Posted By Administration,
Tuesday, January 15, 2019
| Comments (0)
Kansas Supreme Court
ORDER OF DISBARMENT
IN THE MATTER OF LAURENCE M. JARVIS
NO. 07012 – JANUARY 8, 2019
FACTS: In a letter addressed to the Clerk of the Appellate Courts, Laurence M. Jarvis voluntarily surrendered his license to practice law in Kansas. At the time of surrender, Jarvis' license was indefinitely suspended and he faced an additional formal hearing on allegations of misconduct.
HELD: The Court accepted the surrender of Jarvis' license and ordered that he be disbarred.
ORDER OF DISBARMENT
IN THE MATTER OF JOHN M. KNOX
NO. 119,254 – JANUARY 11, 2019
FACTS: The Disciplinary Administrator filed a formal complaint against Knox which alleged violations of KRPC 1.1 (competence); 1.3 (diligence); 1.4(a) (communication); 1.5(d) (fees); 3.2 (expediting litigation); 4.1(a) (truthfulness in statements to others); 8.4(c) (engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation); 8.4(d) (engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice); (8.4)(g) (engaging in conduct adversely reflecting on a lawyer's fitness to practice law); and Rule 207(b) (failure to cooperate in a disciplinary action). The matter arose after Knox was retained to represent clients in a personal injury matter. He failed to perform any of the duties for which he was hired and failed to communicate with his clients. Knox failed to respond once the formal complaint was filed.
HEARING PANEL: The panel determined that although Knox failed to appear he was given appropriate service and notice of the formal hearing. There was adequate evidence to show that Knox committed the violations as alleged in the complaint. The hearing panel found a number of aggravating circumstances, including the vulnerability of the client and Knox's patterns of misconduct. Knox's failure to participate in the disciplinary proceeding meant there were no mitigating circumstances to consider. The Disciplinary Administrator recommended that Knox be disbarred and the hearing panel agreed.
HELD: Knox did not appear at the hearing before the Kansas Supreme Court. The court determined that there was clear and convincing evidence that Knox violated multiple rules of professional conduct. The Disciplinary Administrator continued to recommend disbarment and the court agreed. Knox is disbarred.
ORDER OF DISCHARGE FROM PROBATION
IN THE MATTER OF SUSAN L. BOWMAN
NO. 109,512 – JANUARY 9, 2019
FACTS: The court suspended Bowman's license to practice law in Kansas on October 18, 2013, for a period of 12 months. Bowman was required to undergo a reinstatement hearing prior to reconsideration being considered. After the hearing, Bowman was reinstated and placed on probation. Bowman filed a motion for discharge from probation in November 2018, along with affidavits demonstrating compliance with the terms of probation. The Disciplinary Administrator did not object.
HELD: After reviewing the motions and affidavits, and the response of the Disciplinary Administrator, the court grants Bowman's motion for discharge from probation.
NAUHEIM V. CITY OF TOPEKA
SHAWNEE DISTRICT COURT – REVERSED and REMANDED
COURT OF APPEALS – AFFIRMED
NO. 114,271 – JANUARY 11, 2019
FACTS: The City of Topeka negotiated with business owners to purchase land in order to build a drainage system for city property. The negotiations resulted in the City's purchase of the property and the businesses' relocation without the use of eminent domain power. After the move, the business owners sued the City for relocation costs under K.S.A. 26-518, which allows for costs when real property is acquired by a condemning authority through negotiation in advance of a condemnation action. The City countered that it never intended to condemn the property and also noted that the business owners were not "displaced persons" under the statute because the property was actually owned by a landlord. The district court granted the City's motion for summary judgment, holding that the business owners were not displaced persons and that the property acquisition was not made in advance of a condemnation. On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed, finding that the business owners were displaced persons. The panel remanded for further factual findings on the question of whether the purchase negotiations were conducted in advance of a condemnation. The business owners appealed the question of whether a displaced person must prove that a condemning authority threatened condemnation or took affirmative action towards condemnation prior to acquisition. That petition for review was granted. The City did not cross-petition on the Court of Appeals' other findings.
