Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, Second Division
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF JASPER COUNTY Honorable Dean G.
Francis, P.J., Bates, J., and Scott, J.
Maxwell Leeper, Jr. was found guilty after a bench trial in
the Circuit Court of Jasper County, Joplin Municipal
Division, of violating four municipal traffic ordinances of
the Joplin City Code. Leeper applied for a trial de
novo in the Jasper County Circuit Court ("trial
court"). Following a bench trial there, the trial court
found Leeper guilty of violating the four city ordinances and
sentenced Leeper to fines in the aggregate amount of $650,
and court costs. Leeper raises six points on appeal, all of
which fail. We affirm the trial court's judgment.
December 18, 2017, at approximately 1:57 p.m., Officer Mike
Larery of the Webb City Police Department, Ozark Drug
Enforcement Team, was conducting surveillance on a residence
in the area of 14th and Missouri in the City of Joplin.
Officer Larery was three quarters of a block away
(eighty-five to one hundred yards) from the residence
observing an individual through binoculars for approximately
fifteen minutes. Officer Larery observed that the individual
had facial hair, and was wearing a "commercial made do
rag" around his head, a Kansas City Chiefs pullover, and
denim jeans. The individual left the residence in a
"dark primer gray" Ford Ranger pickup.
Larery contacted the Joplin Police Department for an assist.
He then followed the truck for a number of blocks. A check of
the pickup's tags indicated the pickup was registered to
a "James Leeper." After conducting a search on
social media, Officer Larery was able to identify Leeper as
the individual driving the pickup truck.
Larery was unable to continue following Leeper, and Officer
Sam Scott ("Officer Scott"), with the Joplin Police
Department, resumed following Leeper. Officer Scott was
advised by Officer Larery that "there was an
interest" in the Ford Ranger pickup, and the pickup had
several times failed to use its turn signal.
Scott called dispatch to run the pickup's plates, which
again came back registered to "James Leeper." As
the pickup passed Officer Scott's vehicle, he observed
that the pickup had a cracked windshield. Officer Scott
caught up to the pickup and activated his lights. The pickup
then turned into a private parking lot, circled around, and
headed back toward the entrance. Officer Scott activated his
siren when it was apparent the driver was not going to stop.
The pickup then returned to the street at a high rate of
speed and re-entered the roadway, cutting off two vehicles.
to safely continue pursuit, Officer Scott conducted his own
internet search and found a picture of Leeper's
"Tyson Food ID card that was an exact match" for
the person he had seen driving the pickup. Officer Larery
contacted Officer Scott, they discussed their independent
identifications of Leeper, and both agreed that Leeper was
the driver of the pickup. Later that day, Officer Scott
issued and mailed to Leeper, at Leeper's address shown on
his driver's license, citation No. 141132591 for
violating four ordinances of the Joplin City Code:
WINDSHIELD AND WINDOWS, WINDSHIELD WIPERS in Violation of Ord
CARELESS DRIVING in Violation of Ord #: 114-173
EMERGING FROM ALLEY, DRIVEWAY OR BUILDING in Violation of Ord