Print Page | Contact Us | Sign In | Register
Appellate Court Digests
Blog Home All Blogs
@@WEBSITE_ID@@

 

Search all posts for:   

 

Top tags: Attorney Discipline  Sedgwick District  Wyandotte District  Shawnee District  constitutional law  Johnson District  Reno District  Saline District  Sedgwick  8807  statutes  Douglas District  Johnson  criminal procedure  Disbarment  evidence  Finney District  Fourth Amendment  Johnson District Court  Leavenworth District  Motions  Reno  Riley  search and seizure  Sedgwick District Court  Shawnee  Shawnee District Court  Wyandotte  Ellis District Court  Geary District 

July 19, 2019 Digests

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Kansas Supreme Court

CIVIL

CONTEMPT
IN RE PATERNITY OF S.M.J. V. OGLE
DOUGLAS DISTRICT COURT—COURT OF APPEALS IS AFFIRMED
DISTRICT COURT IS VACATED—CASE REMANDED
NO. 115,776—JULY 19, 2019

FACTS: Ogle and Jacobs were involved in a paternity and custody proceeding. It turned contentious, enough that the district court ordered Ogle to cease widespread slander of Jacobs. Ogle did not stop, and Jacobs moved the court to hold him in indirect contempt after his comments caused her to lose her job. The district court held Ogle in indirect contempt, even though neither Ogle nor his attorney appeared at the contempt hearing. Ogle appealed and the court of appeals vacated the contempt finding, holding that the district court could not hold Ogle in indirect contempt when he did not appear at the hearing. Jacobs' petition for review was granted.

ISSUE: (1) Necessity of personal appearance at the hearing

HELD: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 20-1204a does not specifically mention whether an accused must appear at the hearing. But after reading all of the statute's provisions together, it is clear that a district court judge is allowed to proceed with a contempt hearing once the person accused is present, but not before.

STATUTE: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 20-1204a

criminal 

criminal law—criminal procedure—jury instructions—motions—statutes
state v. cottrell
sedgwick district court—affirmed
court of appeals—affirmed
no. 114,635 —july 19, 2019

FACTS: Undercover officer (Padron) obtained hydrocodone and oxycodone from Cottrell, through sale set up by his daughter. Jury convicted Cottrell of distributing a controlled substance and conspiring to distribute a controlled substance. On appeal, Cottrell claimed: (1) district court erred in failing to give a unanimity instruction because State alleged multiple overt acts in furtherance of the conspiracy; (2) alternatively, the overt acts alleged were alternative means to commit the crime of conspiracy, and State failed to produce sufficient evidence to support each one; (3) district court erred in instructing jury that “knowingly” was the culpable mental state for distribution of a controlled substance; and (4) district court erred in denying Cottrell’s motion for judgment of acquittal because insufficient evidence supported the charges. Court of appeals affirmed. 53 Kan. App. 2d 425 (2017). Review granted.

ISSUES: (1) Unanimity instruction—multiple acts; (2) alternative means—crime of conspiracy; (3) jury instruction; (4) motion for acquittal

HELD: No unanimity instruction was required because alleging several overt acts in furtherance of one conspiracy does not present a multiple acts case. State presented arguments and evidence about one agreement between Cottrell and his daughter: to illegally sell hydrocodone and oxycodone to Padron.

Jury instruction that lists several overt acts in furtherance of a conspiracy does not create alternative means for the crime of conspiracy.

Following State v. Brown, 295 Kan. 181 (2012), only language of a statute can create alternative means for a crime, and the conspiracy statute does not do so. State v. Enriquez, 46 Kan. App. 2d 765 (2011), is overruled. A jury instruction listing more than one overt act in furtherance of a conspiracy does not create alternative means. Instead, such an instruction merely describes the factual scenarios that could prove the material element of an overt act.

Invited error precludes reaching the merits of Cottrell’s jury instruction challenge. Cottrell actively pursued an instruction for distribution of a controlled substance that included a knowing culpable mental state, was unwavering in this request, and any error was as obvious before trial as after. Defense counsel also stated on the record that he did not object to the final instruction.

No error in district court’s denial of the motion for acquittal. No appellate reweighing of Cottrell’s testimony, and significant evidence supported Cottrell’s knowledge that he was distributing controlled substances

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 21-5302(a), -5402(c); K.S.A. 2912 Supp. 21-5302(a)

constitutional law—criminal law—jurisdiction
motions—securities—statutes
state v. lundberg
sedgwick district court—affirmed
court of appeals—reversed
no. 114,897—july 19, 2019

FACTS: Minnesota residents Lundberg and Elzufon, formed a Minnesota corporation they registered to do business in Kansas to develop properties in downtown Wichita. As principals for four Kansas limited liability corporations (LLCs), they sold securities by using intermediaries who resided in California who made sales presentations in California and sold the securities from California to individuals who did not reside in Kansas.  State filed criminal charges under the Kansas Uniform Securities Act (KUSA) against Lundberg and Elzufon for selling or offering to sell unregistered securities and committing fraud in selling or offering to sell securities. Lundberg and Elzufon filed motions to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction, arguing neither the offers to sell, the sales, the offers to purchase, nor the purchases were made or accepted in Kansas. Parties stipulated to the facts for deciding this motion. District court dismissed 56 of the counts related to sales involving the California intermediaries, rejecting State’s argument that any of the offers originated within Kansas. State voluntarily dismissed remaining charges and appealed. Court of Appeals reversed. 53 Kan.App.2d 721 (2017). Lundberg’s and Elzufon’s petitions for review granted.

ISSUE: (1) Jurisdiction for criminal charges - KUSA

HELD: KUSA is interpreted, examining “sale,” “offer to sell,” and whether “multiple sales” were consummated in Kansas. Nexus analysis applied by Court of Appeals is rejected. Even under expansive reading permitted by definition of “offer to sell” in KUSA, Kansas’ jurisdiction is statutorily limited to situations in which the offer originates within the territorial boundaries of Kansas—not just because the transaction has some sort of “nexus” to the state. On facts in this case the sales were not made in Kansas nor did the offers to sell originate in Kansas, thus no jurisdiction exists based on a sale occurring in Kansas.  

CONCURRENCE (Vano, D.Judge assigned): There is no stipulated fact regarding the place where any offer to sell originated, and the word “nexus” appears nowhere in the KUSA. The jurisdictional statute, K.S.A. 17-12a610, limits criminal sanction to sales or offers to sell originating within the state. On the stipulated facts in this case, the offers did not occur or originate in Kansas.  Dissent goes too far in adding a penal reach that is not expressed by the Legislature and is inconsistent with Kansas precedent on reading, construing, and applying criminal statutes and sanctions strictly in favor of the accused, and keeping the court out of the business of drafting legislation—particularly penal sanctions.

