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January 4, 2019 Digest

Posted By Administration, Monday, January 7, 2019

Kansas Court of Appeals

 

CIVIL

EMPLOYMENT—MALPRACTICE
NASH V. BLATCHFORD
COWLEY DISTRICT COURT—AFFIRMED
NO. 119,155—JANUARY 4, 2019

FACTS: Nash filed a medical malpractice action against Dr. Blatchford. Dr. Blatchford moved for summary judgment, claiming the district court lacked jurisdiction because Dr. Blatchford works for a municipal hospital, and Nash failed to file a written notice of claim, as required by K.S.A. 12-105b(d), prior to filing suit. Because the two-year statute of limitations had expired, Dr. Blatchford argued that Nash's claim was time-barred. The district court granted the motion and Nash appealed.

ISSUES: (1) Did Nash's claims fall under the Kansas Tort Claims Act, requiring him to file a notice of claim under K.S.A. 12-105b(d); (2) do the 2015 amendments to K.S.A. 12-105b(d) apply to Nash's claim; (3) do the 2015 amendments deny equal protection to victims of medical malpractice committed by doctors employed at municipal hospitals

HELD: The notice of claim requirement in K.S.A. 12-105b(d) is jurisdictional. The health care provider exception found at K.S.A. 75-6115(a) excludes from liability claims based upon the rendering of professional services by a health care provider. But subsection (a)(2) of the statute gives exceptions to the exclusion and includes claims made against a hospital owned by a municipality "and the employees thereof". It is undisputed that Dr. Blatchford works at a hospital owned by a municipality. Under the Knorp test, Dr. Blatchford is an employee of his hospital, not an independent contractor, and the notice of claim requirement applies. The prior version of K.S.A. 12-105b(d) did not apply to employees of municipalities. The amendments apply to Nash's claim because he had a reasonable amount of time after the amendments' effective date to comply with the notice requirements. There is a legitimate government interest in giving a municipal hospital notice of a claim against one of its employees.

CONCURRENCE: (Atcheson, J.) The majority reached the correct result but erred by giving too much weight to Dr. Blatchford's employment contract. The panel should not have imposed a "gatekeeper requirement" on the equal protection claim by looking too closely at whether Nash was similarly situated to other malpractice plaintiffs.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 12-105a(h), -105b, -105b(d), 40-3403(h), 75-6102(d)(1), -6102(d)(2)(B), -6115(a), -6115(c)(3), -6115(c)(4); K.S.A. 12-105b(d), 40-3401(f), -3403(h)

Tags:  8802  Cowley District  Weekly20190108 

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December 21 and 28, 2018 Digests

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Kansas Supreme Court

HABEAS CORPUS—PROCEDURE
NGUYEN V. STATE
FINNEY DISTRICT COURT—Reversed and Remanded
COURT OF APPEALS—REVERSED
NO. 112,851—DECEMBER 21, 2018

FACTS: Nguyen was convicted of multiple high-level felonies; his conviction was affirmed on direct appeal. Over the years, Nguyen filed three K.S.A. 60-1507 motions challenging various aspects of his convictions. The third motion, filed in 2012, was summarily denied by the district court as both untimely and successive. On appeal, the court of appeals agreed with Nguyen that manifest injustice required an exception to the one-year time bar on the motion. Two of Nguyen's co-defendants had one of their convictions reversed, and it appeared that Nguyen was similarly entitled to relief. Notwithstanding that fact, the panel determined that Nguyen failed to establish any exceptional circumstances that warranted accepting a successive motion. And although the panel appeared to agree that the district court's findings of fact and conclusions of law were insufficient, it held that Nguyen waived any insufficiency by failing to object. The summary denial was affirmed, and Nguyen's petition for review was accepted.

ISSUES: (1) Compliance with Supreme Court Rule 183(e); (2) successive motion; (3) adequacy of findings of fact and conclusions of law

HELD: Nguyen's K.S.A. 60-1507 motion substantially complied with Supreme Court Rule 183(e). All of the required information could be obtained simply by reading Nguyen's attachments. Nguyen's motion showed exceptional circumstances which justified his failure to raise these issues in a prior 1507 proceeding. And trial counsel failed to raise an issue that was successful for Nguyen's co-defendants. Justice requires that Nguyen's conviction for conspiracy to commit kidnapping be reversed as multiplicitious. Nguyen's status as a pro se litigant, combined with the district court's summary denial of his motion, made it difficult for him to object to the district court's inadequate findings of fact and conclusions of law. Nevertheless, he filed a motion to alter or amend the judgment which specifically raised this issue. The district court's order was conclusory and did not comply with Supreme Court Rule 183. This case is returned to the district court for further proceedings.

STATUTE: K.S.A. 60-1507

criminal

state v. gonzalez-sandoval
lyon district court—affirmed
court of appeals—reversed
No. 114,894—december 21, 2018

FACTS: Gonzalez-Sandoval was convicted of aggravated indecent liberties with a child.  During jury selection he raised a Batson challenge to State’s peremptory strike of one of three potential Hispanic jurors (T.R.).  In response, State pointed to T.R.s avoidance of eye contact and failure to disclose her involvement in two cases. District court found eye contact reason insufficient, but denied the challenge finding T.R. not being truthful was a race-neutral reason.  During trial, State admitted discovering the case-specific reasons it cited were not factually correct, but said T.R. failed to disclose she was a witness in a third case. District court found T.R.’s untruthfulness was still a race-neutral reason for striking T.R., and found State honestly believed the factual basis first offered for its strike. Gonzalez-Sandoval appealed on issues including his Batson claim. A divided court of appeals panel reversed on that issue, finding circumstances showed the peremptory strike was not race neutral, and district court abused its discretion in denying the Batson challenge. 153 Kan.App.2d 536 (2017). State’s petition for review granted. 

ISSUE: Batson challenge

HELD: Batson and U.S. Supreme Court cases applying it are reviewed. Here, Gonzalez-Sandoval satisfied Batson’s first step by making a prima facie showing that the peremptory challenge was based on race. Batson’s second step satisfied by trial court’s factual finding that T.R.’s lack of candor stated a race-neutral reason for the State’s peremptory strike, and by trial court’s credibility determination that prosecutor honestly believed the information first presented to the court was true. But Gonzalez-Sandoval, by failing to provide any evidence or argument that State’s race-neutral justification was pretext, did not satisfy Batson’s third step. Judgment of court of appeals is reversed. Trial court’s judgment is affirmed.

STATUTES: None

Kansas Court of Appeals

Civil

JUDGMENT—LAW OF THE CASE
IN RE MARRIAGE OF GERLEMAN
DOUGLAS DISTRICT COURT—AFFIRMED IN PART,
REVERSED IN PART, and REMANDED
NO. 117,913—DECEMBER 28, 2018

FACTS: After the parties filed for divorce, the decree addressed the division of marital property, including the difficult issue of Robert's military retirement pay. That ruling was appealed, and the court of appeals remanded for clarification on the correct formula to use when dividing the amount between the parties. While the remand was pending, Robert filed for relief from the judgment by arguing that the divorce decree was void because there was no valid agreement between the parties. Robert also specifically challenged the maintenance award that was in the decree. The district court denied the voidness argument as barred by the law of the case. The district court denied Robert's claim that maintenance should be modified, holding that the decree adopted the parties' agreement on that issue. Because Robert was in arrears on maintenance, the district court held him in contempt. Robert appealed.

ISSUES: (1) Application of law of the case doctrine to a void judgment; (2) contempt finding; (3) modification of the decree; (4) ability to modify maintenance

HELD: Robert could have raised the issue of the validity of the judgment in the first appeal, but he did not. In order to avoid the bar of the law of the case doctrine, all issues – including voidness – that could have been raised in a prior appeal will not be considered in a later appeal. The maintenance and property settlement provisions of the divorce decree are valid, which means the contempt finding was also valid. The law of the case doctrine and the record on appeal show that Robert's arguments about the division of his military retirement pay are not properly before the court. There is no mention in the divorce decree that the parties reached an agreement on maintenance. For that reason, the district court erred by denying Robert's motion to modify solely on statutory grounds. The district court must consider the merits of Robert's motion to modify maintenance.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 23-2712, -2712(b)

Tags:  Douglas District  Finney District  Lyon District 

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December 14, 2018 Digests

Posted By Administration, Monday, December 17, 2018

Kansas Supreme Court

Attorney Discipline

6-MONTH SUSPENSION
IN THE MATTER OF LARA M. OWENS
NO. 118,693—DECEMBER 14, 2018

FACTS: A hearing panel of the Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys found that Owens violated KRPC 1.1 (competence), 1.3 (diligence), 1.4(a) (communication), 1.15(b) (safekeeping property), 1.16(d) (termination of representation), 8.1(b) (failure to respond to a demand from a disciplinary authority), 8.4(d) (engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice), and Rule 207(b) (failure to cooperate in a disciplinary investigation). The complaint arose after clients alleged that Owens failed to inform them of the relevant statute of limitations, failed to timely file lawsuits, and failed to communicate about case status. Owens failed to respond to an initial letter from the investigator and also ignored the follow-up email.

