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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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August 31, 2018 Digests

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, September 4, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Kansas Supreme Court

Criminal

criminal law—criminal procedure–probation—sentencing—statutes
State v. Sandoval
Sedgwick district court—affirmed
court of appeals—affirmed
No. 113,299—august 31, 2018

FACTS: Sandoval was convicted in 2011 of aggravated indecent solicitation. Probation was ordered with an underlying 34 month prison term and 24 month postrelease supervision. Probation revoked in 2012. District judge denied defense request for modification, and ordered service of the original underlying sentence. Later recognizing the 24-month postrelease supervision did not comply with the sentencing statute at the time of Sandoval’s crime, State filed K.S.A. 22-3504 motion seeking substitution of lifetime postrelease supervision. District judge granted the motion. Sandoval appealed, arguing the district judge was empowered by K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 22-3716(b)(3)(B)(iii) to impose a lesser sentence than the lifetime term required at the original sentence, thus no illegality existed in the postrevocation sentence. Court of appeals affirmed in unpublished opinion. Sandoval’s petition for review granted.

ISSUE: Sentencing after probation revocation

HELD: After revoking probation, a district judge may choose to sentence anew, even if some component of the original sentence was illegal because it failed to match a mandatory statutory minimum. In the alternative, a judge may simply require the defendant to serve the original sentence. If a new sentence is pronounced from the bench after probation revocation, any original illegality no longer exists, and the new sentence is not subject to challenge or correction under K.S.A. 22-3504. If the judge instead requires the defendant to serve the original sentence, any original illegality continues to exist and is subject to challenge or correction under K.S.A. 22-3504(1). Here, no new sentence was imposed. The judge who revoked Sandoval’s probation explicitly declined to modify the original sentence and required Sandoval to serve it. This left an illegal postrelease term in place and open to correction. State v. McKnight, 292 Kan. 776 (2011), is factually distinguished.

CONCURRENCE (Beier, J.)(joined by Nuss, C.J., and Biles, J.): Write separately to reinforce majority’s decision with alternative and more broadly applicable plain language rationale. K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 22-3716(b)(3)(B), read as a whole including introductory “[e]xcept as otherwise provided,” has additional benefit of harmonizing the statute with the explicit purpose of the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines Act: uniformity. 

DISSENT (Johnson, J.)(joined by Rosen, J.): A judge pronouncing sentence after probation revocation inevitably sentences anew, and any illegality in the original sentence no longer exists. While judge in this case did not appreciate at time of revocation the error in the postrelease supervision term in the original sentence, when he refused to modify that term, he effectively reduced it. This reduction was legal and could not be modified through a motion under K.S.A. 22-3504.  Facts in this case are not meaningfully different from McKnight. Would vacate the lifetime postrelease supervision component of the sentence and remand for journal entry substituting a term of 24 months. 

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 22-3504(3), -3716)(b)(3)(B)(iii); K.S.A. 21-6806(c), 22-2201(3), -3504, -3504(1), -3716, -3716(b), -3717(d)(1)(B), -3717(d)(1)(G), -3717(d)(2)(G)

 

criminal law—criminal procedure—probation—sentencing—statutes
state v. roth
finney district court—reversed and remanded
court of appeals—affirmed
No. 113,753—august 31, 2018

FACTS: Roth was convicted of aggravated sexual battery and two counts of aggravated burglary. Sixty months of probation ordered with underlying prison term totaling 102 months and 24 month postrelease supervision. When probation was revoked in 2010, district judge modified the prison term to run the three sentences concurrently instead of consecutively, with the 24-month postrelease supervision period. In 2014, State filed motion to correct an illegal sentence, seeking the mandatory lifetime postrelease supervision for Roth’s crime. Roth argued the postrelease supervision component of the postrevocation sentence was a legal “lesser sentence” under K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 22-3716(b)(3)(B)(iii). District judge ruled the 24-month postrelease term was illegal and ordered lifetime postrelease supervision. Roth appealed. Count of appeals affirmed in unpublished opinion. Roth’s petition for review granted. 

ISSUE: Sentencing after probation revocation

HELD: As in Sandoval (decided this same date), Roth’s appeal addresses limits of a district judge’s sentencing power after probation revocation. Here, the judge who revoked probation chose to give Roth a “lesser sentence” as expressly permitted by K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 22-3716(b)(3)(B)(iii), and this new sentence was not subject to challenge or correction under K.S.A. 22-3504. Court of appeals is reversed. Lifetime postrelease supervision component of Roth’s sentence is vacated and case is remanded for journal entry modifying the sentence to substitute a term of 24 months of postrelease supervision. 

CONCURRENCE (Johnson, J.)(joined by Rosen, J.): Concurs for same reasons set out in his dissent in Sandoval.

