State v. Baldwin, WD78351

CourtMissouri Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtAlok Ahuja, Chief Judge
PartiesSTATE OF MISSOURI, Appellant, v. PETER O. BALDWIN, Respondent.
Docket NumberWD78351
Decision Date29 March 2016

PETER O. BALDWIN, Respondent.



March 29, 2016

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Jackson County
The Honorable Jack R. Grate, Judge

Before Division Four: Alok Ahuja, C.J., Gary D. Witt, J., and Kathleen A. Forsyth, Sp. J.

The State charged Peter Baldwin with driving while intoxicated in violation of § 577.010.1 Baldwin filed a Motion to Suppress evidence arising from the stop of his vehicle and his subsequent arrest, on the basis that the arresting officer was acting outside his jurisdiction. The circuit court granted Baldwin's motion. The State appeals, arguing that the officer had authority to stop and arrest outside his jurisdiction under § 70.820.5, and that the circuit court's suppression order was accordingly erroneous. We reverse, and remand the case to the circuit court for further proceedings.

Factual Background

On the evening of December 6, 2012, City of Grandview Police Officer Matthew Earnest observed Baldwin failing to stop at a stop sign, and travelling in the wrong lane of traffic. The

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stop sign was located at the intersection of Martha Truman and Grandview Roads, which is at the northernmost boundary of the City of Grandview. Baldwin continued through the intersection, thereby entering into Kansas City.

Officer Earnest followed Baldwin into Kansas City and activated his emergency lights approximately thirty seconds later. Baldwin signaled and pulled to the shoulder. Officer Earnest conducted an investigation, and ultimately arrested Baldwin for driving while intoxicated. At all relevant times, Baldwin and Officer Earnest were located within the boundaries of Jackson County.

The State charged Baldwin with driving while intoxicated. Baldwin moved to suppress the testimony of Officer Earnest, the results of field sobriety tests, Baldwin's refusal of a breathalyzer test, as well as any statements made by Baldwin at the time of his arrest, because Officer Earnest had conducted the stop in Kansas City, outside his employing jurisdiction of Grandview. The State responded that Officer Earnest had authority to conduct the stop and arrest under § 70.820.5. By written order, the circuit court found that Officer Earnest had no authority to conduct the stop and arrest under § 544.157, and granted Baldwin's Motion to Suppress. The court did not address the application of § 70.820.5. The State appeals.2

Standard of Review

"Where a trial court has granted a defendant's motion to suppress, we review the trial court's decision on appeal under an abuse of discretion standard. Only if the trial court's judgment is clearly erroneous will an appellate court reverse." State v. Avent, 432 S.W.3d 249, 252 (Mo. App. W.D. 2014) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted). "Review is limited

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to determining whether the decision is supported by substantial evidence." State v. Stover, 388 S.W.3d 138, 149 (Mo. banc 2012). While we give deference to the circuit court's factual findings, we review questions of law de novo. State v. McClendon, 477 S.W.3d 206, 212 (Mo. App. W.D. 2015) (citing State v. Gaw, 285 S.W.3d 318, 319-20 (Mo. banc 2009)).


In its sole Point, the State argues that the circuit court erred in suppressing the evidence because Officer Earnest had the authority to make arrests for violations of state law throughout Jackson County by virtue of § 70.820.5.

"'It is well established as a general rule that, in the absence of statute, municipal police officers have no official power to apprehend offenders beyond the boundaries of their municipality.'" State v. Renfrow, 224 S.W.3d 27, 31 (Mo. App. W.D. 2007) (quoting City of Advance v. Md. Cas. Co., 302 S.W.2d 28, 31-32 (Mo. 1957)). Here, the State relies on § 70.820.5 to establish Officer Earnest's authority to effect Baldwin's arrest outside of Grandview's city limits.3 Section 70.820.5 provides:

In addition to the emergency response powers prescribed in subsection 1 of this section, any peace officer of a county of the first classification with a

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charter form of government, or any peace officer of any political subdivision within any county of the first classification with a charter form of government, or any peace officer of any city not within a county, who has completed the basic peace [officer] training program pursuant to chapter 590 may arrest persons who violate any provision of state law within the boundaries of any county of the first classification or of any city not within a county.

"'This Court's primary rule of statutory interpretation is to give effect to legislative intent as reflected in the plain language of the statute at issue.' 'It is a basic rule of statutory construction that words should be given their plain and ordinary meaning whenever possible.'" State v. Jones, 479 S.W.3d 100, 106 (Mo. banc 2016) (citations omitted). "If the language is unambiguous, this Court 'must give effect to the legislature's chosen language.' Only where the language is ambiguous will the Court resort to other rules of statutory construction." Treasurer of State v. Witte, 414 S.W.3d 455, 461 (Mo. banc 2013).

Here, the plain language of § 70.820.5 allows a peace officer to effect arrests outside of his or her employing jurisdiction if certain conditions are met: (1) the officer is employed by a first-class county with a charter form of government, a political subdivision within such a county, or a city not within a county; (2) the officer has completed the basic peace officer training specified in chapter 590; (3) the arrest is for a violation of state law; and (4) the arrest takes place within a first-class county or a city not within a county. The Eastern District interpreted § 70.820.5 in the same manner in State v. Boyd, 999 S.W.2d 276 (Mo. App. E.D. 1999). Boyd held that a peace officer employed either by a city within St. Louis County, or by the City of St. Louis, had authority under § 70.820.5 to arrest an individual in St. Louis County, so long as the arrest was made for a violation of state law, and the officer had received the training specified in chapter 590. Id. at 278.

Baldwin argues that § 70.820.5 is inapplicable for a number of reasons. First, he argues that if § 70.820.5 is interpreted to authorize officers to make traffic stops, then the statute would

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be redundant of § 544.157 (which is quoted in note 3, above). Sections 70.820.5 and 544.157 address different situations, however, and we see no reason why both statutes cannot be applied according to their plain language. Section 544.157 gives authority to all peace officers in the State to pursue certain parties beyond the officer's jurisdiction, when engaged in a "fresh pursuit" initiated within the officer's jurisdiction. Section 70.820.5, by contrast, only applies to certain peace officers, only authorizes arrests in certain locations, and is not limited to arrests made in conjunction with a "fresh pursuit." The two statutes are not in conflict where § 70.820.5 grants greater arresting authority, to a more limited class of peace officers, in more limited locations. There is no justification for requiring § 70.820.5 to yield to § 544.157.

Baldwin also relies on the heading of § 70.820 to argue that it only applies in emergency situations. Baldwin's argument ignores the rule that "giving effect to chapter, article or section headings is not appropriate because they are merely arbitrary designations inserted for convenience of reference by clerks or revisors, who have no legislative authority, and are therefore powerless to lessen or expand the letter or meaning of the law." Gurley v. Mo. Bd. of Private Investigator Examiners, 361 S.W.3d 406, 413 (Mo. banc 2012) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). Gurley continues by observing that "'the title of a statute is necessarily a part thereof and is to be considered in construction,' if, '[b]y title to the act, [one] mean[s] the title as...

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