Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Heller v. State

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Third Division

May 29, 2018

JUSTIN HELLER, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of Clinton County, Missouri The Honorable Thomas Nichols Chapman, Judge

          Before Victor C. Howard, Presiding Judge, Cynthia L. Martin, Judge and Gary D. Witt, Judge.

          Gary D. Witt, Judge.

         Justin Heller ("Heller") appeals the denial of his Rule 24.035 motion for post-conviction relief[1] In his motion, Heller claimed that he should be discharged from one of his convictions for receipt of stolen property because his guilty plea was not knowing, voluntary, and intelligent and his incarceration was a violation of his rights to due process and freedom from double jeopardy. The motion court rejected Heller's claims. Finding no error, we affirm.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         On April 20, 2011, at 4:25 a.m., Cameron police officer Dustin McCloud saw a blue Chevrolet pickup truck pulling a flatbed trailer traveling north on Highway 69 in Clinton County. The officer attempted to stop the vehicle because the trailer had no functioning taillights. When the truck stopped, the officer approached Heller, the driver, and asked for his driver's license and proof of insurance. Heller produced his license, which was suspended. Heller looked in the glove compartment of the truck but was unable to produce proof of insurance. The officer then checked the license plate on the truck through dispatch, which informed him that the truck was reported stolen. The trailer was also reported stolen.

         Another officer arrived and asked Heller to step out of the truck. He refused and drove off. The officers pursued using lights and sirens. The officers reported that they were in pursuit of a stolen vehicle, and Sergeant J.H. Thompson ("Sergeant Thompson") of the Highway Patrol heard the dispatch and joined the pursuit.

         The pursuit ended when Heller crashed the truck on Interstate 35. Heller fled on foot and Sergeant Thompson pursued him. When Sergeant Thompson caught up to Heller, a struggle ensued and Heller gained possession of Sergeant Thompson's gun. Heller fired a round from the weapon and ordered Sergeant Thompson to handcuff himself to a tree. Sergeant Thompson refused and Heller fled on foot again. He then stole a Dodge Caravan and fled in that vehicle. Following an additional pursuit by law enforcement he was ultimately arrested in Clinton County.

         Heller was charged in the Circuit Court of Clinton County with first-degree assault of a law enforcement officer, tampering with a motor vehicle, two counts of felony receiving stolen property, felony resisting arrest, unlawful use of a weapon, misdemeanor driving while revoked, and careless and imprudent driving. On June 26, 2012, Heller appeared before the circuit court, and entered guilty pleas pursuant to a plea agreement in which the State agreed to dismiss the charge of assault of a law enforcement officer in exchange for appellant's open guilty pleas[2] to the rest of the counts.

         The State presented to the trial court the facts stated above, which Heller admitted. Heller admitted that regarding Count III, he received the truck knowing that it had been stolen and with the purpose to deprive the owner of the pickup truck. He then separately admitted that regarding Count IV, he received the trailer knowing that it had been stolen and with the purpose to deprive the owner of the trailer. Heller also filed a plea petition, which stated that the truck was stolen, the truck was attached to a trailer, and that both the truck and the trailer were stolen.

         At the plea hearing, Heller stated that he understood the range of punishment and that the court could impose up to the maximum sentence consecutively on each count. Heller also stated that, understanding all that was discussed, he still wished to plead guilty. The trial court accepted his guilty plea.

         At a sentencing hearing, Heller was sentenced to consecutive terms of seven years for tampering with a motor vehicle and each count of receiving stolen property. He also received consecutive sentences of four years each for resisting arrest and unlawful use of a weapon, for a total sentence of 29 years.

         On January 31, 2013, Heller filed a pro se motion to vacate, set aside, or correct the judgment or sentence pursuant to Rule 24.035. Appointed counsel timely filed an amended motion. Heller raised two related claims: (1) that the convictions for the two counts of receiving stolen property violated his right to be free from double jeopardy because they rested on Heller receiving the stolen truck and trailer in the same transaction, and (2) there was an insufficient factual basis for his guilty plea because the factual basis only established one count of receiving stolen property, not two counts because the truck and trailer were attached to each other.

         At an evidentiary hearing, Heller testified that he received the truck and trailer at the same time and retained them together as a unit until he was stopped by Cameron police. He alleged that counsel would testify that he had told her this information and that she received no evidence from the prosecution refuting the claim. Counsel testified that because the truck and the trailer were stolen from two different victims at two different locations, she believed the evidence showed that "they were legitimately two different receivings." She did not recall if she talked to Heller about this issue, but, because she believed the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.