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State of Missouri v. John A. Golden
Case Number: SC98018
Judge: PER CURIAM
Court: SUPREME COURT OF MISSOURI
Plaintiff's Attorney: Gregory L. Barnes
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Troy , MO - Criminal defense lawyer represented defendant John A. Golden charged with felony stealing.
In 2014, Golden was charged with appropriating batteries and a battery charger
worth at least $500 in violation of section 570.030. Golden pleaded guilty as charged;
imposition of sentence was suspended; and he was placed on probation for five years.
While Golden was on probation, this Court decided State v. Bazell, 497 S.W.3d 263 (Mo.
In 2018, the circuit court revoked Golden’s probation and sentenced him to four
years in prison. Golden objected, asserting his offense constituted a misdemeanor pursuant
to Bazell and he should be sentenced accordingly. The circuit court overruled Golden’s
objection. Golden appealed. Following a decision by the court of appeals, this Court
Mo. Const. art. V, § 10.
Standard of Review
Typically, this Court reviews sentencing decisions for abuse of discretion. State v.
Russell, 598 S.W.3d 133, 136 (Mo. banc 2020). Whether Golden was entitled to the benefit
2 After this Court granted transfer, the briefing schedule was stayed pending this Court’s
decision in State v. Russell, 598 S.W.3d 133 (Mo. banc 2020). After the opinion issued in
Russell, Golden filed a motion to reverse the circuit court’s judgment and remand for entry
of judgment of conviction for a class A misdemeanor. The state did not object or file a
response to Golden’s motion. Accordingly, this Court will not activate the briefing
schedule, and the appeal will be decided on the record transferred from the court of appeals.
Golden’s motion is sustained. No motion for rehearing shall be filed, and resentencing
should occur as soon as possible.
of Bazell at the time of his sentencing, however, is a matter of law this Court reviews de
novo. Id. at 137.
Golden contends the circuit court erred in overruling his objection to being
sentenced for felony stealing in that his offense constituted a misdemeanor under this
Court’s holding in Bazell. In Bazell, this Court concluded that, because the value of
property or services is not an element of the offense of stealing, section 570.030.3 could
not be used to enhance an otherwise misdemeanor stealing offense to a class C felony. 497
S.W.3d at 267. In Russell, this Court held Bazell applies prospectively “to cases in which
a guilty plea [for felony stealing] had been entered but a sentence had not yet been imposed
and, therefore, were not final at the time Bazell was decided.” Id.; see also Hamilton v.
State, 598 S.W.3d 607, 610-11 (Mo. banc 2020). The circuit court, therefore, erred in
overruling Golden’s objection and sentencing him for a class C felony when, pursuant to
Bazell, his offense was a class A misdemeanor.
Outcome: The circuit court’s judgment convicting Golden of felony stealing is reversed, and
the case is remanded for sentencing consistent with this opinion.