DISSENT (Luckert, J.) (joined by Beier and Rosen, JJ.): Would interpret the offers as originating with and the sales being made by the Kansas LLCs acting through their officers and shareholders—Lundberg and Elzufon—to retain California intermediaries who extended the Kansas LLCs’ offers to California investors. These acts are sufficient to say the sales or offers to sell originated in Kansas. Thus application of Kansas law and jurisdiction is proper, and applying KUSA here does not violate any federal constitutional restriction against extraterritorial application of Kansas law.   

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 17-12a302, -12a303, -12a508(a)(2), -12a508(a)(3), -7662 et seq., -7663(1), -7668, 21-5106; K.S.A.17-12a101 et seq., -12a102, -12a102(17), -12a102(26), -12a310, -12a304, -12a501, -12a501(2), -12a501(3), -12a508, -12a610, -12a610(a), -12a610(b), -12a610(c), -12a610(e), 60-2101(b)

appellate procedurecriminal lawstatutes
state v. Rizal
johnson district court—affirmed; court of appeals—affirmed
no. 115,036 —july 19, 2019

FACTS: In bench trial on stipulated facts, Rizal convicted of possessing a controlled substance —naphthoylindole (“K2”), a synthetic cannabinoid — with intent to distribute it at gas station she owned. Rizal appealed, claiming in part that insufficient evidence supported the conviction because State only proved she knowingly sold what she thought was “incense,” and not that  she possessed K2 with “knowledge” as defined in McFadden v. United States, 576 U.S. __ (2015). Court of Appeals affirmed in unpublished opinion, distinguishing McFadden from the Kansas statute, but also finding substantial competent evidence if McFadden applied. Review granted. In supplemental brief Rizal argued new claim that that the substance she possessed was not a controlled substance, but a controlled substance analog, based on her lay analysis of chemical compounds in packets sold.

ISSUES: (1) New claim on appeal; (2) knowledge of nature of the controlled substance; (3) sufficiency of the evidence

HELD: Rizal’s new analog argument is unpreserved and not reviewed. Undisputed fact in the record that Rizal possessed the controlled substance naphthoylindole.

Court examines what it means to “knowingly” exercise control over a controlled substance, finding Court of Appeals erred in its interpretation of K.S.A. 2011 Supp. 21-5705(a)’s knowledge requirement. To convict a defendant of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance under K.S.A. 2011 Supp. 21-5705(a), State must prove the defendant had knowledge of the nature of the controlled substance. This knowledge requirement can be established by proving the defendant either knew the identity of the substance or knew that the substance was controlled. A mistake of fact about the nature of a controlled substance can negate the knowledge requirement.

Under facts in this case, Rizal’s conviction is affirmed because State presented sufficient evidence that Rizal knew the substance was controlled.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 21-5207(a); K.S.A. 2014 Supp. 60-455(b); K.S.A. 2011 Supp. 21-5202(i), -5701(a), -5701(q), -5705(a), -5705(a)(7), -5705(c)(1)(A), 65-4101(bb)(1), -4101(bb)(2), -4105(h)(2); K.S.A. 60-455

appellate procedure—criminal procedure
evidence—jury instructions—prosecutors
state v. ross
sedgwick district court—affirmed
no. 117,850—july 19, 2019

FACTS: Ross convicted of felony murder and second-degree murder as a lesser included offense of premeditated murder, and felony abuse of a child. On appeal he claimed: (1) State committed prosecutorial error during rebuttal closing argument by stating the jury must find the defendant guilty if it did not believe the defendant’s testimony; (2) district court violated Ross’ statutory right to lesser included offense instructions by not offering an instruction on unintentional but reckless second-degree murder as a lesser included offense of premeditated murder; (3) district court erred in admitting into evidence two recorded jail phone calls between Ross and his mother; (4) pro se additional issues claiming the jury’s verdict operated as a de facto acquittal on the charge of first-degree felony murder, and claiming K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 21-5109(b)(1) infringed his right to present a complete defense; and (5) cumulative error denied him a fair trial.

ISSUES: (1) Prosecutorial error; (2) jury instruction; (3) admission of phone call evidence; (4) supplemental issues raised pro se; (5) cumulative error

HELD: Prosecutor’s misstatement was error, but in context of prosecutor’s surrounding comments did not effectively shift burden of proof. No reversible error shown.

An instruction on reckless second-degree murder was legally appropriate, but whether it was factually appropriate is immaterial because any error in failing to offer the instruction was harmless. On evidence in the case, no reasonable probability that jury could have inferred the killing of the child victim was done unintentionally but recklessly.

No error in admitting the two phone calls. Probative value of the calls far outweighed the resulting prejudice.

Ross’ newly raised arguments were insufficiently preserved for appellate review.

Aggregated effect of prosecutor’s misstatement which did not prejudice Ross’ right to a fair trial, and assumed instructional error which was harmless, did not constitute reversible error.             

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 21-5108, -5109(b)(1), -5403(a)(2); K.

 

Kansas Court of Appeals

CIVIL

DUE PROCESS—PARENTAL RIGHTS
IN RE J.L.
SHAWNEE DISTRICT COURT—REVERSED AND REMANDED
NO. 120,504—JULY 19, 2019

FACTS: In April 2018 the State sought to have J.L. declared to be a child in need of care. Later that year, the State scheduled a pretrial conference hearing. Notice was mailed, but Father's address was listed as "unknown." Father's attorney appeared at that pretrial conference hearing, but Father was not in the room when the hearing started. Because of his absence, the State moved for a default judgment on the CINC petition. Father appeared within 10 minutes of the start of the hearing and moved to set aside the default judgment. Father appealed.

ISSUE: (1) Due process violation

HELD: Father has a fundamental liberty interest in parenting his child. Finding J.L. to be a CINC opens Father up to further intervention and potential liberty deprivations. To protect against undue deprivations, the State is required to prove the need for adjudication by clear and convincing evidence. It is uncertain that any portion of the default judgment statute can apply to proceedings held under the juvenile code. Further, Father was never told that a CINC adjudication would occur at the pretrial conference hearing. Even the State did not anticipate the finding and there were no witnesses available. Nothing about the default judgment advanced the State's interests or J.L.'s wellbeing; this was about the district court's annoyance. The default judgment is reversed and the case is remanded for further proceedings.

STATUTE: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 38-2239, -2248(e), -2250, -2251(a), 60-255, -255(a)

GRIEVANCE—HABEAS CORPUS
PETERSON V. SCHNURR
RENO DISTRICT COURT—AFFIRMED
NO. 119,869—JULY 19, 2019

FACTS: Peterson is an inmate who subscribed to a newspaper. The correctional facility seized two issues of the paper, claiming that they had content which was a threat to the facility's safety. Peterson appealed the seizure and the decision was upheld by the Secretary of Corrections' designee. Peterson then filed an inmate grievance claiming he was subject to improper censorship. That grievance was denied. Peterson followed up by filing a K.S.A. 60-1501 petition, arguing that the Department of Corrections was not properly applying its own regulations regarding censorship. The district court denied the petition as untimely, and Peterson appealed.

