Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Sixth Division, Writ
M. CLAYTON III, PRESIDING JUDGE.
Edwards ("Petitioner") has filed a Petition for a
Writ of Habeas Corpus ("Petition for a Writ of Habeas
Corpus" or "Petition") challenging the
lawfulness of his confinement by Troy Steele, Superintendent
of the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center
("Respondent"). In the Circuit Court of the City of
St. Louis, Petitioner was convicted of capital murder for
killing Sivarh Coleman ("Victim") when Petitioner
was 17 years old. Petitioner was then sentenced to life in
prison without the possibility of parole for 50 years under a
mandatory sentencing scheme in place at the time of his
conviction that precluded consideration of Petitioner's
youth and related circumstances. In his Petition for a Writ
of Habeas Corpus, Petitioner alleges he is being unlawfully
restrained by Respondent because his sentence violates the
Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution pursuant to
precedent from the U.S. Supreme Court and Missouri Supreme
Court. For the reasons discussed below, we grant Petitioner
habeas relief, and we direct the Circuit Court of the City of
St. Louis to resentence Petitioner in accordance with this
January 16, 1980, Petitioner shot Victim after they had an
argument, and Victim died as a result of his injuries.
See State v. Edwards, 637 S.W.2d 27, 28 (Mo. 1982).
At the time of the offense, Petitioner was 17 years old.
Petitioner was charged with capital murder in violation of
565.001 RSMo 1978 (repealed effective October 1, 1984), which
was a crime that could only be punished by death or a life
sentence without the possibility of parole for 50
years.As recently found by the Missouri Supreme
Court, this mandatory sentencing scheme precluded
consideration of an offender's youth and related
circumstances. See State ex rel. Carr v. Wallace,
No. SC93487, 2017 WL 2952314 at *2 n.2, *4 (Mo. banc July 11,
2017) (mandated on Oct. 5, 2017).
case was tried before a jury in the Circuit Court of the City
of St. Louis, and the jury found Petitioner guilty as
charged. Petitioner was then sentenced to "[l]ife
[i]mprisonment without eligibility for probation or parole
until [Petitioner] has served a minimum of  years of his
filed a direct appeal, and the Missouri Supreme Court
affirmed his conviction and sentence. Edwards, 637
S.W.2d at 30. Petitioner then unsuccessfully pursued
collateral attacks on his conviction and sentence in state
and federal court. Thereafter, Petitioner filed a petition
for a writ of habeas corpus in the Circuit Court of St.
Francois County ("the trial court"), the
jurisdiction in which he was serving his sentence. The trial
court denied the petition for a writ of habeas corpus.
Petitioner filed the instant Petition for a Writ of Habeas
Corpus in this Court, along with Suggestions in Support and
Exhibits. In his Petition, Petitioner alleges he is being
unlawfully restrained by Respondent because his sentence
violates the Eighth Amendment pursuant to precedent from the
U.S. Supreme Court and Missouri Supreme Court. Our Court
entered an Order to Show Cause to Respondent, directing him
to file a return stating why the relief prayed for in
Petitioner's Petition should not be granted. Respondent
then filed his Response to Show Cause Order and Return to
Writ. Subsequently, Petitioner timely filed a Reply and
Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings along with Exhibits. We
dispense with further briefing as permitted by Rule
This Court's Authority to Issue a Writ of Habeas Corpus
and General Law
to the Missouri Constitution, our Court has the authority to
"issue and determine original remedial writs, "
including writs of habeas corpus. Mo. Const, art. V, section
4.1; see State exrel. Fleming v. Missouri Board of
Probation and Parole, 515 S.W.3d 224, 228 (Mo. banc
2017) (similarly finding with respect to the Missouri Supreme
Court's authority to issue writs of habeas corpus);
see generally State ex rel. Peete v. Moore, 283
S.W.3d 818, 819-22 (Mo. App. E.D. 2009) and State ex rel.
Fowler v. Purkett, 156 S.W.3d 357, 358-62 (Mo. App. E.D.
2004) (decisions from this Court granting petitions for writs
of habeas corpus). "[A]ny person restrained of liberty
within this state may petition for a writ of habeas corpus to
inquire into the cause of such restraint."
Fowler, 156 S.W.3d at 359 (quoting a former and
identical version of Rule 91.01(b)); see also
section 532.010 RSMo 2000; Fleming, 515 S.W.3d at
prisoner is entitled to habeas corpus relief where he proves
that he is restrained of his liberty in violation of the
constitution or laws of the state or federal
government." Carr, 2017 WL 2952314 at *3
(quotations omitted). Furthermore, although a prisoner is
generally required to raise a constitutional claim in a
direct criminal appeal or in a post-conviction proceeding, he
is considered to have cause for failing to raise such a claim
under circumstances where it is permissible for a new
constitutional rule to be applied retroactively on collateral
Analysis of Petitioner's Claim for Habeas Corpus
case, Petitioner claims he is entitled to habeas corpus
relief because his sentence violates the Eighth Amendment
pursuant to precedent from the U.S. Supreme Court and
Missouri Supreme Court, including Miller v. Alabama,132 S.Ct. 2455 (2012) and Carr, 2017 WL 2952314. We
agree, finding the Missouri Supreme Court's recent
decision in Carr, and the U.S. Supreme ...