State ex rel. Royal v. Norman, WD 79246

CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)
Writing for the CourtCynthia L. Martin, Judge
Citation479 S.W.3d 186
Parties State ex rel. Lonnie R. Royal, Petitioner, v. Jeff Norman, Warden Boonville Correctional Center, Respondent.
Decision Date19 January 2016
Docket NumberWD 79246

479 S.W.3d 186

State ex rel. Lonnie R. Royal, Petitioner,
v.
Jeff Norman, Warden Boonville Correctional Center, Respondent.

WD 79246

Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District.

OPINION FILED: January 19, 2016


Stephen J. Harris, Columbia, MO, for Petitioner.

Caroline M. Coulter, Jefferson City, MO, for Respondent.

Before Writ Division: Gary D. Witt, Presiding Judge, Thomas H. Newton, Judge and Cynthia L. Martin, Judge.

Cynthia L. Martin, Judge

Lonnie R. Royal ("Royal") filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus ("Petition") alleging that he is being confined in the Boonville Correctional Center by Jeff Norman, the Warden of Boonville Correctional Center ("Respondent") in restraint of his liberty because he was defectively sentenced for a felony when he only committed a misdemeanor. The Respondent concedes the merit of Royal's Petition. We issue our writ of habeas corpus.

Factual and Procedural Background

Royal was charged on July 31, 2007 with domestic assault in the third degree, a misdemeanor, in Texas County, Case Number 07X1–CR00527 ("Misdemeanor Case"). On November 7, 2007, Royal entered a guilty plea to this charge and was sentenced to six months in jail.

On January 23, 2008, Royal was charged in Texas County, Case Number 07X1–CR00577–011 with the class C felony of tampering with a victim in violation of section 575.2702 ("Felony Tampering Case"). Section 575.270.3 provides that:

Tampering with a witness in a prosecution, tampering with a witness with purpose to induce the witness to testify falsely, or victim tampering is a class C felony if the original charge is a felony. Otherwise, tampering with a witness or victim tampering is a class A misdemeanor. Persons convicted under this section shall not be eligible for parole.

(Emphasis added.) Royal's alleged tampering with the victim in the Misdemeanor Case led to his charge in the Felony Tampering Case.

On February 6, 2008, Royal pled guilty in the Felony Tampering Case to the class C felony of victim tampering even though an essential element of the crime—an original charge that was a felony—could not have been established on the guilty plea record as a matter of law. On the same date and at the same time, Royal pled guilty to charges in an unrelated criminal matter pending in Texas County, Case

479 S.W.3d 188

Number 07X1–CR00016–01 ("Unrelated Felony Case"). Following his guilty pleas, Royal was sentenced to seven years in the Felony Tampering Case with that sentence to be served consecutively to a seven year sentence imposed in the...

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