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Appeals Court Coverage

By Riley Friga (Pershing City) & Audrey Mitchell (Crowder City)

Yesterday afternoon, the American Legion Auxiliary Missouri Girls State and the American Legion Missouri Boys State were provided with the experience to attend a session of the Missouri Court of Appeals. They were reviewing the case of Cortez L. Easterwood-Bey, a forty-five year old male that was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and first degree murder for the shooting of Bryant Wright on October 12, 2020.

The attorneys for the State of Missouri and Easterwood-Bey both presented their findings for his appeal. Easterwood-Bey’s public defense attorney argued that he deserved a new trial based on evidence that the prosecution presented at the trial. The defense attorney argued that a surveillance video from a liquor store was submitted as evidence incorrectly. Since the owner of the liquor store refused to come to the trial to provide extra authentication as in the case of the State of Missouri vs. Moyle, the argument was made that Easterwood-Bey did not have a fair trial. The defense attorney then made a second point of contention to the judges that Easterwood-Bey was not made aware of the fact that he was going to be charged for possessing the .40 caliber Smith and Wesson in relation to the shooting before the trial took place. Therefore, the instructions that were given to the jury were incorrect, as Easterwood was not aware of all of his charges.

The prosecution from Missouri stated that the defense did not object during Easterwood-Bey’s trial to the jury instructions. Since there was no objection in the courtroom, no one was aware that he didn’t have full knowledge of all his charges. Missouri’s attorney then proceeded to state that because of his indictment, the defendant knew of this charge seven months before his trial took place. The prosecution made note that Easterwood-Bey was wearing a mask during his trial that took place during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of his mask, the jury was confused about what he looked like compared to the surveillance video. However, the jury managed to look at him and decide that he was guilty and he was consequently sentenced to life without the chance of parole. The judges will decide on the outcome of the appeals case at a later date. MBS and MGS thanks Judge Michael Gardner and all other court officials for this privilege, and also for having the opportunity to ask questions.

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