HEARING PANEL: Owens and the disciplinary administrator stipulated to some facts, including Owens' failure to provide her clients with timely updates on the status of their actions and her failure to cooperate in the disciplinary process. Owens was on diversion when some of the alleged misconduct occurred. She was also being treated for anxiety issues. The disciplinary administrator initially agreed to a two-year probation term with an underlying two-year suspension. But Owens failed to perform all of the required steps to put a plan in place, and both the disciplinary administrator and the hearing panel instead recommended a six-month suspension of Owens' license.

HELD: Clear and convincing evidence supports the hearing panel's findings regarding Owens' rule violations. Owens failed to comply with Rule 211(g), which establishes the tasks an attorney must undertake in order to be placed on probation. For that reason, probation is not an appropriate sanction. Based on the nature and duration of Owens' misconduct, a majority of the court imposed a six-month suspension of Owens' license. A minority of the court would have imposed a shorter suspension. Owens must undergo a Rule 219 hearing before her license can be reinstated.

criminal

appeals—constitutional law—evidence—motions—
prosecutors—sentences—statutes
state v. wilson
reno district court—reversed on issue subject to review and remanded
court of appeals—affirmed on issue subject to review
No. 114,567—december 14, 2018

FACTS: Wilson was convicted in 2007. State filed 2015 motion to correct an illegal sentence, arguing it was error not to impose lifetime post release supervision. Citing State v. Freeman 223 Kan. 362 (1978), Wilson claimed lifetime supervision was cruel and unusual punishment. District court granted the state’s motion. Wilson appealed, claiming in part he was denied a fair sentencing hearing when prosecutor misstated facts of Wilson’s case and mischaracterized facts in an unpublished opinion Wilson cited in support of his Freeman claim. A divided court of appeals panel affirmed in an unpublished opinion, finding appellate review was appropriate of claim of prosecutorial error in the context of a hearing on a motion to correct an illegal sentence, and applying test in effect prior to State v. Sherman, 305 Kan. 88 (2016).  State’s petition for review was granted. State claimed the prosecutorial error challenge was not preserved for appeal because Wilson did not object to the alleged misstatements during the sentencing hearing.

ISSUES: (1) Preservation of the appeal, (2) prosecutorial error

HELD: Because the state’s petition for review advances only a merit-based challenge to the prosecutorial error question, it waived review of panel majority’s conclusion on preservation.

Prosecutorial error may occur during a sentencing proceeding before a judge. The two-step analytical framework in Sherman applies in both the guilt and penalty phases of any trial —whether before a jury or judge. Applying the Sherman test, there was reversible error at Wilson’s sentencing hearing. Prosecutor’s factual misstatements about Wilson’s underlying crime fell outside the wide latitude afforded when arguing state’s motion to correct an illegal sentence, and the state failed to show there was no reasonable possibility this prosecutorial error contributed to the district court’s decision. State concedes the prosecutor misstated facts in the unpublished case Wilson cited, but no further need in this case to explore alleged error in a prosecutor’s discussion of caselaw. The case is remanded to district court to consider again the question under Freeman—whether imposing lifetime post release supervision on Wilson would be grossly disproportionate to his offense.

STATUTE: K.S.A. 20-3018(b), 21-3501(1), 60-261, -2101(b)

Kansas Court of Appeals

criminal

appeals—constitutional law—criminal procedure—
juveniles—sentences—statutes
state v. robinson
johnson district court—affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded
No. 117,957—december 14, 2018

FACTS: Robinson was convicted of aggravated robbery and kidnapping. His case was initially filed as a juvenile offender proceeding, and then moved to adult court where charges were amended to add kidnapping. On appeal, Robinson claimed he was denied his constitutional right to a speedy trial. He also claimed the state could not add charges once the case moved from juvenile to adult court, and claimed the state’s service of the arrest warrant was so late that the statute of limitations had expired.

ISSUES: (1) Speedy trial—juvenile proceedings, (2) amended charges, (3) statute of limitations

HELD: Speedy-trial rights apply to juvenile-offender proceedings. On facts in this case, Robinson did not lose his constitutional right to a speedy trial by his delayed filing of his motion to dismiss. Delay from the time the state brought formal charges in the juvenile court until Robinson’s trial in an adult proceeding must be analyzed under factors in Barker v. Wingo, 407 U.S. 514 (1972). Case is remanded to district court to make the required factual findings under those factors.

When a criminal charge first made in juvenile proceedings is refiled as an adult proceeding, the state is not precluded from amending the charge. No departure from rule in State v. Randolph, 19 Kan.App.2d 730 (1994). Here, Robinson made no showing that adding the kidnapping charges substantially prejudiced his ability to defend himself at trial.

Statute-of-limitation defenses are waived if not timely raised. Even assuming Robinson could have raised the statute-of-limitation defense after the case had moved to adult proceedings, his failure to do so waived the defense. On remand, the district court may consider the state’s delay in serving the warrant, its cause, and any resulting prejudice when weighing the Barker factors to decide Robinson’s speedy-trial claim. 

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 22-3208(4), 38-2303(d), -2303(g), -2347, -2347(b)(1), -2347(d)(1)-(3); K.S.A. 22-3201(e)

Tags:  Attorney Discipline  Johnson District  juveniles  Reno District  suspension  Weekly20181218 

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December 7, 2018 Digests

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Kansas Supreme Court

 

criminal:



constitutional law—criminal law—criminal procedure—evidence—
fourth amendment—search and seizure —statutes
state v. hubbard
douglas district court—affirmed; court of appeals—affirmed
No. 113,888—december 7, 2018

FACTS: Hubbard answered officer’s knock on apartment door. Based on smell of marijuana, officers ordered everyone to leave the apartment, and then conducted security sweep to ensure no one remained inside. Search warrant obtained and executed, finding drug evidence. Hubbard convicted of possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. He appealed claiming  drug evidence should have been suppressed because: (1) the initial warrantless entry into his apartment for a security sweep was illegally premised on officer’s report of smelling raw marijuana while standing at the front door; and (2) officer’s suppression-hearing testimony about smelling raw marijuana odor was inadmissible expert testimony. Court of appeals affirmed in unpublished opinion, finding smell of marijuana provided probable cause to believe that crime had been committed, that apartment held evidence of that crime, and that sweep of the apartment was justified by need to preserve evidence. Review granted.

ISSUES: (1) Motion to suppress, (2) opinion testimony

HELD: On facts found by district court, the smell of marijuana provided probable cause, and threat of evidence destruction was an exigent circumstance. To the extent drug  evidence and the search warrant were fruits of a warrantless search, the sweep was not illegal and the challenged evidence is not subject to exclusion. United States Supreme Court cases addressing relationship between odors and probable cause are reviewed.

            District court did not err by admitting officer’s testimony about smelling raw marijuana as lay opinion. State v. Sasser, 305 Kan 1231 (2017), is reviewed, similarly finding in this case that officers’ opinions that they smelled raw marijuana, based on their perception and specialized training, qualified as lay opinion admissible under K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 60-456(a).  

DISSENT (Beier, J., joined by Rosen and Johnson, JJ.): Dissents from majority’s result and rationale. Would hold the district judge applied the wrong legal standard in admitting and considering the officers’ suppression-hearing testimony, treating their expert opinions on the source of the odor they perceived as facts. Subsection (b) of K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 60-456, is controlling, rather than subsection (a). Would also hold district judge’s conclusion, that sweep was justified by existence of probable cause and exigent circumstances, erroneously relied in part upon absence of State evidence. Would reverse the convictions, vacate the sentence, and remand to district court for new evaluation of the motion to suppress.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 60-456, -456(a), -456(b); K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 60-456; K.S.A. 20-3018(b), 22-3216(2), 60-419, -2101(b)

 

 

constitutional lawcriminal lawfourth amendment
search and seizuresentencingstatutes
state v. parker
sedgwick district court—affirmed on issues subject to review;
court of appeals—affirmed on issues subject to review
No. 112,959—december 7, 2018

FACTS: Officer in unmarked car activated his red and blue emergency lights and “wig wag” lights in attempt to stop vehicle driving without lights after dark, and observed driver’s furtive movements toward console as vehicle continued without stopping. Vehicle eventually pulled into grocery store parking lot where driver (Parker) exited and locked the vehicle. Officer arrested Parker who refused consent to search of the vehicle. Parker then waited in police car approximately an hour for K9 unit to arrive and alert on the vehicle. Drug charges filed based on evidence found in subsequent search of vehicle’s console. Parker filed motion to suppress, challenging the duration of the stop and alleging incrimination statements were made in violation of Miranda. District court denied the motion. Jury convicted Parker as charged. On appeal, Court of appeals remanded on Parker’s Batson jury selection claim, but affirmed on claims challenging: (1) district court’s refusal to suppress evidence; (2) sufficiency of the evidence supporting the feeing or eluding offense because the police vehicle was not properly marked; and (3) the use of Parker’s prior crimes to enhance the sentence. Review granted on these three claims.

