State v. Clay, No. WD

CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)
Writing for the CourtBefore NUGENT, P.J., KENNEDY and GAITAN, JJ., and WASSERSTROM; NUGENT
Citation812 S.W.2d 872
PartiesSTATE of Missouri, Respondent, v. Arthur Scott CLAY, Appellant. Arthur Scott CLAY, Appellant, v. STATE of Missouri, Respondent. 41987.
Decision Date18 June 1991
Docket NumberNo. WD

Page 872

812 S.W.2d 872
STATE of Missouri, Respondent,
v.
Arthur Scott CLAY, Appellant.
Arthur Scott CLAY, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Missouri, Respondent.
No. WD 41987.
Missouri Court of Appeals,
Western District.
June 18, 1991.
Motion for Rehearing and/or Transfer to Supreme Court
Denied July 30, 1991.
Application to Transfer Denied Sept. 10, 1991.

Page 873

David S. Durbin, Appellate Defender, Terri L. Backhus, Asst. Appellate Defender, Kansas City, for appellant.

William L. Webster, Atty. Gen., Breck K. Burgess, Asst. Atty. Gen., Jefferson City, for respondent.

Before NUGENT, P.J., KENNEDY and GAITAN, JJ., and WASSERSTROM, Senior Judge.

NUGENT, Presiding Judge.

A jury found the defendant, Arthur Scott Clay, guilty of forcible rape in violation of § 566.030, RSMo 1986 (repealed 1990). The trial court sentenced him as a prior offender to twenty years' imprisonment. He later sought postconviction relief in a Rule 29.15 motion, which the hearing court denied after an evidentiary hearing. This consolidated appeal addresses both cases, although the defendant raises no claim to the adverse Rule 29.15 ruling. Appealing only the judgment of conviction, the defendant asserts error resulting from jury separation.

We remand for the limited purpose of correcting a clerical error in the judgment. In all other respects, we affirm the judgment of conviction and the denial of postconviction relief.

A clerical error in the formal judgment erroneously shows the defendant's conviction of the "class B felony" of forcible rape. The record, however, clearly shows that the state charged the defendant with and convicted him of forcible rape, an unclassified felony under § 566.030.2, RSMo 1986 (repealed 1990). The trial court can correct this clerical error by striking the reference to "class B felony" from the judgment by nunc pro tunc order without the necessity of resentencing. State v. Jones, 809 S.W.2d 37, 39 (Mo.App.1991); see Weeks v. State, 785 S.W.2d 331, 333 (Mo.App.1990).

In his sole point on appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court erred in allowing the jury in violation of statute to separate overnight during deliberations, depriving him of his Fourteenth Amendment right to due process of law.

The jury retired to deliberate at 6:05 p.m. During the evening, the jury submitted numerous questions to the court. As the hour advanced with no verdict, the court met with the defendant, defense counsel, and the assistant prosecutor. The group discussed alternatives, including the hammer instruction, mistrial, and sequestration. The court specifically asked defense counsel and the defendant whether they wanted to sequester the jury overnight or to allow the jury to go home. Both replied that they did not want to sequester the jury. At 9:10 p.m., the court reassembled the jury in the courtroom. In the presence of the defendant and counsel, the following exchange occurred:

THE COURT: It's obvious to The Court that you've been out deliberating 3 hours and are unable to reach a verdict. I don't want to know how you stand or anything. It's getting to be late suppertime. We have made arrangements. The place we made arrangements is open until 11:00.

Do you think if you went and ate supper and went home and came back in the morning you might be able to do something in the morning or do you think that further deliberations you'd be in the same position?

I can send you home and we can declare a mistrial. Do you want to go home. We've made arrangements to take you and feed you. We're going to do that.

Do you think if you went home and came back in the morning you could talk some more about it? Mrs. Beadles, is that what you'd like to do?

JUROR BEADLES: Yes.

THE COURT: It's been a long day. It's not the normal thing that you do.

What we'll do is we'll recess tonight. Mr. Woodson, take them up and feed them. When you get done, you go home and then you come back at 9:00 in the morning and sleep on it.

Page 874

__________

(The hour of adjournment having arrived, the jury being duly admonished by The Court, by agreement is allowed to separate for the night, under the usual instructions of The Court, until April 18, 1989, at 8:30 a.m.[ ) ].