ISSUES: (1) Must a displaced person prove that a condemning authority had an intent to condemn in order to receive statutory relocation assistance
HELD: K.S.A. 26-518 requires a condemning authority to pay relocation costs when an acquisition occurs through negotiation before a condemnation action or when an acquisition actually occurs through condemnation. Nothing in the statute requires the City to pay relocation benefits as part of any public project. Whether a negotiation occurs "in advance of" a condemnation action is a question of fact that must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence.
STATUTES: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 26-201, -501(a), -518, -518(a); K.S.A. 12-101, Second, -101, Fourth
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE – DISCOVERY – MOTIONS – STATUTES
STATE V. ROBINSON
SEDGWICK DISTRICT COURT – AFFIRMED
No. 116,650 – JANUARY 11, 2019
FACTS: Robinson convicted of capital murder and other crimes. Life prison term without parole imposed with a 247 additional months. Convictions and sentence affirmed in direct appeal. 293 Kan. 1002 (2012). He filed 2015 motion under K.S.A. 60-237 citing Brady v Maryland,373 U.S. 83 (11963) and Giglio v. United States, 405 U.S. 150 (1972), to compel exculpatory discovery of detective who had testified at his trial. District court denied the motion finding no rule of criminal procedure allowing for such a motion, and the State had asserted there was no such information to produce. Robinson appealed.
ISSUE: Postconviction Motion
HELD: District court’s decision is affirmed. Nothing in K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 60-237 permits a postconviction motion to compel discovery in a criminal case.
STATUTES: K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 60-234, -237, -237(a)(1)-(3), -237(a)(3)(B)(iv)
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE – SENTENCES- STATUTES
STATE V. AYERS
WYANDOTTE DISTRICT COURT – AFFIRMED IN PART, VACATED IN PART, REMANDED
No. 117,654 – JANUARY 11, 2019
FACTS: Ayers convicted on guilty pleas to multiple felonies related to a murder. Sentencing court imposed consecutive sentences consecutive to a life sentence without possibility of parole, and assessed BIDS fees. Ayers appealed claiming the district judge failed to consider on the record Ayers’ ability to pay the assessed BIDS fees. He also claimed the district judge abused its discretion by ordering most of the on-grid sentences to run consecutively to a life sentence with no possibility of parole.
ISSUES: (1) BIDS. Fees, (2) Sentences
HELD: Pursuant to State v. Robinson, 281 Kan. 538 (2006), the BIDS fee assessment must be vacated and case remanded for reconsideration of that fee. Court rejects State’s argument that there is no additional fact-finding any court must do to resolve the issue of BIDS fess, and that the BIDS fee assessed was “unworkable” as found in restitution statute.
No abuse of discretion in district court’s sentencing in this case. Recognized purposes of sentencing go beyond pure incapacitation, and include retribution for Ayers’ other crimes. Also, sentencing defendants to terms of imprisonment they are unlikely to serve is common.
STATUTES: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-6604(b)(1); K.S.A. 2005 Supp. 22-4513, -4513(b)
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW – CRIMINAL PROCEDURE – MOTIONS – STATUTES
STATE V. SAMUEL
WYANDOTTE DISTRICT COURT – AFFIRMED
No. 116,423 – JANUARY 11, 2019
FACTS: Samuel convicted of second-degree murder. Nineteen years later, citing Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012), and Montgomery v. Louisiana, 136 S.Ct. 718 (2016), he filed motion to correct an illegal sentence and claiming his life sentence with mandatory 10-year terms violates the Eighth Amendment because he was 16 years old when he committed the crime. District court summarily dismissed the motion, holding a motion to correct an illegal sentence was not a proper vehicle to challenge a sentence as unconstitutional. Samuel appealed.
ISSUE: Motion to Correct an Illegal Sentence
HELD: District court’s judgment is affirmed. Samuel’s Eighth Amendment claims do not fit within the definition of an “illegal sentence.” They do not implicate the sentencing court’s jurisdiction, and a motion to correct an illegal sentence under the statute cannot raise claims that the sentence violates a constitutional provision.