ISSUES: (1) Continued seizure of Parker and the vehicle, (2) sufficiency of the evidence on fleeing, (3) sentencing

HELD: The seizure of Parker was lawful—the initial seizure of his person did not violate Fourth Amendment, and his extended holding in the police car did not make his seizure unlawful. Applying test for property seizure, on record in this case, the vehicle was not seized between the time Parker exited and locked it and the time of the K9 alert, and Parker was not deprived of a possessory interest in the vehicle after his arrest while it sat locked in a public parking lot.  

            Statutory challenge to K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 8-1568 is rejected. Officer was driving an unmarked car outfitted with standard police equipment and lights which were activated to stop Parker who did not stop for a considerable period. Sufficient evidence was presented to support the fleeing conviction.

            Sentencing claim defeated with no departure from decisions rejecting this same claim.

CONCURRENCE AND DISSENT (Johnson, J.): Dissents on the suppression issue, finding no factual or legal support for majority’s holding that the vehicle was not continually seized after Parker’s arrest. Disagrees that seizure of the stopped vehicle ended when Parker exited and locked it. Would hold that State unlawfully detained Parker’s vehicle beyond the time and detention warranted by the totality of the circumstances, requiring reversal of conviction based on the ensuing unlawful search.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 5-1568, -1568(a)(1), -1568(d), -1568(e)(2), 22-2901(1); K.S.A. 2012 Supp. 8-262(a)(1), -1568(a), -1568(c)(1), 21-5706(a), -5706(c)(1); K.S.A. 8-1548, -1703, 20-3018(b), 60-2101(b)

 

 

constitutional law—criminal law—criminal procedure—evidence—
Fifth Amendment—search and seizure
state v. regelman
geary district court—affirmed in part—reversed in part—remanded;
court of appeals—affirmed in part—reversed in part
No. 116,398—December 7, 2018

FACTS: Officers conducting a welfare check smelled raw marijuana at Regelman’s front door. Officers ordered Regelman to remain outside while search warrant was obtained, and handcuffed him to prevent him from putting hands in his pockets. Search warrant affidavit included incriminating statements Regelman made. Execution of the warrant disclosed drug related items inside a thick wooden box by a couch, several feet from front door. Regelman arrested and Miranda rights given for first time. Regelman filed motion to suppress. District court granted the motion, finding Regelman’s statements about drug use occurred during questioning in violation of Miranda. District court further held the smell of marijuana by itself does not provide probable cause for a search, and good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule did not apply. State filed interlocutory appeal. Court of appeals affirmed in unpublished opinion. State’s petition for review granted.

ISSUES: (1) Statements about drug use, (2) marijuana odor and probable cause

HELD: Regelman’s drug use statements are scrutinized under Fifth Amendment. Miranda warnings were required when questioning of Regelman turned into a custodial interrogation by ordering him to stop walking away and either sit on the steps or in a patrol car. The search warrant affidavit contained this unlawfully obtained information, but under State v. Fisher, 283 Kan. 272 (2007), the affidavit as a whole is not invalid if it supplied a substantial basis for finding probable cause without the unlawfully obtained information.

            State v. Hubbard (decided this same date), held the totality of circumstances surrounding a police officer’s detection of the smell of raw marijuana emanating from a residence can provide probable cause to believe the residence contains contraband or evidence of a crime. District court holding to the contrary was error as a matter of law. Applying Fisher, even without the drug-use statements, information remaining in the affidavit provided a substantial basis for finding a fair probability that evidence of a crime would be found in the home. Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings.

CONCURRENCE (Beier, J.): Concurs in the result because Regelman made no effort to challenge admission of officer’s testimony at the suppression hearing on the basis that he was not qualified to give an expert opinion on the existence or strength of the odor of raw marijuana. Does not concur in majority’s rationale, which turns a blind eye to gatekeeping requirement under K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 60-456(b).

DISSENT (Johnson, J., joined by Rosen, J.): Agrees with Justice Beier’s criticism of majority’s rationale, but cannot concur with majority’s result. Would affirm district court’s suppression of the evidence. Because this case involved the long-range detection of odor of raw marijuana in a closed container, questions whether State could make the required foundation for the officer’s testimony by establishing the officer was in a position that would rationally allow him to perceive odor of raw marijuana.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 60-456(a), -456(b); K.S.A. 20-3018(b), 22-3216(2), 60-2101(b)

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November 30, 2018 Digests

Posted By Administration, Monday, December 3, 2018

Kansas Supreme Court

Attorney Discipline

ORDER OF TEMPORARY SUSPENSION
IN RE DAVID P. CRANDALL
NO. 117,910—NOVEMBER 30, 2018

FACTS: A hearing panel of the Board of Discipline of Attorneys found that Crandall violated KRPC 1.1 (competence), 1.3 (diligence), 1.4(b) (communication), 1.5(a) (fees), 1.7(a) (concurrent conflict of interest), and 8.4(d) (conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice). An inquiry into Crandall's conduct began when a client wrote the Disciplinary Administrator questioning the reasonableness of Crandall's fees. Around the same time, a district court judge reported Crandall after most of the fees that he requested in a probate matter were rejected. An inquiry into Crandall's fees showed that he was either inexperienced or was doing work in an attempt to justify fees which were substantially higher than those charged by other attorneys in the area.

FACTUAL FINDINGS: Crandall challenged many of the findings made by the hearing panel. The Kansas rules of attorney discipline give the court disciplinary jurisdiction over Kansas-licensed attorneys even if the behavior occurs outside of Kansas. Crandall's failure to follow Supreme Court Rule 6.02 and the Rules of Evidence, which apply in attorney discipline proceedings, means his constitutional and evidentiary issues were not preserved for appeal. There was clear and convincing evidence that Crandall's fees were excessive given the amount of time and labor expended. In representing another client, Crandall's personal interest in having his fee paid conflicted with his duty to advise his client. And he charged an unreasonable fee when the value of the estate decreased significantly while the probate case was pending.

HEARING PANEL: The hearing panel noted Crandall's multiple rule violations, which it attributed to a selfish motive. The panel also noted Crandall's "angry and condescending" tone that was used through disciplinary proceedings. A majority of the hearing panel recommended a 6-month suspension. A minority would recommend a 1-year suspension.

HELD: A majority of the court agreed with the hearing panel and imposed discipline of a 6-month suspension. A minority of the court would have imposed a lesser sanction.

Attorney Discipline

ORDER OF INDEFINITE SUSPENSION
IN RE BRANDON W. DEINES
NO. 119,111—NOVEMBER 30, 2018

FACTS: The Disciplinary Administrator filed a formal complaint against Deines in 2017. He did not file an answer and was temporarily suspended in September 2017. A hearing panel determined that Denies violated KRPC 1.1 (competence), 1.3 (diligence), 1.4(a) (communication), 1.15(b) (safekeeping property), 1.16(d) (termination of representation), 3.2 (expediting litigation), 8.4(d) (engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice), 8.1 (b) (failure to respond to a disciplinary authority), and Rules 207(b) (failure to cooperate in a disciplinary investigation) and 211(b) (failure to file an answer in a disciplinary proceeding). A complaint was filed after multiple instances where Deines failed to act on behalf of his clients, resulting in dismissed cases and harm to his clients.

HEARING PANEL: The temporary suspension was sought because Denies' inaction caused significant harm to his clients. In addition, Deines' failure to participate in the disciplinary process made it difficult to investigate. The panel acknowledged that Deines' behavior was a result of his depression. The Disciplinary Administrator asked for an indefinite suspension. Because Deines' behavior was caused by his depression the hearing panel recommended a 2-year suspension.

HELD: Denies failed to respond to the hearing panel's report and failed to attend the formal hearing on the complaint. The court considered this absence an additional aggravating factor. For that reason, the court imposed an indefinite suspension rather than the 2-year suspension recommended by the hearing panel.

Criminal

constitutional law–criminal procedure–sentences–statutes
state v. Hayes
johnson district court—affirmed
No. 117,341—november 30, 2018

FACTS:  Kansas Supreme Court affirmed Hayes’ conviction of premeditated first-degree murder for a 2010 shooting death, but vacated the hard 50 sentence as unconstitutional and remanded for resentencing. State v. Hayes, 299 Kan. 861 (2014). On remand, district court applied 2013 amended legislation now codified at K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-6620, to again impose an enhanced hard 50 sentence. Hayes appealed, claiming retroactive application of K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-6620 violated the Ex Post Facto Clause. 

ISSUE: Retroactive Application of 2013 Amendments to K.S.A. 21-6620

HELD: Because the 2013 amendments to the sentencing provisions of K.S.A. 21-6620 are procedural in nature and do not change the legal consequences of acts completed before its effective date, the retroactive application of those sentencing procedures do not violate the Ex Post Fact Clause of the United States Constitution.  Hayes’ invitation to reverse rulings in State v. Bernhardt, 304 Kan. 460 (2016), State v. Robinson, 306 Kan. 431 (2017), and State v. Lloyd, 308 Kan. 735 (2018), is declined. 

