Adams v. Crane, WD85407

CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)
Writing for the CourtThomas N. Chapman, Judge
PartiesSXR LACEE K. ADAMS, Relator, v. THE HONORABLE KEVIN CRANE, Respondent.
Docket NumberWD85407
Decision Date13 September 2022

SXR LACEE K. ADAMS, Relator,
v.

THE HONORABLE KEVIN CRANE, Respondent.

No. WD85407

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Writ Division

September 13, 2022


Appeal from the Circuit Court of Boone County, Missouri The Honorable Kevin Crane, Judge

Before Edward R. Ardini, Jr., P.J., Gary D. Witt, C.J. and Thomas N. Chapman, J.

OPINION

Thomas N. Chapman, Judge

Relator Lacee Adams pleaded guilty to one count of assault in the second degree and one count of felony stealing in the Boone County Circuit Court, and the circuit court sentenced Adams to two concurrent terms of eight years' imprisonment the same day. Nearly three weeks later, upon motion by the State, the circuit court signed an order of restitution in the amount of $1,420. Adams seeks a writ of prohibition, or in the alternative, a writ of mandamus ordering the circuit court to rescind the restitution order. The preliminary writ is made permanent.

Background

Adams was originally charged on July 30, 2021, with four counts-assault in the first degree, property damage in the first degree, leaving the scene of an accident (property damage

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exceeds $1,000), and felony stealing. Adams and the State engaged in plea negotiations, resulting in an agreement whereby the State would amend the assault in the first degree charge to assault in the second degree, Adams would also plead guilty to the felony stealing charge, imposition of concurrent eight-year sentences on each charge, and a "special condition [of] restitution to be paid (if [the prosecutor's] office can verify the amount before her plea)" in exchange for Adams's guilty plea.

At 8:59 a.m. on April 1, 2022, the day of Adams's guilty plea and sentence, the prosecutor emailed defense counsel, "Victim's restitution paperwork was just received, our office is processing and verifying it. So Restitution is to be ordered. Sorry for the short notice." That day, Adams pleaded guilty to one count of class D felony assault in the second degree and one count of class D felony stealing,[1] and the circuit court sentenced her to two concurrent terms of eight years' imprisonment. The State did not request restitution at the hearing, and restitution was not ordered as part of the sentence. The same day, the State filed a restitution memorandum requesting that restitution be ordered in the amount of $1,420. The circuit court took no immediate action on the request.

On April 20, 2022, the State filed a motion to order restitution, requesting the circuit court to order the Missouri Department of Corrections ("DOC") to collect restitution in the amount of $1,420. Adams filed objections to the motion, arguing that when sentence was entered on April 1, the judgment became final in the criminal case and the circuit court lost jurisdiction to enter a restitution order. The circuit court, without holding a hearing, signed an order of restitution in the amount of $1,420 and gave notice to the DOC.

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On April 24, 2022, Adams filed a notice of hearing to take up her objections to the State's motion to order restitution. A hearing was held on May 2, 2022. Adams argued that the circuit court lacked jurisdiction to sign the order of restitution on April 20, 2022, because a final judgment in the case was entered on April 1, 2022. The State did not address the issue of jurisdiction but instead argued that restitution was part of the plea agreement and that the State emailed defense counsel on the morning of the plea that the victim's restitution paperwork was received and then filed a restitution memorandum that same day. At the May 2 hearing to consider whether to rescind the restitution order, the following discussion took place:

DEF. COUNSEL: We're here on the state's motion to order restitution and my objection to that, as it was filed almost 30 days following her sentence. And the Court has since lost jurisdiction to order restitution. You did sign the order of restitution already -
COURT: Well, she must not be - not on probation
DEF. COUNSEL: She's in DOC, Judge
COURT: Yeah. I guess I did lose jurisdiction.
**
COURT: Are we back to the 30-day thing?
DEF. COUNSEL: Your honor, that's more for appeal purposes, is my understanding.
Once the final judgment is entered, whatever time it was, 9:30 am on April 1st -
COURT: That's it.
DEF. COUNSEL: - that's it.
COURT: Well, so what are we having a hearing about then?

The Court went on to refuse to rescind the restitution order and found that it "lacks jurisdiction to rule in this hearing."

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On May 19, 2022, Adams filed a petition for writ of prohibition, or in the alternative, a writ of mandamus ordering the circuit court to rescind the April 20, 2022 restitution order. On June 9, 2022, this court issued a preliminary writ.

Standard of Review

This court has jurisdiction to determine and issue remedial writs. Mo. Const. art. V, sec. 4. The writ of prohibition is an extraordinary remedy and is to be used with great caution and forbearance and only in cases of extreme necessity. State ex rel. T.J. v. Cundiff, 632 S.W.3d 353, 355 (Mo. banc 2021).

A writ of prohibition is appropriate: (1) to prevent the usurpation of judicial power when a lower court lacks
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