STATUTES: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 22-3504(3), -3601(b)(3)-(4); K.S.A> 22-3504, -3504(1); K.S.A. 1996 Supp. 21-3402(a)
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW – EVIDENCE – FOURTH AMENDMENT – SEARCH AND SEIZURE
STATE V. DOELZ
LEAVENWORTH DISTRICT COURT – REVERSED AND REMANDED; COURT OF APPEALS – REVERSED
No. 113,165 – JANUARY 11, 2019
FACTS: Investigating a recent bank robbery by two black males, officer stopped vehicle in which Doelz was a passenger. Officer seized a box he observed on the back seat. When opened, the box contained a digital scale. Methamphetamine then found in search of the vehicle. Doelz arrested and convicted on drug charge. He appealed, claiming district court erred in denying motion to suppress evidence obtained in an unlawful search. Doelz argued in part: (1) the investigatory detention was unlawfully extended once officer discovered all in the car were white males; (B) officer unlawfully seized the digital scale without a warrant or a valid exception to the warrant requirement; and (c) officer lacked probable cause to search the whole vehicle. Court of Appeals affirmed in unpublished opinion. Doelz’s petition for review granted.
ISSUE: Lawfulness of Vehicle Search
HELD: Under totality of the circumstances which included a report the bank robbery car was driven by a white male, reasonable suspicion for the investigatory detention was not unlawfully extended. However, the search of the box retrieved from the backseat was unlawful. Plain-view exception did not permit further search of the box without a warrant or another established exception. Absent consideration of this alleged drug paraphernalia seized from the vehicle at the time of the stop, the remaining circumstances were insufficient to establish a fair probability the vehicle contained contraband. District court thus erred in finding the automobile exception to the warrant requirement applied. Panel’s decision to affirm the district court’s denial of the motion to suppress is reversed. Matter is reversed and remanded for a new trial.
STATUTES: K.S.A. 22-2402
Kansas Court of Appeals
DIVORCE – JUDGMENTS
IN RE MARRIAGE OF STROM
RILEY DISTRICT COURT—AFFIRMED
NO. 118,676—JANUARY 11, 2019
FACTS: The Stroms married in 1986 and divorced in 1995. At the time of the divorce, Eric was retired from the military and was receiving military retirement benefits. In the property settlement agreement, Eric agreed to give Christina a portion of these retirement benefits. Although the agreement was incorporated into the divorce decree, Eric never made any of the required payments. Almost 22 years later, Eric moved to have the district court declare this division of his military retirement pay a void and unenforceable judgment. He claimed the judgment was dormant because Christina failed to file a renewal affidavit within five years of the divorce and did not revive the judgment within seven years of the divorce. Christina countered by moving to enforce and revive the judgment. The district court agreed with Christina and held that any payment due after September 1, 2010, was revived and enforceable. Eric appealed.
ISSUES: (1) Ability to revive the judgment
HELD: Because Eric and Christina were not married for 10 years, she was unable to file a QDRO and obtain direct payment from the military finance center. The only way the judgment could have been fulfilled was by direct payment from Eric. These payments had to be treated like monthly installment payments. As such, the dormancy period for each individual payment started when it became due and collectable. Christina can now execute on the last five years of judgments and can revive the judgments for the two years preceding that.
DISSENT: (Buser, J.) Christina had an obligation to attempt to enforce her judgment. Because she didn't, the judgment is unenforceable and should be extinguished.
STATUTES: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 60-2403, -2403(a)(1), -2403(c)
EQUITY – JURISDICTION – WATER RIGHTS
GARETSON BROTHERS V. AMERICAN WARRIOR, INC.
HASKELL DISTRICT COURT – AFFIRMED IN PART, DISMISSED IN PART
NO. 117,404 – JANUARY 11, 2019
FACTS: Garetson Brothers owns water rights in Haskell County. It sought injunctive relief to prevent American Warrior, Inc. – the nearest junior rights holder – from impairing its water right. A referee found that American Warrior was substantially impairing Garetson's senior right and entered a temporary and then a permanent injunction prohibiting American Warrior from exercising its junior water rights. American Warrior appealed.
