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January 30 and February 2, 2018 Digests

Posted By Administration, Monday, February 5, 2018

Kansas Supreme Court

Attorney Discipline

ORDER OF DISBARMENT
IN THE MATTER OF JEFFERY B. BITNER
NO. 25,188—JANUARY 30, 2018

FACTS: In a letter signed January 9, 2018, Jeffery B. Bitner voluntarily surrendered his license to practice law in Kansas. At the time of surrender, a complaint was pending which alleged multiple violations of the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct.

HELD: The court found that the surrender of Bitner's license should be accepted and Bitner was disbarred.

criminal

constitutional law—criminal procedure—sentencing—statutues
state v. albright
kingman district court—affirmed
No. 116,408—february 2, 2018

FACTS: Albright was convicted in 1999 of first-degree murder, and a Hard 40 sentence was imposed. In 2002, Albright filed a 60-1507 motion alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. In a new trial ordered by Court of Appeals, jury again convicted Albright of first-degree murder, and a Hard 40 sentence was imposed in 2005. Conviction and sentence affirmed, finding no Apprendi violation in sentencing. State v. Albright, 283 Kan. 418 (2007). In 2016, Albright filed motion for resentencing, asserting his Hard 40 sentence was unconstitutional under Alleyne v. United States, 570 U.S. 99 (2013). District court viewed motion as a collateral attack under K.S.A. 50-1507(b) and denied the motion. Albright appealed, arguing his Hard 40 life sentence is unconstitutional under Alleyne because it is the result of judicial fact-finding.

ISSUE: Challenge to the sentence

HELD: Albright was entitled to no relief whether the district court correctly construed the pleading as a collateral attack, or whether it should have been characterized as a motion to correct an illegal sentence. Albright cannot use K.S.A. 22-3504 to challenge the constitutionality of his sentence, and there is no showing of manifest injustice to consider an untimely filed 60-1507 motion. Additionally, Alleyne cannot be applied retroactively to cases that were final when Alleyne was decided.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 22-3504; K.S.A. 22-3504, 60-1507, -1507(b), -1507(f)(2)

criminal

sentencing—statutes
state v. brune
johnson district court—affirmed
No. 116,720—February 2, 2018

FACTS: Brune pled guilty to two counts of first-degree felony murder.  Consecutive Hard 25 sentences imposed. On appeal Brune claimed the district court erred in refusing to run the sentences concurrent to each other. Brune argued consecutive sentences were overly harsh given his acceptance of responsibility, expression of remorse, willingness to enroll in rehabilitative programs, and negative effects of sentence on his family relationships.

ISSUE: Abuse of discretion in sentencing

HELD: Kansas Sentencing Guidelines Act does not preclude review of sentences classified as off-grid crimes, but under facts of this case the district court did not abuse its discretion by ordering consecutive service of Brune’s hard 25 sentences. 

STATUTE: K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 22-3601(b)(3)

Tags:  Attorney Discipline  Johnson  Kingman 

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