☰ Revisor of Missouri


Effective - 02 Dec 1982, see footnote    bottom

  V Section 3.  Jurisdiction of the supreme court. — The supreme court shall have exclusive appellate jurisdiction in all cases involving the validity of a treaty or statute of the United States, or of a statute or provision of the constitution of this state, the construction of the revenue laws of this state, the title to any state office and in all cases where the punishment imposed is death.  The court of appeals shall have general appellate jurisdiction in all cases except those within the exclusive jurisdiction of the supreme court.


Source:  Const. of 1875, Art. VI, § 12; Amdt. of 1884, §§ 3, 5 (Amended August 4, 1970) (Amended August 3, 1976) (Amended November 2, 1982).

In General

(1957) On appeal from judgment in condemnation action, supreme court has no jurisdiction to appoint commissioner to take evidence as to facts reducing damages which occurred after judgment nisi. State ex rel. State Highway Comm. v. Dockery (Mo.), 300 S.W.2d 444.

(1957) In appeal from judgment enjoining appropriation and use of trade secrets and ordering accounting, where the accounting feature was not before the court, there was no question of which the Supreme Court had jurisdiction. Engel Sheet Met. Co. v. Shewman (Mo.), 298 S.W.2d 434.

(1960) Appeal in declaratory judgment action for ruling as to whether certain practices constituted the practice of law, held not within jurisdiction of Supreme Court. Automobile Club of Mo. v. Hoffmeister (Mo.), 332 S.W.2d 957.

(1961) Where issue of whether appellants, by reason of their petition for review of administrative board's decision in proceeding where they appeared as witnesses, were entitled to judicial review under administrative procedure act was to be determined before necessity of ruling on constitutional question arose, the supreme court would transfer case to court of appeals. Clay & Bailey Mfg. Co. v. Anderson (Mo.), 344 S.W.2d 46.

(1961) Denial of continuance or stay of proceedings on claim based on the federal Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act did not present a federal question within the constitutional provision fixing jurisdiction. Salzwedel v. Vassil (Mo.), 347 S.W.2d 218.

Constitutional Questions

(1952) In order to raise an issue involving a construction of the constitution, the section which has been violated must be designated and the facts constituting such violation must be narrated. Averments of a general nature or legal conclusions do not present an issue involving construction of the constitution, federal or state, so as to vest jurisdiction in the supreme court. State ex rel. v. St. Louis Union Trust Co. (Mo.), 248 S.W.2d 592.

(1952) Where petition did not allege statute was unconstitutional, but court found that statute did not relieve defendant of liability for negligence, and if it purported so to do it was invalid, supreme court did not have jurisdiction of appeal on ground that constitutional question was involved. Cotton v. Iowa Mut. Ins. Co., 363 Mo. 400, 251 S.W.2d 246.

(1952) Constitutional questions held not preserved in mandamus action so as to vest jurisdiction of appeal therein in supreme court and prosecuting attorney held not state officer under constitutional provision because his duties are not coextensive with state. State ex rel. Kirks v. Allen (Mo.), 250 S.W.2d 348.

(1952) Appeal from judgment sustaining order of city board of adjustment revoking permit authorizing building alterations in certain property did not present constitutional issue where law and ordinance authorizing action were conceded to be valid and objection to procedure was not timely made. Veal v. Leinkuehler (A.), 249 S.W.2d 491, 344 U.S. 913.

(1952) In action for injunction and for damages for razing building which was being done under contract with city, where plaintiff's cause depended upon the constitutional invalidity of a city ordinance under which such contract was made, the supreme court had jurisdiction. Cirese v. Spitcaufsky (A.), 253 S.W.2d 512.

(1953) An allegation that a statute would be unconstitutional if construed in a certain manner does not constitute such a direct challenge to the statute as to raise a constitutional question so as to give supreme court appellate jurisdiction. Phillips Pipe Line Co. v. Brandstetter, 363 Mo. 904, 254 S.W.2d 636.

(1953) Where adverse ruling on constitutional question was not assigned as error in motion for new trial, appeal did not involve construction of constitution. Cirese v. Spitcaufsky (Mo.), 259 S.W.2d 836.