DISSENT (Beier, J.)(joined by Nuss, C.J., and Biles, J.): Dissents for reasons set out in her concurrence in Sandoval.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 22-3716(b)(3)(B), -3716(b)(3)(B)(iii); K.S.A. 2010 Supp. 22-3717(d)(1)(G), -3717(d)(2)(I); K.S.A. 21-3518(a)(1), -3716, 22-3504, -3504(1)

Tags:  Concurrence  Dissent  Finney District  Sedgwick District 

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April 28, 2017 Digests

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, May 2, 2017
Updated: Monday, September 10, 2018

Kansas Supreme Court

CRIMINAL

criminal law—evidence—venue
state v. chapman
barton district court—affirmed
no. 113,962—april 28, 2017

FACTS: Jury convicted Chapman of first-degree murder. On appeal he claimed district court erred by denying Chapman’s repeated requests for change of venue due to pretrial publicity including publicity generated about a defense request to remove or cover a provocative tattoo, and Chapman’s family. He also claimed trial court erred by permitting State to cross examine him about a text message that was hearsay and unduly prejudicial.

ISSUES: (1) Venue, (2) hearsay evidence

HELD: Factors to be considered when determining whether a change of venue is necessary are stated and applied to facts of case, finding a few could favor a change of venue but balance of all factors does not. No abuse of district court’s discretion in denying Chapman’s requests for change of venue.

Any error in the admission of the text message was harmless on the facts and record of this case. No reasonable probability the prosecutor’s question about the text message affected the trial’s outcome.  

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 22-3601(b)(3), 60-261, -460(i)(2); K.S.A. 22-2616(1)

 

criminal law—evidence—jury instructions
state v. stewart
johnson district court—affirmed
no. 111,995—April 28, 2017

FACTS: Stewart was convicted of offenses including felony murder and aggravated robbery.  Relevant to issues raised on appeal, the trial judge adopted the pretrial judge’s rejection of Stewart’s request for a Frye hearing about blood spatter evidence, and denied Stewart’s renewed motion for a hearing; reviewed competing evaluations of Stewart’s mental competency and found Stewart competent to stand trial; and used PIK Crim. 3rd 56.02-A to instruct jury on State’s alternative theories of first-degree murder—premeditated murder and felony murder. On appeal Stewart claimed: (1) district court erred in instructing jury to consider lesser included offenses for both alternative theories of first-degree murder, despite felony murder having no lesser included offenses; (2) district court failed to instruct jury that the justified force in the self-defense jury instruction could not satisfy the taking-by-force element of aggravated robbery; (3) district court should have found him incompetent to stand trial based on evidence of low IQ and corresponding impaired cognitive function; (4) error to admit blood spatter evidence over Stewart’s objection based on Frye; and (5) cumulative error denied him a fair trial.

ISSUES: (1) Jury instructions—alternative theories of first-degree murder, (2) jury instruction on force, (3) competency to stand trial, (4) blood spatter evidence, (5) cumulative error

HELD: District court appropriately instructed jury to simultaneously consider both alternative theories of proving first-degree murder, and upon finding Stewart guilty on either or both theories, to sign the verdict form, ending deliberations without consideration to any lesser included homicide offenses.

In response to jury question about what constituted force for aggravated robbery, Stewart failed to dispel any purported confusion about force. If any instructional error, defense’s unequivocal affirmative assertion that the instruction packet contained all the instructions Stewart wanted precludes first-time-on-appeal argument that jury instructions were clearly erroneous.

District court’s finding that Stewart was competent to stand trial is affirmed. District court acted well within its discretion by relying on opinions of State’s experts, after carefully weighing conflicting evidence.

Any abuse of trial court’s discretion in failing to independently consider the merits of Stewart’s Frye objection is harmless on the record in this case.

Cumulative effect of one possible error by trial court in not ruling on merits of Stewart’s Frye objection, and of one instructional error invited by defense, did not substantially prejudice Stewart and deny him a fair trial.      

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 21-5402(d), -5402(e), 22-3601(b)(3)-(4); K.S.A. 21-3426, -3427, 22-3219, -3301(1), -3303(1), -3302(1), -3414(3), 60-404

 

Kansas Court of Appeals

CIVIL

DISCOVERY—HABEAS CORPUS
WHITE V. SHIPMAN
LEAVENWORTH DISTRICT COURT—AFFIRMED
NO. 116,232—APRIL 28, 2017

FACTS: White filed a K.S.A. 60-1501 petition after Department of Corrections staff withheld from White two magazines and a book; DOC staff informed White that the content was either a safety threat or too sexually explicit. White challenged the seizure of this material as a First Amendment violation and also claimed the DOC regulations were unconstitutionally vague and overbroad. White filed requests for discovery with DOC. The request was met with objection from DOC, which claimed that the materials requested by White created safety concerns. The district court ruled that the full array of discovery was not available in a K.S.A. 60-1501 proceeding and denied White's request. White's K.S.A. 60-1501 petition was denied after an evidentiary hearing, and he appealed.