ISSUES: (1) Subject matter jurisdiction; (2) scope of the notice of appeal; (3) grant of permanent injunction
HELD: The amendments to K.S.A. 82a-716 and -717, which require a party to exhaust administrative remedies before seeking an injunction, did not apply retroactively in this matter. The court has subject matter jurisdiction to hear the merits of this appeal because American Warrior was not required to exhaust administrative remedies. In this civil case, the court only has jurisdiction to consider rulings which were specifically listed in the notice of appeal. The notice of appeal did not contain any "catch-all" language that would permit the court to consider additional rulings. A senior water right is still impaired even if the right holder has permission to pull water from a third party. There is no requirement that economic conditions be considered when determining whether a senior rights holder's usage is impaired. There is no evidence that Garetson had unclean hands in its prior water usage.
STATUTES: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 60-102, -2103(b), 82a-701(d), -716, -717a; K.S.A. 82a-711(c), -716, -717a, -725
Posted By Administration,
Monday, November 5, 2018
| Comments (0)
Kansas Court of Appeals
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW—FEDERAL PREEMPTION—PUBLIC UTILITIES—STATUTES
STATE v. BNSF RAILWAY COMPANY
CHASE DISTRICT COURT—REVERSED
NO. 118,095—NOVEMBER 2 , 2018
FACTS: District court convicted Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) of violating K.S.A. 66-273 for blocking a roadway in Chase County for approximately four hours. The statute prohibits trains from standing on a public road in or near a city or town for more than 10 minutes. BNSF appealed on issues including whether the Kansas statute is preempted by the federal Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act (ICCT) and the Federal Railroad Safety Act.
ISSUE: Federal preemption of state law
HELD: The ICCTA pre-empts K.S.A. 66-273. BNSF’s conviction is reversed as a matter of law. ICCT created the Surface Transportation Board (STB), giving it jurisdiction to regulate railroad transportation. While no court has addressed whether federal law preempts K.S.A. 66-273 or its predecessors, nearly all federal and state courts have concluded that state laws regulating how long a train can block a railroad crossing, and civil claims for alleged violations of state anti-blocking statutes, are preempted because they specifically target railroad operations. Likewise, K.S.A. 66-273 infringes upon the exclusive jurisdiction of the STB because the statute specifically targets railroad carriers and has more than a remote or incidental effect on railroad operations.
STATUTES: 49 U.S.C. §§ 1001 et seq. and 10501(a)-(b) (2016); K.S.A. 66-273, -274
JAYHAWK RACING PROPERTIES V. CITY OF TOPEKA
SHAWNEE DISTRICT COURT—REVERSED AND REMANDED
NO. 118,035—NOVEMBER 2, 2018
FACTS: In 2006, the City issued $10 million in Sales Tax and Revenue Bonds to finance improvements to Heartland Park racetrack. At the time the bonds were issued, the City owned Heartland Park in fee simple for a term of years, subject to Jayhawk Racing's reversionary interest. When the bonds failed to produce adequate revenue, the City indicated a desire to purchase Jayhawk Racing's reversionary interest in the property so that the City owned the facility outright. It was anticipating that this purchase would also be financed by the issuance of STAR bonds. But after an election changed the composition of the Topeka City Council, the City decided not to pursue the STAR bond sale. Without STAR bonds, there was no funding for the purchase of Jayhawk Racing's reversionary interest. Jayhawk Racing sued the City for breach of contract. The district court granted the City's motion for summary judgment, finding that the City could not bind its successors to issue STAR bonds. Jayhawk Racing appealed.
ISSUES: (1) Nature of the contract; (2) enforceability of the contract; (3) cash-basis laws
HELD: Municipal corporations have both governmental and proprietary capacities. The contract to purchase Jayhawk Racing's reversionary interest was a proprietary contract akin to a purchase agreement. Because the contract is proprietary, future City Councils were bound by the agreement. The district court erred when it focused only on the method of funding. The contractual provision which provided for the issuance of bonds is an exception to the Cash-Basis and Budget Laws.
