State v. Ruch, WD

CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)
Citation926 S.W.2d 937
Docket NumberNo. WD,WD
PartiesSTATE of Missouri, Respondent, v. Tobias Joaquin RUCH, Appellant. 51435.
Decision Date20 August 1996

Page 937

926 S.W.2d 937
STATE of Missouri, Respondent,
Tobias Joaquin RUCH, Appellant.
No. WD 51435.
Missouri Court of Appeals,
Western District.
Aug. 20, 1996.

Brian A. Tillema, Elizabeth Unger Carlyle, Lee's Summit, for appellant.

Thomas K. Hendrix, Jr., Asst. Pros. Atty., Johnson County, Warrensburg, for respondent.


ELLIS, Judge.

On April 15, 1995, Commercial Motor Vehicle Inspector Larry E. Stephenson stopped Tobias Joaquin Ruch at the intersection of 50 Highway and Lovers Lane in Johnson County, Missouri. Ruch's vehicle carried prefabricated ladders and bore a 1995 land improvement contractor license plate. Stephenson asked Ruch to follow him to a weigh station. At the weigh station, Inspector Stephenson inspected the vehicle and asked where Ruch was headed. Inspector Stephenson

Page 938

told Ruch he would violate the terms of his license if he went more than 25 miles from his home base in Kansas City, Missouri. Inspector Stephenson informed Ruch he would be following him to his destination. Ruch was then permitted to depart, and Inspector Stephenson followed him. Once Ruch reached the intersection of 50 Highway and Route M, over 25 miles from Kansas City, Inspector Stephenson pulled Ruch over and issued him a citation for not displaying a valid license.

The case was tried to the court sitting without a jury. Ruch was convicted for failure to display a valid license plate in violation of § 301.130.7. 1 Ruch was fined $50 for this violation.

Although Ruch brings four points on appeal, his third point is dispositive of this appeal and the remaining points need not be addressed. In that point, Ruch challenges the authority of Inspector Stephenson to issue a citation while not at a weigh station.

"Commercial vehicle inspectors" are authorized by § 304.230.3 and their powers are set out therein. In pertinent part, that section reads:

The superintendent of the Missouri state highway patrol may assign qualified persons who are not highway patrol officers to supervise or operate permanent or portable weigh stations used in the enforcement of commercial vehicle laws. These persons shall be designated as commercial motor vehicle inspectors and have limited police powers:

(1) To issue uniform traffic tickets at a permanent or portable weigh station ... 2

(2) To require the operator of any commercial vehicle to stop and submit to a vehicle and driver inspection to determine compliance with commercial vehicle laws, rules, and regulations and to submit to a cargo inspection when reasonable grounds exist to cause belief that a vehicle is transporting hazardous materials ...

§ 304.230.3.

At trial, the state asserted that Inspector Stephenson had the authority under § 304.230.3(2) to stop Ruch on the open road and that the presence of weighing equipment in the inspector's vehicle vested him with the authority to issue a ticket under § 304.230.3(1). The trial court found Inspector Stephenson "certainly did have the authority to...

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9 cases
  • Phillips v. American Motorist Ins. Co., WD
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • May 4, 1999
    ...of Revenue, 832 S.W.2d 516, 517 (Mo. banc 1992); Abrams v. Ohio Pac. Express, 819 S.W.2d 338, 340 (Mo. banc 1991); State v. Ruch, 926 S.W.2d 937, 938 (Mo.App.1996). It is not our place to construe the clear and unambiguous language of a statute. Tuft v. City of St. Louis, 936 S.W.2d 113, 11......
  • American Family Mut. Ins. Co. v. Fehling, s. WD
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • May 26, 1998 a question of law, not fact; where the lower court rules on a question of law, it is not a matter of discretion. State v. Ruch, 926 S.W.2d 937, 938 (Mo.App.1996). If the law has been erroneously declared or applied, the judgment of the trial court is afforded no deference. "All canons of......
  • American Standard Ins. Co. of Wisconsin v. May, WD
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • June 16, 1998
    ...endeavor to ascertain the intent of the legislature from the language used and, if possible, give effect to that intent." State v. Ruch, 926 S.W.2d 937, 938 (Mo.App.1996). In determining the intent of the legislature, one must consider the plain and ordinary meaning of the terms used in the......
  • Knipp v. Director of Revenue, s. WD
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • November 10, 1998
    ...Statutory construction is a question of law, and where the lower court rules on matters of law, it is not discretionary. State v. Ruch, 926 S.W.2d 937, 938 (Mo.App.W.D.1996) (citing State ex rel. Igoe v. Bradford, 611 S.W.2d 343, 350 (Mo.App. W.D.1980)). If the law is erroneously declared o......
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