Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Doe v. Toelke[1]

Opinion handed down September 25, 2012

The state appealed a circuit court’s judgment that the state’s sex offender registration act is unconstitutional as applied to John Doe.  In a 6-0 decision, the Supreme Court of Missouri reversed the judgment to the extent it holds the circuit court was without authority to address the applicability of a federal registration act, and that the state registration requirements violate the state constitution as applied to Doe. The Court affirmed the judgment in that it does not order the state to destroy the Doe’s registration records.

State v. Stover[1]

Opinion handed down September 25, 2012

Melvin Stover, Jr. appealed his conviction and sentence of twelve years without probation or parole for the class A felony of trafficking drugs in the first degree.  On appeal, Mr. Stover claimed that the trial court erred in: (1) overruling his motion for acquittal on the ground of insufficient evidence to convince a reasonable trier of fact that he knowingly possessed the contraband; (2) overruling his motion to suppress the contraband seized during the search of his vehicle because the detention was conducted without reasonable suspicion of criminal activity and lasted beyond the time reasonably required to complete a traffic ticket; (3) overruling his motion to suppress evidence of incriminating statements made during the detention and prior to the arresting officers issuing a Miranda warning; (4) allowing into evidence his refusal to consent to a search of the vehicle; (5) allowing Corporal Hagerty’s testimony that he received a commendation from the DEA for making the largest PCP seizure in the history of the United States until 2003; and (6) overruling his objection to the verdict-directing instruction because it did not require the jury to find that he knew of the content and character of the PCP or that he was aware of its presence and nature.  The Supreme Court denied five of Stover’s six points on appeal, but reversed and remanded because it held that the verdict-directing instruction the trial court gave the jury resulted in manifest injustice since it failed to require the state to prove one element of the crime—that Stover knew the content or character of the substance found in the briefcase in the trunk of his rented vehicle. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Bob DeGeorge Associates, Inc., et al., v. Hawthorn Bank[1]

Opinion handed down September 11, 2012

In June 2008, Blue Springs Xtreme Powersports purchased property using loan funds obtained from Hawthorn Bank; as security for the loan, Hawthorn Bank took a purchase-money deed of trust on the property, but failed to record it until November 2008.[2]  Prior to recording the deed, Xtreme Powersports hired two contractors, DeGeorge and KSD Christian, to make improvements on the property.  After Xtreme failed to pay the contractors several months later, the contractors filed a mechanic’s lien against Xtreme’s property.[3]  Although Hawthorn Bank’s deed of trust was not recorded at the time the contractor’s began making improvements on the property, Hawthorn Bank claimed its deed had priority over the contractors’ mechanic’s liens.  The Supreme Court of Missouri looked to well-established statutory and case law regarding priority interests between mechanic’s liens and deeds of trust on the same property.[4]  Ultimately, the Court held that the contractors’ mechanic’s liens had superior priority because Hawthorn’s deed of trust was unrecorded at the time the contractors’ liens “attached” to the property, which was consistent with traditional Missouri law on the subject.[5]