Kansas Supreme Court
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.
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.
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)
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
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)