Missouri Supreme Court Invalidates Felony Stealing


The Missouri Supreme Court has recently invalidated the felony enhancement provision contained within the stealing statute. In State v. Bazell, 497 S.W.3d 263 (Mo. banc 2016), the defendant appealed her conviction and 12-year sentence for multiple counts of the stealing of firearms and property valued in excess of $500. In analyzing her convictions under Section 570.030, the court noted that the felony enhancement provision only applies when the value of property or services is an element of the stealing offense. According to the court, however, the legislature, through a quirk in drafting, did not included "the value of property or services" as an element of the offense of stealing. In other words, no misdemeanor stealing offense could properly be upgraded to a felony based on any of the categories stated in the enhancement provision.

Although the full effect of this decision has not yet been fully ascertained, many, if not all, of the felony stealing convictions entered between 2002 and 2016 may be subject to challenge. For example, in some cases, the charge of stealing may be entirely dismissed while in other cases, the charge could be amended to a misdemeanor. Practically speaking, this typically will mean that someone could be subject to immediate release from prison, parole, or probation.

While each case will be unique, if you or someone you know has been convicted of, or put on probation for, felony stealing between 2002 and 2016, Kevin Whiteley can help determine if the conviction and sentence can be set aside and corrected by the court. Call an experienced Bazell motion attorney today or use our simple e-mail contact form at your convenience.