STATUTES: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 10-1116(a); K.S.A. 10-1112, -1119, 12-3013(e)(1), 79-2935
IN RE ESTATE OF FECHNER
GEARY DISTRICT COURT—VACATED AND REMANDED
NO. 118,809—NOVEMBER 2, 2018
FACTS: Chad Fechner died in 2014, intestate and with only one living heir, his aunt, Rita Young. She opened a probate estate and was surprised when Gary Fechner filed a claim alleging that he was Chad's half uncle. Rita questioned the accuracy of the birth certificate that Gary put forth as proof; there had been prior suggestions that Chad's father was the product of an extramarital affair, which would mean he did not share DNA with Gary. Rita asked the district court to order Gary to undergo DNA testing to prove his biological relationship to Chad. Gary objected, claiming there was no authority to order DNA testing in a probate case. The district court agreed, disallowed the DNA testing, and relied on Gary's evidence in proclaiming him an heir. Rita appealed.
ISSUE: (1) Ability to order DNA testing in a probate case
HELD: If Gary truly is the brother of Chad's father, he would be an heir under the probate code. The probate code defines "children" as "biological children" or as children whose parentage has been determined under the Kansas Parentage Act. The Kansas Parentage Act allows for biology, adoption, or a determination under the Parentage Act. In this case, there is no way to initiate a Parentage Act case because Chad's father died many years ago. The Code of Civil Procedure allows for DNA testing in a probate case. But the district court must make Parentage Act and Ross findings about whether such testing is warranted. The district court's mistake of law about its ability to order testing was an abuse of discretion. That court should reconsider Rita's request.
STATUTES: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 23-2209(a), -2212(a), 60-235(a)(1), -235(a)(2); K.S.A. 59-501(a), -504, -508, -2212
ALLISON V. STATE
MONTGOMERY DISTRICT COURT—DISMISSED
NO. 114,607—NOVEMBER 2, 2018
FACTS: Allison was convicted of serious felonies, and his convictions were affirmed on direct appeal. He then filed a motion for K.S.A. 60-1507 habeas corpus relief, claiming that trial counsel was ineffective. The district court appointed counsel for Allison and held an evidentiary hearing. At the conclusion of that hearing, the district court denied Allison's motion, finding that trial counsel was constitutionally sufficient. Allison docketed an appeal and then asked for a remand to the district court under State v. Van Cleave so that he could argue that his K.S.A. 60-1507 counsel was ineffective. After the hearing, the district court concluded that Allison was prejudiced by ineffective counsel at his K.S.A. 60-1507 hearing, and that the only remedy was to hold a new hearing on that motion. The State appealed that ruling.
ISSUE: (1) Jurisdiction
HELD: It is undisputed that ruling being appealed here is not a final decision. It did not dispose of the entire merits of the issue at hand—whether Allison's trial counsel was ineffective. The hearing on the Van Cleave remand was only an intermediate step. Because the ruling is not final, the court lacks jurisdiction to hear the appeal at this time. The appeal is dismissed.
STATUTES: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 60-1507(d), -2102(a)(4), -2102(c); K.S.A. 60-1507
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW—CRIMINAL LAW—FOURTH AMENDMENT—SEARCH AND SEIZURE
STATE v. RITCHEY
SHAWNEE DISTRICT COURT—AFFIRMED
NO. 118,905—NOVEMBER 2, 2018
FACTS: Ritchey was arrested for an outstanding warrant while sitting as a front-seat passenger in a parked van. After Ritchey was out of the van and handcuffed, officer searched purse Ritchey left in the van and found drug residue. Ritchey was charged with possession of methamphetamine. She filed a motion to suppress, arguing the drug evidence was found during an illegal search of her purse. District court granted the motion, finding search of Ritchey’s purse was neither a search incident to arrest nor an inventory search. State filed interlocutory appeal, arguing the search was incident to the arrest, and even if illegal, the evidence would have been inevitably found during an inventory search at the jail. State also argued suppression did not advance purpose of the exclusionary rule.