(1953) Where petition challenging validity of election to form reorganized school district, alleged failure to comply with statutes requiring a secret ballot and motion for new trial claimed decision was violative of constitutional guarantee of secret ballot, appeal did not require construction of constitution. Nelson v. Watkinson (Mo.), 260 S.W.2d 1.

(1953) Where petition was based in part on the alleged unconstitutionality of a city ordinance and court sustained motion for judgment on pleadings, supreme court had no jurisdiction of appeal in absence of record showing that judgment was based on such invalidity. Ingle v. City of Fulton (Mo.), 260 S.W.2d 666.

(1953) Where record fails to show that trial court did, in fact, pass on constitutional question, supreme court has no jurisdiction. State ex rel. Barnett v. Sappington (Mo.), 260 S.W.2d 669.

(1953) Where plaintiff asserted that statute would violate his constitutional rights if trial court's construction prevailed, no constitutional question was raised. Knight v. Calvert Fire Ins. Co. (Mo.), 260 S.W.2d 673.

(1953) Since constitutional guarantees of sections 10 and 22, Article I of the Constitution are for protection against governmental action, and not applicable to acts of individuals as between themselves, contention that labor union's action denied such rights to one of its members does not raise a constitutional question so as to give supreme court jurisdiction of cause. Junkins v. Communication Workers of America Local Union No. 6313 etc.(Mo.), 263 S.W.2d 337.

(1954) The four requirements for the raising of constitutional question are: (1) It must be raised at the first opportunity; (2) the constitutional provision alleged to be violated must be specifically designated or quoted; (3) facts showing violation of the provision must be stated, and (4) the constitutional question must be preserved throughout for review. State ex rel. Thompson v. Roberts (Mo.), 264 S.W.2d 314; (1954) State v. Harold (Mo.), 271 S.W.2d 527.

(1954) Where defendant questioned validity of statute on ground it contravened "due process clause" of the state and federal constitutions, the constitutional question was preserved so as to give supreme court jurisdiction. State v. Becker (A.), 268 S.W.2d 51.

(1954) Constitutionality of statute may be ruled by supreme court even though validity is not challenged, when public interest is involved. State ex rel. Fuller v. Mullinax, 364 Mo. 858, 269 S.W.2d 72; (1954) Harris v. Bates (Mo.), 270 S.W.2d 763.

(1954) A claim of violation of a constitutional right must be substantial and not merely colorable in order to vest jurisdiction in the supreme court. State v. Egan (A.), 272 S.W.2d 719.

(1954) Where questions of constitutionality of statutes were first raised in motion for new trial, they were not raised at earliest opportunity and so did not present case involving the construction of the constitution. McClard v. Morrison (Mo.), 273 S.W.2d 225.

(1955) Where motion to suppress evidence on ground of illegal search and seizure stated that same were made without warrant, not as an incident to an arrest and without consent of defendant and that officers had no reasonable ground to believe defendant guilty of felony, but did not mention state or federal constitution, it raised no constitutional issue. State v. Bray (A.), 278 S.W.2d 49.

(1955) Where appellants sought a construction of constitutional provision, Supreme Court had jurisdiction even though court found it unnecessary to pass on constitutional question. Haley v. Harjul, Inc. (Mo.), 281 S.W.2d 832.

(1956) In suit to enjoin picketing by labor union, where defendants contended injunction violated free speech provision of federal constitution, construction of United States Constitution was involved and supreme court had jurisdiction. Heath v. Motion Picture Machine Operators Union No. 170, 365 Mo. 934, 290 S.W.2d 152.

(1956) Where motion for new trial failed to mention any constitutional question, such questions were waived and cannot be urged on appeal. Deacon v. City of Ladue (A.), 294 S.W.2d 616.

(1956) The supreme court had jurisdiction of appeal from action of trial court sustaining motion to quash summons and return of service thereon where defendant was foreign corporation and service was made on the president in this state as the appeal presented constitutional question involving due process under the federal and state constitutions. Collar v. Peninsular Gas Co. (Mo.), 295 S.W.2d 88.

(1957) Contention on appeal that trial court "legislated" instead of interpreting statute does not raise constitutional question. Swenson v. Swenson (Mo.), 299 S.W.2d 523.

(1957) Where appellant claimed that effect of judgment was to delegate power to tax to administrative agency in violation of constitution, no question of construction of constitution was involved. E.B. Jones Motor Co. v. Indust. Comm. (Mo.), 298 S.W.2d 407.

