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State ex rel Hawley v. Midkiff

Supreme Court of Missouri, En Banc

April 3, 2018

STATE OF MISSOURI ex rel. JOSHUA HAWLEY, Relator,
v.
THE HONORABLE SANDRA C. MIDKIFF and MARY MARQUEZ, Respondents.

         ORIGINAL PROCEEDING IN PROHIBITION

          GEORGE W. DRAPER III, JUDGE.

         The State of Missouri, ex rel. Joshua D. Hawley (hereinafter, "Relator"), seeks a writ of prohibition, asserting the proper venue for Ricky Kidd's (hereinafter, "Defendant") petition for writ of habeas corpus is in DeKalb County and the proper respondent should be the Warden of the Crossroads Correctional Center (hereinafter, "Warden"). This Court issued a preliminary writ of prohibition, which it now makes permanent. This Court finds Defendant's petition for writ of habeas corpus should have been filed in the county in which he is held in custody by the department of corrections.

          Factual and Procedural Background

         Defendant was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of armed criminal action. State v. Kidd, 990 S.W.2d 175 (Mo. App. W.D. 1999). Defendant was sentenced to two consecutive terms of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for the murders and two consecutive terms of life imprisonment for armed criminal action. Id. at 177.

         Defendant sought and received post-conviction relief. State v. Kidd, 75 S.W.3d 804 (Mo. App. W.D. 2002). The motion court vacated the armed criminal action convictions but upheld the murder convictions and sentences. Id. at 808. Defendant's sentence was limited to two terms of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Id.

         In December 2013, Defendant filed a motion, pursuant to section 547.035, RSMo Supp. 2001, for DNA testing in Jackson County circuit court. The matter was set for hearing on March 6, 2015. Prior to this hearing, Defendant applied for a writ of habeas corpus ad testificandum, seeking to be transferred to Jackson County because he was a material, competent, and indispensable witness.

         The Jackson County circuit court issued the writ of habeas corpus ad testificandum, ordering Warden to deliver Defendant by March 3, 2015, for the hearing. The order further stated, "after said proceeding, the inmate shall be returned forthwith to the custody of the Department of Corrections."

         While detained in the Jackson County Detention Center on the writ of habeas corpus ad testificandum, Defendant filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus, challenging his judgment of conviction and sentences for first-degree murder. The petition named the Director of the Jackson County Detention Center (hereinafter, "Director") as the respondent and stated electronic service was made on the Jackson County prosecutor and the Jackson County counselor. Defendant stated he was a prisoner in the custody of the State of Missouri, but currently was being held in Jackson County.

         Once the Jackson County circuit court dissolved the writ of habeas corpus ad testificandum, Defendant was returned to the Crossroads Correctional Center. Director filed a motion to transfer the habeas corpus case to the proper venue in DeKalb County, where Defendant was located, and to substitute Warden as the proper respondent. The Jackson County circuit court overruled the motion, finding Defendant filed his writ petition properly in the first instance in Jackson County.

         On August 26, 2016, Director moved to add Warden as an additional party because Defendant was in custody at the Crossroads Correctional Center. Director also noted he had no real interest in the case, while Warden did. On November 14, 2016, the Jackson County circuit court overruled the motion, removing Director as respondent and declining to add Warden. The Jackson County circuit court stated there was no legal authority requiring the naming of a respondent; accordingly, it allowed the case to move forward with no named respondent.

         Relator filed a motion to transfer venue to DeKalb County and to substitute the proper respondent. The Jackson County circuit court overruled this motion, and Relator sought a writ of prohibition from the court of appeals, which was denied. Relator then sought a writ of prohibition from this Court.

          Standard of Review

         This Court has jurisdiction to issue original remedial writs. Mo. Const. art. V, sec. 4. "A writ of prohibition is appropriate: (1) to prevent the usurpation of judicial power when a lower court lacks authority or jurisdiction; (2) to remedy an excess of authority, jurisdiction or abuse of discretion where the lower court lacks the power to act as intended; or (3) where a party may suffer irreparable harm if relief is not granted." State ex rel. Strauser v. Martinez, 416 S.W.3d 798, 801 (Mo. banc 2014). "Prohibition is the proper remedy to prevent further action of the trial court where personal jurisdiction of the defendant is lacking." State ex rel. Norfolk S. Ry. Co. v. Dolan, 512 S.W.3d 41, 45 (Mo. banc 2017) (quoting State ex rel. William Ranni Assocs., Inc. v. Hartenbach, 742 S.W.2d 134, 137 ...


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