ISSUE: (1) Timeliness of petition

HELD: Peterson's use of the facility grievance procedure was not part of his administrative remedies and did not toll the time in which to file his 60-1501 petition. Because the time limit was not tolled, the district court properly dismissed Peterson's petition as untimely.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 60-1501, -1501(b); K.S.A. 75-52,138

Tags:  8807  Johnson District  Reno District  Sedgwick District  Shawnee District 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

June 28, 2019 Digests

Posted By Administration, Monday, July 1, 2019

Kansas Supreme Court

ATTORNEY DISCIPLINE

ORDER OF SUSPENSION
IN RE GREGORY V. BLUME
NO. 119,027
JUNE 28, 2019

FACTS: A hearing panel determined that Blume violated KRPC 3.1 (meritorious claims and contentions); 3.3(a)(1) (candor toward tribunal); 3.4(d) (compliance with discovery request); 4.4(a) (respect for rights of third persons); 8.4(c) (conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation); and 8.4(d) (conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice). One incident involved an allegedly inadequate response to a discovery request, two involved rude words and gestures directed at a deposition witness, and one arose out of a motion to set aside an earlier agreed judgment. Blume's actions regarding discovery resulted in the dismissal of his client's case, after the district court found that Blume's conduct was calculated and intentional.

HEARING PANEL: The hearing panel found adequate evidence to support all of the complaints levied against Blume. When considering aggravating factors, the panel noted that Blume's conduct was motivated by dishonesty and was part of a pattern of failing to show respect for other people. The disciplinary administrator recommended a one-year suspension. Blume asked for a one-year suspension but asked that it be suspended while he served a probationary term. However, the panel found that Blume's probation plan was wholly inadequate and that his misconduct could not be corrected by probation. The hearing panel agreed with the disciplinary administrator and recommended discipline of a one-year suspension.

HELD: Blume filed numerous exceptions to the hearing panel's report. Most of the exceptions were not supported by evidence that was considered by the hearing panel. At the hearing before the court, Blume explained that he planned to retire within six months. He asked that discipline be limited to a requirement that he apologize to the deposition witness. The court found Blume's objections to the findings of fact incoherent and inconsistent, and all of the hearing panel's findings of fact and conclusions of law were adopted. The court found that Blume failed to understand the nature of his mistakes and did not acknowledge the seriousness of his misconduct. Because of the serious nature of his misconduct and his failure to take responsibility, the court determined that a severe sanction was warranted. It imposed an indefinite suspension from the practice of law.

CIVIL

CITY ORDINANCEHOME RULE
DWAGFYS MANUFACTURING, INC. V. CITY OF TOPEKA
SHAWNEE DISTRICT COURT
REVERSED
NO. 119,269
JUNE 28, 2019

FACTS: The City of Topeka passed Ordinance 20099, which made it unlawful to sell cigarettes to persons under age 21, and persons under age 21 were forbidden to buy tobacco. Prior to the ordinance taking effect, a store sued the City of Topeka seeking to prevent enforcement of the ordinance as unconstitutional under the Kansas Constitution. The district court agreed, finding conflicts between the ordinance and state law. The district court both temporarily and permanently enjoined enforcement of the ordinance. The City appealed, and the case was transferred to the Supreme Court.

ISSUE: (1) Statutory preemption

HELD: There is overlap between the ordinance and state statute regarding the subject matter, and the state statute is a uniform law applicable to all cities. But the Kansas Cigarette and Tobacco Products Act does not contain an express statement of preemption, and the act's "comprehensive scheme" of regulation is inadequate to show an intent to preempt city action. There is also no conflict between the language of the act and the ordinance. The act does not expressly authorize the sale or purchase of tobacco products to those ages 18-20. The ordinance is a constitutional exercise of the city's home rule power, and the district court is reversed.

STATUTE: Kansas Constitution, Article 12, §5(b), §5(d)

criminal 

attorney and client—criminal procedure—motions
state v. bacon
sedgwick district court—affirmed; court of appeals—affirmed
no. 114,951—june 28, 2019

FACTS: Bacon was charged with aggravated human trafficking. After appointed public defender continued the preliminary hearing seven times, Bacon filed pro se “Motion for Diligence” with copy of KRPC 1.3. No action taken on this and subsequent similar motions. Appointed counsel continued the preliminary hearing three more times, and continued trial three times. Bacon then retained private counsel. State amended the complaint and jury found Bacon guilty of commercial sexual exploitation of a child. Motion for new trial filed, based in part on district court’s failure to inquire into Bacon’s pro se motions voicing dissatisfaction with appointed counsel. Bacon appealed the district court’s denial of that motion. Court of appeals affirmed the conviction, finding in part the pro se motions did not allege dissatisfaction with appointed counsel. Review granted on this issue.

ISSUE: District court’s duty to Inquire 

HELD: It is assumed without deciding that Bacon’s pro se motions were sufficient to trigger the district court’s duty to inquire into a potential conflict with his trial attorney, but on facts in case, remand to district court is unnecessary because Bacon retained a new attorney for trial; he does not claim his trial attorney was ineffective; and he does not otherwise identify any prejudice flowing from district court’s failure to inquire.

STATUTE: K.S.A. 2014 Supp. 21-5426(b)(4), -6422(a)(4)

criminal procedure—motions—sentences—statuites
state v. dubry
shawnee district court—affirmed
court of appeals—affirmed
no. 114,050—june 28, 2019

FACTS: Dubry was convicted of kidnapping. Years later he moved to correct his 2011 sentence, arguing the sentencing court improperly scored a prior Wyoming conviction as a person crime. District court denied the motion. Dubry appealed, arguing the Wyoming statute is broader than the counterpart Kansas offense. Court of appeals affirmed in unpublished opinion. Dubry’s petition for review granted, and parties were ordered to explain whether panel’s decision should be summarily vacated and case remanded to district court in light of State v. Wetrich, 307 Kan. 552 (2018). Dubry argues Wetrich should apply.