ISSUE: Warrantless search of purse
HELD: District court properly suppressed evidence from the purse because State failed to show any exception for a warrantless search. Officers’ search of the purse was not a valid search incident to a lawful arrest where the purse was not on Ritchey’s person, there was no threat that Ritchey could use any weapons in her purse against the officers, and no possibility the purse contained evidence of her crime of arrest—an outstanding warrant. Next, applying rationale in State v. Baker, 306 Kan. 585 (2017), no showing that items within the closed purse would have inevitably been discovered where there was no evidence that police had policy to take items like the purse into possession for safekeeping, and no evidence the purse was sent along with Ritchey to the jail. Finally, State’s argument that suppression of the evidence in this case did not serve purpose of the exclusionary rule is rejected.
STATUTE: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 22-3603
Posted By Administration,
Tuesday, October 9, 2018
| Comments (0)
Kansas Supreme Court
ORDER OF DISBARMENT
IN THE MATTER OF JEAN MARIE BOBRINK
NO. 14,366—OCTOBER 3, 2018
FACTS: Jean Marie Bobrink, an attorney licensed to practice law in Kansas, voluntarily surrendered her license. At the time of surrender, there were two disciplinary complaints pending and she was operating under an active diversion agreement. Ms. Bobrink was disbarred in Missouri in January 2018.
HELD: The Court accepted the surrender and Ms. Bobrink is disbarred.
ORDER OF DISBARMENT
IN THE MATTER OF ROBERT E. ARNOLD, III
NO. 22,544—OCTOBER 3, 2018
FACTS: Robert E. Arnold voluntarily surrendered his license to practice law in Kansas. At the time of surrender, a complaint was being investigated by the Disciplinary Administrator. The conduct which prompted the investigation in Kansas served as the basis for Mr. Arnold's disbarment in Missouri in June 2018.
HELD: The court accepted the surrender, and Mr. Arnold is disbarred.
IN RE ADOPTION OF C.L.
WYANDOTTE DISTRICT COURT–REVERSED and REMANDED
COURT OF APPEALS—REVERSED
NO. 117,723—OCTOBER 5, 2018
FACTS: C.L. was born in September 2016. Mother was not aware that she was pregnant. She placed C.L. for adoption while still in the hospital, and he was placed with custodial parents who hoped to adopt him. A social worker contacted the man who mother believed was the biological father. He was told about the baby and was asked to relinquish his parental rights. Father instead obtained counsel and sought to establish paternity; genetic testing later confirmed that father is C.L.'s biological parent. The potential adoptive parents filed an adoption petition and asked the court to terminate father's rights. Father appeared in that action and opposed adoption. The district court terminated father's parental rights, finding that father abandoned C.L. after learning of his birth. The court of appeals affirmed that finding and father's petition for review was granted.
ISSUE: (1) Sufficiency of the evidence to show support of the child
HELD: The facts established in the district court show that father made adequate efforts to support and meet his child. The putative adoptive parents made untrue allegations in their adoption petition, and the adoption petition prevented father from making efforts to support his child. This case must be remanded so that C.L. can begin to be integrated in to father's home.
STATUTE: K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 59-2921(a), -2136(h)(1), -2136(h)(1)(A), -2136(h)(1)(C), -2136(h)(2)(A), -2136(h)(2)(B)
state v. weekes
saline district court—Case Remanded
court of appeals—reversed
No. 115,739—october 5, 2018
FACTS: Weekes was convicted of unlawful possession of hydrocodone and sentenced to 12 months’ probation with underlying 30-month prison term. State later filed motion to revoke probation. Weeks filed motion pursuant to State v. McGill, 271 Kan. 150 (2001), seeking a reduced underlying prison term or to be allowed to serve sentences concurrently. District court revoked probation, denied the motion to modify the sentence, and imposed the original underlying sentence. Weekes appealed. In an unpublished opinion, court of appeals dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction, relying on State v. Everett, No. 111168, 2015 WL 4366445 (Kan.App.2015)(unpublished), rev. denied 305 Kan. 1254 (2016), and citing K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 2016 Supp. 21-6801(c)(1). Weekes’ petition for review granted.
