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March 27, 2020 Digests

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Kansas Supreme Court

criminal

appeals—constitutional law—criminal law—criminal procedure—
evidence—juries—jury instruction—statutes
state v. Gonzalez
wyandotte district court—affirmed
no. 119,492—march 27, 2020

FACTS: Passenger (Espinoza) in car driven by Gonzalez shot and killed a man outside a bar. Gonzalez convicted of felony murder, attempted aggravated robbery, and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery. During trial, district court refused to compel testimony of Espinoza who had already pleaded guilty and been sentenced for his participation. On appeal Gonzalez argued: (1) insufficient evidence supported the convictions; (2) the attempt and conspiracy convictions were multiplicitous; (3) district court’s aiding and abetting jury instruction erroneously lowered the State’s burden of proof on specific intent crimes; (4) district court erroneously permitted Espinoza to invoke Fifth Amendment privilege; (5) State’s peremptory strikes during jury selection constituted purposeful racial discrimination to exclude prospective Hispanic jurors; and (6) cumulative error denied him a fair trial.

ISSUES: (1) Sufficiency of the evidence; (2) multiplicitous offenses; (3) jury instruction—aiding and abetting; (4) Fifth Amendment—failure to compel testimony, (5) Batson challenge, (6) cumulative error 

HELD: Evidence in this case established the pair’s intent to rob the victim and an agreement to commit aggravated robbery. Evidence included detective’s testimony, without objection, that provided a concrete context to ambiguous text messages.

            District court’s instruction accurately reflected Kansas’ aiding and abetting statute, but did not accurately state applicable caselaw limiting the statute’s use when defendants are charged with aiding and abetting specific intent crimes. In this case the legal error was harmless under the clear error standard.

             Multiplicity claim, raised for first time on appeal, is considered. Gonzalez’ conspiracy and the aiding and abetting attempted aggravated robbery convictions are not multiplicitous - each requires proof of an element not required by the other.

            Gonzalez’ failure to make an adequate proffer of what Espinoza would have testified about provides no basis for appellate review of whether trial court abused its discretion in not compelling the testimony.

            Jury selection in this case is examined. No abuse of district court’s discretion in finding Gonzalez failed to show purposeful discrimination given the State’s race-neutral reasons for its peremptory strikes.

            The single error found in this case does not support application of the cumulative error doctrine.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 21-5210, -5210(a), -5301, -5301(a), -5302(a), -5402(a)(2), -5402(c)(1)(D), -5420, 22-3414(3), -3601(b)(3), -3601(b)(4); K.S.A. 60-405

 

Kansas Court of Appeals

Civil

DIVORCE—PROPERTY DIVISION
IN RE MARRIAGE OF PERALES
SALINE DISTRICT COURT—AFFIRMED
NO. 120,306—MARCH 27, 2020

FACTS: Gary Perales is serving a life sentence in prison. At the time of his divorce from Cynthia Perales, Cynthia was supporting herself and the couple's four children. Gary did not complete a property affidavit, but he has been imprisoned since 2012. The district court held a hearing to consider separation of the couple's property. At the hearing, Cynthia provided a quitclaim deed showing that Gary had deeded the house to her and testified that she needed Gary's truck to transport herself and their children. Cynthia also testified that she made payments on both the house and truck after Gary's imprisonment. Gary disputed Cynthia's testimony about the quitclaim deed and claimed that he sold both the house and his truck to his sister. After weighing the evidence, the district court ruled that it would be most equitable to award Cynthia both the house and the truck. Gary appealed.

ISSUES: (1) Award of the house; (2) requirement that Cynthia compensate Gary

HELD: There is no evidence that the district court failed to consider the home as marital property subject to division. To the contrary, the district court appropriately considered the factors established by K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 23-2802(c). A division of marital property need only be equitable, not equal. There is a statutory requirement that property division may be accomplished by the payment of a "just and proper sum" to one party. In some cases, equity may allow that sum to be zero. The extraordinary facts of this case mean the district court's award of assets to Cynthia was equitable.

STATUTE: K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 23-2801, -2802(a)(1), -2802(a)(2), -2802(c)

criminal

criminal law—statutes
state v. lucas
sedgwick district court—affirmed
no. 120,510—March 27, 2020

FACTS: Lucas convicted of being a felon in criminal possession of a “firearm or knife,” K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 216304(c)(2). The weapon in this case was a folding knife 9 inches long when unfolded, 5.5. inches long when closed, with a 4.5 in. blade. Lucas argued the folding knife was not a “knife” as defined by K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-6304(c)(1).

ISSUE: Statutory definition of “knife”

HELD: District court did not err in concluding the folding knife in this case is a dangerous or deadly cutting instrument of like character to those listed in K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-6304(c)(1).

STATUTE: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-6304, -6304(a)(2), -6304(c)(1), -6304(c)(2)

appeals—criminal procedure—discovery—evidence—jurisdiction
state v. mundo-parra
sedgwick district court—affirmed
no. 118,875—march 27, 2020

FACTS: Mundo-Parra convicted in 2005 on no contest pleas to kidnapping and rape. In 2017 while still serving his sentence, he asked prosecutors to provide State’s investigatory files in the case, including anything that might show his innocence. District court denied the request. Mundo-Parra appealed. State argued the appeal was not timely filed within 30 days of district court’s ruling.

ISSUES: (1) Appellate jurisdiction; (2) district court’s jurisdiction; (3) postconviction discovery

HELD: State’s jurisdictional hurdle is rejected. District court entered its order electronically, with no record in district court’s file that court clerk mailed a copy of the order to Mundo-Parra. After that order had been entered Mundo-Parra made several requests for a court ruling on his discovery request, and filed his notice of appeal well within 30 days of district court’s denial of Mondo-Parra’s last request for a ruling.

            District court had jurisdiction to consider Mundo-Parra’s request for postconviction discovery, even though there was no pending motion in the criminal case and no pending civil action challenging his confinement. There is no Kansas statute governing postconviction discovery, and no statutory limit on district court’s general jurisdiction over it.

            No provision in Kansas Code of Criminal Procedure covers postconviction discovery. Kansas cases are reviewed and guidance sought from rules and statutes in federal and state jurisdictions. Panel concludes postconviction discovery sought by the defendant should be allowed when the defendant shows it is necessary to protect substantial rights. To get discovery, the defendant must make a good-cause showing by identifying the specific subject matter for discovery and explaining why discovery about those matters is necessary to protect substantial rights. Mundo-Parra made no such showing in this case. Instead, his request is a classic fishing expedition with no stated connection to any claim that could lead to setting aside either his no-contest pleas or his convictions.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 21-2512, 22-3210(d)(2), -3212, -3213, 60-1507, -2103(a); K.S.A. 20-301

 

Tags:  appeals  constitutional law  criminal law  criminal procedure  discovery  divorce  evidence  juries  jurisdiction  jury instructions  property division  Saline District Court  Sedgwick District Court  statutes  Wyandotte District Court 

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March 18, 2020 Digest

Posted By Administration, Monday, March 23, 2020

Kansas Supreme Court

Attorney Discipline

ORDER OF DISBARMENT
IN RE BRENT E. MAYES
NO. 27,058—MARCH 18, 2020

FACTS: In a letter submitted to the Clerk of the Appellate Courts, Brent E. Mayes voluntarily surrendered his license to practice law in Kansas. At the time of surrender, a complaint was pending. Mr. Mayes self-reported violations of KRPC 1.1 (competence), 1.4(a) (communication), 1.8(e) (conflict of interest), and 8.4(c) (misconduct).

HELD: The court accepted Mr. Mayes's surrender and he is ordered disbarred.

Tags:  attorney discipline 

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March 13, 2020 Digests

Posted By Administration, Monday, March 16, 2020
Updated: Monday, March 16, 2020

Kansas Supreme Court

criminal

criminal procedure—evidence—jury instructions—statutes—venue
state v. galloway
cherokee district court—affirmed in part, vacated in part, remanded
no. 117,941—march 13, 2020

FACTS: Galloway sentenced to hard 50 life sentence for conviction on charges of: premeditated first-degree murder, arson, and interference with law enforcement. Prior to trial she moved for change of venue, arguing she could not receive a fair trial due to extensive pretrial publicity and the relatively small pool of jurors. She also filed motion to suppress statements she made during interrogation, arguing her lack of sleep, low blood sugar, hunger, and pregnancy accompanied by gestational diabetes deprived her of the mental capacity to make voluntary statements. District court denied both motions. On appeal, she claimed district court erred by: (1) denying motion for change of venue without addressing and applying all nine caselaw factors set forth in State v. Longeria, 301 Kan. 489 (2015), for assessing prejudice under the venue statute; (2) denying motion to suppress; (3) discussing with counsel and Galloway the answer to a jury question in a closed rather than open court; (4) instructing jury it should find her guilty if the facts supported such a finding; and (5) announcing it would not consider the absence of a criminal history as a mitigating factor because Legislature had rejected that as grounds for mitigation.

