State ex rel. Patterson v. Holden, No. SD 35998

CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)
Writing for the CourtWILLIAM W. FRANCIS, JR., J.
Citation592 S.W.3d 1
Docket NumberNo. SD 35998
Decision Date17 September 2019
Parties STATE of Missouri EX REL. Dan PATTERSON, Greene County Prosecuting Attorney, Relator, v. The Honorable Calvin HOLDEN, Thirty-First Judicial Circuit, Greene County, Missouri, Respondent.

592 S.W.3d 1

STATE of Missouri EX REL. Dan PATTERSON, Greene County Prosecuting Attorney, Relator,
v.
The Honorable Calvin HOLDEN, Thirty-First Judicial Circuit, Greene County, Missouri, Respondent.

No. SD 35998

Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District, Division One.

Filed: September 17, 2019
Application for Transfer to Supreme Court Denied December 24, 2019


Relator’s Attorney: Dan Patterson, Prosecuting Attorney, of Springfield, Missouri.

Respondent’s Attorneys: Erica L. Mynarich, of Springfield, Missouri and Jonathan T. Sternberg, of Kansas City, Missouri.

WILLIAM W. FRANCIS, JR., J.

592 S.W.3d 2

Dan Patterson, Greene County Prosecutor ("Relator"), filed a "Petition for Writ of Prohibition" asking this Court to direct The Honorable Calvin Holden ("Respondent") to cease ordering defendants placed in his "Domestic Abuse Court" ("DAC") as a special condition of probation, to cease operation of the DAC, and to cease conducting "Domestic Abuse Court Team" "staffings" in cases before the DAC. We granted a preliminary writ of prohibition, and now make that writ permanent.

Factual and Procedural History

Relator asserts that the bases for this writ of prohibition center on Respondent’s unauthorized creation and operation of a treatment court division—Respondent’s DAC—not established by the 31st Judicial Circuit Court (the "31st Judicial Circuit"), as required by chapter 478, and under circumstances in which the 31st Judicial Circuit had designated other judges (and not Respondent) to preside over its treatment court divisions.

Facts

In a prohibition proceeding, "[t]he reviewing court is limited to the record made in the court below[,]"1 and to admissions from respondent’s answer to relator’s petition.2 We recite such material as made pertinent by this standard.

•Respondent sentenced defendants in twenty-six cases, placing each defendant on probation with the following special condition: "Defendant is placed in DAC and is ordered to follow all directives/recommendations of TC staff and Probation Officer." " ‘TC staff’ means treatment court staff." "The defendants placed in ‘DAC’ are required to appear before Respondent from time to time as part of a special condition of probation placing the defendant[s] in the ‘DAC.’ "

•In the case of State v. Jackson Holt-Allen , Case No. 1831-CR03398-01, Respondent approved a plea agreement wherein one condition of probation was that defendant "complete treatment court in Greene County"; Respondent sentenced defendant, without rejecting the plea agreement, and as a special condition of probation required that defendant be "placed in DAC and is ordered to follow all directives/recommendations of TC staff and Probation Officer."

•DAC is not a treatment court authorized by Local Rule 77 of the 31st Judicial Circuit.

•"Respondent has not been assigned to or designated as a treatment court program or treatment court division by the Presiding Judge or by the Court en banc."

•Respondent "is not a judge that a majority of the judices [sic] of the 31st Judicial Circuit designated under § 478.003.1 to hear cases arising in the circuit subject to the provisions of §§ 478.001 through 478.009."

•"Respondent, as judge of Division V of the 31st Judicial Circuit, created DAC[.]"
592 S.W.3d 3
•"[T]he 31st Judicial Circuit has not established conditions for referral of proceedings from each Division to the DAC under § 478.005."

•"Respondent ... appointed his daughter ... as a member of the ‘Domestic Abuse Court Team.’ " Other members of "the ‘Domestic Abuse Court Team’ " "are not court staff or court officials." " Missouri Supreme Court Rule 2-2.13 [A] provides, [ ] ‘In making administrative appointments, a judge: (1) shall exercise the power of appointment impartially and on the basis of merit; and (2) shall avoid nepotism, favoritism, and unnecessary appointments.’ "

Prior to December 18, 2018, the 31st Judicial Circuit established several treatment court divisions, generally referred to as "drug court" or "treatment court," pursuant to chapter 478. Local Rule 1.3 (Oct. 2017),3 provided in relevant part: "The Court en banc shall designate the division or divisions of the Circuit Court, or Associate Circuit Court, that shall be the Drug Court Division(s)." Local Rule 77 (Oct. 2017), further provided:

[A.] The Court en banc has established a Drug Court pursuant to §§ 478.001 - 478.009 RSMo and Court Operating Rule 26. The Drug Court shall be divided into individual Treatment Court Programs. Treatment Court Programs may from time-to-time be added or discontinued based on an evaluation of the effectiveness of the program and upon approval by the Court en banc.

