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Lembke Motion to Dismiss

Lembke Motion to Dismiss

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Published by: chad_garrison5721 on Feb 28, 2011
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02/28/2011

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MISSOURICIRCUITCOURTTWENTY-SECONDCIRCUIT(CityofSt.Louis)Plaintiff,
c..--
No.L00218836-6\\/
Div.500\'_
-'-
CITYOFST.LOUIS,
v.
JamesW.LembkeDefendant.
MEMORANDUMINSUPPORTOFMOTIONTODISMISS
PlaintiffCityofSt.LouishasinstitutedanordinanceviolationprosecutionagainstDefendantonthebasisofanordinancethatcontravenesthefederalandstateconstitutions,exceedsthepowersoftheBoardofAldermenoftheCityofSt.Louis,andcontravenestheprovisionsofSupremeCourtRule37,governingordinanceviolationprosecutions.ForthereasonsstatedinthemotionpreviouslyfiledandaselaboratedinthisMemorandum,thisactionmustbedismissed.
I.Ordinance66868EnactsanArbitraryPresumptionContrarytotheDueProcessClausesoftheFourteenthAmendmentandMo.Const.art.
I,
§lO.
TheessenceofOrdinance66868isfoundinitssection4,codifiedasSt.L.R.C.§17.07.040,acopyofwhichisattachedheretoasExhibitA.Insubstance,theordinanceprovidesthatiftheCityprovesthatavehicleownedbythedefendantwasoperatedinviolationoftheCity'sTrafficCodeOrdinance,a"rebuttablepresumption"israisedthat,atthetimeofthepurportedtrafficoffense,theownerwastheoperatoroftheautomobile.
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Fromthetextoftheordinance,threethingsareapparent:first,theordinancecontemplatesa"prosecution,"notameresuitforacivilpenalty;second,theordinanceassumesthatan"automatedtrafficcontrolsystemrecord"willbeputintoevidenceestablishingthat,infact,avehicleownedbythedefendantwasoperatedinviolationoftheCity'sTrafficCodeOrdinance;and,third,thatevidenceofthe"automatedtrafficcontrolsystemrecord"issufficienttoraiseapresumptionthattheownerofthemotorvehiclewastheoperator.Defendantsubmitsthatthepresumptionenactedbytheordinanceisunconstitutionalonitsfaceandasappliedtodefendant.Prosecutionsforviolationsofmunicipalordinanceshavelongbeencharacterizedascivilproceedingwith"quasi-criminalaspects."Regardlessofwhethertheprosecutionischaracterizedascivilorcriminal,itisestablishedthatconstitutionalquestionsrelatingtoordinanceprosecutionsaretoberesolvedunderlegalprinciplesandproceduralrulesapplicabletocriminalcases.E.g.,
CityofKansasCityv.Tyson,
169S.W.3d927(Mo.App.W.D.2005);
KansasCityv.Howe,
416S.W.2d683,688(Mo.App.K.C.1967).Indealingwithpresumptionsincriminalcases,dueprocessoflaw
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requiresthattherebearationalconnectionbetweenthefactsprovedandthefactpresumed;alegislativepresumptioncannotbesustainediftherebenorationalconnectionbetweenthefactprovedandtheultimatefactpresumed,iftheinferenceoftheonefromprooflTheconstructionofthedueprocessesclausesinthefederalandMissouriconstitutionsisfundamentallythesameinthiscontext.
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oftheotherisarbitrarybecauseoflackofconnectionbetweenthetwoin
commonexperience.
TheSupremeCourtoftheunitedStateshasdeclaredthegoverningconstitutionalprinciplequiteplainlyin
Totv.UnitedStates,
319U.S.463,467-69(1943)(footnotesomitted):
Underourdecisions,astatutorypresumptioncannotbesustainediftherebenorationalconnectionbetweenthefactprovedandtheultimatefactpresumed,iftheinferenceoftheonefromproofoftheotherisarbitrarybecauseoflackofconnectionbetweenthetwoincommonexperience.Thisisnottosaythatavalidpresumptionmaynotbecreateduponaviewofrelationbroaderthanthatajurymighttakeinaspecificcase.Butwheretheinferenceissostrainedasnottohaveareasonablerelationtothecircumstancesoflifeasweknowthemitisnotcompetentforthelegislaturetocreateitasarulegoverningtheprocedureofcourts..Itisnottoomuchtosaythatthepresumptionscreatedbythelaw[presumingknowledgeofinterstateconnectionoffirearm]areviolent,andinconsistentwithanyargumentdrawnfromexperience.Norcanthefactthatthedefendanthasthebettermeansofinformation,standingalone,justifythecreationofsuchapresumption.Ineverycriminalcasethedefendanthasatleastanequalfamiliaritywiththefactsandinmostagreaterfamiliaritywiththemthantheprosecution.Itmight,therefore,bearguedthattoplaceuponalldefendantsincriminalcasestheburdenofgoingforwardwiththeevidencewouldbeproper.Buttheargumentprovestoomuch.Ifitweresound,thelegislaturemightvalidlycommandthatthefindingofanindictment,ormereproofoftheidentityoftheaccused,shouldcreateapresumptionftheexistenceofallthefactsessentialtoguilt.Thisisnotpermissible.Whetherthestatuteinquestionbetreatedasexpressingthenormalbalanceofprobability,oraslayingdownaruleofcomparativeconvenienceintheproductionofevidence,itleavesthejuryfreetoactonthepresumptionaloneoncethespecifiedfactsareproved,unlessthedefendantcomesforwardwithopposingevidence.Andthiswethinkenoughtovitiatethestatutoryprovision.
Ordinance66868containsnolegislativefindingstosupportthepresumptionthattheownerisoperatingavehicleinviolationoftheTrafficCodeOrdinance.TheCourt,therefore,mustassessthe
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