Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Writ Division
STATE OF MISSOURI, ex rel. JOSHUA D. HAWLEY, Relator,
THE HONORABLE RANDALL R. JACKSON, Circuit Judge of Buchanan County, and MARY BEATTIE, Circuit Clerk Buchanan County Circuit Court, Respondents.
Before: Cynthia L. Martin, Presiding Judge, Thomas H. Newton,
Judge and Lisa White Hardwick, Judge.
ORIGINAL PROCEEDING IN CERTIORARI
Cynthia L. Martin, Judge.
an original proceeding in certiorari to review the grant of a
writ of habeas corpus to habeas petitioner Kevin Vaughn
("Vaughn") by the Buchanan County Circuit Court
("habeas court"). Because the Missouri Supreme
Court has concluded that its holding in State v.
Bazell, 497 S.W.3d 263 (Mo. banc 2016) (per curiam) only
applies forward, except as to those cases pending on direct
appeal, the habeas court's record granting the writ of
habeas corpus is quashed.
and Procedural History
was convicted in the Livingston County Circuit Court in 2015
for stealing property valued over $500, charged as a class C
felony. Vaughn was sentenced to seven years'
incarceration, and was committed to the custody of the
Missouri Department of Corrections. Vaughn is currently
confined in Buchanan County, Missouri.
March 2, 2017, Vaughn filed a petition for a writ of habeas
corpus in the habeas court alleging that his 2015 conviction
and sentence for stealing over $500 was void because
Bazell held that the offense of stealing pursuant to
section 570.030.1, a class A misdemeanor, cannot be enhanced
to a class C felony pursuant to section 570.030.3 based on
the value of the stolen property because the value of the
property is not an "element" of the
offense. 497 S.W.3d 263, 266-67. Vaughn argued that
he was not seeking retroactive application of a new rule of
law, but was merely seeking application of a now properly
understood statute that was in effect at the time of his
conviction, relying on this court's holding in
Thornton v. Denney, 467 S.W.3d 292, 298-99 (Mo. App.
April 6, 2017, the habeas court granted Vaughn a writ of
habeas corpus which vacated Vaughn's conviction and
sentence, and remanded Vaughn to the Livingston County
Circuit Court subject to resentencing.
April 18, 2017, Relator, the Attorney General of Missouri,
filed a petition for writ of certiorari seeking to quash the
record of the habeas court. On April 19, 2017, this Court
granted a writ of certiorari,  and directed the Circuit Clerk
for Buchanan County to file a certified record of designated
materials from the habeas proceedings. On June 30, 2017, this
Court stayed further proceedings in the case pending the
resolution of cases before the Missouri Supreme Court which
addressed whether the holding in Bazell should be
applied retroactively. Because those pending cases have now been
decided, our stay is dissolved.
91.01(b) provides that "[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."
Consideration of a petition for writ of habeas corpus is
"limited to determining the facial validity of
confinement." State ex rel. Nixon v. Jaynes, 73
S.W.3d 623, 624 (Mo. banc 2002). "Under the statutes
that have codified the common law writ, the 'facial
validity' of confinement is determined on the basis of
the entire record of the proceeding in question."
State ex rel. Nixon v. Dierker, 22 S.W.3d 787, 789
(Mo. App. E.D. 2000) (citing Brown v.
Gammon, 947 S.W.2d 437, 440 (Mo. App. W.D. 1997)).
The essential question to be determined is whether a review
of the entire record establishes that a habeas petitioner is
being deprived of his liberty without due process of law.
See Ex Parte Kent, 490 S.W.2d 649, 650 (Mo. banc
action in certiorari . . . seek[s] to quash" the habeas
judgment. State ex rel. White v. Swink, 256 S.W.2d
825, 827 (Mo. App. St. L. Dist. 1953). Certiorari is thus
"available to correct [habeas] judgments that are in
excess or an abuse of jurisdiction, and that are not
otherwise reviewable on appeal." State ex rel. Nixon
v. Sprick, 59 S.W.3d 515, 518 (Mo. banc 2001). Upon the
completion of our review, our options are to "either
quash the writ [of habeas corpus] or to uphold the actions of
the habeas court." State ex rel. Koster v.
Jackson, 301 S.W.3d 586, 589 (Mo. App. W.D.
Attorney General's petition for writ of certiorari
contends that the habeas court exceeded its authority or
abused its discretion in issuing the writ of habeas corpus
because: (1) the holding in Bazell only applies to
cases on direct review, and does not apply retroactively in a
habeas corpus proceeding; and (2) the holding in
Bazell does not apply to bases for enhancement
identified in section 570.030.3 beyond the subsection at
issue in Bazell.
dispense with the second argument first. The Missouri Supreme
Court held in State v. Smith,522 S.W.3d 221, 230
(Mo. banc 2017) that "Bazell's analysis
regarding the applicability of section 537.030.3 to the
offense of stealing does not depend on which particular
enhancement provision is at issue."
"Bazell draws no distinction among the numerous
subcategories enumerated within section 570.030.3."
Id. There is no merit, therefore, to the Attorney
General's contention that the habeas record should be