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R.G. v. Missouri State Highway Patrol

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, First Division

May 28, 2019

R.G., Respondent,
v.
MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cole County, Missouri The Honorable Patricia S. Joyce, Judge

          Before Victor C. Howard, Presiding Judge, Lisa White Hardwick, Judge and Gary D. Witt, Judge

          GARY D. WITT, JUDGE

         The Missouri State Highway Patrol ("MSHP") appeals from the circuit court's judgment granting R.G.'s[1] petition for expungement for his 2010 conviction for peace disturbance. The MSHP argues that the circuit court erred in granting R.G.'s petition for expungement for his 2010 conviction because he did not meet the necessary requirements under section 610.140.5(1)-(2)[2]. We affirm.

         Statement of Facts

         On May 10, 2018, R.G. filed a petition in the Circuit Court of Cole County seeking the expungement of two convictions in 2010 and 2012, both for the crime of peace disturbance. On June 6, 2018, the MSHP filed an Answer and Motion to Dismiss.

         A hearing was held on July 16, 2018. At the hearing, R.G. testified that on October 15, 2010 he pled guilty to the crime of peace disturbance, and was sentenced to pay a $500.00 fine, which he paid that day. R.G. also testified that he pled guilty to the crime of peace disturbance on October 22, 2012.

         The circuit court entered its judgment granting R.G.'s petition on August 30, 2018. The circuit court found that R.G. plead guilty to an amended charge of peace disturbance on October 15, 2010 and the court imposed a fine of $500.00 which was paid that day. The circuit court found that R.G. plead guilty to an amended charge of peace disturbance on October 22, 2012. The court suspended the imposition of R.G.'s sentence and placed him on two years of probation which he successfully completed. The certified records of each case were admitted into evidence without objection.

         The circuit court found that following the sentencing on October 22, 2012, R.G. has had no other findings of guilt on any misdemeanor or felony charges and had no criminal charges pending at the time of the hearing in this case. The circuit court found that it had been more than three years since R.G. had completed his sentence for the 2010 conviction and his probation for his 2012 conviction. The circuit court found that the expungement of R.G.'s arrest and conviction in both cases is consistent with the public welfare and is warranted by the interests of justice.

         This timely appeal followed. The MSHP is solely appealing the expungement of the 2010 conviction.

         Standard of Review

         As this is a court-tried case, our review is governed by Murphy v. Carron, 536 S.W.2d 30, 32 (Mo. banc 1976). "Accordingly, we will affirm the trail court's judgment unless there is no substantial evidence to support it, it is against the weight of the evidence, it erroneously declares the law, or it erroneously applies the law." W.C.H. v. State, 546 S.W.3d 612, 614 (Mo. App. E.D. 2018). "The trial court's application of statutory requirements is a question of law rather than fact; therefore, we review the trial court's application of statutory requirements de novo." Doe v. St. Louis Cty. Police Dep't, 505 S.W.3d 450, 453 (Mo. App. E.D. 2016).

         Analysis

         The MSHP raises one point on appeal. In its sole point MSHP argues that the circuit court erred in expunging R.G.'s 2010 conviction because section 610.140.5 provides that a necessary requirement for expungement of a misdemeanor is that R.G. has not been found guilty of any other disqualifying misdemeanor or felony for at least three years from the date he completed any authorized disposition and R.G. pled guilty to a subsequent misdemeanor less than three years after completing the disposition of his 2010 conviction. The MSHP argues that the time frame the circuit court should consider is the three years ...


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