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Jones v. State

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, First Division

May 21, 2019

JASON MICHAEL JONES, a/k/a JASON MICHAEL HILBURN, Movant-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent-Respondent.

          APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF BUTLER COUNTY HONORABLE PAUL MCGHEE

          DON E. BURRELL, P.J.

         Jason Michael Jones ("Movant") appeals the motion court's denial of his amended Rule 29.15[1] motion for post-conviction relief ("amended motion") following an evidentiary hearing. As the State correctly argues, because the claims Movant raises in this appeal were not included in the amended motion, we must affirm.

         Background

         A jury found Movant guilty of selling a controlled substance to an undercover officer, and the trial court sentenced him as a persistent offender to serve 20 years in the Department of Corrections. See section 195.211.[2] We affirmed Movant's conviction on direct appeal in State v. Jones, 525 S.W.3d 132 (Mo. App. S.D. 2017).

         The amended motion was filed on March 1, 2018, and it alleged 24 instances of ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel.[3] The amended motion incorporated all of Movant's timely-filed pro se claims, and it added two additional claims. As relevant to this appeal, claim "(1) 2" alleged that

Jordan Cantoni[[4] came into the case and me[t] with Movant for the first time on November 27, 2015, with the trial being held on December 2, 2015, and handled the trial without proper preparation to form a solid trial strategy, did not question witness [sic] properly during the trial, failed to bring up key evidence fo [sic] crime during cross-examination of witness, failed to play the second video during trial, failed to properly represent Movant because of lack of preparation of case facts . . . put on no defense during trial . . . came into the case a week prior to trial which led to poor trial strategy[.]

         Claim "(1) 4" made similar allegations as to Theodore Liszewski. Specifically it claimed that he "failed to meet with [M]ovant enough to prepare proper defense prior to trial, . . . failed to put on a defense case during trial, [and] did not do a proper investigation of case which in turn led to poor trial strategy[.]"

         Claim "(h)" alleged that Movant suffered a "[m]iscarriage of [j]ustice" in that "the confidential informant [("CI")] was allowed to continue working with law enforcement while continuing to commit unrelated felonies and received immunity from crimes[.]"

         After hearing the testimony of trial counsel and Movant, the motion court issued its "FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW" that found Movant "did not prove" any of his claims, including those described above, and it denied post-conviction relief. This appeal timely followed.

         Analysis

         As Movant's points suffer from the same fatal defect, we address them together. Point 1 claims the motion court clearly erred in denying Movant post-conviction relief because

trial counsel [] failed to act as reasonably competent attorneys under the same or similar circumstances by choosing the unreasonable trial strategy of contesting only identity when the video of the transaction clearly showed [Movant]'s face. [Movant] was prejudiced because his entire defense was staked on the objectively false ...

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