Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, Second Division
DONALD W. SANDERS, Movant-Appellant,
STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent-Respondent.
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF BUTLER COUNTY Honorable Paul
McGhee, Senior Judge
WILLIAM W. FRANCIS, JR., J.
W. Sanders ("Sanders"), appeals the judgment of the
motion court, wherein the motion court granted his Rule
24.035 "Motion to Vacate, Set Aside or
Correct the Judgment and Sentence, " and vacated the
judgment and sentence. In one point on appeal, Sanders
asserts the motion court erred in vacating the judgment, and
argues the motion court should have corrected the judgment to
reflect that Sanders instead pled guilty to class A
misdemeanor stealing and was resentenced within the proper
range of punishment. Because Sanders lacks standing, we
dismiss his appeal.
Facts and Procedural History
State charged Sanders with the class C felony of stealing,
based on his theft of property with a value of at least $500.
Sanders entered into a plea agreement, and on August 25,
2015, pled guilty in exchange for the State's
recommendation of a seven-year sentence and dismissal of
charges against Sanders in two other cases. At the hearing,
the trial court questioned Sanders to ensure his guilty plea
was knowing, intelligent, and voluntary. The trial court
accepted Sanders' plea and sentenced him to seven
years' imprisonment. Sanders was delivered to the
Department of Corrections on August 28, 2015.
February 10, 2016, Sanders timely filed apro se
motion pursuant to Rule 24.035. On March 4, 2016, the motion
court appointed counsel to represent Sanders and granted a
thirty-day extension of time to file an amended motion. On
June 1, 2016, the transcript was filed. On August 26, 2016,
appointed counsel timely filed an amended motion, asserting
Sanders was denied due process of law because he "was
convicted of class C felony stealing under Section 570.030.1,
RSMo, which was actually a misdemeanor offense under the
holding in State v. Bazell, [497 S.W.3d 263 (Mo.
banc 2016)], and as a result, [Sanders'] seven-year
sentence exceeded the maximum authorized by law for a
misdemeanor." Sanders further asserted that "[t]he
motion court [was] required under State v. Bazell to
correct [Sanders'] judgment and sentence to reflect a
class A misdemeanor conviction and a one-year sentence."
December 2, 2016, the motion court granted Sanders'
post-conviction motion, reasoning that Bazell
applied retroactively to Sanders' conviction, such that
"the judgment and sentence in the underlying criminal
case should be vacated and set aside."
December 7, 2016, the State dismissed the stealing charge
against Sanders. This appeal followed.
point on appeal, Sanders asserts the motion court erred in
vacating Sanders' judgment and conviction for felony
stealing, in lieu of entering a judgment of conviction and
sentence on the class A misdemeanor stealing.
Court has the independent obligation to verify its own
authority to hear an appeal. First National Bank of
Dieterich v. Pointe Roy ale Property Owners' Association,
Inc., 515 S.W.3d 219, 221 (Mo. banc 2017). In Missouri,
the right to appeal derives exclusively from statute-where an
appellant lacks the right to appeal, we lack authority to
hear the appeal. Id
512.020(5) provides the right to appeal a final
[a]ny party to a suit aggrieved by any judgment of
any trial court in any civil cause from which an appeal is
not prohibited by the constitution, nor clearly limited in
special statutory proceedings, may take his or her appeal to
a court having appellate jurisdiction[.]
§ 512.020 (emphasis added). "As used in §
512.020, 'aggrieved' means suffering from an
infringement or denial of legal rights." Wright v.
Ranhin, 109 S.W.3d 696, 699 (Mo.App. S.D. 2003)
(internal quotation and citation omitted). "A party is
aggrieved by a judgment when the judgment appealed will
operate directly and prejudicially on the party's
personal or property rights or interests with immediate
effect." Tapper v. City of St. Louis, 468
S.W.3d 360, 375 (Mo. Banc 2015). "A party cannot appeal
from a judgment wholly in his favor, one that gives him all
he asks; but he can appeal from a judgment which gives him
only a part of the relief he seeks." Smith v. City
of St. Louis, 395 S.W.3d 20, 27 (Mo. banc 2013)
(internal quotation and citation omitted).
the "legal right" on which Sanders' challenge
rests is Sanders' right to remedy under Rule 24.035(j).
Specifically, where a movant successfully shows the sentence
imposed was illegal, the remedy to which movant is entitled
is that "the [motion] court shall  vacate and set
aside the judgment and shall discharge the movant or
 resentence the movant or  order a new trial
or  ...