ISSUES: (1) Change of venue; (2) suppression of interrogation; (3) jury question; (4) jury’s duty instruction; (5) mitigating sentencing factors

HELD: District court’s omission of findings with regard to some of the caselaw factors was not error. Galloway did not argue all factors to the district court, or for their application. Nor did she make a sufficient showing of prejudice for a change of venue.

            Substantial competent evidence supports district court’s finding that Galloway’s statements were voluntary and made without coercion, and Galloway makes no showing warranting reversal of the denial of her motion to suppress.

            No error found on Galloway’s unsubstantiated speculation that discussion of the jury question was not conducted in open court.

            Galloway’s claim of impermissible interference with jury’s power of nullification is rejected. Same instruction was upheld in State v. Patterson, 311 Kan. __ (2020).

            District court’s statement incorrectly stated the law, and his open refusal to consider a mitigating factor listed in K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 21-6625(a) was not harmless error. Sentence vacated and case remanded for resentencing.           

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 21-6625(a); 22-3420(d); 60-460(f); K.S.A. 22-2616, -2616(1)

criminal law—evidence—Fifth Amendment—jury instructions
State v. parker
wyandotte district court—affirmed
no. 118,349—march 13, 2020

FACTS: Parker convicted of premeditated first-degree murder. On appeal, he claimed the district court should have granted motion to suppress self-incriminating statements made during interrogation because investigators failed to take sufficient steps to ensure that Parker understood his Miranda rights. He also claimed district court erred by denying Parker’s request for an instruction on voluntary manslaughter committed upon a sudden quarrel or in the heat of passion.

ISSUES: (1) Motion to suppress; (2) jury instruction

HELD: Substantial competent evidence supported district court’s factual findings which showed Parker’s voluntary waiver of Miranda rights. Better practice for interrogators to read Miranda summary of rights out loud and make follow-up inquiries about whether the person being questioned understands those rights, but that protocol was not possible in this case because Parker refused to allow detectives to explain his rights out loud. Overall tenor of the interrogation showed that Parker knew what crime he had committed and how he had done it; understood the police were trying to obtain incriminating statements from him; played a cat-and-mouse game with interrogators; and understood his rights and how the interrogation process worked. District court did not err when it admitted the interrogation statements.

            In line with State v. Campbell, 308 Kan. 763 (2019), and State v. Wade, 295 Kan. 916 (20120, a voluntary manslaughter instruction would not have been factually appropriate in this case with so little evidence of heat of passion at the time of the shooting and so much evidence of calculated decision-making.

STATUTE: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 21-5404(a)

constitutional law—criminal procedure—evidence
state v. sesmas
sedgwick district court—affirmed
no. 119,862—march 13, 2020

FACTS: Sesmas convicted of first-degree murder, kidnapping, and aggravated interference with parental custody for the killing of her friend and the kidnapping of her friend’s newborn daughter. A police certified interpreter assisted Sesmas during her interrogation. On the Miranda form Sesmas indicated “no” to talking to the police, but after asking questions about her children and husband, marked “yes” on a second Miranda form and confessed to the crimes charged. At a pretrial hearing under Jackson v. Denno, 378 U.S 368 (1964), district court found Sesmas voluntarily waived her Miranda rights and concluded the confession was voluntary, notwithstanding court’s concern with the interpreter’s dual role and statement that “it could take quite a while for a lawyer to arrive from Wichita.”: On appeal Sesma argued her post-arrest confession was involuntary because law enforcement was unfair in conducting the interview, and Sesmas was handicapped by her lack of English fluency,: She also claimed the State violated her due process rights at trial by mentioning her invocation on the first Miranda form of her right to remain silent.

ISSUES: (1) Voluntary confession; (2) reference to invocation of rights

HELD: Under totality of circumstances, Sesmas voluntarily confessed to detectives, and her incriminating statements were admissible at trial. Use of an interpreter who was not also an interrogator would have been better practice, but in this case the interpreter’s dual role and statement was not a factor in forcing a confession.

            The state is not permitted to impeach a defendant’s version of events at trial with the defendant’s post-Miranda silence. The fleeting violation of Doyle v. Ohio, 426 U.S. 610 (1976), this case was harmless error because Sesmas’ credibility was already throughly impeached by State’s evidence.

STATUTES: None

Kansas Court of Appeals

Civil

DRIVERS LICENSE—SEARCH AND SEIZURE
STRICKERT V. KANSAS DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
FINNEY DISTRICT COURT—AFFIRMED
NO. 120,544—MARCH 13, 2020

FACTS: Officer Meinzer stopped Strickert after he left a bar late at night. While obtaining Strickert's personal information, Officer Meinzer noticed the smell of alcohol and that Strickert's eyes were bloodshot and his speech slow. After completing field sobriety tests, Strickert refused to take a preliminary breath test. Based on clues of impairment and Strickert's refusal, Officer Meinzer arrested Strickert. He later received his notice of driver's license suspension and timely requested an administrative hearing. Both the hearing officer and the district court affirmed the suspension of Strickert's driver's license, and he appealed.

ISSUES: (1) Standard of review; (2) reasonable suspicion; (3) reasonable grounds

HELD: The appropriate standard is to review the district court's order looking for substantial competent evidence that the findings were legally correct. It is not appropriate to use the "negative finding" standard of review. Strickert technically violated a traffic statute by not activating his turn signal 100 feet before turning, and the Supreme Court has already held that such failure provides reasonable suspicion to initiate a traffic stop. Strickert's bloodshot eyes and the smell of alcohol warranted an extension of the stop. Substantial competent evidence supports the district court's findings that reasonable grounds existed for Officer Meinzer to arrest Strickert.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 8-259(a), -1002(a)(1); K.S.A. 8-1548, 22-2402(1), 77-621(c)

Tags:  Constitutional law  criminal law  criminal procedure  drivers license  evidence  fifth amendment  jury instructions  search and seizure  statutes  venue 

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March 6, 2020 Digests

Posted By Administration, Monday, March 9, 2020

Kansas Supreme Court

Attorney Discipline

TWO-YEAR SUSPENSION
IN RE DANIEL VINCENT SAVILLE
NO. 121,050—MARCH 6, 2020

FACTS: Saville stipulated that he violated KRPC 1.7(a)(2) (conflict of interest). A hearing panel found that Saville also violated KRPC 1.8(e) (providing financial assistance to client); 3.4(c) (fairness to opposing party and counsel); and 8.4(d) (engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice). Saville engaged in a sexual relationship with a client for over eight years; during the relationship Saville took nude photographs and videos of the client. He also provided her with financial assistance. When the client was charged with a felony, Saville wrote a fee agreement which contemplated that he would represent her for free as long as she did not get back together with a boyfriend.

HEARING PANEL: The hearing panel found numerous conflicts of interest in Saville's representation of his client. He had a prior disciplinary history after being convicted of possession of drug paraphernalia, and there was a lengthy, on-going pattern of misconduct. The panel did acknowledge mitigating factors, including Saville's history of drug use and emotional problems, and his cooperation with the disciplinary process. The disciplinary administrator's office suggested discipline of a one-year suspension. Saville requested that he be allowed to continue to practice, subject to the terms of his proposed probation plan. The hearing panel believed that probation was not appropriate for the rule violations in this case. Ultimately, the hearing panel recommended a six-month term of suspension with the requirement that Saville undergo a reinstatement hearing before being allowed to practice again.

