|Carol Tovich Shuler|
Public Defender Patty Poe has filed a Motion to Dismiss Count II, which essentially states that the trespass charge against Carol is not supported by facts sufficient to support a finding of probable cause to believe the offense occurred. (The Motion to Dismiss Count II can be viewed by clicking on the link above; also, it is embedded at the end of this post.)
(Note: Carol's next court appearance originally was set for June 14, but a continuance was granted, pushing it back one week.)
If the trespass charge in Count II is dismissed, that will leave only Count I -- the alleged misdemeanor charge of "assault on a law enforcement officer." There are no facts to support that charge either, as Carol pointed out in her own Motion to Dismiss before Ms. Poe came on board, But for now, we are focusing on getting the trespass charge out of the way.
One reason is that we've met with Ms. Poe for only about 10 minutes, and she likely needs more information from us about the unlawful eviction that led to a deputy breaking Carol's arm, and bogus charges being filed against her. Plus, Ms. Poe has explained that the system moves slowly -- it takes quite a while for documents to flow from the court to the Public Defender's office, for example -- so we are trying to be patient. (For the record, Carol is better at this patience thing than I am.)
As for the Motion to Dismiss the trespass charge, Ms. Poe points out that Missouri law requires a Misdemeanor Information (MI) be supported by a Probable Cause (PC) Statement. The PC Statement, by law, must "state facts that support a finding of probable cause to believe a crime was committed and that the accused committed it."
The charging documents against Carol, taken together, fall way short of their burden on the trespass count. Ms. Poe states that Missouri law "provides that the offense of trespass in the first degree requires that the defendant knowingly remained unlawfully in an inhabitable structure."
Did the prosecution meet that burden? Not even close. Writes Ms. Poe:
The statement of probable cause filed herein fails to state facts sufficient to support a finding of probable cause to believe that this offense occurred, in that nowhere in the probable cause statement does it allege defendant remained in an inhabitable structure unlawfully and knowingly.
In fact, the PC Statement does not say a word about trespass, meaning there are zero facts to support the charge. What does that mean? Ms. Poe spells it out:
As such, the Misdemeanor Information filed herein is insufficient to confer personal jurisdiction over Defendant and, therefore, all proceedings subsequent to the filing of the Misdemeanor Information herein are void and of no force and effect.
I like the way that sounds, and the same could be said regarding the "assault on a law enforcement officer" charge in Count I. But for now, I will try my best to remain patient and let Count I play out on another day. There is no question that Ms. Poe is correct on the facts and the law regarding Count II, and at a minimum, Carol should leave the courthouse tomorrow with half of the charges against her dismissed.