Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Fourth Division
CHAD B. WATSON, Appellant,
STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent.
from the Circuit Court of Cole County, Missouri, The
Honorable Daniel Green, Judge.
Before: Mark D. Pfeiffer, Chief Judge, Presiding, Victor C.
Howard, Judge and Cynthia L. Martin, Judge.
CYNTHIA L. MARTIN, JUDGE.
Watson ("Watson") appeals from an order denying his
request for post-conviction relief pursuant to Rule 24.035
which claimed that under the holding of State v.
Bazell, 497 S.W.3d 263 (Mo. banc 2016),  his sentence for
stealing should not have been enhanced to a class C felony,
and he should instead have been convicted of a class A
misdemeanor. We affirm.
and Procedural History
pleaded guilty to the class C felony of stealing. He was
placed on probation. Watson's probation was revoked, and
he was thereafter sentenced to five years' imprisonment.
timely filed a pro se motion for post-conviction
relief pursuant to Rule 24.035. Appointed counsel timely
filed an amended motion ("Amended Motion"). The
Amended Motion alleged that pursuant to Bazell,
Watson's five-year sentence exceeded the maximum
punishment authorized by law for what should have been a
class A misdemeanor. On May 23, 2017, the Amended Motion was
denied by an unsigned, handwritten docket entry that stated
"Amended Mot to vacate denied."
26, 2017, Watson filed a motion for reconsideration or to
amend the judgment which argued, among other things, that
Rule 24.035(j) required the motion court to issue
findings of fact and conclusions of law on all issues
presented, whether or not a hearing is held. Pursuant to Rule
78.07(c), Watson asked the motion court to amend its judgment
in order to make the required findings and conclusions. On
May 30, 2017, the motion to amend the judgment was denied by
an unsigned, handwritten docket entry that stated "Mot
For Reconsideration denied."
timely filed a notice of appeal.
asserts a single point on appeal. He alleges that the motion
court clearly erred in denying the Amended Motion because
Watson's five-year term of imprisonment exceeded the
maximum sentence authorized by law because pursuant to
Bazell, Watson's sentence should not have been
enhanced to a class C felony and should instead have remained
a class A misdemeanor with a maximum one-year term of
imprisonment. Before addressing the merits of Watson's
point on appeal, we are required to address two procedural
issues that potentially impact our authority to entertain
the motion court entered a final judgment for purposes of
to reaching the merit of the issues set forth in this case,
this Court must determine, sua sponte, if there is a
final judgment. Ndegwa v. KSSO, LLC, 371 S.W.3d 798,
801 (Mo. banc 2012). "A final judgment is a prerequisite
to appellate review." Id. "If the [motion]
court's judgment was not a final judgment, then the
appeal must be dismissed." Id.
74.01(a) provides in pertinent part that "[a] judgment
is entered when a writing signed by the judge and denominated
'judgment' or 'decree' is filed." Rule
74.01(a) also provides that "[a] docket sheet entry
complying with these requirements is a judgment unless the
docket sheet entry indicates that the court will enter the
judgment in a separate document." Rule 74.01(a) thus
imposes three requirements on a final judgment: a writing,
signed by the judge, and denominated as a judgment. Here, the
May 23, 2017 docket ...