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Dunn v. Precythe

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, First Division

July 31, 2018

EDWARD DUNN, Appellant,
v.
ANNE PRECYTHE, in her capacity as Director of the Department of Corrections, Respondent.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cole County, Missouri The Honorable Daniel R. Green, Judge

          Before: Thomas H. Newton, Presiding Judge, Alok Ahuja, Judge and Gary D. Witt, Judge

          Gary D. Witt, Judge

         Edward Dunn ("Mr. Dunn") appeals from the judgment of the Circuit Court of Cole County, Missouri, granting Director Precythe's[1] motion to dismiss and denying Mr. Dunn's petition for declaratory judgment. Mr. Dunn was convicted of driving while intoxicated -chronic offender. He now seeks credit against his sentence for the period of time he was out on bond under house arrest while awaiting trial. The trial court dismissed his petition for failure to state a claim and denied his petition for declaratory judgment. Mr. Dunn argues that the trial court erred in dismissing his claim because not all of his claims were adjudicated, he pled sufficient facts, and the trial court misinterpreted section 558.031.[2]We affirm.

         Statement of Facts[3]

         Mr. Dunn was arrested on June 7, 2014, in St. Louis County, Missouri for the offense of driving while intoxicated and was detained in the Florissant City jail. Mr. Dunn was transferred to the St. Louis County Department of Justice Services' county jail, where he was detained and charged with driving while intoxicated-chronic offender. On July 7, 2014, following a hearing, the court set bond under the conditions of a Bond Memo Order which included the posting of ten percent cash of the bond amount and participation in the Electronic Home Detention ("EHD") Program and the Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring ("SCRAM") Program.[4] We refer to the time he was subject to these programs as "House Arrest" for ease of reference.

         On July 14, 2014, Mr. Dunn posted bond and became subject to the conditions of the Bond Memo Order. On March 21, 2016, Mr. Dunn pled guilty to the charge. Sentencing was set for April 22, 2016, and Mr. Dunn was released from House Arrest on April 20, 2016. At sentencing, Mr. Dunn was sentenced to five years in the Missouri Department of Corrections ("MDOC").

         On or about April 27, 2016, Mr. Dunn received his MDOC face sheet and jail time endorsement letter which credited him with 43 days of jail time served on the charges but denied him credit for the time he was on House Arrest. On May 16, 2016, and June 27, 2016, Mr. Dunn sent letters to the St. Louis County Department of Justice Services, requesting credit for the time he was on House Arrest. Mr. Dunn never received a response to either letter. Mr. Dunn exhausted the MDOC's grievance procedure and was denied credit by MDOC for the time period at issue.

         On June 8, 2017, Mr. Dunn filed a petition for declaratory judgment requesting the trial court to declare that he is entitled, as a matter of law, to credit against his present sentence for the 646 days he was on House Arrest prior to his sentence. Mr. Dunn alleged that he should have received credit against his sentence because he was in custody and confined during the period of time at issue, and not receiving credit violates his constitutional liberties, specifically his rights to Due Process and Equal Protection.

         On August 7, 2017, MDOC filed a motion to dismiss the petition for failure to state a claim. September 5, 2017, Mr. Dunn filed a response in opposition to MDOC's motion to dismiss and also filed a motion for summary judgment. On October 23, 2017, a hearing was held and judgment was entered. The trial court granted MDOC's motion to dismiss and denied Mr. Dunn's petition for declaratory judgment. This timely appeal followed.

         Standard of Review[5]

         "Our review of a dismissal for failure to state a claim or for lack of standing is de novo." White, 293 S.W.3d at 8. "The petition states a cause of action if it 'sets forth any set of facts that, if proven, would entitle the plaintiffs to relief.'" Id. (quoting Lynch v. Lynch, 260 S.W.3d 834, 836 (Mo. banc 2008)). "A motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim 'is solely a test of the adequacy of the plaintiff's petition.'" Kixmiller v. Bd. Of Curators of Lincoln Univ., 341 S.W.3d 711, 713 (Mo. App. W.D. 2011).

         Analysis

         Mr. Dunn raises four points on appeal. In Mr. Dunn's first point on appeal, he argues that the trial court erred in granting MDOC's motion to dismiss and denying his petition for declaratory judgment because the trial court is required to adjudicate all claims present in the action "before entering a final judgment." In Point Two, Mr. Dunn argues that the trial court erred in granting MDOC's motion to dismiss and denying his petition for declaratory judgment because the trial court "exceeded its standard of review for the motion to dismiss in addressing and ruling on the merits of the claim." In Point Three, Mr. Dunn argues that the trial court erred in granting MDOC's motion to dismiss and denying his petition for declaratory judgment because he sufficiently pled facts demonstrating a justiciable controversy entitling him to his rights as a matter of law. In his fourth ...


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