(1957) Where constitutional question was raised and kept open at time appeal was taken, supreme court had jurisdiction although the constitutional question was determined in another case while appeal was pending. Hoerath v. Sloan's Mvg. & Storage Co. (Mo.), 305 S.W.2d 418.

(1958) Where trial court in action to review order of zoning board refused to dismiss action because not timely filed, but after review, affirmed order, an attack on statute fixing time for filing review did not raise constitutional question, nor was one raised where real question involved whether order was supported by evidence. Cohen v. Ennis (Mo.), 308 S.W.2d 669.

(1958) Where fundamental issue tried by parties was whether picketing of employer's plant was unlawful because it was designed to force employer to coerce its salesmen into joining union, in violation of § 29, Art. I of the constitution, a question of construction of the constitution was not involved since that issue has been settled by prior adjudications. Swift & Co. v. Doe (Mo.), 311 S.W.2d 15.

(1958) Supreme court did not have jurisdiction of appeal from decision that consolidated school district, in constructing school building, need not comply with ordinances of fire protection district on basis of contention that opposite construction of statutes would infringe upon the school district's constitutional authority to establish and maintain schools, particularly since one who raised the constitutional question was not injured by the ruling. Community Fire Protection Dist. v. Board of Education (Mo.), 312 S.W.2d 75.

(1958) Where constitutional validity of reciprocity agreements was challenged in prosecution for violation of motor vehicle licensing law, the supreme court did not have jurisdiction on ground constitutional guaranty against impairment of contract was involved, since the law on which prosecution was based was in effect prior to reciprocity agreement. State v. Laurisden (Mo.), 312 S.W.2d 140.

(1958) Rule that supreme court will not assume jurisdiction on constitutional grounds when the identical question has been finally settled by prior decisions of the supreme court does not apply to appeals involving the question of unlawful search and seizure as every such appeal involves a construction of the constitution in the light of the facts in the particular case. State v. Harris (A.), 313 S.W.2d 219.

(1958) Where supreme court transferred cause to court of appeals which determined that evidence did not support circuit court's affirmance of board's grant of application to use vacant lots in residential zone for truck turn-around and driveway for bakery but respondents had contended that board's determination was final since appeal was not filed within thirty days, appellant's contention that § 89.110 was unconstitutional became an issue and necessitated retransfer of cause to supreme court. Cohen v. Ennis (A.), 314 S.W.2d 239.

(1958) Action for declaratory judgment to establish the general election laws control city primary elections and that action of party committee fixing hours of voting and number of polling places was void, did not present a constitutional question. Shaver v. Moyer (Mo.), 317 S.W.2d 414.

(1959) Proceedings by municipalities against violators of ordinances are regarded as civil actions to recover a debt or penalty, so that a contention on appeal from a conviction of a violation of a city ordinance that the person was not afforded an opportunity to confront and cross-examine the witnesses against him does not raise a constitutional question within the jurisdiction of the supreme court. City of Webster Groves v. Quick (Mo.), 319 S.W.2d 543.

(1959) Where sole question in case was whether or not search of of defendant's person was incident to a lawful arrest, it being conceded that if it was not unlawful, no constitutional question was involved. State v. Harris (Mo.), 321 S.W.2d 468.

(1959) Where points raised in brief to court did not specify any constitutional questions, such questions are deemed abandoned, and case does not involve such questions so as to give supreme court jurisdiction. State v. Brookshire (Mo.), 325 S.W.2d 497.

(1959) Where constitutional question as to right of jury trial was not raised until six months after motion for jury trial (which was waived by failure to comply with court rules) was denied, held not to involve constitutional question. Securities Acceptance Corp. v. Hill (Mo.), 326 S.W.2d 65.

(1960) Challenge to order of state Public Service Commission granting certificate of convenience, etc., to construct power line on ground order violated constitution held not to raise constitutional question where statutes under which order was admittedly made were not attacked. State ex rel. Harline v. Pub. Serv. Comm. (Mo.), 332 S.W.2d 940.

(1960) Where a case involving constitutional issues was originally appealed to the supreme court and the supreme court had jurisdiction because of the existence of constitutional questions, a subsequent motion to dissolve the injunction and vacate the judgment in the prior case was also in the juridiction of the supreme court notwithstanding no constitutional issues were involved in the motion. Adams Dairy Co. v. Dairy Employees Union, Local 207 (Mo.), 339 S.W.2d 811.

