Hurst v. State, SD 37194

CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)
Writing for the CourtDON E. BURRELL, J.
Citation642 S.W.3d 790
Decision Date05 April 2022
Docket NumberSD 37194
Parties Michael Andrew HURST, Movant-Appellant, v. STATE of Missouri, Respondent-Respondent.

642 S.W.3d 790

Michael Andrew HURST, Movant-Appellant,
v.
STATE of Missouri, Respondent-Respondent.

No. SD 37194

Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District, Division Two.

Filed: April 5, 2022


KATHARINE P. CURRY, Columbia, Mo, for Appellant.

GREGORY L. BARNES, Jefferson City, Mo, for Respondent.

DON E. BURRELL, J.

Michael Andrew Hurst ("Movant") appeals the motion court's denial of his Rule 24.0351 motion for post-conviction relief after an evidentiary hearing. His single point claims the motion court clearly erred in denying his motion because, at the time of his guilty plea, he suffered from a learning disability that prevented him from understanding the criminal proceedings against him and the consequences of his guilty plea – rendering his plea unknowing and involuntary. Finding no merit in that claim, we affirm.

Evidence2 & Standard of Review

Movant, originally charged as a juvenile, was later certified to be tried as an adult. Movant was charged with 33 sexual offenses against four different victims. Instead of going to trial on those charges, Movant pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree statutory rape, four counts of first-degree statutory sodomy, and three counts of second-degree statutory sodomy in accordance with a written plea agreement. In exchange for his guilty plea, the State dismissed the other 25 charges and agreed to a 20-year cap on Movant's sentences. To allow Movant to qualify for that cap, the dismissed charges included any that would require the plea court to impose consecutive sentences or require Movant to serve 85% of his sentence before he could qualify for parole.

Movant did not raise his competence to stand trial or plead guilty in the plea court, and nothing in the record of Movant's guilty plea indicates that his demeanor, mannerisms, or responses to the plea court's questions should have raised a suspicion that he was not competent to plead guilty. At that hearing, Movant testified that he was 23 years old, had an eleventh-grade education, understood the constitutional rights he would be giving up, and that he was pleading guilty because he was, in fact, guilty of the crimes the State said he had committed. Movant agreed with the State's recitation of the factual bases for those crimes, indicated that he understood the range of punishment for the offenses, had reviewed the written Petition to Enter a Plea of Guilty with plea counsel, understood everything in it, provided

642 S.W.3d 792

all truthful information on the form, and had signed the agreement.

The motion court -- like the plea court before it -- found that Movant's plea was made knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently, with a full understanding of his rights and the effect his guilty plea would have upon those rights. We review the motion court's denial of post-conviction relief for clear error. Swallow v. State , 398 S.W.3d 1, 3 (Mo. banc 2013). We will cite additional evidence relevant to the motion court's decision in the context of our analysis of Movant's point on appeal.

Analysis

Movant's sole point claims the motion court clearly erred in denying his motion because Movant "suffered from a learning disability that kept him from understanding the criminal proceedings against him and understanding the consequences of [the] plea agreement, and as such, his guilty plea was not knowing or voluntary." We disagree.

After a guilty plea, our review is limited to determining whether that plea was knowing and voluntary. ...

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