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T.V.N. v. Missouri State Highway Patrol Criminal Justice Information Services

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, First Division

November 12, 2019

T.V.N., Respondent,

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of Boone County, Missouri The Honorable Joshua C. Devine, Judge.

          Before: Edward R. Ardini, Jr., Presiding Judge, Mark D. Pfeiffer, Judge and Cynthia L. Martin, Judge.


          Cynthia L. Martin, Judge.

         The Missouri State Highway Patrol Criminal Justice Information Services ("Central Repository") appeals from a judgment expunging T.N.'s[1] 2016 arrest record pursuant to section 610.122.[2] The Central Repository argues that because T.N. had a 2011 speeding conviction, he was statutorily ineligible for expungement of the arrest record, even though the speeding conviction had been expunged pursuant to section 610.140. Because expungement of T.N.'s 2011 speeding conviction pursuant to section 610.140 restored him to the status he occupied prior to the conviction as if such conviction had never taken place, it was not legally erroneous to expunge T.N.'s 2016 arrest record. The trial court's judgment is affirmed.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         On July 23, 2018, T.N. petitioned the trial court to expunge an arrest record generated after T.N. was accused of leaving the scene of an accident on February 5, 2016. The Central Repository opposed the petition.

         At a hearing on the petition, T.N. testified that although he was arrested on February 5, 2016, no charges were ever filed in the matter. T.N. acknowledged that he had been convicted of a misdemeanor speeding charge in April 2011. The speeding conviction was expunged, however, shortly before T.N. filed the petition to expunge his 2016 arrest record.

         The trial court entered a judgment and order on October 31, 2018, expunging the 2016 arrest record ("Judgment"). The Judgment found that T.N. had not been convicted of any prior or subsequent misdemeanors or felonies. The Central Repository filed this timely appeal.

         Standard of Review

         We review the trial court's Judgment to determine if it is supported by substantial evidence, is against the weight of the evidence, or erroneously declares or applies the law. Murphy v. Carron, 536 S.W.2d 30, 32 (Mo. banc 1976). The trial court's construction and application of statutory requirements is a question of law we review de novo. W.C.H. v. State, 546 S.W.3d 612, 614 (Mo. App. E.D. 2018).

         Justiciability of Appeal

         Before addressing the merits of the Central Repository's appeal, we are required to address T.N.'s motion to dismiss, which argues that the Central Repository is not aggrieved by the Judgment and has no right of appeal under section 512.020. Section 512.020 affords the right of appeal to "[a]ny party to a suit aggrieved by any judgment of any trial court in any civil cause . . . ." "A party who has not been aggrieved by a judgment has no right or standing to appeal." Jackson Cty. Bd. of Election Comm'rs v. Paluka, 13 S.W.3d 684, 687 (Mo. App. W.D. 2000) (citation omitted).

         "Courts have a duty to determine if a party has standing prior to addressing the substantive issues of the case." CACH, LLC v. Askew, 358 S.W.3d 58, 61 (Mo. banc 2012). "'Because standing is a question of law, review of the issue on appeal is de novo." Schweich v. Nixon, 408 S.W.3d 769, 773 (Mo. banc 2013) (quoting CACH, 358 S.W.3d at 61). "'Standing requires that a party have a personal stake arising from a threatened or actual injury.'" Id. at 774 (quoting State ex rel. Williams v. Mauer, 722 S.W.2d 296, 298 (Mo. banc 1986)); see also CACH, 358 S.W.3d at 61 ("A party has standing to sue when it has a 'justiciable interest in the subject matter of the action.'") (quoting Garrison v. Schmicke, 193 S.W.2d 614, 615 (Mo. 1946)). "A party establishes standing, therefore, by showing that it has 'some legally protectable interest in the litigation so as to be directly and adversely affected by its outcome.'" Schweich, 408 S.W.3d at 775 (quoting Mo. State Med. Ass'n v. State, 256 S.W.3d 85, 87 (Mo. banc 2008)); see also Mo. Soybean Ass'n v. Mo. Clean Water Comm'n, 102 S.W.3d 10, 25 (Mo. banc 2003) (holding that to establish standing, a party must demonstrate "'a pecuniary or personal interest directly at issue and subject to immediate or prospective consequential relief'" (quoting Northgate Apartments, L.P. v. City of North Kansas City, 45 S.W.3d 475, 479 (Mo. App. W.D. 2001))). "[A]s used in section 512.020, 'aggrieved' means 'suffering from an infringement or denial of legal rights." Jackson Cty. Bd. of Election Comm'rs, 13 S.W.3d at 687-88 (quoting Gov't Emps. Ins. Co. (GEICO) v. Clenny, 752 S.W.2d 66, 68 (Mo. App. S.D. 1988) (other citation omitted)).

         The Central Repository is a "division within the Missouri state highway patrol responsible for compiling and disseminating complete and accurate criminal history records." Section 43.500(2). "Criminal history record information" is defined to include "information collected by criminal justice agencies on individuals consisting of identifiable descriptions and notations of arrests, detentions, indictments, informations, or other formal criminal charges, and any disposition arising therefrom, sentencing, correctional supervision, and release." Section 43.500(5). The stated purpose for the Central Repository is described in section 43.503.1:

For the purpose of maintaining complete and accurate criminal history record information, all police officers of this state, the clerk of each court, the department of corrections, the sheriff of each county, the chief law enforcement official of a city not within a county and the prosecuting attorney of each county or the circuit attorney of a city not within a county shall submit certain criminal arrest, charge, and disposition information to the central repository for filing without undue delay in the form and manner required by sections 43.500 to 43.543.

         Other provisions in sections 43.500 to 43.543 address the Central Repository's obligation to disseminate collected and maintained criminal history record information to authorized persons. See, e.g., sections 43.507, 43.531, and 43.532. The Central Repository thus has an interest in ...

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