ISSUE: Classification of out-of-state crime

HELD: Affirmed based on State v. Murdock, 309 Kan. 585 (2019)(Murdock II). Legality of a sentence under K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 22-3504 is controlled by the law in effect at the time the sentence was pronounced. Thus a sentence that was legal when pronounced does not become illegal if the law subsequently changes. Since Wetrich announced a change in the law and Dubry was sentenced before Wetrich was decided, application of Wetrich to Dubry’s motion to correct his sentence is barred by Murdock II.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 22-3504; K.S.A. 20-3018(b), 21-3503, -4701 et seq., -4711, 60-2101

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW—EVIDENCE—FIFTH AMENDMENT
FOURTH AMENDMENT—MOTIONS
STATE V. GUEIN
JOHNSON DISTRICT COURT—REVERSED AND REMANDED
COURT OF APPEALS—AFFIRMED IN PART AND REVERSED IN PART
NO. 115,426—JUNE 28, 2019

FACTS: Police observed a suspected drug deal involving car parked in a closed Burger King lot. Officers approached the car, patted down occupants and retrieved a bag of marijuana Guein admitted was in his underwear. After arrest, Guein admitted to additional marijuana in the car. Search of the car disclosed handgun, loose marijuana, and drug paraphernalia. Guein filed a motion to suppress his statements and the evidence obtained as a result of search of his person and his car. District court: refused to suppress Guein’s statement of having marijuana in his underwear because Guein was not in custody until handcuffed; suppressed Guein’s statement of additional drugs in car, made after handcuffed and before Miranda warning; admitted post-Miranda statements, finding Guein had voluntarily waived his rights; and denied suppression of the physical evidence. Guein was convicted of felony distribution of marijuana and misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia. A divided court of appeals reversed in part and affirmed in part the district court’s decision on the motion to suppress and remanded to district court. State v. Guein, 53 Kan. App.2d 394 (2017). Entire panel upheld the admission of Guein’s statement about marijuana in underwear and the marijuana found there, finding Miranda  warnings were not necessary. Majority concluded officer’s statements to Guein were sufficiently threatening to negate the Miranda warning, and State’s failure to provide the trial transcript prevented a harmless error analysis. Conviction was set aside and a new trial ordered. Guein and State both petitioned for review.

ISSUES: (1) Admission of pre-Miranda statement; (2) admission of post-Miranda statement

HELD: Factors cited in State v. Lewis, 299 Kan. 828 (2014), are examined on facts in case, finding officer’s pre-Miranda interrogation was custodial rather than investigative. District court’s denial of motion to suppress pre-Miranda statement about marijuana in underwear is reversed.

     Under facts in case, officer’s aggressive and profane language implied physical violence toward Guein, prompting Guein’s later incriminating statement. Panel’s majority on this issue is affirmed. Remanded to district court for further proceedings.

CONCURRENCE AND DISSENT (Stegall, J.)(joined by Biles, J.): Disagrees with majority’s order to suppress Guein’s pre-Miranda statements, and would support panel’s assessment that this was an ordinary investigatory detention not requiring Miranda warnings. Agrees that Guein’s post-Miranda statements were not voluntary and must be suppressed, but does not find officer’s use of profanity as significant as the majority does. Guein was coerced because of a real and actionable threat. Law enforcement’s use of the word “fuck” does not make the circumstances more or less coercive, and majority’s reasoning suggests a politely worded threat is less coercive than a vulgar one.  

STATUTUES: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 60-460(f); K.S.A. 20-3018(b), 22-2402(1), -3215(4), -3216(2), 60-2101(b)

constitutional law—criminal law—criminal procedure—evidence
jury instructions—prosecutors—statutes`
state v. james
sedgwick district court—affirmed
no. 117,945—june 28, 2019

FACTS: James was convicted of first-degree premeditated murder and criminal possession of a firearm. On appeal, he claimed district court erred by: refusing defense requests for instructions on lesser included offenses of reckless second-degree murder and reckless involuntary manslaughter; refusing to instruct jury on imperfect self-defense involuntary manslaughter; failing to instruct jury to consider verdicts of premeditated murder and imperfect self-defense voluntary manslaughter simultaneously;  and admitting gruesome autopsy photos. He also claimed prosecutorial error during closing argument, claimed he was deprived his constitutional right to be present at all critical stages of the trial—namely requests for continuances, and argued cumulative error required reversal.

ISSUES: (1) Jury instructions on reckless based homicides; (2) jury instruction on imperfect self-defense of involuntary manslaughter; (3) jury instruction on simultaneous consideration of lesser included crimes; (4) admission of autopsy photos; (5) prosecutorial error; (6) constitutional right to presence; (7) cumulative error

HELD: Challenge to district court’s refusal to instruct on lesser included reckless homicides was properly preserved, and the requested instructions were both legally and factually appropriate under facts in case. District judge’s refusal to instruct jury on reckless second-degree murder and reckless involuntary manslaughter was error, but not reversible error under the statutory harmless error standard.

     Likewise, James preserved his challenge to district court’s refusal to instruct on imperfect self-defense of involuntary manslaughter. This instruction was legally appropriate, and under facts in case, also factually appropriate. Applying statutory harmlessness test, district judge’s failure to give the requested instruction was not reversible error.

     Under controlling precedent in State v. Sims, 308 Kan. 1488 (2018), pet. for cert. filed April 29, 2019, a district court is not required to instruct a jury to consider a lesser included homicide offense simultaneously with any greater homicide offense.

      No abuse of district judge’s discretion by admitting autopsy photos which were not repetitious and which allowed pathologist to explain path of bullet that killed the victim and show skull fractures that resulted.

     Prosecutor erred by stating James left the scene in a stolen car because no evidence supported a description of the car as “stolen.” Also, referencing an uncharged crime is problematic because it encourages jurors to draw inference of a defendant’s propensity to commit crimes. In light of entire record, however, this error does not require reversal.

     Because record contains no evidence that James knowingly and voluntarily waived his right to be present when first attorney requested two continuances, error is assumed. Under constitutional standard the error was harmless under facts in this case. State v. Wright, 305 Kan. 1176 (2017), is distinguished.   

     The combination of instructional errors, prosecutorial error, and assumed violation of James’ right to be present at all critical stages did not deprive James of a fair trial.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 21-5202(j), -5202(h), -5226, -5402(a)(1), -5403(a)(1), -5403(a)(2), -5801, -5803, 60-455(a); K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 21-5405(a)(4); K.S.A. 22-3402

constitutional law—criminal procedure
evidence—sentencing—statutes
state v. obregon
geary district court—reversed, sentences vacated and remanded
court of appeals—affirmed in part and reversed in part
NO. 117,422—june 28, 2019

FACTS: Obregon entered no contest pleas to possession of drugs with intent to distribute.  District court accepted the pleas, and in sentencing, applied the statutory firearm enhancement. Obregon appealed, challenging whether district court should have classified a prior Florida battery conviction as a person felony without knowing which version of the Florida crime he committed. He also claimed his no contest pleas to the base drug offenses did not include any facts upon which the enhancement could be grounded. Court of appeals concluded the district court properly calculated Obregon’s criminal history score, but held Obregon’s waiver of his right to jury trial on the firearm enhancement was invalid. Panel vacated the enhancement and remanded case to district court for proper waiver or for jury to make factual findings required by K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 21-6805(g)(1) regarding the firearm. Obregon’s petition for review granted.

ISSUES: (1) Florida battery conviction; (2) firearm enhancement

HELD: Pursuant to State v. Murdock, 309 Kan. 585 (2019)(Murdock II), Obregon is entitled to application of State v. Wetrich, 307 Kan. 552 (2018), but variation to the Wetrich analysis is presented because the Kansas and out-of-state offenses are both what Kansas law refers to as “alternative means crimes.” When the crime in question is an out-of-state offense with alternative means—some of which would not be comparable to Kansas person crimes—the State bears the burden of establishing the defendant committed a version of the offense supporting the person classification. On record in this case, district court’s finding that Obregon committed a Florida offense with a comparable Kansas person crime is not supported by substantial competent evidence. Because the Florida offense on its face is broader than the Kansas comparator, it should not have been classified as a person offense under Wetrich. Sentence is vacated and case is remanded for district court to reconsider the Florida conviction’s person-crime classification.