B. The Drug Court includes the following Treatment Court Programs:

TC 1 Criminal Drug Court

TC 2 [discontinued]

TC 3 Mental Health Court

TC 4 DWI Court

TC 5 Family Dependency Treatment Court

TC 6 [discontinued]

TC 7 Veteran’s Treatment Court

Effective December 18, 2018, the Missouri legislature amended sections 478.001 to 478.009, replacing the heading "drug courts" with "adult treatment courts," brought mental health courts handling co-occurring disorders under the adult treatment court umbrella, and placed adult treatment courts, DWI courts, family treatment courts, juvenile treatment courts, and veterans courts within treatment court divisions. In April 2019, the 31st Judicial Circuit amended its local rules consistent with the changes to sections 478.001 to 478.009. Local Rule 1.3 (April 2019) now provides, in relevant part: "The Court en banc shall designate the division or divisions of Treatment Court." Likewise, Local Rule 77 was amended consistent

592 S.W.3d 4

with the changes to sections 478.001 to 478.009, RSMo Cum.Supp. 2019:

The Court en banc has established a Treatment Court pursuant to §§ 478.00 - 478.009 RSMo. and Court Operating Rule 26. The Treatment Court shall be separated into individual treatment court divisions. Treatment court divisions may from time-to-time be added or discontinued based on an evaluation of the effectiveness of the program, compliance with current law and best practices, the standards and practices established by the Treatment Court Coordinating Commission, and upon approval by the Court en banc.

A. The Treatment Court includes the following treatment court divisions:

TC 1 Adult Treatment Court

[The Adult Treatment Court division may include participants with a mental health disorder as a co-occurring disorder.]

TC 2 [discontinued]

TC 3 [discontinued]

TC 4 DWI Court

TC 5 Family Treatment Court

TC 6 [discontinued]

TC 7 Veterans Treatment Court

[The Veterans Treatment Court division may include participants with a mental health disorder as a co-occurring disorder.]

B. A majority of the judges of the circuit court will from time-to-time designate one or more judges and/or a treatment court commissioner to preside over each division of the Treatment Court.

(Emphasis added).

Respondent required defendants he placed in DAC to appear before him as part of those defendants' special conditions of probation. Respondent created a so-called "Thirty-First Judicial Circuit Domestic Abuse Court Program, Policy and Procedure" (the "DAC Manual") that describes "staffings"—i.e. , "meetings just prior to court, where the team discusses each participant who will appear in court." The DAC Manual provides that "status hearings are regularly scheduled progress hearing[s] where the participants appear in front of the Judge to go over everything that was discussed in the staffing prior to court." DAC "decisions are made by a team consensus[.]"

In a recent case, Respondent sentenced a defendant convicted of DWI to be placed in the 31st Judicial Circuit’s DWI court and Respondent’s DAC, but Respondent’s sentence directed only that defendant appear before Respondent in his DAC. This confused and duplicative allocation of judicial efforts ultimately led the DWI court judge to make the following docket entry:

Deft will not be accepted in TC(4) nor supervised by TC(4) Judge because ‘duel TC4/DAC’ referenced in Judge Holden’s docket entry of 01/24/2019 does not exist. Deft was never admitted to TC(4) because he never appeared for TC(4). TC case number to be administratively closed. Copy of this entry to Judge Holden and Presiding Judge Cordonnier.

Procedural History

On February 11, 2019, Relator directed correspondence to The Honorable Michael Cordonnier ("Judge Cordonnier"), Presiding Judge of the Circuit Court, requesting, in part, that the "Court en banc" address the issue of Judge Holden’s sentencing individuals to his DAC "as if it is a treatment court," and other issues related thereto. Relator further requested that Judge Cordonnier, in his:

administrative capacity, or that the Court en banc, direct Division V to act in accordance with Missouri Law, Missouri
592 S.W.3d 5
Supreme Court Rules, and Greene County Circuit Court Local Rules, to cease referring to the ‘DAC’ as a treatment court or ‘court’ and to cease the conduct of out-of-court ‘staffings’ in which factual material outside of the record is considered
...

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