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Case remanded over man’s custody in two DWI cases

The Missouri Supreme Court remanded a case to a lower court to determine when a man entered custody before it decides if his postconviction appeal was filed too late.

In 2014, attorney Christian Rasmussen represented Wesley Hatmon on back-to-back cases with similar charges involving driving while intoxicated. Hatmon’s four-year sentence in Laclede County was suspended as a first-time offender, and he served probation after serving 120 days in shock incarceration, a program intended to reduce repeat offenses and other crimes.

Hatmon also faced a suspended sentence with 60 days of shock incarceration in Dallas County, and he agreed in his Dallas County plea bargain to receive credit for completing shock incarceration in both counties. On Nov. 8, 2016, he was found to have violated his Laclede County probation and a Dallas County judgment that same day sentenced Hatmon to seven years. He was in custody two days later.

A lower court considered his 2017 postconviction motion later than the 180-day deadline, as well as his appellate defender’s amended motion that was 10 days late. Hatmon had alleged that his counsel had misadvised him that his Dallas County sentence would be discounted by his past incarceration in both counties.

During Oct. 25 oral arguments, questions arose about when Hatmon was first brought into the custody of the DOC rather than the county jail. The Missouri Supreme Court remanded the case for the lower court to determine when Hatmon was first brought into custody for the Dallas County case.

In the March 21 opinion, the court en banc laid out the possible results of factfinding. If Hatmon was brought into custody of the DOC in 2014 to serve shock incarceration for both counties, his 2017 motion was late and untimely. If his DOC custody first took place on Nov. 10, 2016, at the start of his seven-year sentence, then his April 2017 motion was timely.

“Whether Hatmon actually was delivered to the DOC on the Dallas County case in 2014 is a factual question, however, and this Court declines to invade the fact-finding province of the motion court to resolve it,” Chief Judge Paul C. Wilson wrote.

Rosemary Percival of the Kansas City Public Defender’s Office represented Hatmon before the high court. She did not respond to a call requesting comment.

Evan J. Buchheim of the Missouri Attorney General’s Office in Jefferson City represented the state. An office spokeswoman did not respond to an email requesting comment.

The case is Hatmon v. State of Missouri, SC99591.