ISSUE: Appellate jurisdiction
HELD: Review was limited to issue of appellate jurisdiction. Logical fallacies in Everett rationale are identified. Panel had jurisdiction to review whether the district court abused its discretion in denying Weekes’ motion for a post-probation-revocation sentence modification, pursuant to K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 22-3716(c)(1)(E), even if the denial results in the imposition of an original sentence that was a presumptive sentence for the crime of conviction. The panel’s dismissal for lack of jurisdiction is reversed. Appeal was reinstated and remanded to court of appeals for consideration on the merits.
STATUTES: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-6803(q), 22-3716(c)(1)(E); K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 21-6820(c)(1)
appeals—constitutional law—criminal law—criminal procedure—evidence fourth amendment—prosecutors
state v. lowery
shawnee district court—affirmed
No. 115,377—october 5, 2018
FACTS: Related to a shooting between two vehicles on victims’ wedding night, Lowery was convicted of charges including premeditated first-degree murder of Davenport-Ray, attempted premeditated first-degree murder of Ray, and unlawful discharge of a firearm at an occupied building. On appeal, Lowery claimed: (1) prosecutorial error during trial and in closing argument; (2) he was denied his right to be present when district court held hearing on Lowery’s motion in limine and compelled a State witness to testify pursuant to grant of immunity; (3) district court erred by instructing jury on law of aiding and abetting without modifying the standard instruction; (4) his post-arrest statements to law enforcement officers were involuntary and should have been suppressed; (5) the partially redacted video recording of his interview with law enforcement officers contained inadmissible evidence; (6) prosecutor’s questions to witness went beyond the scope of defense counsel’s direct examination and elicited hearsay testimony; (7) insufficient evidence supported his convictions; and (8) cumulative error denied him a fair trial.
ISSUES: (1) Prosecutorial error, (2) right to be present at every critical trial stage, (3) aiding and abetting instruction, (4) voluntariness of a defendant’s statements to law enforcement, (5) failure to redact evidence from defendant’s video-recorded statement, (6) hearsay evidence beyond the scope of direct examination, (7) sufficiency of the evidence, (8) cumulative error
HELD: Defendant cannot circumvent contemporaneous objection requirements of K.S.A. 60-404 by characterizing an appellate issue as prosecutorial error rather than evidentiary error. No review of evidentiary claims that were not preserved for appeal. No abuse of district court’s discretion in denying Lowery’s motion for a new trial based on prosecutor’s comments and gestures. No error in prosecutor’s use of puzzle and picture analogies in this case which is factually distinguished from State v. Crawford, 300 Kan. 740 (2014), and State v. Sherman, 305 Kan. 88 (2016). Lowery’s claim of prosecutorial error for violating trial court’s orders in limine is unavailing. While a close call, prosecutor did not comment on witness credibility. Prosecutor improperly used “golden rule” argument in closing argument, and egregiously misstated the DNA evidence and testimony of the DNA analyst, but on facts in this case these were not reversible errors.
Kansas Supreme Court has not addressed whether an immunity hearing is a critical stage of the proceedings at which the defendant must be present, but other courts have found the defendant has no such right. However, district court violated Lowery’s statutory rights by conducting a hearing on Lowery’s motion in limine without Lowery or defense counsel present. Under facts in this case, the error was harmless.
Lowery’s instructional error claim is not reviewed because Lowery invited the error.
There is no express requirement in Miranda that a defendant be informed of the right to stop answering questions at any time and terminate the interview. Instead, this is part of the totality of the circumstances to be reviewed in the voluntariness calculus. Here, Lowery’s statements to law enforcement were freely and voluntarily made. District court’s Jackson v. Denno ruling is affirmed.