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-6620; K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 21-6620; K.S.A. 2013 Supp. 21-6620; K.S.A. 2010 Supp. 22-3717(b)(1); K.S.A. 21-4635, -4706(c)

criminal law- evidence - jury instructions - motions - statutes
State v. Ingham
reno district court—affirmed
court of appeals—affirmed
No. 111,444—november 30, 2018

FACTS: Ingham convicted of possession or use of a commercial explosive. On appeal he claimed: (1) district court erred by denying motion in limine to prevent State from using “pipe bomb” and “improvised explosive device” to describe the beer-can bomb; (2) a sheriff deputy improperly testified his opinion that Ingham combined lawfully obtained items to make an illegal improvised explosive device; (3) a jury instruction wrongfully reworded the statutory definition of “commercial explosive” by equating it to an “improvised explosive device;” (4) trial court should have sua sponte instructed jury on the definition of a consumer firework; and (5) cumulative error denied him a fair trial.

ISSUES: (1) Motion in Limine; (2) “Commercial Explosive” Testimony; (3) Instruction on Elements of Criminal Use of Explosives; (4) Consumer Firework Definition Instruction; (5) Cumulative Error

HELD:  Ingham failed to show that the use of words at issue was improper or that it unfairly prejudiced his defense. No abuse of district court’s discretion in allowing prosecution to use words and phrases that correctly and accurately described Ingham’s explosive device. 

Assuming without deciding that deputy’s statement was close enough to testimony that Ingham was guilty of the charged crimes, and assuming this error was of constitutional dimension, the error was harmless under facts in this case.

The challenged instruction moved beyond informing jury what the State was required to prove and informed jury that State had proved an improvised explosive device was a commercial explosive. This was error, but under facts in case, the error was harmless.

No error found in district court’s omission of an unrequested instruction that defined a consumer firework. Nothing in the record would have led jury to believe that Ingham’s beer-can explosive was a consumer firework, either in terms of construction or intended usage. 

The errors and assumed errors did not affect the two possible jury choices in this case, and even taken in their cumulative effect, did not prejudicially affect the jury’s verdict.

CONCURRENCE (Nuss, C.J.): Affirms Ingham’s conviction, but departs from majority’s rationale regarding the motion in limine. Would hold the district court abused its discretion by allowing repeated references to the “I.E.D.” that Ingham had constructed. Under facts in case, however, cumulative effect of errors is still harmless.

CONCURRENCE (Biles, J., joined by Stegall, J.): Agrees the conviction must be affirmed but would hold: district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion in limine; no error in the elements instruction on criminal use of explosives; and the one assumed error of opinion testimony regarding the beer can bomb provides no basis for cumulative error.

CONCURRENCE (Stegall, J.):  Agrees with court’s judgments, but registers doubts about statute under which Ingham was convicted. Would welcome briefing on whether K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-5814(a)(1) is too vague, indefinite, or overbroad to survive constitutional scrutiny. 

DISSENT (Johnson, J., joined by Luckert and Beier, JJ.): Would reverse and remand for a fair trial. Takes exception to majority’s cavalier disregard of the inflammatory connotation associated with the term I.E.D. Would find district court abused its discretion in denying motion in limine, and the error was compounded by deputy’s opinion testimony which improperly stated a legal conclusion on unlawfulness. Scales of justice were further tipped by instruction which erroneously equated “improvised explosive device” with “commercial explosive.” Criticizes majority for engaging in impermissible judicial fact-finding or mere supposition in determining a consumer firework definition instruction was not factually appropriate in this case. Agrees the omission of that instruction was not clearly erroneous, but submits the factual record did not preclude it.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-5814(a)(1), -5814(c)(2), 60-456; K.S.A. 2012 Supp. 21-5601(b)(1), -5814(a)(1), -5814(a)(2)

criminal procedure—sentences—statutes
state v. rice
wyandotte district court—reversed and remanded
No. 117,322—november 30, 2018

FACTS: Rice’s 1992 conviction for first-degree premeditated murder and hard 40 sentence were affirmed on appeals. Some twenty years later, Rice appealed from his unsuccessful attempt to seek collateral relief on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction but found ineffective assistance during the penalty phase. Sentence vacated and remanded for a new penalty phase hearing and resentencing. At resentencing, district court ordered a life sentence with possibility of parole after 15 years. Two months later Rice filed pro se motion to modify or reduce his sentence, arguing he should have been given an updated PSI that accounted for his failing physical condition. He also argued the court could have ordered probation. District court denied modification, holding that Rice received the only sentence available under the law and that his motion for a new PSI was rendered moot. Rice appealed claiming: (1) district court had jurisdiction to modify or reduce his sentence and that reduction is mandatory with a recommendation from the Secretary of Corrections; and (2) district court erred in concluding that probation was not an available option.

ISSUES: (1) Jurisdiction to Modify or Reduce the Sentence on Remand; (2) Availability of Probation

HELD: Statutes applicable to Rice’s motion to modify his pre-KSGA sentence are reviewed. The re-sentencing court was correct in not modifying Rice’s sentence to a lesser term of years, but under State v. Sargent, 217 Kan. 634 (1975), if secretary of corrections unequivocally recommended reducing Rice’s life sentence to a term of years, the court would have to modify it unless best interest of the public would be jeopardized or Rice’s welfare would not be served by the reduction. As to whether the re-sentencing court was required to order an updated PSI that may have resulted in a facility recommendation that Rice should serve a lesser sentence, there is precedent for finding no error in district court’s refusal to do so.

Court of Appeals vacated Rice’s original sentence, so on remand the district court was imposing Rice’s sentence anew. Probation is a possibility for a person convicted of a Class A felony. The 2016 resentencing court abused its discretion by not understanding its own authority and being unable to consider exercising it. On remand for resentencing, district court should exercise its discretion to consider probation on the record.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 22-3601; K.S.A. 21-4701 et seq.; K.S.A. 1992 Supp. 21-3401, -3401(c), -4602(3), -4603 et seq., -4603(2), -4603(4), -4604(1), 22-3717(b); K.S.A. 21-4501(a) (Ensley 1988)

appeals—courts—criminal law—criminal procedure—evidence—jury instructions—motions
state v. sims
wyandotte district court—affirmed
No. 115,038—November 30, 2018

FACTS: Sims convicted of premeditated first-degree murder and criminal possession of a firearm. On appeal he challenged: (1) district court’s denial of motion for mistrial after State witnesses violated orders in limine prohibiting mention of Sims’ battery; (2) the sequential ordering of jury instructions for degrees of homicide; (3) district court’s failure to give a limiting instruction to accompany Sims’ stipulation to a prior felony conviction; and (4) cumulative error denied him a fair trial.

ISSUES: (1) Mistrial, (2) Ordering Language in Instructions, (3) Prior Felony Limiting Instruction, (4) Cumulative Error

HELD: On facts of case, district court did not abuse its discretion when it denied Sims’ motion for mistrial. State witnesses made three brief, cryptic references to material prohibited by orders in limine; and the judge recognized the errors and issued a curative admonition in one instance and moved the trial immediately to other topics in the second and third instances.

The simultaneous consideration rule in State v. Graham, 275 Kan. 831 (2003), and the exception to that rule as recognized in State v. Bell, 280 Kan. (2005), are reviewed. Bell’s mutual exclusivity test is problematic, and the simultaneous consideration rule in Graham is is overruled. In this case, the district court’s instructions were legally appropriate.

Even if evidence in a stipulation to a prior felony conviction is subject to K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 60-455 and its requirement that a district judge give a limiting instruction, the failure to give such an instruction in this case was not clear error.

Errors discerned or assumed in this case were discrete and did not compound one another. On the record presented, the totality of circumstances did not prejudice Sims or deprive him of a fair trial.

CONCURRENCE (Beier, J., joined by Lukert and Johnson, JJ.): Concurs with the result and all rationale but for majority’s reasoning regarding sequential and simultaneous jury consideration of degrees of homicide. Agrees that Bell and following cases are infected with a logical fallacy and would overrule them, but would not overrule Graham. Would hold the ordering language in the district court’s instructions was error, but not reversible error standing alone or under the cumulative error doctrine.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 22-3414(3), 60-455; K.S.A. 2012 Supp. 21-5109(b); and K.S.A. 22-3423, -3423(c)

constitutional law—criminal law—evidence—jury instructions—statutes
state v. williams
sedgwick district court—affirmed
court of appeals—affirmed
No. 108,394—november 30, 2018

FACTS: Williams forcibly entered residence of a woman he had been dating and where Williams had spent some nights the previous two weeks. Jury convicted him on charges of aggravated burglary, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, and domestic battery. Williams appealed. Court of Appeals affirmed in unpublished opinion. Review granted on six claims as reordered and combined by the court: (1) insufficient evidence supported his aggravated burglary conviction; (2) the aggravated burglary and domestic battery convictions were inconsistent and mutually exclusive; (3) district court erroneously instructed jury on aggravated assault when it told jury the State had to prove Willams used “a deadly weapon, a baseball bat;” (4) district court failed to instruct on lesser included offenses of assault and battery; (5) Kansas’ aggravated battery statute, K.S.A. 2011 Supp. 21-5413(b)(1)(B), is unconstitutionally vague; and (6) cumulative error denied him a fair trial.

