Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, Second Division
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF PHELPS COUNTY Honorable William E.
WILLIAM W. FRANCIS, JR., J.
Crider ("Crider"), appeals the judgment of the
motion court denying his Rule 29.15motion to set aside his
conviction for statutory sodomy in the first degree, for
which he was sentenced to 30 years in prison. In one point,
Crider asserts the motion court clearly erred in denying his
Rule 29.15 motion because trial counsel was ineffective for
failing to notify the trial court of juror nondisclosure
prior to the hearing on Crider's motion for new trial.
Because the motion court's decision to deny the
post-conviction motion was not clearly erroneous, we affirm.
and Procedural History
reciting the facts of this matter, we view the evidence in
the light most favorable to the motion court's judgment.
Day v. State, 495 S.W.3d 773, 774 (Mo.App. S.D.
sexually abused a 13-year-old girl ("Victim"),
nearly every day from April 2004 to May 2005. In early
December 2004, T.D., a friend of Victim's sister,
witnessed Crider sexually assault Victim. T.D. later reported
the incident and the police were contacted. T.D. gave a
statement to police about the incident in May 2005.
was charged with the unclassified felony of statutory sodomy
in the first degree. See § 566.062, RSMo
2000. A jury trial was held on January 21, 2009.
voir dire, the prosecutor asked whether anyone on
the panel was "familiar with [T.D.]?" The
prosecutor indicated that her last name had changed, and gave
the new last name to the panel. No members of the panel
State put on the testimony of Victim and T.D. in its case in
chief, and both described Crider's sexual abuse of
Victim. Crider did not testify or put on any evidence. The
jury found Crider guilty of first-degree statutory sodomy.
February 3, 2009, Crider called trial counsel and indicated
that the jury foreperson, Juror D.B., knew T.D.'s father.
Crider gave trial counsel the names of two former employees
of Juror D.B., and said they would know more about the
relationship between Juror D.B. and T.D.'s father. Trial
counsel passed those names to the defense investigator, who
interviewed both former employees.
interviews yielded the following information: Juror D.B.
"might have been in the area" when the two former
employees discussed newspaper accounts of Crider's
arrest; that T.D.'s father had some appliances repaired
by Juror D.B.'s business; and that T.D.'s father and
Juror D.B. had "typical interaction[s] that you have
[in] running a business."
February 9, 2009, defense investigator contacted Juror D.B.
Juror D.B. came to trial counsel's office. He was
"upset" because he "felt that he had performed
his duties as a juror, and, in fact, went against the other
jurors who wanted to convict [Crider] just based on his
appearance[.]" Juror D.B. had opposed that and
"wanted [the other jurors] to look at the facts"
of the case. T.D.'s last name was different from her
father's, and Juror D.B. did not deduce that T.D. and her
father were related until sometime during the trial.
D.B. said he had fired the two former employees in question
because they had smoked "pot" in his place of
business. In contrast, Crider said the two former employees
were friends, and Juror D.B. had fired them both after one of
them had missed too much work. Trial counsel evaluated this
information and believed that "either way, they appeared
to be disgruntled employees, or it may have affected their
credibility and believability with what they were telling me,
which was already just general information, not specific
information." The investigation did not indicate that
Juror D.B. and T.D.'s father had discussed the case, or
that Juror D.B. knew anything more than general knowledge
about the case. There was no information to indicate that
Juror D.B. "had any kind of relationship with [T.D.]
prior to trial[.]"
conclusion of the week-long investigation, trial counsel
spoke with the district defender about the investigation and