Before being permitted to separate for the night, The Court made the following statement to the jury:

THE COURT: Let me go on just a little bit further on just what I said. You all have nosy husbands and wives or relatives or friends who'll want to discuss what went on or what this is about. This means exactly what it says. You can tell them that you cannot discuss it with them about anything, nothing. You can't discuss it with any of your people at home. Just tell them you'll let them know about it tomorrow. Tell them that you're not through and you can't discuss the case.

So, with that admonition, you're excused to go home. (Whereupon, at 9:14 p.m., the proceedings were concluded.)

The next morning the jury resumed its deliberations and in less than an hour returned its verdict of guilty to the charge of forcible rape.

Defense counsel voiced no objection to the jury separation until after the verdict. The motion for new trial alleged for the first time that allowing the jury to separate during deliberations constituted prejudicial error. At the hearing on the motion for new trial, defense counsel offered an explanation for his failure to object and presented evidence and legal authority mandating a new trial in cases involving jury separation and misconduct.

Conceding his failure to object, defense counsel went on to explain that he had made the decision not to object in open court and not to approach the bench because he did not know how the jury stood and because he did not want to convey to the jury that he had required them to stay.

Defense counsel also related that his office had contacted six jurors and had obtained an unsigned statement from Juror Arnold. In his statement, Mr. Arnold said that he had gone home...

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4 practice notes
  • Clay, v. Dormire
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • December 5, 2000
    ...affirmed the conviction and denial of post-conviction relief, except as to a minor clerical error, on June 18, 1991. State v. Clay, 812 S.W.2d 872, 873 (Mo. App. 1991). In 1992, relator contacted the circuit clerk's office requesting the "judgments and orders of my convictions for prior fel......
  • State v. Gollaher, Nos. 66079
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • September 12, 1995
    ...due process, we must find that a denial of fundamental fairness so infected the criminal process as to deny a fair trial. State v. Clay, 812 S.W.2d 872, 875 (Mo.App.1991). Whenever a courtroom arrangement is challenged as inherently prejudicial, the court must consider whether the practice ......
  • Burgin v. State, No. WD
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • December 15, 1992
    ...the reference to a "class A" felony from the judgment by a nunc pro tunc order without the necessity of resentencing. Id.; State v. Clay, 812 S.W.2d 872, 873 (Mo.App.1991). The corrective procedure applies here, particularly since the thirty-year sentence awarded by the trial court was cons......
  • Clay v. Gammon, No. 95-3789WM
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • June 24, 1996
    ...Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed his conviction and sentence, and the denial of his motion for postconviction relief. State v. Clay, 812 S.W.2d 872, 876 (Mo.Ct.App.1991). In 1994 Clay filed his 28 U.S.C. § 2254 petition. Raising a due process violation for the first time, Clay argued he s......
4 cases
  • Clay, v. Dormire
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • December 5, 2000
    ...affirmed the conviction and denial of post-conviction relief, except as to a minor clerical error, on June 18, 1991. State v. Clay, 812 S.W.2d 872, 873 (Mo. App. 1991). In 1992, relator contacted the circuit clerk's office requesting the "judgments and orders of my convictions for prior fel......
  • State v. Gollaher, Nos. 66079
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • September 12, 1995
    ...due process, we must find that a denial of fundamental fairness so infected the criminal process as to deny a fair trial. State v. Clay, 812 S.W.2d 872, 875 (Mo.App.1991). Whenever a courtroom arrangement is challenged as inherently prejudicial, the court must consider whether the practice ......
  • Burgin v. State, No. WD
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • December 15, 1992
    ...the reference to a "class A" felony from the judgment by a nunc pro tunc order without the necessity of resentencing. Id.; State v. Clay, 812 S.W.2d 872, 873 (Mo.App.1991). The corrective procedure applies here, particularly since the thirty-year sentence awarded by the trial court was cons......
  • Clay v. Gammon, No. 95-3789WM
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • June 24, 1996
    ...Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed his conviction and sentence, and the denial of his motion for postconviction relief. State v. Clay, 812 S.W.2d 872, 876 (Mo.Ct.App.1991). In 1994 Clay filed his 28 U.S.C. § 2254 petition. Raising a due process violation for the first time, Clay argued he s......

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