Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Susan M. Cannon (Randall) v. James R. Cannon

Opinion handed down April 14, 2009[1]
Link to Mo. Sup. Ct. Opinion

The Supreme Court of Missouri held that section 452.375 of the Missouri Revised Statutes was constitutional and not applied retroactively to a convicted felon prohibited from having unsupervised visitation with his children due to a post-conviction amendment to section 452.375. The court stated that no one has a vested right in the “anticipated continuance of the existing law.”[2] The court also held that the statute did not deprive him of his fundamental right to associate with his children because he was allowed supervised visitation; nor did the statute violate his equal protection rights.

State v. The Hon. Paul Parkinson

Opinion handed down April 14, 2009[1]
Link to Missouri Supreme Court Opinion

The Supreme Court of Missouri, in regards to the procedures for committing sexually violent predators, addressed the effect of the Department of Corrections (DOC) providing a psychological analysis to the Attorney General and the sexual predator multidisciplinary review team that was performed by a psychologist without a license in Missouri. The Supreme Court of Missouri came to several conclusions. First, the Supreme Court of Missouri held that the failure of the state to follow the procedural requirements of Section 632.483 of the Missouri Revised Statutes, the procedures for notifying the Attorney General of a potential sexually violent predator, constitutes a legal error and is not a jurisdictional defect that deprives a court of its subject matter authority to hear a case. Second, a properly prepared end-of-confinement report by a Missouri-licensed psychologist is not a condition precedent to the Attorney General’s right to file a petition seeking to have an individual declared a sexually violent predator (SVP) or for a court’s authority to hear a case on the issue. Third, the error was waived by not raising the issue for three years during which time the trial court entertained various other motions. Fourth, even if the error was not waived, failure of the DOC’s psychological assessment to be performed by a psychologist licensed by Missouri was not prejudicial for a series of reasons: the psychologist was licensed in the state of Texas and was licensed in the state of Missouri several months after issuance of the assessment; despite the error in the formation of the report, the multi-disciplinary committee’s recommendation was that the individual was not a SVP; the Attorney General has discretionary authority to seek someone declared a SVP whatever the contents of the DOC’s psychological assessment or multidisciplinary committee report; and the initial psychological assessment by the DOC is not the psychological assessment used when a trial court determines whether an individual is a sexually violent predator.