     Panel erred by remanding his case for a jury to determine if firearm enhancement should apply. As a general rule, special questions may not be submitted to a jury for answer in a criminal prosecution, and the legislature has not created a statutory exception to the general rule against special verdicts for a firearm enhancement to be determined separately after the verdict. Obregon’s resentencing is to proceed without the firearm enhancement.

CONCURRENCE AND DISSENT (Johnson, J.): Agrees the district court must resentence Obregon without the enhancement. Also agrees the State failed to present sufficient evidence to support classification of the Florida battery conviction as a person felony, but that insufficiency of the evidence should result in vacating the sentence and remanding for resentencing of criminal history score with the Florida conviction classified as nonperson.        

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 21-5413(a), -5413(a)(1), -5413(a)(2), -5413(g), -6801 et seq., -6805(g)(1), -6805(g)(2), -6809, -6814, -6814(b), -6814(c); K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 21-6805(g)(1), -6811(e); K.S.A. 2013 Supp. 21-6817(b)(2); K.S.A. 20-3018(b), 21-3715, -3715(a), 60-2101(b)

criminal procedure—mootness—motions—sentencing—statutes
state v. russ
sedgwick district court—affirmed;
court of appeals—affirmed
no. 115,111—june 28, 2019

FACTS: Russ was found guilty of attempted second-degree murder. His prior convictions included six Wichita municipal violations classified as person misdemeanors, five of which were eligible for conversion to a felony. Russ appealed sentencing court’s classification of prior municipal ordinance convictions as person offenses to calculate Russ’ criminal history score, arguing in part the domestic battery municipal ordinances were broader than the counterpart Kansas domestic battery statute. Court of appeals affirmed in unpublished opinion. Russ petitioned for review claiming the panel erred by: (1) looking beyond the most comparable Kansas offense of domestic battery to analyze his municipal ordinance domestic battery convictions, and (2) declining to address as moot an issue concerning his prior conviction of failure to comply with bond restrictions.

ISSUES: (1) Classifying the domestic battery municipal ordinance violations; (2) mootness

HELD: Applying State v. Wetrich, 307 Kan. 552 (2018), the panel correctly held Russ’ domestic battery ordinance violations were person offenses. Only difference between the ordinances and the Kansas domestic battery statue is the specific requirement of the relationship between the batterer and the battered, which makes the scope of the ordinance’s proscribed acts narrower, not broader.  

     Panel correctly declined to address the classification of Russ’ prior conviction for failure to comply with bond restrictions. Regardless of classification of this prior conviction, Russ’ criminal history score is unchanged since three prior domestic battery municipal ordinance violations were properly scored as person misdemeanors.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 21-5413(a), -5413(g)(1), -6801 et seq., -6810(a), -5811(a); K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-6811(e)(3); K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 21-6804(a), -6809, -6811(a); K.S.A. 2014 Supp. 21-5414(a); K.S.A. 20-3018(a), 60-2101(b)

 

Kansas Court of Appeals

CIVIL

DISCOVERY
FLAHERTY V. CNH INDUSTRIAL AMERICA
SALINE DISTRICT COURT – AFFIRMED
NO. 119,704 – JUNE 28, 2019

FACTS: Flaherty purchased a sprayer manufactured by CNH in early 2014. Later that year, Flaherty took it back to the dealer for maintenance and a hose adjustment. The dealer knew that there were also potential issues with one of the drive hoses at the engine starter. While the sprayer was at the dealer, it caught on fire and was completely destroyed. During the investigation, a fire investigator with the fire department accompanied law enforcement on the scene. It was his opinion that the fire was caused by an electrical issue. Neither of Flaherty's experts could definitively determine the fire's cause. Robert Hawken, a product safety specialist at CNH, investigated the sprayer in anticipation of litigation. Flaherty sued both CNH and the dealer. During discovery, Flaherty provided notice of his intent to depose Hawken. CNH filed a motion to quash and asked the court to quash the subpoena. The district court granted that motion and Hawken was not deposed. After hearing more evidence, the district court granted CNH's motion for summary judgment on all claims and Flaherty appealed.

ISSUES: (1) Denial of discovery request; (2) express warranty claims; (3) implied warranty claims

HELD: Hawken examined the sprayer over a month after the fire, and he only gave his findings to CNH's legal department and outside counsel. The dealer told Flaherty that Hawken believed the fire started in the sprayer's starter area. Hawken's opinions were protected by work-product privilege as far as the subpoena duces tecum was concerned. Hawken was also protected by non-testifying expert privilege as an in-house expert. Flaherty failed to prove that Hawken waived his privilege, and much of the privilege belonged to CNH, and Hawken has no power to waive it on the company's behalf. The warranty agreement between Flaherty and CNH disclaimed any express warranty created by descriptions of the sprayer on its website or by statements made by salespeople. And Flaherty failed to identify any specific descriptions of the sprayer on which he relied. In addition, the warranty agreement required Flaherty to prove that the sprayer had a defect in material or workmanship, which he failed to do. Any implied warranty claim had a similar requirement that Flaherty prove the existence of a defect. In addition, Flaherty failed to prove that the sprayer was defective when it left CNH's control.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 60-226(b)(4)(A), -226(b)(5), -226(b)(5)(D), -233(b)(1)(B), -256(c)(2), -456; K.S.A. 60-437, 84-2-313(1)(b), -313(2), -314(1), -314(2)(c)

 

Tags:  8807  Attorney Discipline  Geary District  Johnson District  Saline District  Sedgwick District  Shawnee District  Weekly20190702 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

June 7, 2019 Digests

Posted By Administration, Monday, June 10, 2019
Updated: Friday, June 7, 2019

Kansas Supreme Court

Attorney Discipline

INDEFINITE SUSPENSION
IN RE THOMAS CALEB BOONE
NO. 120,744—JUNE 7, 2019

FACTS: A hearing panel determined that Boone violated KRPC 1.1 (competence); 1.3 (diligence); 8.4(c) (engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation); and 8.4(d) (engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice). Boone also stipulated to a violation of 3.4(d) (failure to comply with a discovery request). The allegations arose after Boone twice failed to prosecute a civil action, missing multiple deadlines and failing to comply with district court orders. Boone appealed the dismissal of one action but the court of appeals affirmed the district court, finding that Boone's appellate brief failed to comply with court rules.

