Milton v. St. Louis Cnty., ED 109705

CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)
Writing for the CourtAngela T. Quigless, Judge
Citation642 S.W.3d 751
Parties Elicia MILTON, Appellant, v. ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Missouri, et al., Respondents.
Docket NumberED 109705
Decision Date15 March 2022

642 S.W.3d 751

Elicia MILTON, Appellant,
v.
ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Missouri, et al., Respondents.

No. ED 109705

Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, DIVISION THREE.

Filed: March 15, 2022


Richard P. Hereford, 7711 Bonhomme Ave, Suite 810, Clayton, Mo. 63105, Thomas D. Peterson (Co-Counsel), 818 Lafayette Ave, Saint Louis, Mo. 63104, for appellant.

St. Louis County Circuit Court-Div 44, 105 S. Central Ave, Respondent Acting Pro Se, Clayton, Mo. 63105, St. Louis County Associate Court-Div 44, 105 S. Central Ave, Respondent Acting Pro Se, Clayton, Mo. 63105, Megan Jean, 600 Kellwood Parkway, Ste 310, Chesterfield, Mo., Maria A. Lanahan (Co-Counsel), 815 Olive St, Suite 200, Saint Louis, Mo. 63101, Mary I. Ginger, 100 S. Central Ave, 2nd Floor, Saint Louis, Mo. 63105, Christopher D. Carter, 41 South Central, 8th Floor, Clayton, Mo. 63105, for respondent.

Angela T. Quigless, Judge

642 S.W.3d 753

Elicia Milton appeals the circuit court's denial of her petition for expungement of her arrest record. Because the circuit court did not hold the required evidentiary hearing, we reverse and remand.

Background

Ms. Milton was indicted as committing one count of first-degree statutory sodomy on a child less than twelve years old, a felony under Section 566.062. The State's essential witness failed to appear at trial, even though subpoenaed. The circuit court, on Ms. Milton's motion, dismissed the case without prejudice, for failure to prosecute, on December 14, 2020.1

Less than one month later, Ms. Milton petitioned the circuit court for an expungement of her arrest record. Ms. Milton named as defendants numerous law-enforcement agencies, as well as the circuit court and the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. The Missouri State Highway Patrol Criminal Records Repository, the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, and St. Louis County, Missouri, (collectively "Defendants"), contested the petition. Each filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that Ms. Milton did not meet the conditions necessary for expungement because Ms. Milton could not prove that no charges would be pursued as a result of the arrest. Defendants noted that no statute of limitations exists for first-degree sodomy, nor for unlawful sexual offenses involving a person eighteen years of age or younger, and as such, criminal prosecution for the offense could commence at any time.2

The circuit court heard arguments of attorneys and then denied Ms. Milton's petition. The circuit court concluded, as argued by Defendants, that Ms. Milton's arrest record could not be expunged because Ms. Milton could not allege or prove that no charges would be pursued as a result of the arrest. The circuit court did not hold an evidentiary hearing.

This appeal followed. Ms. Milton alleges the circuit court erred because it misinterpreted Section 610.122, the statute authorizing the expungement of an arrest record. She essentially argues the statute does not explicitly state or imply a statute-of-limitations element or requirement. Ms. Milton additionally alleges the circuit court erred because the court did not hold an evidentiary hearing. We find this last allegation dispositive. Because an evidentiary hearing should have been held, we need

642 S.W.3d 754

not reach the statute-of-limitations argument.

Discussion

In Missouri, any record of arrest may be expunged if the petitioner establishes certain enumerated statutory requirements, one of which requires a finding that "no charges will be pursued as a result of the arrest."3 Section 610.122.1; In re Dyer , 163 S.W.3d 915, 918 (Mo. banc 2005). The petitioner bears the burden of affirmatively showing each of the required elements...

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