(1960) In action to review decision of industrial commission on unemployment compensation question, where petition for review did not raise constitutional question, nor was it raised in any motion or other pleading filed in the court, although argued in the trial court, it was not sufficiently preserved for review and therefore the supreme court had no jurisdiction. Record Newspaper Co. v. Industrial Commission (Mo.), 340 S.W.2d 613.

(1960) Where constitutional question which, if present at all, was present from outset was not raised until motion for new trial and was not adequately covered by brief of appellant on appeal, it was not properly presented and preserved so as to invoke exclusive jurisdiction of supreme court. Sheets v. Thomann (A.), 336 S.W.2d 701.

(1961) Where the application of the full faith and credit clause of the federal constitution rather than its construction is involved in a case, the supreme court does not have jurisdiction. Thus appeal from the judgment of the circuit court ruling invalid a judgment awarding alimony issued by a sister state and quashing execution issued under the uniform registration of foreign judgments law, would be transferred to the court of appeals. Roseberry v. Crump (Mo.), 345 S.W.2d 117.

(1961) Supreme court did not have jurisdiction of appeal from citation for contempt for violation of injunction where complaints of alleged constitutional violations were actually directed to the court's procedure and judgment and did not require construction of the constitution. State ex rel. Coates v. Parchman (Mo.), 346 S.W.2d 74.

(1961) Where judgment nisi purported to decide constitutional question, supreme court would have jurisdiction even though such question was beyond the issues submitted. Kansas City v. Hammer (Mo.), 347 S.W.2d 865.

(1962) Supreme court had jurisdiction of appeal from judgment holding St. Louis County ordinance invalid as not having been enacted in conformity with statute where appellants contended the ordinance was adopted pursuant to procedure authorized by county charter which necessarily required construction of Section 18(c) of Art. VI. Casper v. Hetlage (Mo.), 359 S.W.2d 781.

(1962) Supreme court had jurisdiction of appeal from circuit court affirming conviction in city court of selling subscriptions to magazines door-to-door without a license as required by city ordinances, where defendant challenged constitutionality of ordinance under commerce clause of federal constitution. Village of Bel-Nor v. Barnett (Mo.), 358 S.W.2d 832.

(1963) When constitutional question was raised for the first time in defendant's motion for a new trial and assignment of brief did not specify section of constitution alleged to have been violated, constitutional question was not preserved for review. Barnes v. Anchor Temple Association (Mo.), 369 S.W.2d 192.

(1963) Supreme court had jurisdiction of appeal from dismissal of petition for review of driver's license revocation as director of revenue was a "contesting party" and decision involved construction of due process clause of constitution. Wilson v. Morris (Mo.), 369 S.W.2d 402.

(1963) Assuming that telephone company had certificate of convenience to serve a certain area, appeal from public service commission's order directing another company to provide service to the area did not require construction of due process and equal protection provisions of constitution and supreme court did not have jurisdiction of the appeal. State ex rel. Doniphan Telephone Co. v. Public Service Commission (Mo.), 369 S.W.2d 572.

(1964) Court of appeals had jurisdiction of appeal even though material issue was as to whether or not plaintiff appellant was afforded due process when prior case was dismissed for failure to prosecute since plaintiff appellant specified no section or article of state or federal constitution as having been violated and briefed no constitutional question. W.M. Crysler Co. v. Smith (A.), 377 S.W.2d 134.

(1964) Supreme court had jurisdiction of appeal from conviction on misdemeanor charge where defendant charged his constitutional rights had been infringed and due process violated whether the supreme court found it necessary to rule the constitutional issues or not. State v. Poelker (Mo.), 378 S.W.2d 491.

(1964) Constitutional question was not presented for appellate review by mention only in the jurisdictional statement or by casual reference in argument portion of brief where not contained in points relied on nor timely presented to trial court. Pruellage v. DeSeaton Corporation (Mo.), 380 S.W.2d 403.

(1964) In proceedings to review order of board of zoning adjustment wherein appellants claimed constitutional questions were involved, but in reality issues only involved the application of undisputed constitutional principles and not the construction of the constitution, jurisdiction was in the court of appeals. Dunbar v. Board of Zoning Adjustment (Mo.), 380 S.W.2d 442.

