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Jackson v. State

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, First Division

January 23, 2018

BERNARD JACKSON, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri The Honorable Patrick William Campbell, Judge

          Before: Cynthia L. Martin, P.J., James Edward Welsh, and Karen King Mitchell, JJ.

          James Edward Welsh, Judge

         Bernard Jackson ("Jackson") appeals from the judgment of the circuit court of Jackson County denying his Rule 29.15[1] motion for post-conviction relief. Jackson was convicted by a jury of four counts of Class A felony robbery in the first degree, seven counts of Class A felony sodomy, and seven counts of Class A felony rape. On appeal, Jackson argues that the circuit court erred in denying him relief regarding the claim in his post-conviction motion that a juror serving at his trial committed misconduct by blogging about the case while it was being tried, thereby depriving him of due process. We affirm.

          Factual Background

         The Crimes and Trial[2]

         As Jackson's claim on appeal alleges only juror misconduct at trial, a cursory review of the facts leading to his convictions is sufficient. In 1983 and 1984, four single women, all living in the Waldo/Armour Hills area of Kansas City, were attacked in their homes in the late evening and early morning hours. All four were blind-folded, robbed, sodomized, and repeatedly raped. In each case, after the assailant fled and the attack ended, the victim went to a hospital and underwent a "rape kit" examination, which included the collection of samples for use in DNA analysis. In several cases, additional DNA evidence, fingerprints, and hair samples were recovered from the scene of the crimes. The crimes remained unsolved for more than twenty-five years.

         In 2010, a "cold case" squad again reviewed the files and ran the samples using more advanced DNA technology. The DNA analyses matched the biological samples of Jackson, which were located in the Missouri State Highway Patrol DNA database. In 2010, a grand jury indicted Jackson, and he was charged with four counts of robbery in the first degree, seven counts of forcible rape, and seven counts of sodomy, against the four victims. Following trial in the Circuit Court of Jackson County, a jury convicted Jackson of all counts. The circuit court found Jackson to be a prior and persistent sexual felony offender and sentenced Jackson to a life term for each of the eighteen counts with each of the eighteen life terms to run consecutively. This Court affirmed Jackson's convictions in State v. Jackson, 410 S.W.3d 204 (Mo. App. 2013).

         Post-Conviction Jackson timely filed his Rule 29.15 motion for post-conviction relief, which was subsequently timely amended by counsel ("Motion"). As relevant to his appeal, Jackson claimed in his Motion that Juror #8 ("the Juror") committed juror misconduct by recording her own notes during trial that she later published in an online blog following the close of trial. At the evidentiary hearing on his claim, a copy of Juror's blog was submitted as an exhibit. In addition, stipulations regarding the Juror's conduct were admitted into evidence. The stipulations provided the following:

(1) [The Juror] kept handwritten notes about her experience as a juror in a personal notebook.
(2) Except during the pretrial phase of the case, the entries made in this notebook were recorded in her hotel room after the conclusion of court on days in which notebook entries were made.
(3) After the trial began, the notebook in which these thoughts were recorded never left her hotel room until after the conclusion of the trial and her discharge as a juror.
(4) [The Juror] never personally shared her thoughts recorded in her personal notebook or showed the notes recorded in that notebook to any of her fellow jurors before, during, or after trial.
(5) [The Juror] has never personally spoken to any of her fellow jurors about the case since the trial concluded.
(6) The contents of the notebook were not posted on her blog until after the trial was over and until she had been discharged from her duties as a juror.
(7)The entries "Uncategorized, " "Pre-Trial, " "During the Trial, " and "Post-Trial" at the end of each blog entry are titles of sections included within the blog, and do not reference or refer to the time frames when the entries were posted online.
(8) [The Juror] made her notes and posted her blog after the trial mainly as a way to communicate her experience with multiple interested parties without having ...

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