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August 12, 2016, Appellate Court Digests
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Kansas Supreme Court – Criminal

Appeals; Crimes and punishment; Criminal procedure; Jury trial; Sixth amendment
State v. Rizo
Sedgwick District District Court – Affirmed in part, dismissed in part
No. 112,824 – August 12, 2016

FACTS: Rizo convicted in bench trial on stipulated facts to charges of first-degree felony murder, aggravated battery, fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer, and battery. District court imposed life prison sentence for felony murder with consecutive 89 month term for remaining convictions. On appeal Rizo claimed his waiver of a jury trial was not knowing and voluntary because district court failed to fully inform him that proceeding on stipulated facts waived right to cross-examine witnesses, compel appearance of favorable witnesses, appeal adverse evidentiary rulings, and appeal an alleged violation of Fifth Amendment rights. He also claimed district court erred in denying motion for a departure sentence. State argued the waiver claim cannot be raised for first time on appeal.

ISSUES: (1) Preservation of Issue for Appellate Review, (2) waiver of jury trial, (3) motion for departure sentence

HELD: Rizo’s claim is analogous to issue reviewed in State v. Beaman, 295 Kan. 853 (2012), and is likewise considered in this case.

Rizo was advised in open court of his right to a jury trial. Cases cited as upholding jury trial waivers even when district court failed to explain particulars surrounding right to jury trial. Under facts in this case, district court obtained a knowing and voluntary jury trial waiver from Rizo, and no error in allowing case to proceed under the stipulated facts agreement.

No legal authority allowed district court to depart from life sentence, and no appellate jurisdiction to consider a departure claim with respect to remaining sentences derived from KSGA grid.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 21-6801 et seq., -6803(q), -6806(c), -6820(c)(1), 22-3601(b); K.S.A. 21-4721(c)(1), 22-3210, -3403(1)

Kansas Supreme Court – Criminal

Criminal procedure ; Jury trial; Prosecutors
State v. Staten
Wyandotte District District Court – Affirmed
Court of Appeals – Affirmed
No. 108,305 – August 12, 2016

FACTS: Notwithstanding Staten’s theory of self-defense, jury found him guilty of aggravated battery. He appealed claiming: (1) district court failed to instruct jury that State was required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he did not act in self-defense; (2) prosecutorial misconduct during closing argument; (3) district court erred in not granting Staten’s request for new counsel; and (4) cumulative error denied him a fair trial. Court of Appeals affirmed in unpublished opinion. Review granted on all issues.

ISSUES: (1) Jury Instruction on Burden of Proof, (2) Prosecutorial Misconduct, (3) Request for New Counsel, (4) Cumulative Error

HELD: 2010 amendment to K.S.A. 21-5108(c) codified Kansas caselaw requirements of State’s burden of proof in disproving self-defense. District court erred in not instructing jury that State’s burden of proof does not shift to a defendant who is articulating a defense of self-defense, but under facts of this case, failure to give PIK Crim. 4th 51.052 (2013 Supp.) was not clear error.

State v. Crum, 286 Kan. 145 (2008), is distinguished. Here, prosecutor mischaracterized Staten’s testimony and referred to facts not in evidence, but no reasonable possibility that this error affected the verdict.

Analytical framework in State v. Pfannenstiel, 302 Kan. 747 (2015), is applied. District court allowed Staten to make statements about dissatisfaction with appointed counsel, and court’s inquiry was sufficient to explore whether Staten’s right to counsel was in jeopardy. No abuse of discretion in district court’s determination that replacing counsel was not necessary to protect Staten’s right to a fair trial.

Cumulative effect of errors occurring in jury instructions and prosecutor’s closing argument was not so great to have prejudiced Staten’s defense or to require a new trial.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 21-5108(c); K.S.A. 2011 Supp. 21-5108(c); K.S.A. 21-3109, 60-404

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