(1964) Where defendant, on appeal from magistrate court to circuit court, filed untimely request under rules of the circuit court for jury trial and did not attack constitutionality of the court rule until trial day, constitutional question was not in issue since not raised at first opportunity and supreme court did not have jurisdiction of appeal. Meadowbrook Country Club v. Davis (Mo.), 384 S.W.2d 611.

(1965) Where trial court could have ruled on ground other than constitutional grounds and it does not affirmatively appear that ruling was on constitutional question, no constitutional question is preserved for review. Kersting v. City of Ferguson (Mo.), 388 S.W.2d 794.

(1966) Question of constitutionality of statute may not be presented for the first time by reply brief of appellant. In re Bierman's Estate (Mo.), 396 S.W.2d 545.

(1972) Contention that quashing of defendant's deposition subpoenas because he was delinquent in paying pendente lite allowances deprived him of right to defend action did not require construction of the Constitution of the United States or of this state but merely raised the question of the application of the due process clauses to the factual situation involved. Norkunas v. Norkunas (A.), 480 S.W.2d 92.

(1986) An ordinance which removes the element of scienter from a crime raises a constitutional issue, giving the supreme court jurisdiction under this section. St. Louis Co. v. Glore, 715 S.W.2d 565 (Mo. App. 1986).

State Officer as Party

(1951) State Board of Optometry is not a state officer but a legal entity within this section. State ex rel. Wallach v. Schneider's Credit Jewelers, Inc. (A.), 243 S.W.2d 125.

(1953) Appeal from judgment sustaining the decision of the workmen's compensation commission on a claim for workmen's compensation benefits where the state treasurer was made a party defendant in order to recover sum paid into second injury fund, was within the jurisdiction of the supreme court. Mossman v. St. Joseph Lead Co. (A.), 254 S.W.2d 241.

(1957) Industrial Commission of Missouri is not a state officer in constitutional sense. E.B. Jones Motor Co. v. Indust. Comm. (Mo.), 298 S.W.2d 407.

(1957) Supreme court did not have juridiction of appeal from order overruling motion by municipality to intervene in condemnation action by state highway commission as state highway department was not a state officer or political subdivision, title to real estate was not involved and municipal corporation was not a political subdivision within the meaning of this provision. State ex rel. State Highway Comm. v. Hudspeth (Mo.), 297 S.W.2d 510.

(1963) On appeal from a judgment in action for certiorari to review the action of the State Board of Chiropractic Examiners, the board rather than its individual members was the real party in interest and the fact that its component members were named parties did not vest the Supreme Court with jurisdiction even though such members are state officers. State ex rel. Gibson v. Missouri Board of Chiropractic Examiners (A.), 365 S.W.2d 773.

(1963) Supreme court did not have jurisdiction of appeal from judgment reversing decision of director of department of public health and welfare denying application for old age assistance on the theory that director was a "state officer". Dunnegan v. Gallop (Mo.), 369 S.W.2d 206.

(1963) A "state officer" within the meaning of this constitutional provision is one who exercises a portion of the sovereign power of government independently and without control of a superior power other than the law and therefore the supervisor of the safety responsibility unit and the supervisor of driver's license registration of the department of revenue did not come within the meaning of that term. Neither was the department of revenue nor the safety responsibility unit a state officer. Sheperd v. Department of Revenue (Mo.), 370 S.W.2d 381.

(1966) Warden of the Missouri State Penitentiary is not a "state officer" as that term is used in this section. Pollard v. Swenson (Mo.), 403 S.W.2d 601.

(1970) The Division of Employment Security is not a state officer within the meaning of the Constitution. Swafford v. Industrial Commission (Mo.), 452 S.W.2d 801.

Title to Office

(1954) Appeal from proceeding to contest election of ward committeewoman in city of St. Louis is within jurisdiction of supreme court because it involves title to public office. Noonan v. Walsh, 364 Mo. 1169, 273 S.W.2d 195.

(1954) Quo warranto to oust city alderman is not action involving "title to any office under this state" and appeal therein is not within jurisdiction of supreme court. State at Inf. Dalton v. Mattingly (Mo.), 268 S.W.2d 868.