HELD: Because it was not properly preserved, the Court makes no finding as to whether an attorney's payment of bail for a client is a per se violation of Rule 1.8(e). In this case, the undisputed facts show that Saville violated Rule 1.8(e). There was also sufficient evidence that Saville violated Rules 3.4(c) and 8.4(d) by speaking with a sequestered witness. After considering the recommended discipline and noting that Saville refused to accept responsibility of some of the disciplinary counts, a majority of the Court imposed discipline of a two-year suspension from the practice of law. Saville must undergo a reinstatement hearing before returning to practice. A minority of the Court would have imposed the one-year suspension requested by the disciplinary administrator's office.

criminal

appeals—constitutional law—criminal law—sentences—statutes
state v. carter
sedgwick district court—affirmed;
court of appeals—reversed
no. 116,223—march 6, 2020

FACTS:: Carter robbed a store using a Taser. Jury convicted her of aggravated robbery. At sentencing, district court found Carter had used a dangerous weapon to commit the crime, and marked the box on the journal entry that a deadly weapon had been used to commit a person felony. Sentence included registration under the Kansas Offender Registration Act (KORA). Carter appealed her conviction and the registration requirement. Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction but reversed the registration requirement, finding Carter did not use a deadly weapon during the robbery. 55 Kan. App. 2d 511 (2018). State’s petition granted for review of the panel’s registration requirement ruling.

ISSUES: (1) Appellate jurisdiction; (2) “deadly weapon”—K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 22-4902(e)(2)

HELD: Court has appellate jurisdiction over the registration issue under K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 22-3602(a).

            Phrase “deadly weapon” in K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 22-4902(e)(2) is interpreted. “Deadly weapon” when used as element of a crime is distinguished from use of that phrase in a nonpunitive civil regulatory scheme. Under plain meaning of clear statutory language, substantial competent evidence supported district court’s finding that Carter used a deadly weapon in committing the robbery. No departure from majority of Court’s consistent holdings that a district judge’s deadly weapon finding under K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 22-4902(e)(2) does not constitute impermissible judicial fact-finding prohibited by Apprendi.

DISSENT (Rosen, J.)(joined by Beier, J.): Would hold the district court erred in ordering Carter to register under KORA. He first disagrees with majority’s underlying premise that KORA is not a sentencing statute that increases the punishment for certain convictions, and believes State v. Petersen-Beard, 304 Kan. 192 (2016), was wrongly decided for reasons stated in J. Johnson’s dissent in Doe v. Thompson, 304 Kan. 291 (2016). Second, analyzing KORA as sentencing statute, district court’s sentencing pronouncement of “dangerous” weapon did not satisfy KORA, and journal entry box for “deadly” weapon had no effect. Third, a deadly weapon finding at sentencing would have violated Apprendi. And fourth, regardless of whether KORA is punitive or not, State did not produce evidence showing Tasers to be deadly. Majority’s reliance instead on “weight of growing common knowledge of Tasers’ danger” is criticized.

STATUTES:: K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 22-3602(a), -4902(e)(2); K.S.A. 2011 Supp. 21-5420, -5420(b)(1)

 

Kansas Court of Appeals

criminal

appeals—criminal law—criminal procedure—
evidence—jury instructions—statutes
state v. hayes
sedgwick district court—affirmed
no. 120,417—march 6, 2020

FACTS: While dark, Hayes used phone to film neighbor A.W. through her window in a state of undress. Jury convicted Hayes of breach of privacy. On appeal he claimed:: (1) insufficient evidence supported the conviction, arguing A.W. did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy because her blinds were not closed, and the phone he used to record A.W. was not concealed; (2) district court erred in admitting evidence of a receipt that Hayes had purchased a spywatch; (3) because he admitted he recorded A.W., identity was not a material fact thus district court erred in admitting testimony of other neighbors that Hayes had been looking in their windows; (4) verdict form erroneously placed “guilty” before “not guilty; (5) district court erred by instructing jury that you “should” find the defendant guilty if you have no reasonable doubt; and (6) cumulative error denied him a fair trial.

ISSUES: (1) Breach of privacy; (2) evidence—watch receipt; (3) evidence - prior bad acts; (4) verdict form; (5) jury nullification; (6) cumulative error

HELD:: Kansas courts have not addressed the phrase “reasonable expectation of privacy” as used in K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 21-6101(a)(6). Fourth Amendment is distinguished from right to privacy. Fact-specific two pronged test is applied, finding sufficient evidence for jury to conclude that A.W. had a reasonable expectation of privacy in her bedroom even though the window blinds were up. Also, Hayes was concealed when he recorded A.W., thus the phone he used was concealed as well. Statute does not require any additional concealment of the recording device.

            District court did not erroneously admit evidence that Hayes bought a recording device designed to be unobtrusive. Hayes failed to preserve this issue for appeal, but even if preserved, the purchase of a watch that secretly records people was relevant to whether Hayes secretly recorded A.W.: And even if issue had been properly preserved and even if receipt was not relevant, admission of the watch receipt was harmless.

            District court did not erroneously admit prior bad acts evidence. The evidence was admissible to show identity because at time of the rulings Hayes had not admitted that he was the one recording A.W.

            Following established Kansas Supreme Court holdings, district court did not err by placing “guilty” above “not guilty” on the verdict form.

            District court did not err in using PIK instruction to instruct jury that “[i]f you have no reasonable doubt…, you should find the defendant guilty.”:

            There can be no cumulative error in case with at most one error that was found to be harmless.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 21-5222(a), -6101, -6101(a)(6), 60-261, -455; K.S.A. 2014 Supp. 21-6101(a)(6); K.S.A. 2012 Supp. 21-6101(a)(3); K.S.A. 60-401(b), -404

Tags:  Appeals  constitutional law  criminal law  criminal procedure  evidence  jury instructions  sentences  statutes  suspension of license 

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February 28, 2020 Digests

Posted By Administration, Monday, March 2, 2020
Updated: Monday, March 2, 2020

Kansas Supreme Court

Attorney Discipline

TWO-YEAR SUSPENSION
IN RE LAUREL R. KUPKA
NO. 122,053—FEBRUARY 28, 2020

FACTS: A hearing panel determined that Kupka violated KRPC 1.1 (competence); 1.3 (diligence); 1.4(a) and (b) (communication); 4.1(a) (truthfulness in statements to others); 8.4(c) (engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation); 8.4(d) (engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice); and 8.4(g) (engaging in conduct adversely reflecting on lawyer's fitness to practice law). The charges arose after Kupka expanded her law practice to include domestic cases while also taking on extra duties after other attorneys at the firm resigned. Kupka's workload grew even heavier around the time her first child was born, and she lost administrative support. The heavy workload, combined with a lack of any support, resulted in Kupka feeling anxious and depressed. As those conditions worsened, Kupka failed to adequately represent clients. She did not file things despite saying that she did, she altered documents in an attempt to make them look file-stamped, and she falsified judge's signatures. Kupka also failed to communicate with clients, and when she did speak with them, she lied about the status of their cases.

HEARING PANEL: Kupka self-reported her misconduct, in addition to another complaint being filed. She fully cooperated and admitted to the misconduct. The hearing panel acknowledged that Kupka engaged in dishonest conduct by cutting and pasting file stamps onto documents and forging clerk and judge signatures. But her actions were driven by an overwhelming workload, a lack of supervision or assistance, and depression. She fully admitted her misconduct and cooperated with the disciplinary process. The disciplinary administrator asked for a two-year suspension, and that the suspension be suspended after one year so that Kupka could complete a one-year term of probation. Kupka asked that she be allowed to continue practicing under the terms of a probation plan. The hearing panel, however, reiterated its position that dishonesty cannot be corrected by probation alone. The hearing panel recommended that Kupka be suspended for two years, but that she be returned to active practice after serving six months of the suspension, with a two-year term of probation to follow.

HELD: The panel's factual findings and conclusions of law were deemed admitted. The court agreed that a two-year suspension was the appropriate discipline. Kupka will be allowed to apply for reinstatement after completing nine months of the suspension. A minority of the court would have required a longer period of suspension before applying for reinstatement.

 

criminal 

constitutional lawcriminal lawcriminal procedurejury instructionsprosecutorssentences
state v. becker
ford district court—affirmed in part, vacated in part
NO. 118,235—february 28, 2020

FACTS: On evidence—including Becker’s confession, jury found him guilty of first-degree premeditated murder. Sentence included a Hard 25 life prison term and lifetime postrelease supervision. On appeal, he claimed prosecutor’s comments during closing argument regarding plea deals taken by codefendants was error. Becker also claimed the district court erred in failing to instruct jury on lesser included crimes, and on voluntary intoxication. He also claimed for first time that failure to instruct on lesser included crimes violated his constitutional rights to due process and jury trial. He claimed cumulative error denied him a fair trial, and claimed the district court erred in ordering lifetime postrelease supervision.