HEARING PANEL: The hearing panel found evidence to support the allegations made in the complaint. When considering discipline, the panel noted Boone's prior history of discipline, the pattern of misconduct, and the number of rule violations. In mitigation, the panel acknowledged the illness and death of Boone's father and Boone's genuine remorse for his actions. The disciplinary administrator recommended that Boone's license be indefinitely suspended. Boone asked that he be placed on probation, but because some of his conduct involved dishonesty, the panel determined that probation was not appropriate. The hearing panel agreed with the disciplinary administrator that indefinite suspension was the appropriate discipline.

HELD: There were no exceptions filed to the hearing panel's report, so it was deemed admitted. The court denied Boone's request for probation, finding that the misconduct was not amenable to probation. The court adopted the recommendation of the hearing panel and ordered that Boone's license be indefinitely suspended.

ORDER OF DISBARMENT
IN RE MATTHEW EDGAR HULT
NO. 24,854—JUNE 6, 2019

FACTS: Hult's law license was indefinitely suspended in February 2018. Since that time, four additional complaints have been filed alleging additional violations of the KRPC. In a letter, Hult voluntarily surrendered his license to practice law in Kansas.

HELD: The court accepts the surrender of Hult's license, and he is disbarred.

Civil

CONSERVATORSHIP—FACTFINDING—GUARDIANSHIP
IN RE GUARDIANSHIP AND CONSERVATORSHIP OF B.H.
WILSON DISTRICT COURT—COURT OF APPEALS IS REVERSED
CASE REMANDED
NO. 118,188—JUNE 7, 2019

FACTS: Biological mother and father relinquished custody of their children to relatives through a legal guardianship. Once that placement was made, the state terminated child- in-need-of-care proceedings that were pending against the parents. Both parents spent time in prison, neither paid the child support that was ordered, and father left the state after he completed his prison term. After some time passed, mother and father sought to terminate the guardianship, citing a constitutional right to parent. After hearing evidence, the district court denied the motion, citing clear and convincing evidence that the guardianship was in the children's best interests. The parents appealed and the court of appeals reversed, finding that the district court erred by considering the best interests of the children. That court believed that the district court should have applied the parental preference doctrine because there had never been a finding of parental unfitness. The guardians' petition for review was granted.

ISSUE: (1) Termination of guardianship

HELD: The purposes of the Code for Care of Children were circumvented by the shift from a CINC proceeding to a guardianship action. Normally, voluntary guardianships are voluntary and may be terminated at any time for any reason. Under ordinary circumstances, parental preference rights would require termination of the guardianship. In this case, though, the voluntary guardianship stopped a final CINC determination and put the CINC action in limbo. There have never been parental fitness findings made in this case, and it is unclear whether the district court attempted to make those findings when refusing to terminate the guardianship. Because the record is unclear, this case is remanded to the district court for additional findings of fact and conclusions of law. If extraordinary circumstances exist to justify the continuation of the guardianship, those findings must be clearly made.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 38-2201(a), -2203(a), -2203(c), -2255, -2255(e), -2255(f), -2264, -2272, -2272(a)(1), -2272(b), -2272(h); K.S.A. 59-3091, -3091(h)

ADVERSE POSSESSION—MINERAL RIGHTS
OXY USA V. RED WING OIL
HASKELL DISTRICT COURT—COURT OF APPEALS IS AFFIRMED
DISTRICT COURT IS REVERSED—CASE REMANDED
NO. 111,973—JUNE 7, 2019

FACTS: Oxy USA, Inc. developed a productive oil and gas well on a unitized production unit of land. The unitized area included a quarter section of land which is the subject of this dispute. The well is not located on the property in question, but the owner of the minerals under that property can receive royalties from the production under the unitization agreement. However, Oxy was unable to determine which party owned a disputed one-half interest in the minerals under the property. To resolve that question, Oxy filed this interpleader and quiet title action to determine the rightful owner of the minerals under the property. Alice La Velle King owns the surface rights and an undisputed half interest in the minerals rights, and she claims the other half interest also belongs to her. Opposing her are 41 different people or groups all claiming ownership. The district court granted summary judgment to the other property owners, finding that King's claim to the royalties was barred by the statute of limitations. The court of appeals reversed on adverse possession grounds. The petition for review was granted.

ISSUE: (1) Can the surface owner of land enforce a reversionary interest in minerals at a later date, or is she barred by the statute of limitations or adverse possession

HELD: The misappropriation of royalties, standing alone, does not establish adverse possession of a mineral interest. It doesn't matter whether King knew about royalty payments being made to the other landowners. The surface owner is the legal owner of the minerals located underground. Title to the mineral rights quiets in her favor.

STATUTE: K.S.A. 60-503, -507 

criminal 

constitutional law—fourth amendment—MOTIONS—search and seizure
state v. andrade-reyes
johnson district court—reversed and remanded;
court of appeals—reversed
no. 115,044—june 7, 2019

FACTS: Two officers approached both sides of a car lawfully parked in dark area of an apartment complex lot, shined flashlights on the 2 individuals in the front seat, and repeatedly asked passenger (Andrade-Reyes) to open his hands. Once he did, the baggie dropped and retrieved tested positive for cocaine. Andrade-Reyes charged with possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia. He filed motion to suppress evidence obtained through an unlawful seizure. District court denied the motion, finding the encounter was voluntary, or in the alternative, the detention was justified for officer safety.

ISSUE: (1) Unlawful seizure

HELD: Andrade-Reyes was unlawfully seized. The encounter was not voluntary. Under totality of the circumstances a reasonable person would not have felt free to terminate the encounter. And prior to Andrade-Reyes dropping the white substance, the officers lacked reasonable suspicion to detain him. Officer safety concerns alone do not justify an investigatory detention. State v. Reiss, 299 Kan. 291 (2014), is distinguished. All evidence obtained as a result of the unlawful seizure must be suppressed. Reversed and remanded.

DISSENT (Luckert, J.): Agrees with majority’s synthesis of the applicable law, but disagrees with its application of the law to facts in this case. Would hold that once officers initiated the encounter, a reasonably prudent officer would have been warranted in believing, because of specific and articulable facts, that Andrade-Reyes was armed and posed an immediate danger. Because of this belief, it was reasonable for officers to demand that he open his hand. This limited intrusion was reasonable and appropriate for officer safety purposes.

STATUTE: K.S.A. 20-3018(b), 22-2402

constitutional law—criminal law—criminal procedure—
Fourth Amendment—jury instructions—motions—Sixth Amendment—Statutes
state v. Barrett
riley district court—affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded
court of appeals—affirmed in part and reversed in part
no. 113,767—june 7, 2019

FACTS: Barrett convicted of reckless second degree murder and sentenced for the killing of an exterminator who had entered Barrett’s apartment to kill bugs. Trial delayed over six years until Barrett was competent to stand trial. Key question for jury was whether Barrett’s mental condition prevented him from forming a culpable mental state. On appeal, he claimed reversible error in district court’s failure to deny a requested instruction on imperfect self-defense voluntary manslaughter. In unpublished opinion, Court of Appeals affirmed, finding instructional error but the error was harmless under the “skip rule.”  Panel also rejected Barrett’s claim that his mental illness made his post-Miranda statements involuntary under Blackburn v. Alabama, 361 U.S. 199 (1960), and claim that State’s failure to force him to take his antipsychotic medication for four years violated the Kansas speedy trial statute. Review granted on all claims.