(1960) Where record in lower court showed no claim that any constitutional right of defendant had been infringed, the court of appeals had jurisdiction of appeal. City of St. Louis v. Stenson (A.), 333 S.W.2d 529.

(1960) Case involving title to offices of mayor and alderman of city held not within jurisdiction of supreme court. Felker v. City of Sikeston (A.), 334 S.W.2d 754.

(1960) Action to remove president of board of education for gross misconduct was not within the exclusive jurisdiction of the supreme court as there was no dispute as to respondent having title to the office. Antoine v. McCaffery (A.), 335 S.W.2d 474.

(1963) The supreme court has exclusive jurisdiction of an appeal from a final judgment in an action to contest the election of a school director because such action involves title to an "office under this state". New v. Corrough (Mo.), 370 S.W.2d 323.

(1964) Appeal from action to contest election of county superintendent is within jurisdiction of supreme court as case involves title to an "office under this state". Kasten v. Guth (Mo.), 375 S.W.2d 110.

(1972) Supreme court had exclusive jurisdiction over appeal from quo warranto proceeding to oust appellants from office of building commission of Jefferson county since office was one to which officer was elected or apponted under authority of law and the authority and duties thereof were prescribed by law. State ex rel. Donald v. Leonard (A.), 480 S.W.2d 71.

Construction of Revenue Laws

(1955) Suit to enjoin assessment, extension and collection of property taxes on alleged exempt property involved construction of revenue laws of state. St. Louis Gospel Center v. Prose (Mo.), 280 S.W.2d 827.

(1957) Employment Security Law is not a revenue law so as to give supreme court jurisdiction involving its construction. E.B. Jones Motor Co. v. Indust. Comm. (Mo.), 298 S.W.2d 407.

(1958) Appeal from action to recover maintenance taxes levied by drainage district and impose a lien on realty of defendant did not involve construction of revenue laws nor title to realty within the meaning of this section. Fort Osage Drainage District of Jackson County v. Foley (Mo.), 312 S.W.2d 144.

(1959) Supreme court had jurisdiction of appeal from judgment dismissing petition in action against state tax commission, insofar as it purported to be suit in equity to relieve against illegal and excessive assessment of property where construction of the state revenue laws was involved. Drey v. State Tax Commission (Mo.), 323 S.W.2d 719.

(1959) Proceeding to review decision of state tax commission with respect to an assessment of property where it was contended that decision was not supported by evidence and that it was discriminatory involved construction of revenue laws. Cupples Hesse Corp. v. State Tax Comm. (Mo.), 329 S.W.2d 696.

(1963) Quo warranto proceeding to try right of respondent to office of alderman in city of fourth class did not involve "title to any office under this state" so as to vest jurisdiction of appeal in the Supreme Court. State ex rel. McNutt v. Northrup (Mo.), 367 S.W.2d 512.

(1972) Supreme court had jurisdiction of action by railroad companies against county collector for refunds of alleged excess school tax payments as the case involved construction of the state revenue law. Mo. Pacific Rd. Co. v. Kuehle (Mo.), 482 S.W.2d 505.

Offenses Punishable by Life Imprisonment or Death

(1972) "Punishable by a sentence of death or life imprisonment" in Art. V, § 3 of the Missouri Constitution means only those offenses having as alternative punishments life imprisonment or death and does not include offenses which have a sentence of less than life imprisonment as a minimum and a maximum of either life imprisonment or death and therefore supreme court did not have jurisdiction of appeal from conviction of robbery in first degree (not by means of deadly weapon). Garrett v. State (Mo.), 481 S.W.2d 225.

(1973) Jurisdiction over out of time appeal from conviction of first degree murder held not to be in Missouri Supreme Court since decision of Supreme Court of United States invalidated death penalty under statutes such as Missouri's and, thus, the offense was no longer one having alternative punishments of death or life imprisonment. Parks v. State (Mo.), 492 S.W.2d 746.

(1997) A revenue law of this state does not include a law that raises revenue only within a single political subdivision for the benefit of that political subdivision at the direction of the legislative body or the voters of the political subdivision. Alumax Foils, Inc. v. City of St. Louis, 939 S.W.2d 907 (Mo.banc 1997).

---- end of effective  02 Dec 1982 ----

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