Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Fourth Division
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF RANDOLPH COUNTY, MISSOURI THE
HONORABLE CYNTHIA A. SUTER, JUDGE
Mark D. Pfeiffer, Chief Judge, Lisa White Hardwick, Judge and
Edward R. Ardini, Jr., Judge
R. ARDINI, JUDGE.
Smith ("Smith") appeals his conviction for the
class A misdemeanor of resisting arrest following a jury
trial in the Circuit Court of Randolph County, Missouri,
arguing that the trial court erred in overruling his motions
for judgment of acquittal. Smith alleges that the State
failed to present evidence that he used or threatened to use
physical force prior to his arrest. Based on the Missouri
Supreme Court's recent decision in State v.
Ajak, SC96333, 2018 WL 1599784 (Mo. banc Apr. 3, 2018),
we find that law enforcement officers established
"control over [Smith's] movements" when he was
handcuffed, at which point his arrest was completed for
purposes of section 575.150.1(1). Because the evidence was
insufficient to show that Smith's conduct prior to his
arrest being effectuated involved the use or threatened use
of violence or physical force or that he attempted to flee
from the officers, the judgment of the trial court is
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
an investigation into a traffic incident, Huntsville Officer
Nathan Howard and Trooper James Rowe of the Missouri State
Highway Patrol went to Smith's home to arrest him for
driving while suspended and leaving the scene of an accident.
When they arrived, Smith was on his front porch. Officer
Howard informed Smith that he was being placed under arrest
and specified the underlying offenses. Smith was not
cooperative, asking, "What's the proof?" and
informing the officers that he was recording them. Smith was
commanded to stand up, turn around, and place his hands
behind his back. Instead, he stood up, removed his shirt, and
threw a knife to the ground while yelling statements such as
"I'm not going to jail" and extending his arms
to the side.
to Trooper Rowe, Smith presented "passive
resistance" by failing to cooperate or obey the
officers' commands and having an argumentative and
agitated demeanor throughout the process. In response,
Trooper Rowe applied pepper spray, which allowed the officers
to gain control of Smith and apply handcuffs.
being handcuffed, the officers began to escort Smith to
Officer Howard's patrol vehicle. Smith purposely went
limp and fell to the ground. After returning Smith to his
feet and descending the porch stairs, Smith again purposely
went limp but was caught by the officers. As the officers
continued to walk him toward the patrol vehicle, Smith threw
his body weight back and forth and wrapped his legs around
Trooper Rowe's legs in an effort to trip the officer as
he yelled about police brutality. As the officers attempted
to place him in the patrol vehicle, Smith wrapped his legs
around the door and pushed against it with his foot. Once
placed inside the vehicle, Officer Howard held Smith down
while Trooper Rowe went to the other side to latch the
found Smith guilty of misdemeanor resisting arrest under
section 575.150. This appeal follows.
review "is limited to whether the State has introduced
sufficient evidence from which a reasonable juror could have
found each element of the crime beyond a reasonable
doubt." Ajak, 2018 WL 1599784, at *2 (citing
State v. Hunt, 451 S.W.3d 251, 257 (Mo. banc 2014)).
We "accept as true all evidence tending to prove guilt
together with all reasonable inferences that support the
verdict, and ignore all contrary evidence and
inferences." Id. (citing State v.
Zetina-Torres, 482 S.W.3d 801, 806 (Mo. banc 2016)). We
will not, however, "supply missing evidence or grant the
State unreasonable, speculative, or forced inferences."
Id. (citing State v. Lammers, 479 S.W.3d
624, 632 (Mo. banc 2016)).
575.150.1(1) provides that a person commits the crime of
resisting arrest if, "knowing that a law enforcement
officer is making an arrest" and "for the purpose
of preventing the officer from effecting the arrest, "
the person "[r]esists the arrest . . . by using or
threatening the use of violence or physical force or by
fleeing from such officer[.]" Accordingly, the State
must prove: "(1) knowledge that the law enforcement
officer is making an arrest; (2) purpose on the part of the
defendant to prevent the officer from effecting the arrest;
and (3) resisting the arrest by threatening the use of
violence or physical force or by fleeing from such
officer." Ajak, 2018 WL 1599784, at *3 (citing
Missouri Supreme Court announced in State v. Ajak
that the definition of arrest found in section 544.180
applies to the offense of resisting arrest under section
575.150.1(1). Id. at *3-4. An arrest is thus the
"actual restraint of the person of the defendant, or
[his] submission to the custody of the officer, under
authority of a warrant or otherwise" and not "a
continuing process that may still be being 'effected'
even after the arrestee is restrained and in the
officer's control and custody." § 544.180
(defining arrest); Ajak, 2018 WL 1599784, at *6
(rejecting continuing process definition). "[T]he
statute requires only restraint by the officer or submission
to the officer's ...