ISSUES: (1) Jury instructions - skip rule; (2) motion to suppress; (3) speedy trial

HELD: District court committed reversible error when it failed to give an imperfect self-defense voluntary manslaughter instruction. “Skip rule” is revisited, clarified, and corrected. The “skip rule” is a logical deduction that may support a finding of harmless error when it reasonably applies, but it does not replace longstanding harmlessness tests. Instead, the logical deduction inherent in the skip rule is one factor, among many, to be considered as part of the applicable harmlessness test. In this case, failure to give the imperfect self-defense voluntary manslaughter instruction was reversible error because jury could have reasonably convicted Barrett of voluntary manslaughter. Reversed and remanded for a new trial.

Blackburn is distinguished. Colorado v. Connelly, 379 U.S. 157 (1986), is controlling, holding that coercive police activity is a necessary predicate to finding a confession is not voluntary within the meaning of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. District court found no evidence of coercive police activity in this case, and correctly dismissed Barrett’s motion to dismiss.

Denial of Barrett’s motion to dismiss on speedy trial grounds is affirmed. Sixth Amendment did not require State to force-medicate Barrett with potentially life-threatening medication to maintain his competency to stand trial.

STATUTE: K.S.A. 21-3403(b), 22-3220, 60-261

criminal law—sentences—statutes
state v. newton
saline district court—affirmed
court of appeals—affirmed
no. 116,098—june 7, 2019

FACTS: Newton was convicted of attempted rape. Years later, he filed motion to correct an illegal sentence, arguing the district court incorrectly calculated his criminal history score by classifying pre-1993 convictions as person felonies contrary to State v. Murdock, 299 Kan. 312 (2014)(Murdock I), overruled by State v. Keel, 302 Kan. 560 (2015). District court denied the motion, concluding Murdock I did not apply retroactively. Newton appealed. While appeal was pending, Keel overruled Murdock I. Court of appeals affirmed in an unpublished opinion, applying State v. Vandervort, 276 Kan. 164 (2003), to find district court properly scored Newton’s California conviction as a person felony. Review granted of Newton’s criminal history challenge, and parties were directed to address State v. Wetrich, 307 Kan. 552 (2018).

ISSUE: (1) Criminal history calculation

HELD: Resolution of this appeal does not resolve parties’ arguments regarding Wetrich. Instead, following State v. Murdock, 309 Kan. 585 (2019)(Murdock II), Newton’s 1977 California robbery conviction was properly classified as a person felony under Kansas caselaw in 2008 when his sentence in the Kansas case became final.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 22-3504, -3504(3); K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-6811(e)(3); K.S.A. 20-3018(b), 21-4710 et seq., -4711(e), 60-2101(b)

constitutional law—fifth amendment—motions—venue
state v. palacio
saline district court—affirmed
NO. 116,899—june 7, 2019

FACTS: Palacio fired shots into a truck, killing the passenger. Palacio filed motion for change of venue, arguing significant pretrial publicity made it impossible to receive an impartial jury. District court denied the motion. Palacio also filed motion to suppress his confession because officers continued to interrogate him after he asked for a lawyer, or alternatively, the officers used coercive tactics. District court suppressed statements Palacio made in-between time he asked for a lawyer and the time he told officers he wanted to say something. Jury convicted Palacio of first-degree murder under theories of premeditation and felony murder, attempted first-degree murder, criminal discharge of a firearm at an occupied vehicle, and conspiracy to commit aggravated battery. On appeal he claimed the district court’s refusal to change venue violated K.S.A. 22-2616. He also claimed the officers violated his Fifth Amendment rights, or alternatively, his confession was involuntary.

ISSUES: (1) Change of venue statute; (2) motion to suppress confession

HELD: District court’s weighing of factors in K.S.A. 22-2616 is reviewed and upheld, including the slight favor of prejudice attributed to the severity of Palacio’s crimes that included a homicide. Same factor compared to weight of prejudice in cases involving more severe crimes of capital murder and rape.

Kansas Supreme Court has never directly addressed whether explicit questioning is always interrogation, but cases have indicated it is not. Court now confirms that an officer’s words or actions, including explicit questions, is interrogation only if the officer should have known that the questioning was reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response from the suspect. In this case, the officers’ comments and questions were not interrogation and did not violate Fifth Amendment. Palacio thus was free to waive his previously invoked right, and knowingly and intelligently did so. Under facts in this case, district court did not err in finding the officers did not threaten, coerce, or engage in deceptive practices, and in concluding Palacio’s confession was voluntary.

CONCURRENCE (Johnson, J.): Concurs in the result.

STATUTE: K.S.A. 22-2616, -2616(1)

appeals—criminal law—evidence
state v. rucker
wyandotte district court—affirmed
NO. 117,143—june 7, 2019

FACTS: Rucker was convicted of first-degree felony murder. He appealed, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence supporting that conviction. He also claimed the district court erred in admitting gruesome photographs of the victim that had no probative value on issues in dispute at trial, and that only inflamed passions of the jury.

ISSUES: (1) Sufficiency of the evidence; (2) admission of photographs

HELD: State alleged the victim was killed while Rucker was “in the commission of” or “attempt to commit” one or more of four inherently dangerous felonies: robbery, rape, aggravated kidnapping, and aggravated burglary. Rucker’s challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence supporting this alternative means crime fails because the evidence considered in the light most favorable to the state supports a jury finding that Rucker committed the four underlying felonies.

At trial, Rucker did not object to the admission of any of the photographs, and stipulated to their admission. Rucker did not preserve this issue for appeal, and merits of his argument are not reached.

STATUTE: K.S.A. 21-3401(b), -3426, -3436(a)(2), (3), (5), (10), -3716 (Furse)

 

Kansas Court of Appeals

 criminal

criminal law—statutes
state v. glover
sumner district court—affirmed
NO. 120,098—june 7, 2019

FACTS: Glover entered unlocked church and entered locked sacristy where he stole items from a locked cabinet. State charged him with burglary. District court dismissed the charge, reasoning the State did not prove Glover entered the building without authorization because church was open to the public. State appealed, arguing the sacristy can be considered a building or structure under the Kansas burglary statute.

ISSUE: (1) Kansas burglary statute—building or structure

HELD: A locked sacristy inside an unlocked church is not a building or structure as the terms are used in K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 21-5807(a). Published and unpublished opinions in Court of Appeals are reviewed as seeming to read into the burglary statute a definition of building or structure that hinges, in part, on whether an individual or entity is renting or leasing a space within the main building. But under plain language of the statute which the Legislature has not modified for 19 years, the sacristy was nothing more than a room within the church building. District court’s dismissal of the burglary charge is affirmed.