ISSUES: (1) Sufficiency of the Evidence, (2) Mutually Exclusive Verdicts, (3) Jury Instruction - Aggravated Assault, (4) Jury Instruction - Lesser Included Offenses, (5) Constitutionality of Statute, (6) Cumulative Error

HELD: No authority supports argument that authority to enter is a property right tied to status of Williams’ residence. Aggravated burglary statute does not require State to prove (or disprove) a burglar’s residence. Whether Williams and the victim both had a property interest in the residence is a closer question because no direct evidence about property interests of the two parties, but there was circumstantial evidence the victim had to give permission for Williams to enter and that he recognized or acquiesced in victim’s right to exclude him. Sufficient evidence presented that Williams entered the house without authority.

Court of Appeals’ elements approach is a valid method for determining if verdicts are mutually exclusive. Under facts in case, Williams did not establish mutually exclusive verdicts.

District court did not err in setting out State’s claim that Williams used baseball bat as a deadly weapon. State v. Sutherland, 248 Kan. 96 (1991), and State v. Sisson, 302 Kan. 123 (2015), are reviewed. Here, district court did not explicitly state a baseball bat is a deadly weapon, but rather stated what the State had to prove. State v. Ingham (this day decided) is distinguished. District courts are cautioned in constructing this type of instruction.

District court erred in failing to instruct on assault and battery as lesser included offenses of aggravated assault and aggravated battery. Instructions on the lesser included offenses were legally appropriate, and under standard in State v. Haberlein, 296 Kan. 195 (2012), were factually appropriate. On facts in this case, however, no clear error.

K.S.A. 2011 Supp. 21-5413(b)(1)(B) is not unconstitutionally vague. Individuals of ordinary intelligence can understand what is meant by “can be inflicted” language. Court of Appeals’ reasoning in cases rejecting constitutional challenges to the statute is approved.

Cumulative effect of the two instructional errors did not deny Williams a fair trial.

CONCURRENCE (Rosen, J., joined by Nuss, C.J. and Stegall, J.): Agrees the convictions should be affirmed, but disagrees with majority’s opinion that district court was required to instruct jury on the lesser included offenses. Consistent with his concurring and dissenting opinions in cases relating to application of K.S.A. 22-3414(3), no error in not instructing jury on lesser included offenses of misdemeanor battery and misdemeanor assault.

CONCURRENCE (Johnson, J., joined by Beier, J.): Would hold the district court’s aggravated assault elements instruction was erroneous, but even if jury had been clearly told to find the baseball bat met the definition of a deadly weapon, the result would have been the same.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 20-3018(b), 22-3414(3), 60-261; K.S.A. 2011 Supp. 21-5109(b), -5412, -5413(b)(1)(B), -5414, -5414(c)(1), -5807(b); and K.S.A. 77-201, - 201, Twenty-third

Court of Appeals

Criminal

criminal procedure—probation—sentences—statutes
state v. jones
reno district court—vacated and remanded
No. 118,268—November 30, 3018

FACTS: Jones convicted of failing to register as a drug offender. Prison term imposed with a 24-month period of post-release supervision, and a dispositional departure for 36 months probation. Probation revoked in 2014. Revocation sentence pronounced from bench was 51-month prison term with no mention of post-release supervision, but journal entry of probation revocation ordered 85-month prison term with 24-months post-release supervision. Jones appealed. Court of Appeals ordered remand, finding the sentence effective when pronounced from the bench. On remand, district court filed journal entry nunc pro tunc ordering 51-month prison term with 24-month post-release supervision. Jones filed motion to correct an illegal sentence, arguing the post-release supervision term should be vacated. District court denied the motion. Jones appealed, arguing in part for first time that district court’s silence on the postrelease supervision term at the revocation hearing constituted a lawful modification of her sentence under K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 22-3716(b). Supplemental briefing ordered on what effect, if any, K.S.A. 2017 Sup. 21-6804(e)(2)(C) had on the appeal. 

ISSUE:  (1) Probation Revocation Sentence; (2) K.S.A. 2107 Supp. 21-6804(e)(2)(C)

HELD:  Based on State v. McKnight, 292 Kan. 776 (2011), State v. Sandoval, 308 Kan. 960 (2018), and State v. Roth, 308 Kan. 970 (2018), district court erred when it later included a 24-month post-release supervision term in the journal entry. Although the district court may not have intended to vacate the postrelease provision term upon revoking Jones’ probation, the court was authorized to do so and the new lawful sentence was effective when pronounced from the bench.

K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-6804(e)(2)(C) does not apply to a sentence that is lawfully modified at a probation revocation hearing under K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 22-3716(b) because a postrelease supervision term is not required by law as part of the sentence when the district court sentences a defendant anew after revoking probation. Here, the district court imposed a lawful lesser sentence of a 51-month prison term with no post-release supervision period. This sentence was effective when pronounced from the bench at the revocation hearing and cannot later be modified.

STATUTES:  K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-6804(e)(2)(C), -6805(e)(2)(C), 22-3504, -3716(b), -3716(d)(1)

Tags:  Attorney Discipline  Johnson District  Reno District  Rice District  Sedgwick District  Wyandotte District 

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November 21, 2018 Digests

Posted By Administration, Monday, November 26, 2018

Kansas Supreme Court

Attorney Discipline

ORDER OF INDEFINITE SUSPENSION
IN THE MATTER OF ROSIE M. QUINN
NO. 119,148—NOVEMBER 21, 2018

FACTS: Quinn was found to be in violation of KRPC 8.4(b) (committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty or fitness). She was convicted of multiple federal felonies after failing to pay income taxes. Quinn's law license was temporarily suspended after she self-reported the convictions. While that disciplinary proceeding was pending, Quinn asked to have her status changed to disability inactive status. That request was granted, with the understanding that Quinn was required to obtain an independent mental health evaluation. Quinn failed to obtain that evaluation and as a result, her license was transferred back to a temporary suspension.

HEARING PANEL: The hearing panel noted Quinn's history of discipline and the nature of her convictions. The panel also cited Quinn's mental health issues and reputation in her community as mitigating factors. The disciplinary administrator's office recommended that Quinn be indefinitely suspended with the suspension made retroactive to three years prior to the date of the final hearing report. The hearing panel noted that Quinn presented compelling evidence of rehabilitation and relied heavily on the mitigating evidence in recommending that Quinn's license be suspended for three years, with that suspension made retroactive to October 5, 2011. The hearing panel believed that Quinn should be eligible for reinstatement without further proceedings.

HELD: The court adopted the hearing panel's findings and conclusions. The only question for the court to consider is whether Quinn should be required to undergo a reinstatement hearing before being allowed to return to practice. A majority of the court held that Quinn should be indefinitely suspended with an effective date of October 2011. Before being reinstated, Quinn must complete various tasks including a bar exam review course and continuing legal education hours. A minority of the court would have disbarred Quinn.

Civil

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW—TENURE
HARSAY V. UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS
DOUGLAS DISTRICT COURT—Affirmed
COURT OF APPEALS—REVERSED
NO. 114,292—NOVEMBER 21, 2018

FACTS: The University of Kansas hired Harsay to a tenure-track position in 2004. She began the tenure review process in 2009. Peer reviewers were hesitant to give unqualified recommendations for tenure; there were concerns about insufficient scholarship activities leading to an inability to secure funding. Nevertheless, the department-level committee recommended that Harsay receive tenure. The College Committee disagreed and voted to reject Harsay's application. That decision was ratified by the University Committee. Harsay appealed to the university but the chancellor upheld the decision to deny tenure. Harsay filed a timely petition for judicial review, but it was dismissed for failure to prosecute. Using the savings statute, Harsay refiled the action. The district court denied on the merits Harsay's challenge to the university's decision. The court of appeals reversed, noting inaccuracies in the College Committee's report and expressing concerns about the adequacy of the university's factual findings. The university's petition for review was granted.

ISSUES: (1) Savings statute; (2) substantial evidence

HELD: Provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure can apply to actions taken under the KJRA. And the plain language of K.S.A. 60-518 allows it to apply to any action. Although the reports of various tenure committees were short on details and contained errors, there is adequate support in the record as a whole for the ultimate decision to deny tenure to Harsay.