ISSUES: (1) Prosecutorial error; (2) jury instructionslesser included offenses; (3) Constitutional claims; (4) jury instructionvoluntary intoxication; (5) cumulative error; (6) sentencing

HELD: Prosecutor’s comments did not fall outside wide latitude afforded prosecutors, and was not an attempt to obtain a conviction in a manner that offended Becker’s right to a fair trial. Taken in context, prosecutor’s comments did not direct jury to ignore the plea agreements or to give them no weight in determining witness credibility. Instead, prosecutor was rebutting attacks in defense counsel’s closing argument regarding a codefendant’s favorable plea agreement.

District court did not commit reversible error under K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 22-3414 by failing to instruct jury on lesser included offenses of second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter. Both instructions would have been legally appropriate. Even if error is assumed without decidingthat a second-degree intentional murder instruction was factually appropriate, the error was harmless under facts in this case. And no sudden quarrel factually supported an instruction for voluntary manslaughter.

Court considers Becker’s newly raised constitutional claims. Consistent with Beck v. Alabama, 447 U.S. 625 (1980), and State v. Love, 305 Kan. 716 (2017), no merit to Becker’s  claim that the lack of a lesser included alternative required jury to render an all-or-nothing verdict in violation of Becker’s due process rights. Also, based on Love and a 6th Circuit Court of Appeals case, district court did not preempt function of jury in violation of Becker’s right to a jury trial.

Under facts in this case, district court did not err in failing to instruct jury on voluntary intoxication. Evidence viewed in light most favorable to Becker establishes methamphetamine consumption but not intoxication to impair his ability to form the requisite intent. Nor did parents’ unsworn statements at sentencing hearing establish a level of impairment at time of the crime that would have warranted a voluntary intoxication instruction.

No cumulative error in trial having only one assumed harmless error.

Sentencing court’s order of lifetime postrelease supervision is vacated. District court has no authority to order a term of postrelase supervision in conjunction with an off-grid, indeterminate life sentence.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 21-5202(h), 5402(a), -6620(c)(2)(A), 22-3414, -3414(3), -3504, 3504(1), -3601(b)(3), -3601(b)(4); K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 21-5109(b)(1); K.S.A. 2014 Supp. 21-5205(b); K.S.A. 60-2106(c)

appeals—criminal law—criminal procedure—evidence—jury instructions
state v. gray
sedgwick district court—affirmed
NO. 117,747—february 28, 2020

FACTS: Jury convicted Gray of first-degree premeditated murder, rape, and aggravated burglary. During trial, he unsuccessfully challenged district court’s admission under K.S.A. 60-455 of evidence of a previous rape. On appeal, argued for first time that under the identical offense doctrine, the district court should have sentenced him for intentional second-degree murder. Gray next argued the district court abused its discretion in finding evidence of the prior rape was more probative than prejudicial because no juror would have been able to follow the limiting instruction. Gray further claimed the district erred in failing to instruct jury on intentional second-degree murder as a lesser included offense of first-degree murder.

ISSUES: (1) Newly raised claim; (2) K.S.A. 60-455 evidence; (3) jury instructionlesser included offense

HELD: Gray’s identical offense doctrine claim is not considered. K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 21-6820(e)(3) does not support review because Gray does not challenge the classification of his crime or conviction, and no exception to the preservation rule is utilized.

Jury members are presumed to follow instructions, including limiting instructions regarding the admission and use of prior crimes evidence. Gray failed to offer any facts or legal authority to suggest otherwise.

Absence of an instruction on second-degree intentional murder as a lesser included offense of premeditated first-degree murder was not clear error. The instruction would have been legally appropriate, but even if factual appropriateness is assumed, the error was harmless in light of overwhelming evidence of premeditation.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 21-6820(e)(3), 60-455(a), -455(b), -455(d); K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 21- 5402(a)(1), -5403(a)(1); K.S.A. 60-455

 

Kansas Court of Appeals

Civil

MECHANIC'S LIENS
IN RE LIEN AGAINST THE DISTRICT AT CITY CENTER, LLC
JOHNSON DISTRICT COURT—REVERSED AND REMANDED
NO. 
121,184—FEBRUARY 28, 2020

FACTS: The District at City Center, LLC, hired a construction company to build a mixed-use development. The construction company hired Kansas City Steel Werx, Inc. as a steel and labor subcontractor. Change orders from KC Steel to the general contractor added approximately $25,000 to the cost of the contract. To ensure complete payment, KC Steel filed a mechanic's lien against the development citing unpaid labor and materials of approximately $400,000. The itemizations filed with the lien included documentation but was incomplete. Instead of challenging the lien as a whole or specific items, the contractor filed a motion claiming the lien was "fraudulent" and asking the court to set it aside. Without waiting for a response, the district court granted the motion and removed the lien. KC Steel appealed.

ISSUE: (1) Ability of the district court to find that the lien was "fraudulent"

HELD: A party asserting a mechanic's lien must strictly comply with our mechanic's lien statutes before that lien becomes enforceable. K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 58-4301 allows a district court to quickly review a lien's status to determine whether it is fraudulent. Legislative history shows this statute was enacted to prevent abuses by militias and common-law groups. The quick review is intended to allow an efficient way to remove an obviously bogus lien that is being used as a tool of harassment. The district court improperly equated an invalid lien with a fraudulent one. The document filed by KC Steel is recognized by Kansas law, and the district court erred by ruling that the lien was fraudulent. The real question is whether KC Steel strictly complied with the mechanic's lien procedures enough to create a valid lien; that is the issue that must be decided on remand.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 58-4301, -4301(a), -4301(b), -4301(c), -4301(e), -4302; K.S.A. 60-1102, -1102(a), -1103(a), -1105, -1106, -1108

WORKERS COMPENSATION
AIKINS V. GATES CORPORATION
WORKERS COMPENSATION APPEALS BOARD—AFFIRMED
NO. 120,905—FEBRUARY 28, 2020

FACTS: Aikins was injured in a car accident while leaving work. In May 2018, an ALJ awarded Aikins compensation for her injuries. One week later, she served Gates with a demand for compensation based on that award. The next day, Gates filed for review with the Workers Compensation Board of Appeals. Before the Board could decide the appeal, Aikins filed a motion for penalties with the ALJ because Gates had not yet paid out her award. The ALJ held a hearing and ruled that Aikins was entitled to a penalty payment because Gates had not yet paid as required by K.S.A. 44-512a and had not obtained a stay of the judgment. Gates appealed the imposition of the penalty, arguing that compensation was not yet due so no penalty could accrue. The Board agreed, and Aikins appealed.

ISSUE: (1) Whether payment is due such that penalties could attach

HELD: K.S.A. 44-512a allows claimants to apply for a civil penalty if payments are overdue. In this case, the only issue to determine is whether Aikins's award was due. Statutes clarify that payment of an award is not due until at least 30 days after the Board hears the parties' arguments. There is no statute which requires the employer to seek and receive a stay of judgment; a stay is only required after payment obligations have accrued. Aikins was not due any payment until after the Board ruled on Gates's appeal, and the Board properly reversed the ALJ's award of penalties.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 44-551, -551(l)(1), -551(l)(2)(A), -551(l)(2)(B), -551(l)(2)(C), -551(p); K.S.A. 44-512a, -512a(a)

HABEAS CORPUS—MOOTNESS
BURCH V. HOWARD
PAWNEE DISTRICT COURT—AFFIRMED
NO. 120,704—FEBRUARY 28, 2020

FACTS: Burch was committed to the Sexual Predator Treatment Program in 2002. After more than a decade in the program, Burch filed a K.S.A. 60-1501 petition which raised several concerns. Relevant to this case was his claim that the SPTP does not provide adequate treatment for securing an eventual release from the Program. The SPTP operated on a leveled system where treatment was provided in phases, and participants gained independence by completing levels. At a hearing before the district court, the evidence showed that Burch has not participated in any meaningful treatment since July 2009. Based on this lack of participation, the district court ruled that Burch failed to meet his burden to prove shocking or intolerable conduct and denied the petition. Burch appeals.

