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Home / Opinions / Courts / Missouri Supreme Court / Missouri Supreme Court Digest: Feb. 16, 2023

Missouri Supreme Court Digest: Feb. 16, 2023

Criminal Law

Child Molestation

Severance of Charges

Defendant appealed his conviction for two counts of statutory sodomy, three counts of child molestation, and one count of enticing, relating to offenses against three victims. Defendant unsuccessfully moved to sever the charges relating to one of the victims. At trial, the state submitted evidence of defendant’s prior convictions, including two statutory rape convictions. The state cross-examined defendant regarding his prior convictions and relationships with children, and at closing stated that no other child should have to promise not to tell what defendant had done to them.

Where defendant had failed to demonstrate substantial prejudice from the denial of his motion to sever charges, the court affirmed defendant’s conviction where there was sufficient evidence to prove that defendant made a victim wear age-inappropriate clothing to entice her into sexual conduct, and the state’s cross-examination and closing arguments did not warrant a sua sponte declaration of a mistrial as the cross-examination was properly directed to impeachment purposes and the closing remarks referenced evidence that defendant had threatened the victims not to disclose the abuse.

Judgment is affirmed.

State v. Boyd (MLW No. 79453/Case No. SC99625 –23 pages) (Supreme Court of Missouri, Powell, J.) Appeal from circuit court, Greene County, Jones, J. (Samuel Buffaloe, Columbia, for petitioner) (Julia E. Rives, Jefferson City, for respondent)



Motion to Vacate or Set Aside Judgment

Writ of Prohibition

The attorney general sought a writ prohibiting the circuit court from hearing a motion to vacate or set aside filed by the Washington County prosecutor. The Washington County prosecutor’s office charged Michael Politte with murder, although venue was later transferred to St. Francois County where the WCPO prosecuted the case. Politte was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. When the Washington County prosecutor filed a motion in the original criminal case in 2022, the attorney general unsuccessfully moved to dismiss the motion for lack of jurisdiction or authority.

Where the Washington County prosecutor was not a prosecuting attorney in St. Francois County where Politte was convicted, the prosecutor lacked authority under section 547.031 to move to set aside Politte’s conviction. The court ordered the circuit court to take no further action other than to dismiss the Washington County prosecutor’s motion to vacate or set aside the conviction.

Preliminary writ made permanent as modified.

State ex rel. Bailey v. Fulton (MLW No. 79452/Case No. SC99813 – 7 pages) (Supreme Court of Missouri, Breckenridge, J.) Original Proceeding in Prohibition. (Andrew J. Crane, Andrew J. Clark, Michael J. Spillane, and Gregory M. Goodwin, Jefferson City, for petitioner) (John I. Jones IV, Potosi; Edward D. Robertson Jr. and Edward D. Robertson III, Leawood, KS; Tricia J. Bushnell and Rachel K. Wester, Kansas City; Megan Crane, St. Louis; Robert Langdon, Mark Emison, and Alex Thrasher, Lexington, for respondents)