CONCURRENCE (Goering, D.J. assigned): There is substantial evidence in the record as a whole to support the university's decision on Harsay's tenure application. But the panel erred by finding that K.S.A. 60-518 can apply to cases brought under the KJRA.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 77-613, -621(c)(4), -621(c)(7), -621(c)(8), -621(d); K.S.A. 60-518

Criminal

constitutional law—criminal law—Fourth Amendment—statutes
state v. Evans
dickinson district court—affirmed and remanded
No. 119,458—November 21, 2018

FACTS: An officer conducted a warrantless search of Evans’ purse and wallet after an ambulance took Evans from auto accident scene. Evans was arrested and charged with drug offenses after officer found methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia in zippered pocket of the wallet. Evans filed motion to suppress, alleging the search violated the Fourth Amendment. State argued the warrantless search was valid under the plain-view exception and the officer’s administrative caretaking function of locating Evan’s driver’s license to complete an accident report. District court disagreed and granted the motion to suppress. State filed interlocutory appeal.

ISSUES: (1) Warrantless search—community caretaking function, (2) warrantless search— duty to complete accident report

HELD: District court’s judgment was affirmed. The caretaking role of law enforcement does not itself constitute an exception to the warrant requirement. Both Cady v. Dombrowski, 413 U.S. 433 (1973), and South Dakota v. Opperman, 428 U.S. 364 (1976), support caretaking/ inventory searches conducted under standard police procedures. Here, no evidence established the standard procedures of the police or county sheriff’s office. Accordingly, Dombrowski, Opperman and related cases do not support State’s contention that the search of Evan’s purse and wallet fits a well-delineated exception to the warrant requirement.

State v. Canaan, 265 Kan. 835 (1998), which relied on plain view and inventory search exceptions to the warrant requirement, did not create a new exception allowing a search simply because officers have a duty to complete the accident report. State failed to meet burden of establishing the inventory exception, and under facts in this case the drug evidence was not in plain view. Nor did the circumstances present an exigency or an emergency that required immediate verification of Evans’ identity or give rise to the emergency doctrine exception. Kansas statutes allow drivers a reasonable time to produce their own driver’s license, and legislature did not impose a duty on officers that would justify invading privacy guaranteed by Fourth Amendment.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 8-1604, -1611, -1611(a), -1611(a)(2), -1612, -1612(a), -1612(b), 22-3603; K.S.A. 8-244, 20-3018(c)

criminal law—criminal procedure—evidence—
jury instructions—prosecutors—statutes
state v. haygood
wyandotte district court—affirmed
No. 115,591—november 21, 2018

FACTS: A jury convicted Haygood of premeditated first-degree murder and criminal possession of a firearm. On appeal he claimed error in the admission of his long-term girlfriend’s testimony about prior domestic violence, and the denial of his request for jury instructions on the affirmative defense of self-defense and the lesser-included offense of involuntary manslaughter. Haygood also claimed the prosecutor, in closing argument, misstated the facts or law, argued facts not in evidence, commented on witness credibility, and attempted to shift the burden of guilty to the defendant.

ISSUES: (1) Admission of K.S.A. 60-455 evidence, (2) prosecutorial error in closing argument, (3) instructions on self-defense and involuntary manslaughter

HELD: Three-part test in State v. Gunby, 282 Kan. 39 (2006), is stated and applied, finding the trial court did not err in admitting the prior domestic violence evidence to show motive.

Prosecutor’s comments and arguments contained facts that were either placed in evidence or that were reasonably inferred from trial evidence. Although some statements were inarticulately phrased, prosecutor did not misstate the law. No burden-shifting was implied from State’s closing argument, and no merit to claim that prosecutor impermissibly accused Haygood of lying.

In light of K.S.A. 2017Supp. 21-5108(c), as amended in 2010, Haygood was entitled to an instruction on self-defense affirmative defense because his testimony was competent evidence that could allow a reasonable juror to conclude he was entitled to defend with deadly force. District court erred by denying Haygood’s request for an instruction on self-defense, but the error was harmless in this case. Likewise, even if an involuntary manslaughter lesser included offense instruction is assumed to be factually appropriate, the failure to give a lesser included offense instruction was harmless error.

CONCURRENCE (Rosen, J.)(joined by Nuss, C.J. and Stegall, J.): Concurs with the result but departs from majority’s reasoning regarding the self-defense instruction. Disagrees that a defendant’s solitary declaration that he or she committed a crime in self-defense will always satisfy the competent evidence standard described in K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-5108(c). Also disagrees with majority’s suggestion that the 2010 statutory provision meaningfully impacts this analysis. Under facts in this case, no rational fact-finder could reasonably conclude that Haygood acted in self-defense. Would find no error in trial court’s denial of a self-defense instruction.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-5108(c), -5222, -5405(a)(4); K.S.A. 21-5108

criminal procedure—jury instructions—statutes
state v. pulliam
wyandotte district court—affirmed
court of appeals—affirmed
No. 113,493—November 21, 12018

FACTS: Pulliam was convicted of voluntary manslaughter (of Eisdorfer), second-degree murder (of Burton), and criminal possession of a firearm. He appealed, claiming in part the jury should have been instructed on a theory of imperfect self-defense involuntary manslaughter as a lesser included crime for the charge of second-degree murder. Court of appeals affirmed, holding such an instruction was not factually appropriate because State v. Houston, 289 Kan. 252 (2009), required an unintentional killing for involuntary manslaughter, and there was no evidence Pulliam’s killing of Burton was unintentional. Pulliam’s petition for review granted on this one issue.

ISSUE: Jury instruction on lesser included offense of imperfect self-defense involuntary manslaughter

HELD: Court of appeals’ decision is affirmed, but on a different rationale. Pulliam’s jury instruction claim was reviewed for clear error in this case. Court of appeals’ decision relied on outdated law because Houston was based on an earlier version of the crime defining statute. The amended involuntary manslaughter statute and a new culpable mental states statute, K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-5202, govern this case. Conviction of involuntary manslaughter under an imperfect self-defense manslaughter theory pursuant to K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-5405(a)(4) does not require proof of a reckless or unintentional killing. On evidence in this case, a lesser included offense instruction on the imperfect self-defense form of involuntary manslaughter was legally and factually appropriate. District court erred in not giving it, but no clear error found. Pulliam’s second-degree murder conviction is affirmed.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-5109(b)(1), -5202(a)-(j), -5203(b), -5402(a)(2), -5405(a)(1)-(4), 22-3414(3); K.S.A. 21-3201, -3201(b)-(c), -3404(c), -3761(a)(2)

Tags:  administrative law  Attorney Discipline  constitutional law  Dickinson District  Douglas District  evidence  fourth amendment  jury instructions  statutes  tenure  Wyandotte District 

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November 16, 2018 Digests

Posted By Administration, Monday, November 19, 2018

Kansas Supreme Court

CRIMINAL

criminal procedure—restitution—sentences
state v. martin
Leavenworth district court—judgment vacated and case remanded; court of appeals—reversed
no. 115,651—november 16, 2018

FACTS:  Martin was charged with offenses related to false charges and threatening behavior against a woman and child Martin lived with while the woman’s military husband was deployed. Martin pled nolo contendere to two counts of interfering with law enforcement by falsely reporting a crime, and State dismissed all remaining counts. Sentence imposed included $10,800 restitution order. Martin appealed, claiming in part the district court erred in not granting her request for a separate hearing to challenge the restitution to resolve discrepancies in woman’s and husband’s victim impact statements, and to determine if claimed expenses ($30-40,000) were directly related to Martin’s crime of conviction. Court of Appeals affirmed, finding Martin was present at two sentencing hearings which included the issue of restitution. Martin’s petition for review granted.

ISSUE:  Restitution

HELD:  A convicted criminal defendant has a statutory right to have a hearing on the question of restitution, if desired. Under facts in this case, district court should have given Martin a separate hearing on the restitution issue. District court specifically denied Martin an opportunity at the sentencing hearings to be heard on the restitution causation issue. District court also failed to limit the claims to damages caused by Martin’s crimes, and instead summarily held the appropriate amount of restitution as set forth by victims exceeded Martin’s ability to pay. Reversed and remanded for district court to conduct a restitution hearing consistent with holding in State v. Meeks, 307 Kan. 813 (2018).

STATUTE:  K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-6607(c)(2), 22-3424(d)(1) - 3424(e)(3)

Kansas Court of Appeals

CRIMINAL

constitutional law—criminal law—fourth amendment—statutes
state v. lees
sumner district court—affirmed
no. 119,052—november 16, 2018

FACTS:  Highway trooper stopped Lees’ car for having a left rear brake light out.  The stop resulted in Lees’ arrest for DUI and operating a vehicle without a court ordered ignition lock.  Lees filed motion to suppress all evidence obtained through an illegal stop, arguing his functioning center and right rear brake lights satisfied K.S.A. 8-1708(a) which require two working brake lights.  State argued the trooper’s mistake about the brake lights was objectively reasonable, and stop was lawful under the trooper’s inspection power as authorized in K.S.A. 8-1759a.  District court granted the motion, finding the trooper had no legal grounds to stop Lee’s vehicle whose brake lights complied with Kansas law, and the trooper’s mistake of law in this instance was not objectively reasonable.  District court also found K.S.A. 8-1759a did not authorize the stop.  State filed interlocutory appeal.

