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July 20, 2018 Digests

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Kansas Court of Appeals


constitutional law—juvenile justice code—interrogation—statutes
in re. P.W.G.
butler district court—affirmed
No. 118,211—july 20, 2018

FACTS: Thirteen-year-old P.W.G. was questioned at police station about allegations of fondling his younger step-brother. Father of both boys brought P.W.G. to police station as directed, and remained with P.W.G. during questioning. P.W.G. eventually made incriminating statements after they both signed waiver of Miranda rights. State charged P.W.G. with aggravated indecent liberties with a child. District court granted P.W.G.’s motion to suppress statements made during interrogation, finding the police interrogation was custodial and that the Miranda waiver was invalid under K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 38-2333(b). State filed interlocutory appeal arguing the statute did not apply because the interrogation was not custodial, and even if custodial, the presence of P.W.G.’s father when P.W.G. waived his Miranda rights satisfied the statute.

ISSUES:  (1) Custodial interrogation of juvenile. (2) voluntariness of Miranda Waiver

HELD:  Although a close call, under totality of the circumstances as set forth in the opinion, a 13-year-old child would not have felt free to terminate the interrogation and leave. District court’s finding that the interrogation was custodial is affirmed.

            P.W.G. did not voluntarily and knowingly waive his Miranda rights under the requirements set forth in K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 38-2333.  Interrogating officer in this case did not provide any time for father to consult, provide an explanation, or give guidance to P.W.G.  State failed to comply with K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 38-2333(a), thus the totality of the circumstances test is not sufficient to ensure that P.W.G.’s waiver was intelligent and knowing.  More than the mere presence of a parent is required; the parent must be acting with the interests of the juvenile in mind.  While statute does not govern unique facts presented here, P.W.G.’s waiver would be invalid because the father of both the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator had an irreconcilable conflict of interest.  Better practice would have been contacting P.W.G’s mother who was not related to the alleged victim.  District court’s finding that P.W.G.’s waiver of his Miranda rights was invalid under K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 38-2333 is affirmed.

DISSENT (Buser, J.):  Does not agree that the officer conducted a custodial interrogation of P.W.G., thus K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 38-2333(a)-(b) are not applicable to facts and circumstances of this case.  Instead, the officer’s questioning was an investigative interview for which a valid waiver of Miranda rights was not required.   Factors to be considered in analyzing whether the interrogation was custodial are detailed, criticizing majority’s findings on seven of the eight factors.  Would reverse the district court’s order of suppression and remand for further proceedings.

STATUTES:  K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 38-2333, -2333(a), -2333(b); K.S.A. 74-7833 et seq.



criminal law—criminal procedure—immunity—statutes
state v. collins
sedgwick district court—reversed and remanded
No. 117,743—july 20, 2018

FACTS: Three unarmed women followed Collins up an apartment stairwell following an earlier heated encounter in the parking lot. When Collins brandished a knife at the top of the second floor landing, he and the women fell down nine stairs after one pulled on Collins’ shirt, with Collins swinging the knife at least twice as he fell. Collins got up, closed his knife, and went back up the stairs to his apartment, but one woman had been fatally stabbed and another had a knife wound. State charged Collins with intentional second-degree murder and aggravated battery. Prior to trial, Collins filed a motion seeking self-defense immunity under the Stand Your Ground statute. District court conducted an evidentiary hearing and found Collins’ use of deadly force was lawful because Collins reasonably believed deadly force was necessary to prevent great bodily harm to himself. District court granted the motion and dismissed the charges. State appealed, arguing Collins lacked a reasonable belief that deadly force was needed to prevent great bodily harm, and that as an aggressor, he was not subject to a statutory safe harbor retreat exception.

ISSUE:  Stand Your Ground Statute, K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-5220 et seq.

HELD:  Background of the Stand Your Ground statute is reviewed, including immunity under K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-5231 that prevents a case from going to trial. Here, the district court was not required to decide whether Collins was justified in his use of deadly force in self-defense. Instead, to overcome a defendant’s self-defense immunity claim, State has burden of establishing probable cause the defendant’s use of force was not statutorily justified. That probable cause burden can be met by evidence the defendant acted as an aggressor and provoked the use of force. Under facts in this case, State met its burden because a reasonable person—given the district court’s assessment of conflicting evidence—could have concluded Collins’ acts were not justified. Thus Collins is not entitled to immunity, and his claim of self-defense is appropriately left for a jury to decide. District court’s grant of immunity and dismissal of the charges is reversed, and case is remanded for further proceedings. 

STATUTES:  K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-5220 et seq., -5221, -5222, -5223, -5224(a)(2), -5225, -5226(c), -5230, -5231; K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 21-5403(a)(1), -5413(b)(2)(B)

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