ISSUES: (1) Do the rules of discovery apply to a K.S.A. 60-1501 proceeding, (2) was White entitled to an evidentiary hearing

HELD: K.S.A. 60-1501 proceedings are not subject to the ordinary rules of civil procedure. This includes the rules of discovery. The heightened pleading requirements for K.S.A. 60-1501 petitions almost always make discovery unnecessary. And even if White was entitled to discovery, none of the requested discovery was relevant to this action. White arguably received two evidentiary hearings before the district court. White chose to use that opportunity to continue to argue his request for discovery, but that was a strategic choice on his part.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 60-201(b), -226(b), -265, -267, -1503(a), -1505(a); K.S.A. 60-1501, -1507

 

CRIMINAL

criminal law—sentences—statutes
state v. carter
sedgwick district court—affirmed
no. 114,556—april 28, 2017

FACTS: Jury found Carter guilty of aggravated battery in violation of K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 21-5413(b)(1)(A), and also found the crime was an act of domestic violence. On appeal, Carter claimed clear error by trial court in failing to instruct jury on domestic battery as a lesser included offense of aggravated battery. He also claimed district court unconstitutionally considered Carter’s criminal history to enhance the sentence.

ISSUES: (1) Lesser included offenses of aggravated burglary, (2) sentencing

HELD: Domestic battery, K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 21-5414(a)(1), is not a lesser included offense of aggravated battery, K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 21-5413(b)(1)(A). Trial court did not err in failing to instruct jury on crime of domestic battery as a lesser included offense. Panel examines cases cited by Carter, and expressly disagrees with the conclusion in State v. Howard, No. 102738 (Kan.App. 2011)(unpublished).

Controlling Kansas precedent defeats Carter’s Apprendi sentencing claim.

STATUTE: K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 21-5109(b), -5413(a)(1), -5413(b)(1)(A)-(B), -5413(g)(2)(B)-(D), -5414(a), 22-3414(3), -4616

 

constitutional law—criminal law—sentences
state v. fahnert
johnson district court—sentence vacated and case remanded with directions
no. 115,058—april 28, 2017

FACTS: District court classified Fahnert’s prior Missouri burglary conviction as a person felony for purposes of scoring his criminal history. Fahnert appealed.

ISSUE: Classification of Prior Out-of-State Conviction

HELD: Court reviewed constitutional protections in Mathis v. United States, 579 U.S. __ (2016), Descamps v United States, 570 U.S. __ (2013), and Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000), as applied in State v. Dickey,  301 Kan. 1018 (2015). K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 21-6811(e) governs classification of a prior conviction as a person or nonperson offense for purposes of scoring criminal history when the prior offense qualifies as both an out-of-state conviction and as a prior burglary conviction. Under facts in this case, district court was constitutionally prohibited from classifying Fahnert’s prior burglary conviction as a person felony because doing so necessitated making or adopting a factual finding that the prior burglary involved a dwelling. This went beyond simply identifying the statutory elements of the prior burglary conviction. Under Dickey, Fahnert’s Missouri burglary conviction should have been classified as a nonperson felony. Sentence is vacated and case remanded for resentencing. Conflict noted between this decision and State v. Sodders, No. 115,366 (Kan.App. 2017)(unpublished), petition for review filed March 3, 2017.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 21-5111(k), -5807, -6811 et seq., -6811(d), -6811(e); K.S.A. 2014 Supp. 21-5807; K.S.A. 21-3715(a), -4711(d), -4711(e)

criminal law—sentences
state v. mcalister
Finney District Court—sentence vacated and case remanded with directions
no. 115,887—april 28, 2017

FACTS: McAllister’s convictions and sentences for 1996 offenses were affirmed on appeal. In 2015, he filed motions to correct his illegal sentences. Citing State v. Dickey, 301 Kan. 1018 (2015), he claimed the 1992 Missouri burglary-related convictions in his criminal history should have been scored as nonperson felonies. District court denied the motions as procedurally barred by res judicata, and because holding in Dickey did not apply retroactively to McAlister’s sentences. McAlister appealed. State did not preserve res judicata argument on appeal, but argued McAlister was not entitled to retroactive relief under Dickey because unlike Dickey, McAlister’s sentences became final prior to Apprendi.

ISSUE: Motion to correct illegal sentence

HELD: Holding in Dickey was reviewed, as clarified by State v. Dickey, 305 Kan. 217 (2016)(Dickey II). The proper classification of a prior crime as a person or nonperson felony for criminal history purposes is a question of state statutory law, not constitutional law. Accordingly, a defendant whose sentence is illegal based on holding in State v. Dickey, 301 Kan. 1018 (2015), is entitled to receive a corrected sentence at any time, even if the sentence became final prior to Apprendi. District court erred in finding McAlister’s motions to correct his illegal sentences were procedurally barred. Remanded for resentencing based on the correct criminal history score.

CONCURRENCE (Gardner, J.): Concurs in the result because panel is bound by holding in Dickey II, but does not read Dickey II as broadly as the majority, and does not believe the “at any time” language in K.S.A. 22-3504 means an illegal sentence can be corrected in any manner under any circumstances, or repeatedly litigated.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 21-6811(d); K.S.A. 2014 Supp. 21-5807(a)(1), -6811(d); K.S.A. 21-3715(a), 22-3501(1), -3504(1), -3628(c), 60-1501(b), -1507(f)(1); K.S.A. 1991 Supp. 21-3715

Tags:  Barton District  Finney District  Johnson District  Leavenworth District  Sedgwick District 

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