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State v. James

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Fourth Division

March 13, 2018

STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent,
v.
DAVID DUANE JAMES, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Gentry County, Missouri The Honorable Roger M. Prokes, Judge

          Before Mark D. Pfeiffer, Chief Judge, and Victor C. Howard and Cynthia L. Martin, Judges

          OPINION

          Mark D. Pfeiffer, Chief Judge

         Mr. David D. James ("James") appeals from the Judgment of the Circuit Court of Gentry County, Missouri ("trial court"), finding him guilty, following a bench trial, of the class C felony of driving while intoxicated ("DWI"). James asserts that the trial court erred in denying his motion to dismiss under the Uniform Mandatory Disposition of Detainers Law ("UMDDL"). We reverse the trial court's judgment, order that the judgment be vacated, and remand the cause to the trial court with directions to dismiss the information with prejudice.

         Facts and Procedural History[1]

         On July 28, 2014, the State filed an information in case number 14GE-CR00076, charging James with one count of the class B misdemeanor of DWI, § 577.010, [2] and one count of the misdemeanor of driving while license was revoked. A probable cause statement dated July 12, 2014, by Gentry County Sheriff's Deputy Dustin Smith ("Deputy Smith") accompanied that information and alleged facts supporting Deputy Smith's arrest of James for DWI on July 11, 2014. James was arraigned on August 20, 2014, and entered a plea of not guilty.

         A case review hearing was scheduled for September 17, 2014. James failed to appear at the scheduled hearing, and the trial court issued an arrest warrant on that date. On September 22, 2014, the trial court received from the Western Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in St. Joseph, Missouri, a Verification of Incarceration which stated that James was received at the Missouri Department of Corrections ("DOC") on August 28, 2014, and had a mandatory release date of May 4, 2016, unless placed on probation or parole prior to that time.

         On September 23, 2014, while James was incarcerated in the DOC, the Gentry County Sheriff's Department placed a detainer against James in case number 14GE-CR00076. On September 25, 2014, James signed a DOC Notice of Detainer, acknowledging that the detainer had been explained to him. The Notice confirmed that the DOC had received a detainer charging James with DWI and driving while revoked in case number 14GE-CR00076 from the Sheriff of Gentry County, the warrant of detention having been issued from the Gentry County Circuit Court.

          On the same date, James signed an Offender's Request for Disposition of Indictment, Informations or Complaints in case number 14GE-CR00076, directed to the Gentry County prosecuting attorney. The Certification of Commitment portion of the Request directed to the Gentry County Circuit Court indicated that James had been received by the DOC on August 28, 2014, for a DWI conviction from Nodaway County, where he was serving a four-year sentence beginning on May 5, 2012, with a final discharge date of May 4, 2016. James's request for disposition of detainers in case number 14GE-CR00076 was received by the Clerk of the Gentry County Circuit Court on October 2, 2014.

         The docket sheets do not reflect any further action until October 30, 2015, when the trial court scheduled a case review hearing for November 4, 2015. At the November 4 hearing, the State entered a nolle prosequi[3] and dismissed the charges in case number 14GE-CR00076. On the same day, the State filed a felony complaint under a new case number, 15GE-CR00108, charging James as an aggravated offender with the class C felony of DWI, § 577.010. The complaint alleged the same facts as alleged in the prior information charging misdemeanor DWI. Deputy Smith's July 12, 2014 probable cause statement was also filed in this subsequent proceeding.

         On December 4, 2015, the State amended its felony information in case number 15GE-CR00108-01, charging James as an aggravated offender with one count of the class C felony of DWI and one count of the unclassified misdemeanor of driving while license was revoked. On December 14, 2015, James's counsel filed a motion to dismiss the charges pursuant to section 217.460 (alleged UMDDL violation), which was overruled by the trial court on February 4, 2016.

          On July 11, 2016, the State filed an amended felony information charging James as an aggravated and prior offender with one count of the class C felony of DWI, § 577.010, and one count of the misdemeanor of driving without a valid license. James filed a waiver of right to a jury trial on July 21, 2016. The trial court rescheduled the case for a bench trial on August 5, 2016. James failed to appear for trial, and the trial court issued a capias warrant.

         On August 8, the trial court received a telephone call from the Gentry County Sheriff, who expressed concern for James's health. The trial court ordered that James be furloughed for the purpose of obtaining medical care until 9:00 a.m. on September 1, 2016, at which time he was to surrender himself to the custody of the Gentry County Sheriff. Thereafter, the trial court extended the medical furlough to 6:00 p.m. on September 7, 2016. The day after the furlough expired, the trial court scheduled trial for September 15, 2016.

         At trial, James renewed his motion to dismiss, which the trial court again overruled. On November 10, 2016, the trial court entered its judgment, finding James guilty of DWI but not guilty of driving without a valid license. The trial court sentenced James to seven years in the DOC with suspended execution of sentence.

         James timely appealed.

         Standard of Review

         "Whether a criminal case should be dismissed based on the UMDDL is a question of law which this court reviews de novo." State v. Brown, 77 S.W.3d 619');">377 S.W.3d 619, 621 (Mo. App. W.D. 2012). Whether a defendant's Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial was violated is also a question of law, which we review de novo. State v. Sisco, 458 S.W.3d 304, 312-13 (Mo. banc 2015).

          Analysis

         In James's sole point on appeal, he asserts that the trial court erred in denying his motion to dismiss in violation of his constitutional rights to due process and to a speedy trial, because the trial court exceeded its authority in violation of the UMDDL[4] and the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution. James points out that 399 days[5] after he filed his request for disposition of detainer, without the matter having been set for trial, the State filed a nolle prosequi in case number 14GE-CR00076 and simultaneously refiled a felony information on identical facts in case number 15GE-CR00108, with ten months elapsing after the filing of the new case before the DWI charge[6] was ultimately tried.

         Statutory Right to ...


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