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Sours v. State

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, First Division

July 18, 2019

WILLIAM SCOTT SOURS, Movant-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent-Respondent.

          APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF JASPER COUNTY Honorable Gayle L. Crane, Judge

          WILLIAM W. FRANCIS, JR., J.

         William Scott Sours ("Sours"), appeals from a judgment of the motion court denying his pro se Rule 29.15[1] motion to set aside his conviction of the class C felony of receiving stolen property. Because the motion court's decision to deny relief after an evidentiary hearing was not clearly erroneous, we affirm.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         We recite the evidence in accord with the motion court's explicit and implicit determinations, including those regarding credibility. Shockley v. State, No. SC96633 2019 WL 1614593, at *3 (Mo. banc Apr. 16, 2019). Other information is set forth as necessary for clarity.

         On February 21, 2015, Brad McDaniel ("McDaniel") and Michele Johnson ("Johnson") went shopping at The Buckle, a clothing store in Joplin. McDaniel purchased a shirt and a pair of jeans for $231.23, as a birthday gift for Johnson. Afterwards, the couple went to a movie. Johnson left the bag of clothes in the trunk of McDaniel's car (including the receipt), along with her purse and cell phone (a Samsung Galaxy S5 with a "hot pink and teal" Otterbox case and screen protector). The cell phone was in Johnson's purse. Johnson's mother purchased the phone and Otterbox on February 6, 2015, for Johnson's birthday. The cell phone was purchased at a cost of $649.99, and the Otterbox case and screen protector was purchased at a cost of $78.

         Upon exiting the movie theater, McDaniel and Johnson discovered that McDaniel's car was broken into. Johnson's bag of clothes from The Buckle (including the receipt), and her purse and cell phone had been stolen.

         McDaniel and Johnson reported the break-in to the Joplin Police Department. They gave detailed descriptions of the items stolen, and Johnson gave a value of $649 for the phone as of the night of the theft.

         McDaniel went to The Buckle, told the manager what happened, and asked him to call the police if anyone tried to return the clothes.

         On February 23, 2015 (two days after the break-in and theft), Sours and a co-conspirator walked into The Buckle and attempted to return the stolen clothes, using the stolen receipt. The manager spoke to the two men, then stepped outside and called police.

         Officer Wes Massey ("Officer Massey") responded. He arrested both Sours and his co-conspirator. In Sours' pants pocket, Officer Massey found a Samsung Galaxy S5 cell phone in a pink and teal Otterbox. Sours, absent any questions from Officer Massey about the phone, asserted the phone "belonged to his girlfriend." Officer Massey subsequently found the report McDaniel and Johnson had made regarding the car break-in and stolen items. He dialed the number associated with the stolen cell phone, and the recovered phone "started ringing."

         On February 24, 2015, Officer Massey filed a probable cause statement asserting that Sours committed the offense of receiving stolen property."[2]

         On May 22, 2015, the prosecutor of Jasper County filed an Information charging Sours with the class C felony of receiving stolen property, pursuant to section 570.080, [3] in that

on or about February 23, 2015, in the county of Jasper, State of Missouri, the defendant, with the purpose to deprive the owner of a Samsung Galaxy S5, received such property, of a value of at least five hundred dollars, knowing or believing that it had been stolen.

         Significant discovery, including numerous depositions, occurred. Sours made several pro se filings during this time.[4]

         An Amended Information was filed on November 6, 2015, again charging Sours with the class C felony of receiving stolen property, pursuant to section 570.080, in that

on or about February 23, 2015, in the county of Jasper, State of Missouri, the defendant, with the purpose to deprive the owner of a Samsung Galaxy S5, with an Otter Box case and screen protector, and jeans and shirt from The Buckle, retained such property, of a value of at least five hundred dollars, knowing or believing that it had been stolen.

         At a pre-trial conference on November 9, 2015, Sours' counsel made an oral objection to the filing of the amended information. The trial court scheduled argument on Sours' objection for November 16, 2015 (one day before the scheduled jury trial), at which time all pending motions were to be heard.[5]

         At the pre-trial conference on November 16, 2015, Sours filed a written "Objection to filing of Amended Information and Motion to Dismiss Amended Information," and the trial court heard argument thereon. Sours' counsel argued that until the amended information was filed, the defense's trial preparation focused on the cell phone only, and that the "additional items" now included in the amended information, violated her "client's . . . due process rights, constitutionally speaking, as well as his rights to know the charges against him and to be able to prepare a proper defense for those charges against him." Defense counsel conceded that "possibly some information at the end of one of the depositions . . . would have included" some information on the additional items, but claimed that defense preparations had been aimed only at defending against the cell phone allegations, not against the clothing allegations. The prosecutor argued that the amendment was authorized pursuant to Rule 23.08, [6] and that the "clothing was always part of the case, and it had been discussed at the depositions." The depositions included the "owners of the clothing." The trial court rejected Sours' motion.

         A jury trial commenced November 17, 2015. Sours did not testify. The jury found Sours guilty of the class C felony of receiving stolen property, and the trial court sentenced Sours, as a prior and persistent offender, to 15 years in the Department of Corrections.

         On appeal, this Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court, pursuant to Rule 30.25, in an unpublished opinion in State v. Sours, No. ...


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