STATUTE: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 21-5807(a)(2)

Tags:  8807  Attorney Discipline  Haskell District  Johnson District  Riley District  Saline District  Sumner District  Wilson District 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

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 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

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 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

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 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

September 18 and 21, 2018 Digests

Posted By Administration, Monday, September 24, 2018

Kansas Supreme Court

Attorney Discipline

ORDER OF DISBARMENT
IN RE MICHAEL P. PELOQUIN
NO. 19,846 — September 18, 2018

FACTS: In a letter dated September 13, 2018, Michael P. Peloquin voluntarily surrendered his license to practice law. At the time of surrender, a formal complaint was pending alleging violations of: KRPC 1.3 (diligence); 1.4 (communication); 1.16 (termination of representation; 3.2 (expediting litigation); 5.5 (unauthorized practice of law); 7.3 (client solicitation); and 8.4 (professional misconduct). There were also allegations that Peloquin violated Supreme Court Rule 218. The court accepted the surrender of Peloquin's license, and he is disbarred.

Civil

BREACH OF TRUST—DAMAGES
ELLIS LIVING TRUST V. ELLIS LIVING TRUST
SEDGWICK DISTRICT COURT—REVERSED and CASE REMANDED
COURT OF APPEALS—REVERSED
NO. 113,097—SEPTEMBER 21, 2018

FACTS: Alain Ellis and her husband, Dr. Harvey Ellis, both executed living trusts. After Alain died, Harvey served as trustee of Alain's trust. The terms of Alain's trust provided that all income went to Harvey during his life. Upon his death, the trust was to be divided equally between the Ellises' two sons, with each receiving income from the principal. While acting as trustee, Harvey improperly converted a substantial amount from Alain's trust and placed the converted assets into his own trust. After Harvey died, the improper transfers were discovered and over $1 million was returned to Alain's trust. Alain's trust and the trust beneficiaries sought additional damages and filed suit against Harvey's trust, Harvey's estate, and individuals who advised Harvey while he was still living. Before trial, the district court ruled that Alain's trust could not seek punitive damages from Harvey's estate because Harvey was deceased. It also concluded that Alain's trust was not entitled to recover double damages. Alain's trust appealed these rulings to the court of appeals, which affirmed the district court's rulings. Alain's petition for review was granted on these two issues.

ISSUES: (1) Punitive damages from a deceased trustee; (2) double damages

HELD: The question of whether a plaintiff can recover punitive damages from the estate of a deceased tortfeaser is an issue of first impression. The Kansas statutes are silent on this issue. But the statutes do provide that an estate can stand in the shoes of a deceased tortfeaser, especially because an estate exists to pay the financial obligations of the deceased. And a threat of punitive damages may serve to discourage wrongdoing by trustees. For these reasons, a trust may seek punitive damages from the estate of a deceased trustee. Since that issue was not put to a jury in this case, the case must be remanded. This rationale also allows for a plaintiff to seek statutory double damages against a trustee's estate because those damages are penal in nature and serve the same purpose as punitive damages.

STATUTE: K.S.A. 58a-1002, -1002(a), -1002(a)(3), -1002(c), 60-1801, -3702, -3702(a), -3702(c), -3702(d), -3703

STATUTE OF FRAUDS
DEWITTE INSURANCE AGENCY V. FINANCIAL ASSOCIATES MIDWEST
JOHNSON DISTRICT COURT—CASE REMANDED
COURT OF APPEALS — REVERSED
NO. 115,126—SEPTEMBER 21, 2018

FACTS: Three individuals worked for Financial Associates as area managers. These individuals trained new insurance agents and provided administrative support. As part of their compensation, the area managers received one percent of the premium paid on all policies from Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Kansas City. This compensation was due to them not only during their employment but after their employment ended, until the policies they had signed were no longer renewed. The payments were made for more than 20 years. After Financial Associates sold its agency to Blue Cross, Blue Cross stopped paying the area managers this one percent premium portion. After the area managers asked for the payment to be resumed and Blue Cross refused, the area managers filed suit claiming breach of contract. The district court decided in favor of Financial Associates, concluding that the area managers' contracts did not govern the one percent premium payment and that any oral agreement to make that payment was unenforceable under the statute of frauds. The Court of Appeals affirmed, and the area managers' petition for review was granted on the statute of frauds issue.

ISSUE: (1) Statute of frauds full-performance exception

HELD: The plain language of K.S.A. 33-106 does not include any exceptions to the statute of frauds. But the full-performance exception to the statute of frauds was developed in common law and recognized in Kansas shortly after statehood. The legislature's failure to change the statute shows that the legislature has acquiesced to the full-performance exception. In Kansas, the full-performance exception requires the full performance of only one party to an agreement. Because the area managers performed their part of the contract for over 20 years, the full-performance exception applies, and the alleged oral agreement is removed from the statute of frauds.

STATUTE: K.S.A. 33-106

Kansas Court of Appeals

Civil

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW—DUI
PEARSON V. DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
WYANDOTTE DISTRICT COURT—REVERSED AND DISMISSED
NO. 118,696—SEPTEMBER 21, 2018

FACTS: Pearson was arrested and his breath test showed alcohol levels above the legal limit. After being served with a suspension notice, Pearson timely requested an administrative hearing with the Department of Revenue. Pearson appeared for the scheduled hearing but the arresting officer did not, and the hearing officer dismissed the suspension order. A few days later, the hearing officer learned that the officer had attempted to notify officials that he was hospitalized and would not be able to attend the hearing. After receiving that information, the hearing officer withdrew the dismissal order and set a new hearing date to consider Pearson's suspension. Pearson objected, but the hearing was held and a new hearing officer affirmed the suspension of Pearson's driver's license. After Pearson filed a petition for judicial review, the district court affirmed, finding that the hearing officer was a party to the proceedings and could withdraw the dismissal. Pearson appealed.

ISSUES: (1) Jurisdiction; (2) ability to withdraw an order

HELD: The order withdrawing the dismissal and setting the matter for a second hearing was not a final agency action. As such, Pearson could not have filed a petition for judicial review of that order. Pearson was allowed to appeal only at the conclusion of the second proceeding, where the new hearing officer affirmed the suspension of his driving privileges. There is no express or implicit statutory authority to allow a hearing officer to reconsider, grant a rehearing, or set aside an administrative suspension order after the order's effective date. The district court erred when it found that the hearing officer was a party to the action, giving her the authority to withdraw the order of dismissal. In the absence of a request for reconsideration, the hearing officer could not withdraw the order of dismissal and reinstate the proceedings against Pearson.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 8-259(a), -1002, -1002(a), -1002(f), -1020, -1020(d)(1), -1020(k), -1020(m), -1020(n), -1020(o), -1020(p), -1020(q), 77-621(a)(1); and K.S.A. 77-607(a), -607(b)(1), -607(b)(2)

Tags:  Attorney Discipline  Johnson District  Sedgwick District  Wyandotte District 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

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 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)