ISSUES: (1) Mootness; (2) adequacy of treatment provided in the SPTP

HELD: Although the treatment system is different now from when Burch filed his petition, the changes are more style than substance and do not render this appeal moot. Because he declined treatment, Burch does not have standing to challenge the adequacy of the SPTP. The SPTP is consistent with the statutory criteria of the Sexually Violent Predator Act and does not shock the conscience.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 59-29a06, -29a07(a), -29a08(a), -29a08(d), -29a08(f); K.S.A. 60-1501

 

criminal

criminal law—criminal procedure—restitution—sentences—statutes
state v. henry
sedgwick district court—affirmed
no. 119,895—february 28, 2020

FACTS: Henry was charged and convicted on one count of felony theft for stealing money from store deposits on 12 different occasions while employed as armored truck driver. District court imposed 60 months’ probation and ordered payment of $78,315 in restitution. On appeal, Henry claimed insufficient evidence supported his conviction because the single larceny doctrine did not apply to thefts that occurred on 12 separate occasions, and each of the individual takings failed to meet the $25,000 threshold of the felony theft charged. He also argued the restitution plan was unworkable because it would take over 43 years to complete, making a multi-decade term of probation per se unreasonable.

ISSUES: (1) Single larceny doctrine; (2) restitution

HELD: Henry’s theft conviction is affirmed. The single larceny doctrine is a rule of evidence and may be invoked whenever the facts warrant it. Disagreement stated with legal conclusion in State v. Ameen, 27 Kan.App.2d 181, rev. denied 269 Kan. 934 (2000). The doctrine is not only limited to instances where multiple misdemeanor takings are charged as a single felony but also permits multiple instances of felony takings to be charged as a single higher severity level felony.  On evidence in this case, Henry should have been charged in the alternative with a lower severity level theft for each separate taking, and the jury should have been instructed in the alternative on the single larceny doctrine and the elements of each lesser theft for each taking separately, but Henry waived or abandoned any claims of error concerning the charging document or instructions. Sufficient evidence supported the key factual determination that Henry’s acts arose out of a single incriminating impulse or plan.

District court imposed a workable restitution plan. Henry admitted the monthly payments are workable, and K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 21-6608(c)(7) explicitly allows for a term of probation to be extended indefinitely to secure payment of restitution.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 21-6604(b)(1), -6608(c)(7); K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 21-5801(a)(1), -5801(b)(2), -5801(b)(3), -5801(b)(4)

Tags:  appeals  attorney discipline  Constitutional law  criminal law  criminal procedure  evidence  habeas corpus  jury instructions  mechanic's liens  mootness  prosecutors  restitution  sentences  statutes  workers comp 

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February 21, 2020 Digest

Posted By Administration, Monday, February 24, 2020

Kansas Court of Appeals

criminal 

criminal procedure—restitution—sentencing—statutes
state v. roberts
sedgwick district court—vacated and remanded
no. 120,377—february 21, 2020

FACTS: Roberts convicted of burglary and theft. Sentence included order to pay $50,407.86 in restitution, jointly and severally with co-defendant, but the order did not direct any manner of payment or establish a payment plan. Roberts appealed, claiming district court’s noncompliance with statutory requirement to establish a restitution payment plan rendered the sentence illegal.

ISSUE: (1) Restitution plan

HELD: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 21-6604(b)(2) is interpreted, finding the statute refers to a "plan established by the court for payment of restitution." That language does not merely refer to a court's order of an amount of restitution but shows legislative intent that the court establish a payment plan when it orders restitution. Based on clear statutory language, Roberts’ sentence is illegal.  Restitution order is vacated and remanded to correct the sentence by establishing a plan for payment of restitution. State v. Garza, No. 118,840 (Kan. App.)(unpublished opinion), rev. denied 310 Kan. __ (2019), is distinguished as focusing on section (b)(1) of the statute rather than (b)(2). Legislature must address any concern that it is unreasonable to require a district court to order a total amount of restitution, establish a payment plan, tell the defendant of that payment plan, and permit a defendant to show the plan is unworkable.

STATUTE: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 21-6604(b). -6604(b)(1), -6604(b)(2), -6604(e), -6604(i), -6608(c)(7), 22-3504(3), -3717(n), -3718

Tags:  Criminal  Criminal Procedure  Restitution  Sedgwick District Court  Sentencing  Statutes  Weekly-2020-02-25 

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February 14, 2020 Digests

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Kansas Supreme Court

criminal

appeals—constitutional law—motions—sentences
state v. peterson
Geary District Court—affirmed
No. 119,314—february 14, 2020

FACTS: Peterson filed 2007 no contest plea to first-degree murder. Ten years later he filed motion to correct an illegal sentence, arguing his hard 25 life sentence was disproportionate in violation of federal and state constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment. District court issued a nunc pro tunc order, agreeing that lifetime postrelease supervision should not have been imposed, but rejected Peterson’s constitutional claims. Peterson appealed, challenging the constitutionality of his hard 25 sentence.

ISSUE: (1) Motion to Correct Illegal Sentence—Constitutional Challenge

HELD: Merits of Peterson’s constitutional arguments are not considered. A motion to correct an illegal sentence cannot raise claims that a sentence is unconstitutional.

STATUTES: None

criminal procedure—sentences—statutes
state v. fowler
sedgwick district court—affirmed
court of appeals—affirmed
No. 116,803—February 14, 2020

FACTS: Fowler pleaded guilty to felony possession of methamphetamine, felony domestic battery, and violation of a protective order. The domestic battery conviction qualified as a felony because it was his third such conviction within five years. In calculating criminal history score for the drug possession conviction, district court included the same two misdemeanor domestic battery convictions used to elevate the current domestic battery to a felony. Fowler appealed, arguing the district court impermissibly double counted the two prior misdemeanor domestic battery convictions. Court of Appeals affirmed. 55 Kan.App.2d 92 (2017). Fowler’s petition for review granted.

ISSUE: (1) Sentencing—Multiple Conviction Case

HELD: Prior cases dealing with double counting statute have not explicitly addressed question of which crime does K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 21-6810(d)(9)’s phrase “the present crime of conviction” refer? Design and structure of the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines Act is reviewed. Here, sentencing judge did not violate K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 21-6810(d)(9)’s restriction on double counting by using the same two prior misdemeanor domestic batteries both to calculate Fowler’s criminal history for his base sentence on the primary grid crime, and to elevate the current domestic battery to a felony.

CONCURRENCE (Rosen, J.): Agrees that including Fowler’s prior domestic battery convictions in the criminal history calculation for his primary grid conviction did not violate the double-counting provision of K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 21-6810(d)(9), but writes separately to emphasize that the confusion in this case necessitating two appellate courts addressing this sentencing issue is completely avoidable. Citing his concurring opinion in State v. Garcia, 295 Kan. 53 (2012), a predetermined, accurate criminal history should be a required part of plea negotiations.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 21-5414(c)(1)(C), -6801 et seq., -6802(a), -6802(c), -6803(c), -6803(d), -6803(k), -6803(l), -6805, -6805(c)(2), -6805(c)(3), -6806, -6806(c), -6806(d), -6807, -6808, -6810(d)(9), -6810(d)(10), -6819, -6819(b)(2), -6819(b)(3), -6819(b)(4), -6819(b)(5); K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 8-1567(b)(1)(D), -1567(b)(1)(E), 21-5414(b)(3), -5701 et seq., -5706(a), -5924(a)(4), -5924(b)(1), -6804, -6804(c), -6804(d), -6804(e)(1), -6804(e)(2), -6804(e)(3), -6804(f), -6804(g), -6804(h), -6804(i), -6804(j), -6804(k), -6810(a), -6810(d)(9), -6811(a), -6811(i); and K.S.A. 21-4710(d)(11), 22-3504(1)

appellate procedure—criminal law—juries—jury instructions
state v. boeschling
reno district court—affirmed
court of appeals—affirmed
No. 116,757–February 14, 2020

FACTS: Boeschling convicted in jury trial on charges of nonresidential burglary, theft of a pickup, and unlawful possession of a firearm. On appeal he argued the district court’s response to jury’s mid-deliberation question about whether nullification can be applied to the firearms charge was reversible error. He also claimed error in the jury instruction defining the elements of burglary, and in the instruction that cautioned the jury about accomplice testimony. Court of Appeals affirmed in unpublished opinion. Boeschling’s petition for review granted.