ISSUES:  (1) Fourth Amendment—traffic stop; (2) statutory inspection authority

HELD:  Trooper made a mistake of law on whether Lees committed a traffic infraction for brake light violation. In light of 10 year-old holding in Martin v. Kansas Dept. of Revenue, 285 Kan. 625 (2008), trooper’s mistake was not objectively reasonable. This traffic stop was an unreasonable seizure in violation of Fourth Amendment, and exclusionary rule requires suppression of evidence resulting from the illegal stop. 

K.S.A. 8-1579a authorizes a trooper to stop a vehicle for inspection and to issue a written notice of defect to the driver only if the vehicle is in unsafe condition or if any required equipment is missing or is not in proper repair or adjustment.  District court correctly found this authority does not extend to equipment that is outside what is already required by statute. 

STATUTE:  K.S.A. 8-1705, -1706, -1708, -1708(a), -1721, -1721(a), -1721(b), -1722, 1759, -1759a, -1759a(a), -1759a(b), -1759a(c), -1759a(d), 22-2402(1)

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November 2, 2018 Digests

Posted By Administration, Monday, November 5, 2018

Kansas Court of Appeals

CIVIL

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW—FEDERAL PREEMPTION—PUBLIC UTILITIES—STATUTES
STATE v. BNSF RAILWAY COMPANY
CHASE DISTRICT COURT—REVERSED
NO. 118,095—NOVEMBER 2 , 2018

FACTS: District court convicted Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) of violating K.S.A. 66-273 for blocking a roadway in Chase County for approximately four hours. The statute prohibits trains from standing on a public road in or near a city or town for more than 10 minutes. BNSF appealed on issues including whether the Kansas statute is preempted by the federal Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act (ICCT) and the Federal Railroad Safety Act.

ISSUE: Federal preemption of state law

HELD: The ICCTA pre-empts K.S.A. 66-273. BNSF’s conviction is reversed as a matter of law.  ICCT created the Surface Transportation Board (STB), giving it jurisdiction to regulate railroad transportation. While no court has addressed whether federal law preempts K.S.A. 66-273 or its predecessors, nearly all federal and state courts have concluded that state laws regulating how long a train can block a railroad crossing, and civil claims for alleged violations of state anti-blocking statutes, are preempted because they specifically target railroad operations.  Likewise, K.S.A. 66-273 infringes upon the exclusive jurisdiction of the STB because the statute specifically targets railroad carriers and has more than a remote or incidental effect on railroad operations.  

STATUTES: 49 U.S.C. §§ 1001 et seq. and 10501(a)-(b) (2016); K.S.A. 66-273, -274

MUNICIPALITIES—PROPERTY
JAYHAWK RACING PROPERTIES V. CITY OF TOPEKA
SHAWNEE DISTRICT COURT—REVERSED AND REMANDED
NO. 118,035—NOVEMBER 2, 2018

FACTS: In 2006, the City issued $10 million in Sales Tax and Revenue Bonds to finance improvements to Heartland Park racetrack. At the time the bonds were issued, the City owned Heartland Park in fee simple for a term of years, subject to Jayhawk Racing's reversionary interest. When the bonds failed to produce adequate revenue, the City indicated a desire to purchase Jayhawk Racing's reversionary interest in the property so that the City owned the facility outright. It was anticipating that this purchase would also be financed by the issuance of STAR bonds. But after an election changed the composition of the Topeka City Council, the City decided not to pursue the STAR bond sale. Without STAR bonds, there was no funding for the purchase of Jayhawk Racing's reversionary interest. Jayhawk Racing sued the City for breach of contract. The district court granted the City's motion for summary judgment, finding that the City could not bind its successors to issue STAR bonds. Jayhawk Racing appealed.

ISSUES: (1) Nature of the contract; (2) enforceability of the contract; (3) cash-basis laws

HELD: Municipal corporations have both governmental and proprietary capacities. The contract to purchase Jayhawk Racing's reversionary interest was a proprietary contract akin to a purchase agreement. Because the contract is proprietary, future City Councils were bound by the agreement. The district court erred when it focused only on the method of funding. The contractual provision which provided for the issuance of bonds is an exception to the Cash-Basis and Budget Laws.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 10-1116(a); K.S.A. 10-1112, -1119, 12-3013(e)(1), 79-2935

PATERNITY—PROBATE
IN RE ESTATE OF FECHNER
GEARY DISTRICT COURT—VACATED AND REMANDED
NO. 118,809—NOVEMBER 2, 2018

FACTS: Chad Fechner died in 2014, intestate and with only one living heir, his aunt, Rita Young. She opened a probate estate and was surprised when Gary Fechner filed a claim alleging that he was Chad's half uncle. Rita questioned the accuracy of the birth certificate that Gary put forth as proof; there had been prior suggestions that Chad's father was the product of an extramarital affair, which would mean he did not share DNA with Gary. Rita asked the district court to order Gary to undergo DNA testing to prove his biological relationship to Chad. Gary objected, claiming there was no authority to order DNA testing in a probate case. The district court agreed, disallowed the DNA testing, and relied on Gary's evidence in proclaiming him an heir. Rita appealed.

ISSUE: (1) Ability to order DNA testing in a probate case

HELD: If Gary truly is the brother of Chad's father, he would be an heir under the probate code. The probate code defines "children" as "biological children" or as children whose parentage has been determined under the Kansas Parentage Act. The Kansas Parentage Act allows for biology, adoption, or a determination under the Parentage Act. In this case, there is no way to initiate a Parentage Act case because Chad's father died many years ago. The Code of Civil Procedure allows for DNA testing in a probate case. But the district court must make Parentage Act and Ross findings about whether such testing is warranted. The district court's mistake of law about its ability to order testing was an abuse of discretion. That court should reconsider Rita's request.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 23-2209(a), -2212(a), 60-235(a)(1), -235(a)(2); K.S.A. 59-501(a), -504, -508, -2212

JURISDICTION
ALLISON V. STATE
MONTGOMERY DISTRICT COURT—DISMISSED
NO. 114,607—NOVEMBER 2, 2018

FACTS: Allison was convicted of serious felonies, and his convictions were affirmed on direct appeal. He then filed a motion for K.S.A. 60-1507 habeas corpus relief, claiming that trial counsel was ineffective. The district court appointed counsel for Allison and held an evidentiary hearing. At the conclusion of that hearing, the district court denied Allison's motion, finding that trial counsel was constitutionally sufficient. Allison docketed an appeal and then asked for a remand to the district court under State v. Van Cleave so that he could argue that his K.S.A. 60-1507 counsel was ineffective. After the hearing, the district court concluded that Allison was prejudiced by ineffective counsel at his K.S.A. 60-1507 hearing, and that the only remedy was to hold a new hearing on that motion. The State appealed that ruling.

ISSUE: (1) Jurisdiction

HELD: It is undisputed that ruling being appealed here is not a final decision. It did not dispose of the entire merits of the issue at hand—whether Allison's trial counsel was ineffective. The hearing on the Van Cleave remand was only an intermediate step. Because the ruling is not final, the court lacks jurisdiction to hear the appeal at this time. The appeal is dismissed.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 60-1507(d), -2102(a)(4), -2102(c); K.S.A. 60-1507

CRIMINAL

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW—CRIMINAL LAW—FOURTH AMENDMENT—SEARCH AND SEIZURE
STATE v. RITCHEY
SHAWNEE DISTRICT COURT—AFFIRMED
NO. 118,905—NOVEMBER 2, 2018

FACTS: Ritchey was arrested for an outstanding warrant while sitting as a front-seat passenger in a parked van. After Ritchey was out of the van and handcuffed, officer searched purse Ritchey left in the van and found drug residue. Ritchey was charged with possession of methamphetamine. She filed a motion to suppress, arguing the drug evidence was found during an illegal search of her purse. District court granted the motion, finding search of Ritchey’s purse was neither a search incident to arrest nor an inventory search. State filed interlocutory appeal, arguing the search was incident to the arrest, and even if illegal, the evidence would have been inevitably found during an inventory search at the jail. State also argued suppression did not advance purpose of the exclusionary rule.

ISSUE: Warrantless search of purse

HELD: District court properly suppressed evidence from the purse because State failed to show any exception for a warrantless search. Officers’ search of the purse was not a valid search incident to a lawful arrest where the purse was not on Ritchey’s person, there was no threat that Ritchey could use any weapons in her purse against the officers, and no possibility the purse contained evidence of her crime of arrest—an outstanding warrant. Next, applying rationale in State v. Baker, 306 Kan. 585 (2017), no showing that items within the closed purse would have inevitably been discovered where there was no evidence that police had policy to take items like the purse into possession for safekeeping, and no evidence the purse was sent along with Ritchey to the jail. Finally, State’s argument that suppression of the evidence in this case did not serve purpose of the exclusionary rule is rejected.

