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Ragland v. State

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Second Division

May 1, 2018

JACOB L. RAGLAND, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis Honorable John J. Riley

          PHILIP M. HESS, JUDGE.

         Introduction

         Jacob Ragland appeals the denial of his Rule 29.15[1] motion without an evidentiary hearing. Ragland raises three points on appeal claiming the motion court erred because his trial counsel was ineffective for (1) untimely requesting jurors be allowed to take notes, (2) failing to examine various witnesses regarding one of the victims, J.F., seeing his mother ("Mother"), engage in sexual intercourse, and (3) failing to examine various witnesses regarding J.F. watching pornography. Finding no error, we affirm.

         Factual Background

         The following are the relevant facts presented at trial as set forth in State v. Ragland, 494 S.W.3d 613, 621 (Mo. App. E.D. 2016):

J.F.[2] stated that Ragland sucked J.F.'s penis with his mouth, put his penis in J.F.'s mouth, and "humped" or rubbed J.F.'s anus with his penis. J.F. used anatomical dolls in his CAC interview to demonstrate this "humping" and "sucking." J.F. also stated that Ragland made J.J. and J.F. suck each other's penises. J.F. said that Ragland showed J.J.[3] "how to do it" and told J.J. to "hump" J.F. and to "suck it"; that Ragland made J.F. suck J.J.; and that Ragland made J.J. suck J.F. J.F. also stated that something came out of Ragland's "wee-wee" and that it was "white stuff."
J.J. stated that Ragland made J.J. put his hand on Ragland's penis, rubbed his penis between J.J.'s legs, "humped" J.J., placed his hand on J.J.'s penis, and placed his mouth on J.J.'s penis, and made J.J. suck his "privacy." J.J. said that something "white, " "gooey, " and "slimy" came out of Ragland's "hot dog." J.J. also stated that Ragland told him he would kill his mother and sisters if he told anyone.
After the testimony of the first prosecution witness had concluded, defense counsel requested that the jury be allowed to take notes during trial. The State objected to defense counsel's request because the trial had begun and extensive testimony had been heard by the jury without the benefit of taking notes. The trial court denied defense counsel's request, noting its concern "that the first [w]itness's testimony might not be given equal weight with the testimony [the jury] would hear if they had the notepads."
Ragland made a motion for judgment of acquittal at close of all the evidence. The trial court denied the motion and the case was submitted to the jury for deliberations.

         The jury convicted Ragland of six counts of first-degree statutory sodomy, three counts of first-degree child molestation, and two counts of use of a child in a sexual performance. Ragland's convictions were affirmed on appeal. Id. Ragland untimely filed a Rule 29.15 amended motion with the circuit court requesting post-conviction relief and an evidentiary hearing. The motion court accepted the untimely motion pursuant to Sanders v. State, 807 S.W.2d 493 (Mo. banc 1992).[4] The motion court denied relief without an evidentiary hearing. Ragland timely appeals.

          We will provide other relevant facts as needed throughout our analysis.

         Standard of Review

         The motion court's judgment will be affirmed unless its findings of fact and conclusions of law are clearly erroneous. Rule 29.15(k). Findings and conclusions are deemed clearly erroneous only if, after reviewing the entire record, we are left with the definite and firm impression the ...


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