ISSUES: (1) Jury Nullification; (2) Jury Instruction—Burglary; (3) Jury Instruction—Accomplice Testimony

HELD: State’s preservation challenge is not properly before the court because State failed to argue lack of preservation to Court of Appeals, and failed to cross-petition the panel’s opinion. District judge’s response - “You took the oath as jurors at the start of the case to follow the law in the case that you were instructed by the case.” - to jury’s nullification question was not error. The response did not amount to affirmative misinformation, imply that nullification did not apply, or amount to a warning that nullification would violate the jurors’ oaths.

District court judge erred by adding a culpable mental state of “knowingly” to the burglary instruction that otherwise included the correct mens rea of “intent to commit a theft.” No clear reversible error resulted in this case because the erroneous wording added to rather than subtracted from State’s burden of proof.

State v. Anthony, 242 Kan. 493 (1988), is still good law. A district court judge may instruct a jury to view an accomplice’s testimony with caution even when that testimony is favorable to a criminal defendant. The accomplice instruction in this case was both legally and factually appropriate.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 21-5202(b), 22-3414(3), 60-247(d); and K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 21-5807(a)(2)

criminal procedure—motions—sentences
State v. Newman
Shawnee District Court—affirmed in part and vacated in part
No. 118,608—February 14, 2020

FACTS: Newman entered guilty plea to first-degree felony murder and attempted second-degree intentional murder. Prior to sentencing he moved to withdraw his please, citing emotional distress due in part to his mother’s hospitalization, and newly discovered evidence District court denied the motion. Eight days later, Newman filed motion to vacate his plea due to ineffective assistance of counsel. District court denied that motion, finding defense counsel was more credible than Newman. Sentence imposed included lifetime postrelease supervision for the first-degree murder conviction. Newman appealed the denials of his motions to withdraw his pleas, and the imposition of lifetime postrelease supervision.

ISSUES: (1) Withdrawal of Guilty Pleas; (2) Sentencing

HELD: District court’s denial of both motions is affirmed. No abuse of discretion shown in district court’s conclusion that Newman’s plea was fairly and understandingly made. And appellate court will not reassess district court’s credibility findings.

Parties correctly agreed that district court erred in ordering lifetime postrelease supervision on the first-degree murder conviction. That portion of Newman’s sentence is vacated.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 22-3210(d)(1); K.S.A. 2010 Supp. 22-3717(b)(2); and K.S.A. 21-3401, -4706, -4706(c)

Tags:  appeals  constitutional challenge  Geary District Court  motions  Reno District Court  Sedgwick District Court  Shawnee District Court 

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February 7, 2020 Digests

Posted By Administration, Monday, February 10, 2020

Kansas Court of Appeals

Civil

SEXUALLY VIOLENT PREDATORS
IN RE CARE AND TREATMENT OF JONES
WYANDOTTE DISTRICT COURT—REVERSED AND REMANDED
NO. 120,309—FEBRUARY 7, 2020

FACTS: Jones was convicted of rape in 2005. As the end of his prison sentence neared, the State filed a motion seeking to have Jones civilly committed under the Kansas Sexually Violent Predator Act. As part of its petition, the State designated Dr. Sutherland as an expert witness. In that capacity, Dr. Sutherland recommended civil commitment because Jones presented an unmanageable risk of reoffending. Based on this evidence, the district court found probable cause to believe that Jones was a sexually violent predator. Larned State Hospital hired Dr. Flesher as an expert witness for Jones. It was Dr. Flesher's opinion that Jones did not meet the criteria for designation as a sexually violent predator. Given the split between the experts, the district court elected to hear testimony from Dr. Flesher. After hearing that testimony, the district court ordered Jones released and dismissed the case. The State appeals.

ISSUE: (1) Whether the district court erred by granting summary judgment to Jones

HELD: There was no procedural or statutory bar that would prevent the district court from considering a motion for summary judgment after the probable cause determination was made. In this case, summary judgment was improper because there was evidence to support the State's claim that Jones should be civilly committed. Where there were opposing expert witness positions, summary judgment was inappropriate.

STATUTE: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 59-29a04(a), -29a04(g), 60-212, -212(d), -256

 

TORT CLAIMS ACT
HENDERSON V. MONTGOMERY COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MONTGOMERY DISTRICT COURT - AFFIRMED
NO. 120,369 – FEBRUARY 7, 2020

FACTS: Henderson picked up Garcia, who was hitchhiking. Unbeknownst to Henderson, Garcia was fleeing authorities after shooting a police officer in Oklahoma. Once law enforcement located Garcia, a chase ensued. Henderson attempted to let Garcia out of his truck, but Garcia exited shooting. Deputy Grimes returned fire, and Henderson was hit in the neck. He sued both Deputy Grimes and the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners for negligence. Both defendants moved for summary judgment, claiming that the public duty doctrine prevented any liability for either defendant. They also claimed that they were entitled to immunity under the discretionary function exemption to the Kansas Tort Claims Act. The district court granted summary judgment on both claims, and Henderson appeals.

ISSUES: (1) Application of the public duty doctrine; (2) application of the discretionary function exception to the KTCA

HELD: Instead of determining whether a special duty applied, the court assumes without deciding that a duty existed. The discretionary function exception is still good law. Guidelines for law enforcement on how to handle a felony high-risk stop are not mandatory and are instead best practice suggestions. All of the decisions made by Deputy Grimes were discretionary. For that reason, the discretionary function exception applies to excuse him and the Board from liability.

STATUTE: K.S.A. 75-6103(a), -6104, -6104(e), -6104(n)

 

criminal 

constitutional law—criminal law—evidence—fourth amendment—statutes
state v. arceo-rojas
geary district court—affirmed
no. 119,266—february 7, 2020

FACTS: Officer stopped Arceo-Rojas for driving too long in left lane and unsafe lane change, and after completing the traffic stop detained Arceo-Rojas until a K-9 unit arrived. K-9 alert led to discovery of 54 pounds of individually packaged bags of marijuana. Arceo-Rojas arrested and charged with drug offenses. She filed motion to suppress, arguing the officer had no reasonable suspicion to stop her and later detain her for purpose of a drug sniff.  District court denied the motion, finding the officer had reasonable and articulable suspicion that Arceo-Rojas was staying in left lane in violation of K.S.A. 8-1522, and that she failed to maintain a safe distance between her car and the car behind her when she changed lanes. Arceo-Rojas convicted in bench trial as charged. She appealed, alleging district court erred in denying motion to suppress.

ISSUES: (1) Traffic stop, (2) extension of traffic stop

HELD: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 8-1522(c) is interpreted. “Overtaking and passing another vehicle” phrase in the statute shows a legislative intent to keep multilane roads and highways open for passing. Under facts in this case, officer had reasonable suspicion that Arceo-Rojas was driving in left lane without meeting any of the four statutory exceptions. Accordingly, the traffic stop was justified and no need to address whether officer also had reasonable suspicion that Arceo-Rojas committed an unsafe lane change in violation of K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 8-1522(a), or whether officer made a “reasonable mistake” of law when he stopped Arceo-Rojas based on holding in Heien v. North Carolina, 574 U.S. 54 (2014).

       Arceo-Rojas’ comparison to State v. DeMarco, 263 Kan. 727 (1998), is not persuasive. Under totality of the circumstances  (1) Arceo-Rojas’ implausible and inconsistent travel plans, (2) use of a strong but dissipating masking odor consistent with being sprayed as officer stopped the car, (3) vehicle rented in the name of a third party, and (4) a large black duffel bag in back of the car—gave officer grounds for reasonable suspicion for both the initial traffic stop and extending the stop. District court’s denial of the motion to suppress is affirmed.