STATUTE: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 22-3603

Tags:  114607  118035  118095  118809  118905  Chase District  Geary District  Montgomery District  Shawnee District  Weekly11062018 

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October 26, 2018 Digests

Posted By Administration, Monday, October 29, 2018

Kansas Supreme Court

CIVIL

ESTOPPEL—INSURANCE
BECKER V. THE BAR PLAN MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY
JOHNSON DISTRICT COURT–Remanded
COURT OF APPEALS—REVERSED
NO. 113,291— OCTOBER 26, 2018

FACTS: Becker made a series of loans to a business and hired Seck and Associates, a law firm, to help him with that process. The business faced financial difficulties and Becker claimed that Seck failed to find that the business' collateral was already subject to a properly filed security interest. After the business failed and the owner sought bankruptcy protection, Becker initiated proceedings against Seck's malpractice insurance carrier. Becker asked the Bar Plan, Sack's insurer, for a policy limits settlement offer of $300,000. The Bar Plan denied Seck's claim for coverage, pointing to her failure to timely notify the insurance company about a pending claim. Seck confessed judgment in excess of $3 million and assigned to Becker any right to sue the Bar Plan. Becker did sue, claiming bad faith. But the district court granted summary judgment to the Bar Plan and the court of appeals affirmed. Becker's petition for review was granted.

ISSUE: (1) Reservation of rights and estoppel;

HELD: Both the district court and court of appeals erred by focusing on the "expansion of coverage" rule. The courts should have instead determined whether estoppel was appropriate under the reservation of rights rule. The Bar Plan could have satisfied its duty to defend while also preserving any defenses of noncoverage through a timely reservation of rights. In this case, there are genuine issues of material fact regarding whether Bar Plan timely reserved its rights. Accordingly, summary judgment was inappropriate and the case must be remanded for further findings of fact.

STATUTE: K.S.A. 60-256

criminal 

criminal procedure—motions—sentencing—statutes
state v. alford
sedgwick district court—affirmed
No. 117,270—october 26, 2018

FACTS: Alford was convicted in 1993 of first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping, and unlawful possession of a firearm. State v. Alford, 257 Kan. 830 (1995). In 2016 he filed pro se motions to correct an illegal sentence. He claimed trial court violated K.S.A. 1993 Supp. 21-4624(3) by permitting sentencing jury to consider murder victim’s written statement regarding an earlier aggravated battery, which was improper hearsay testimony in violation of due process and right of confrontation. He also claimed jury was wrongly instructed it needed to reach a unanimous verdict on the hard 15 sentence in violation of K.S.A. 1993 Supp. 21-4524(5). District court summarily denied the motions. Alford appealed on both claims. 

ISSUE: Motion to correct an illegal sentence

HELD: Neither of Alford’s claims fits within the narrow definition of an illegal sentence, thus cannot be raised in a motion to correct an illegal sentence. Alford’s hearsay argument relies on K.S.A. 1993 Supp. 21-4624(3)—a subsection devoted to establishing evidentiary rules—which does not qualify as the relevant statutory provision implicating an illegal sentence. And Alford’s unanimity claim is defeated by State v. Allison, 306 Kan. 80 (2017).

STATUTES: K.S.A.  2017 Supp. 22-3631; K.S.A. 1993 Supp. 21-4624(3), -4624(5); K.S.A. 22-3414(3), -3504, -3504(1)

constitutional law—criminal procedure—evidence—juries—prosecutors
state v. williams
wyandotte district court—affirmed
No. 116,690—october 26, 2018

FACTS: William was convicted of first-degree premeditated murder and criminal possession of a firearm. On appeal he claimed: (1) prosecutor’s closing remarks improperly called William’s testimony a fabrication; (2) State’s peremptory strikes of two jurors, and trial court’s overruling William’s claim of racial discrimination, violated Williams’ rights under Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986); (3) trial court erred in allowing overly gruesome autopsy photographs during testimony of State forensic pathologist; and (4) cumulative error denied him a fair trial.

ISSUES: (1) Prosecutorial misconduct, (2) Batson challenge, (3) gruesome photographs, (4) cumulative error

HELD: Under facts in this case, prosecutor’s comments about Williams’ trustworthiness were within proper bounds. In context, prosecutor was advancing reasonable inferences based on physical evidence which supported the suggestion that Williams’ testimony was unbelievable. 

Second and third steps in Batson challenge are discussed. Under circumstances in this case, trial court did not abuse its discretion by concluding the prosecutor had a valid, race-neutral reason to strike each juror.  

Autopsy photos in this case were graphically illustrative and unpleasant to view, but were not offered solely to inflame the jurors’ passions or prejudice.

Cumulative error claim is defeated by absence of any error. 

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-5402, -6304, 22-3601(b)(4); K.S.A. 60-2101(b)

 

Tags:  113291  116690  117270  estoppel  insurance  Johnson District  Sedgwick District  Weekly10302018 

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October 19, 2018 Digests

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Kansas Court of Appeals

CIVIL

PARENTAGE—STANDING—STATUTORY INTERPRETATION
OSBORN V. ANDERSON
BOURBON DISTRICT COURT—REVERSED AND REMANDED
NO. 118,982—OCTOBER 19, 2018 

FACTS: Although he was not the biological father, Osborn signed a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity for A.O. Osborn and is also listed as A.O.'s father on the birth certificate. Osborn married A.O.'s mother, but the relationship quickly soured and the marriage was annulled. Sadly, A.O. was later killed by Mother's new boyfriend. Osborn filed a wrongful death petition against the boyfriend and DCF officials. Mother and DCF sought dismissal, claiming that Osborn lacked standing because he was not A.O.'s biological father. The district court agreed and summarily dismissed Osborn's suit for lack of standing. Osborn appealed.

ISSUES: (1) Standing; (2) authority to challenge paternity

HELD: Osborn has standing to pursue a wrongful death action only if he is A.O.'s legal father. The annulment between Osborn and Mother did not revoke Osborn's prior acknowledgement of parentage. In the absence of a timely, separate action to revoke the VAP, Osborn's acknowledgement of parentage remains valid even after the annulment. There is no statutory authority that would allow DCF to challenge Osborn's paternity.

STATUTE: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 23-2204, -2204(b)(1), -2208(a), -2209(a), -2209(b), -2209(e), -2210(a); K.S.A. 60-1902

CHILD IN NEED OF CARE—JURISDICTION
IN RE K.L.B.
SEDGWICK DISTRICT COURT—AFFIRMED
NO. 118,563—OCTOBER 19, 2018

FACTS: Mother brought K.L.B. and another child to Kansas from Kentucky. After being in Kansas for a week, the children were taken into State custody. Mother did not contest the allegations in the child in need of care petition. After Kentucky declined jurisdiction over the children, Mother requested a hearing under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act to find out why. Mother was eventually extradited back to Kentucky on criminal charges. Her parental rights were terminated, and Mother appealed.

ISSUES: (1) Jurisdiction under the UCCJEA; (2) sufficiency of the evidence

HELD: There is no evidence that Kentucky ever attempted to initiate child in need of care proceedings for these children. But even in the absence of prior proceedings, Kansas could not acquire initial child-custody jurisdiction under the UCCJEA because Kansas was not the children's home state. However, the facts show that Kansas acquired jurisdiction on an emergency basis. Once Kentucky declined jurisdiction, Kansas was free to continue with this action. The district court's decision to terminate Mother's parental rights was supported by clear and convincing evidence and termination was in the children's best interests.

STATUTE: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 23-37,102(b), -37,102(l), -37,201, -37,204, -37,204(a), -37,204(b), -37,204(c), 38-2203(b), -2250, -2269(a), -2269(b), -2269(c), -2271

ABUSE OF DISCRETION—CHILD IN NEED OF CARE
IN RE P.J.
SUMNER DISTRICT COURT—AFFIRMED
NO. 119,264—OCTOBER 19, 2018

FACTS: P.J. and siblings came in to State custody after they showed signs of neglect and Mother had unexplained injuries that were consistent with aggravated battery. Mother's children were temporarily removed from her and placed in the care of their respective fathers. The children were adjudicated to be in need of care and left in the care of their fathers. Mother appealed this dispositional order.

ISSUES: (1) Standard of review; (2) sufficiency of the evidence

HELD: There is little precedent to suggest the appropriate standard of review to use when reviewing a dispositional hearing. Because the issues considered at a dispositional hearing are components of a best interests of the child finding, an abuse of discretion standard of review is appropriate. The evidence from the hearing showed that the children were doing fine in placements with their fathers and that the continued placement was appropriate. Because the children are placed with a parent, the district court is not required to decide about reintegration with Mother.

STATUTE: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 38-2201(b), -2250, -2252, -2253, -2255, -2255(a), -2255(b), -2255(c), -2255(e), -2256, -2257, -2264, -2264(j), -2269

Tags:  abuse of discretion  Bourbon District  Child in Need of Care  parentage  Sedgwick District  statutory interpretation  Sumner District 

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