[Plea Court]: Has anybody threatened you or threatened anyone you care about to get you to plead guilty?
[Movant]: No, sir.
[Plea Court]: Has anybody told you that anything to do with these cases is a secret and you're not supposed to ...

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