Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Fourth Division
MICHAEL E. WILLIAMS, Appellant/Movant,
STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent.
from the Circuit Court of Warren County 16BB-CC00084
Honorable Wesley C. Dalton
Honorable Mary K. Hoff, Judge
E. Williams ("Movant") appeals from the
"Memorandum, Decision, and Judgment Denying Motion for
Post-Conviction Relief" ("Judgment") denying
his Rule 24.035 motion following an evidentiary hearing. We
reverse the motion court's judgment, vacate Movant's
guilty plea and sentence, and remand.
and Procedural Background
was charged as a chronic offender with driving while
intoxicated, in violation of Section 577.010, RSMo
2000. On July 5, 2016, Movant pleaded guilty
plea to the charged offense.
the plea hearing, Movant told the court that he had enough
time to discuss his case with his attorney and that he had no
complaint about how his attorney had handled his case. Movant
also affirmed that he understood the specific constitutional
rights attendant with a trial and appeal that he was giving
up by pleading guilty.
the prosecutor's recitation of the underlying facts,
Movant admitted that on November 29, 2013, he operated a
motor vehicle in Warren County while under the influence of
alcohol and also admitted to four prior convictions for
driving while intoxicated.
the court asked Movant if he had a plea agreement. Movant
responded that he did. The court then told Movant that,
"I'm gonna follow that plea agreement. If I
didn't follow it I'll let you withdraw your
plea." Movant then told the court that he understood the
full range of punishment was five to fifteen years
imprisonment. The court found a factual basis for
Movant's guilty plea, that Movant's plea was
voluntary and unequivocal, and accepted Movant's guilty
plea counsel waived the sentencing assessment report, the
court announced that it would follow the plea agreement. The
court sentenced Movant to eight-years' imprisonment but
retained jurisdiction and sentenced Movant to Long Term Drug
Program ("LTDP"), pursuant to Section
November 28, 2016, Movant timely filed a pro se
motion for post-conviction relief pursuant to Rule 24.035. On
December 1, 2016, the motion court appointed post-conviction
counsel. On February 9, 2017, appointed counsel sought an
extension of time to file the amended motion, which was
granted by the motion court.
March 2, 2017, appointed counsel timely filed an amended
motion, in which he claimed, inter alia, that after
Movant was delivered to the custody of the Department of
Corrections ("DOC"), he was found to be ineligible
for the long-term treatment program due to an insufficient
number of felony convictions. Movant claimed that his guilty
plea was not voluntary, knowing, or intelligent because he
was denied effective assistance of counsel when his plea
counsel told Movant that he would be placed in LTDP. Movant
further claimed that he was denied due process by the
sentencing court's failure to determine whether Movant
was eligible for the program.
4, 2017, an evidentiary hearing was held before the motion
court. Movant testified that he was found to be ineligible
for LTDP because he lacked three felony convictions. Movant
testified that plea counsel advised him that if he pleaded
guilty he would be placed in LTDP. Movant believed counsel
had checked to determine his eligibility for the treatment
program and that she had determined that Movant was eligible.
Movant also believed that the court had checked and had
determined that he was eligible for the program. Movant
testified that he pleaded guilty because he believed he would
be placed in LTDP and that he would not have pleaded guilty
had he known he was ineligible.
Thoman ("Ms. Thoman") testified that she had
represented Movant in his criminal case. She testified that
Movant pleaded guilty to an eight-year sentence with
long-term treatment, but he was not placed in LTDP because he
did not have the requisite prior convictions. Ms. Thoman
testified that a person has to have two prior felony
convictions and a new one, and Movant did not have them.
Before he pleaded guilty, Ms. Thoman met with Movant and they
discussed the case. She told him the plea recommendation from
the prosecutor was for an eight-year sentence with long-term
Thoman testified that she had told Movant that if he pleaded
guilty, he would go to the DOC and probably serve a portion
of his sentence before he was placed in the year-long
program, so that he would be released after two years, having
completed the program. Ms. Thoman testified that in
Movant's current situation, he would still become
eligible for parole after serving two years in the DOC. Ms.
Thoman admitted that she had assumed ...