DISSENT (Arnold-Burger, C.J.): Would reverse district court’s ruling and suppress all evidence obtained after the traffic stop, at a minimum, and certainly after Arceo-Rojas was given a warning ticket and told she was free to leave. Initial stop was unlawful. K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 8-1522(c) does not state how long a person may drive in the left lane before committing a violation, and a person of reasonable caution would not interpret Arceo-Rojas’ driving as a violation of the statute. Also, officer had no reasonable and articulable suspicion to detain Arceo-Rojas while waiting for drug dog to arrive and circle the car. The four factors cited by district court and the majority are criticized, finding none support a finding of reasonable suspicion either together or separately. Case highlights the problem with the introduction of and the overreliance on profiles of drug courier activity. Traits of a drug-courier profile as asserted by federal agents are listed, and absence in this case is noted of factors indicated by Kansas law enforcement officers as linked to highway drug trafficking. Agrees with Justice Rosen’s concurrence in State v. Schooler, 308 Kan. 333 (2018), on danger of “using the promise of freedom” to circumvent a driver’s constitutional rights.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 8-1522, -1522(a), -1522(c), -1522(c)(1); K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 8-1522(c); K.S.A. 60-404

constitutional law—criminal procedure—motions—statutes
state v. terning
chautauqua district court—affirmed
no. 119,904—february 7, 2020

FACTS: Terning entered 2008 no contest plea to aggravated kidnapping and rape. Consecutive 165-month prison terms imposed, plus 36 months postrelease supervision. Kansas appellate courts summarily dismissed Terning’s direct appeal, but mandate not issued until May 2017. That same month Terning filed motion to correct an illegal sentence, arguing he should have received lifetime postrelease supervision. State filed similar motion. Five months later Terning filed motion to withdraw his plea, arguing his plea was not knowing and voluntary because he was never informed of lifetime post-release supervision. District court denied motion to withdraw plea. Terning appealed.

ISSUE: (1) Withdrawal of guilty plea after sentencing

HELD: Under circumstances in this case, district court did not abuse its discretion in finding Terning failed to demonstrate he would not have entered his plea if he had been informed that he would be subject to lifetime postrelease supervision. Even though district court did not strictly comply with K.S.A. 22-3210 at the plea hearing, record supports district court’s finding that Terning’s plea was knowingly and understandingly made. Different conclusion reached in State v. Metzger,  (Kan.App. 2017)(unpublished opinion), rev. denied 307 Kan. 992 (2018), is distinguished. Even though Terning was unaware of lifetime postrelease supervision period when he pleaded, he was informed that he potentially faced a period of incarceration longer than his natural life, regardless of any postrelease term. And by pleading no contest to both charges he avoided an upward departure that could have resulted in an even longer prison sentence.

DISSENT (Standridge, J.): Would hold the district court erred as a matter of law in its legal conclusion that Terning failed to show manifest injustice to withdraw his plea. District court failed to advise Terning of the maximum penalty upon his no contest plea, which is a clear statutory violation of K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 22-3210(a)(2) and a due process constitutional violation. Strongly disagrees with majority’s adoption of new analytical framework which provides that due process is not violated by failure to advise a criminal defendant of applicability of a lifetime postrelease supervisory period if the combined prison sentences assigned to the defendant are not meaningfully different from life in prison. Metzger sets forth a better analytical framework. Application of factors in State v. Edgar, 281 Kan. 30 (2006), and State v. Moses, 280 Kan. 939 (2006), to facts in this case tips balance in favor of finding manifest injustice under K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 22-3210(d)(2).

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 22-3210(a)(2), -3210(d), -3210(d)(1), -3210(d)(2), -3717(d)(1)(G); K.S.A. 2007 Supp. 75-5217(c)-(d); K.S.A. 2006 Supp. 22-3717(d)(1)(G), -3717(d)(2)(A); K.S.A. 21-4720(b)(2), -4720(b)(5), 22-3210, -3504

 

Tags:  Constitutional Law  Criminal Law  Criminal Procedure  Evidence  Fourth Amendment  Montgomery District Court  Montgomery District Court.  Motions Chautauqua District Court  sexually violent predators  Statutes  Tort Claims Act  Wyandotte District Court 

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January 31, 2020 Digests

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Kansas Supreme Court

criminal

constitutional law—appeals—appellate procedure—
criminal procedure—jurisdiction—statutes
state v. smith
sedgwick district court—court of appeals dismissal of the appeal is affirmed
no. 115,321—january 31, 2020

FACTS: In two separate cases, Smith pleaded guilty to refusing to submit to a test to determine presence of alcohol or drugs. Court of appeals consolidated Smith’s direct appeals. Relying on State v. Ryce, 303 Kan 899 (2016), decided while the consolidated appeal was pending, Smith argued the district court lacked jurisdiction to render the criminal judgments. In response, State argued the court of appeals lacked jurisdiction to consider a direct appeal from a guilty plea. Court of appeals dismissed Smith’s appeal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction without considering the merits of his Ryce claim.

ISSUE: (1) Appellate jurisdiction

HELD: Court of appeals did not err when it dismissed Smith’s appeal for lack of jurisdiction. K.S.A. 22-3602 is interpreted to resolve ambiguity, finding K.S.A. 22-3602(a) explicitly provides that a defendant cannot appeal a conviction after pleading guilty. K.S.A. 22-3504 allows appeals of sentences, not convictions, and federal caselaw allowing for direct appeals after guilty pleas in certain situations is inapplicable here. Smith’s convictions may be challenged in other ways, so notions of justice do not demand appellate jurisdiction. If he had still been serving his sentence, Smith could have filed a motion under K.S.A. 60-1507 to seek relief. He can also file a motion to withdraw his plea, and if denied, court of appeals has jurisdiction to consider an appeal from that denial.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 22-3601(a), -3602(a), 60-1507(a); K.S.A. 2014 Supp. 8-1025; K.S.A. 2013 Supp. 8-1025; K.S.A. 20-3001, 22-3210(d)(2), -3504, -3601, -3602, -3602(a), 60-1507, -1507; K.S.A. 62-1701 (Corrick)

 

Kansas Court of Appeals

criminal

appellate procedure—constitutional law—evidence—fourth amendment
state v. mckenna 
reno district court—affirmed
no. 119,431—january 31, 2020

FACTS: Officer checked on a sleeping or unconscious woman (McKenna) in driver’s seat in a parked car, and then arrested her on an outstanding warrant which was discovered once officer obtained McKenna’s name and ran a warrants check. McKenna was charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of a stimulant, based on evidence found in her clothing during booking. McKenna filed motion to suppress, arguing the officer unconstitutionally detained her without reasonable suspicion she was committing a crime. District court denied the motion, finding officer’s actions were justified as a welfare check. McKenna appealed the denial of her motion to suppress. Parties submitted supplemental briefing on issue of whether the public safety stop exceeded its lawful scope when officer asked for McKenna’s name and ran a warrants check.

ISSUE: (1) Public safety stop

HELD: Under circumstances of this case, officer did not exceed scope of a public safety stop by asking for McKenna’s name, getting a verbal response, and checking that name locally for warrants. Three-part test in State v. Gonzales, 36 Kan.App.2d 446 (2006), is satisfied in this case. Record shows officer’s actions were motivated by a desire to render aid or assistance rather than to investigate criminal activity.  

STATUTE: K.S.A. 22-2402(1)

Tags:  appeals  appellate procedure  constitutional law  criminal procedure  evidence  Fourth Amendment  jurisdiction  Reno District Court  Sedgwick District Court  statutes 

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January 21 and January 28, 2020 Digests

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Kansas Supreme Court

 

Civil

INSURANCE
WILLIAMS V. GEICO GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY
SEDGWICK DISTRICT COURT—COURT OF APPEALS IS REVERSED, DISTRICT COURT IS AFFIRMED
NO. 117,149—JANUARY 21, 2020

FACTS: Williams was insured by GEICO at the time he was injured in an automobile accident. His injuries required surgery and physical rehabilitation. While he recovered, Williams's treating physicians specified that Williams would be unable to perform household tasks such as lawn care, shoveling, cooking or cleaning. Williams was married, but he and his wife, Mary, had separate schedules and finances, and Williams generally took care of his own meals, laundry, and cleaning. Williams and Mary agreed that, for $25 per day, she would cook, do laundry, administer medication, drive, and assist Williams with hygiene needs. Williams wanted his insurance to pay for this expense, and he filed a claim for personal injury protection (PIP) substitution benefits available to him under his policy. GEICO refused to pay, arguing that Mary had a legal duty to care for her spouse and provide replacement services. Williams filed suit and the district court agreed with him, ruling that the law does not exclude an injured person's spouse from being compensated for substitution services. GEICO appealed and the Court of Appeals reversed the district court, agreeing with GEICO that married persons cannot be compensated for substitution services. The Supreme Court granted Williams's petition for review.

ISSUE: (1) Ability of a spouse to be compensated for substitution services

HELD: K.S.A. 40-3103(w) does not specifically preclude a spouse from providing substitution services, so the only relevant inquiry is whether Williams incurred an obligation to pay Mary for the substitution services that she provided. The facts specific to this case show that Williams incurred an obligation to pay Mary by entering into a contract with her to perform specific services for him that she would not have otherwise performed. The district court correctly ruled that GEICO must pay for Mary's expenses.

STATUTE: K.S.A. 40-3103(w)

 

criminal

appeals—criminal law—evidence—statutes
state v. downing
reno district court—reversed; court of appeals—affirmed
No. 116,629—january 24, 2020

FACTS: Downing appealed his burglary conviction that was based for taking items from a rural farmhouse. Court of appeals reversed in unpublished opinion, based on building owner’s testimony that no one lived there when the crime occurred, and owner had no plans to live there or rent it out. Downing’s petition for review granted.

ISSUE: (1) Burglary—proof of a dwelling

HELD: Kansas Supreme Court has not previously considered whether the farmhouse qualified as a dwelling as defined by K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 21-5111(k) when facts indicate it was not being used for such purposes when the crime occurred, and owner had no current plans to use or rent it out even if he preferred to do so. Circumstances identified in court of appeals cases on this issue were examined, finding definition and burglary statutes support a present-intent requirement to distinguish between a dwelling and a non-dwelling structure. Absent proof the place burgled was used as a human habitation, home or residence when the crime occurred, a conviction for burglary under K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 21-5807(a)(1) requires a showing of proof that someone had a present, subjective intent at the time of the crime to use the place burgled for such a purpose. Here, State failed to prove the farmhouse was a dwelling. District court is reversed and court of appeals is affirmed. State’s backup position that panel should have remanded for resentencing on lesser included crime of burglary of a structure is not considered because this alternative argument was not presented below.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 21-5111(k), -5807(a)(1), -5807(a)(2); K.S.A. 20-3018(b), 60-2101(b)

 

criminal procedure—sentences—statutes
state v willliams
sedgwick district court—affirmed in part, reversed in part, remanded
court of appeals—affirmed in part, reversed in part
no. 115,119—january 24, 2020

FACTS: Williams convicted of unintentional second-degree murder in 2011. Court of appeals reversed and remanded for a new trail. On remand Williams again convicted of unintentional  second-degree murder. He appealed, arguing in part his statutory speedy trial rights were violated at his first trial which invalidated all proceedings thereafter. In unpublished opinion Court of appeals found the doctrine of res judicata barred the speedy trial claim. After Williams’ petition for review was granted he raised supplemental claim that under State v. Wetrich, 307 Kan. 552 (2018), district court erroneously compared Williams’ 1980 Mississippi felony conviction for unnatural intercourse to Kansas’ crime of aggravated criminal sodomy, erroneously scoring the out-of-state crime as person felony.

ISSUES: (1) Speedy trial; (2) sentencing—scoring out-of-state conviction

HELD: Court of appeals is affirmed as right for the wrong reason. When appealing a conviction from a second trial after the first conviction was reversed on appeal, a defendant cannot raise for first time an alleged statutory speedy trial violation that occurred during the first trial. Even if Williams’ speedy trial claim in his first trial is assumed correct, plain statutory language makes clear the statutory speedy trial clock in a case resets and starts over as soon as an appellate court issues a mandate to reverse the first conviction.

Williams’ is entitled to the benefit of a change in the law while his case is pending on direct appeal. Wetrich changed the law governing Williams’ sentence, but even though Wetrich did not render that sentence illegal, it did render Williams’ sentence erroneous. Williams’ sentence is vacated and case is remanded for resentencing.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 21-6811(e)(3)(B); K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 22-3504, -3504(1); K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 21-6811(e)(3); K.S.A. 2010 Supp. 21-3506; K.S.A. 22-3402(1), -3402(6)

 

Kansas Court of Appeals

Civil

IMMUNITY—KANSAS TORT CLAIMS ACT—NEGLIGENCE
ESTATE OF RANDOLPH V. CITY OF WICHITA
SEDGWICK DISTRICT COURT—AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED IN PART, REMANDED
NO. 118,842—JANUARY 21, 2020

FACTS: Icarus Randolph was 26 years old and had a history of significant mental illness. Randolph lived with his mother. As family members gathered at the home for a holiday cookout, Randolph was out of sorts to the extent that family members became concerned for his welfare. Concluding that he needed to be emergently admitted to a mental health facility, Randolph's family called the police. Officer Snyder was the lead officer who responded, and he was dismissive of the family's concerns. Randolph's agitation increased and he came into the yard, carrying a knife at his side. Officer Snyder Tasered Randolph, which had no effect on his movements. As Randolph continued to walk. Officer Snyder drew his weapon and shot Randolph four times. He did not survive. Randolph's estate and the relatives who witnessed the scene filed suit against Officer Snyder, the other officer, and the City of Wichita. After extensive litigation, the district court granted all defendants' motions for summary judgment. The Randolph estate appealed.

ISSUES: (1) Viability of pre-shooting negligence claims; (2) estate's claim for liability for conduct after Randolph came outside; (3) viability of negligent use of force claim; (4) family members' claims

HELD: Officer Snyder's refusal to call an ambulance or otherwise assist Randolph and his family was a discretionary function, which means his conduct is immune from liability under the Kansas Tort Claims Act. The officer's decision-making was reasonable, even if he was brusque or rude. Evidence shows that Randolph was unaware of what was happening in his front yard, even after Officer Snyder drew his gun. Randolph's inability to appreciate fear means Officer Snyder could not be liable for tortious assault. But there are disputed issues of material fact regarding whether Officer Snyder committed a tortious battery by both Tasing and shooting Randolph, calling in to question Officer Snyder's claim that he was entitled to self-defense privilege. There is no other immunity in the KTCA that warrants summary judgment at this stage of the estate's tortious battery claims. Although it is unclear, it appears that Kansas law does allow for the tort of negligent use of force. But that tort would not be appropriate here, where Officer Snyder's actions were very much intentional. There was no negligence to support a tort of negligent use of force. The district court erred by granting summary judgment on Randolph's mother's claim of tortious assault because there were disputed material facts. The district court also erred by granting summary judgment on family members' claims of tortious assault based on Officer Snyder's use of a handgun. Randolph's family must be given the chance to present evidence and allow the district court to determine whether Officer Snyder is entitled to a KTCA immunity or the privilege of self-defense.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 21-5221(a), -5222, -5222(b), -5227, -5230, -5231(a), 60-1901(a); K.S.A. 60-514(b), 75-6103(a), -6104, -6104(d), -6104(e), -6104(i), -6104(n)

 

SALES TAX—UTILITIES
IN RE TAX APPEAL OF SOUTHWESTERN BELL TELEPHONE CO., L.L.C.
BOARD OF TAX APPEALS—AFFIRMED
NO. 120,167—JANUARY 24, 2020

FACTS: Southwestern Bell (Bell) operates transmission and switching equipment to create telecommunication signals. Because the equipment runs continuously, it generates a great deal of heat. If the equipment overheats, it quits working. In order to avoid this, Bell has a dedicated HVAC system in areas where the equipment is located as part of the effort to keep the equipment cool and operational. Electricity that is "consumed in" providing telecommunication services is exempt from sales tax under Kansas statute. Bell sought sales tax refunds for all electricity used. The Kansas Department of Revenue approved a sales tax refund for electricity used to directly power equipment but denied a refund for electricity which powered the HVAC units, reasoning that these units merely maintained the switching and transmission equipment. The Kansas Board of Tax Appeals disagreed, holding that the electricity which powered the HVAC units was essential to the production of telecommunication services. The Department of Revenue appeals.

ISSUE: (1) Tax liability on HVAC equipment

HELD: The HVAC units and the transmission and switching equipment form a system that makes Bell's telecommunication services possible. Under the plain language of the tax statutes, the HVAC system is "essential or necessary" to the production of telecommunication services. This essential nature makes the electricity used to power the HVAC units exempt from sales tax. The Department of Revenue's arguments to the contrary go to public policy rationales, and those must be raised with the Kansas Legislature.

STATUTE: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 79-3602(dd)(2), -3602(dd)(B), -3602(pp), -3606(n)

Tags:  Appeals  Bd of Tax Appeals  Criminal Law  Criminal Procedure  Evidence  Immunity  Insurance  Kansas Tort Claims Act  Negligence  Reno District Court  Sales Tax  Sedgwick District Court  Sentences  Statutes  Utilities 

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