New allegations of material that should have been redacted were not preserved for appellate review. On claims properly before the court, the jury should not have heard officer comments on the possible sentence imposed if Lowery were to be found guilty, officer explanations on the law of felony murder, or statements implying that Lowery had a criminal history. But it is presumed the jury followed the instruction to not consider the ultimate disposition in this case.
Prosecutor’s questions were not outside the scope of direct examination. Officer’s testimony did not constitute inadmissible hearsay evidence, and no reasonable probability that evidence from this testimony affected the outcome of trial.
Evidence viewed in light most favorable to the State was sufficient to support Lowery’s convictions.
The three prosecutorial errors found in this case were harmless beyond a reasonable doubt, and the fairness of Lowery’s trial was not impacted by his absence at the motion hearing. Evidence against Lowery was not overwhelming, but circumstantially strong enough that cumulative effect of the errors did not deprive Lowery a fair trial.
STATUTES: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-5210(b), 22-3208(7), -3501, -3601(b)(3)-(4), 60-261, 455, -455(a), -460; K.S.A. 22-3403(3), 60-404, -421, -455, -446, -447
attorneys—criminal law—criminal procedure—ethics—evidence judges—juries—
state v. miller
douglas district court—affirmed
No. 114,373—october 5, 2018
FACTS: Miller was convicted of premeditated first-degree murder of his wife. State v. Miller, 284 Kan. 682 (2007)(Miller I). In 2012 unpublished opinion, court of appeals granted Miller post-conviction relief and ordered a new trial. Kansas Supreme Court affirmed that decision. Miller v. State, 298 Kan. 921 (2014)(Miller II). On retrial, Miller again convicted of premeditated first-degree murder. Miller appealed. As structured by the court, Miller claims trial court erred by: (1) denying motion for change of venue given extensive publicity surrounding first trial and corresponding pretrial publicity on retrial; (2) denying Miller’s for-cause challenges to 10 prospective jurors who knew of Miller’s prior conviction and/or had a preconceived opinion he was guilty; (3) denying Miller’s motion to first have jury determine if victim’s death was homicide, and then have same jury determine the degree of homicide; (4) denying portion of proposed instruction that limited jury’s consideration of dating site evidence as evidence of homicide; (5) denying motion to disqualify the district attorney’s (DA’s) office based on conflict of interest with witness and because office in possession of information from Miller’s first trial that was protected by attorney-client privilege; and (6) three times advancing an interpretation of the evidence that was not supported by the record. Miller also claimed (7) that medical evidence from State’s forensic pathologist was insufficient to establish the victim had been killed by another. Miller further claimed the trial court erred by: (8) denying motions for mistrial after prosecutor mentioned pornography in violation of in limine order, and after State’s rebuttal witness testified outside the scope of permissible rebuttal; (9) admitting evidence Miller sought to exclude through motion in limine of Miller’s extramarital affair, Miller accessing dating websites, Miller being the beneficiary of wife’s life insurance policy, and graphic photographs; and (10) granting State’s motion on first day of retrial to admit Miller’s testimony in Miller I without giving timely notice of intent to introduce this prior testimony. Finally, Miller claimed cumulative error denied him a fair trial.
ISSUES: (1) Change of venue, (2) trial court’s denial of for-cause juror challenges, (3) Denial of bifurcation request, (4) denial of complete requested limiting instruction, (5) disqualification of district attorney’s office, (6) judicial misconduct, (7) state’s failure to prove a homicide, (8) denial of mistrial motions, (9) motions in limine and admissibility of evidence, (10) admission of defendant’s prior trial testimony, (11) cumulative error
HELD: Millers’ constitutional challenge to venue fails Factors identified by United States and Kansas supreme courts are reviewed and applied, finding no presumed or actual prejudice from pretrial publicity in this case. Circumstances in State v. Carr, 300 Kan. 1 (2007), are compared.
Defense arguments regarding use of peremptory challenges, and trial court’s refusal to grant for-cause challenges, are examined. Even if district court erred in refusing to strike one prospective juror (A.S.) for cause, under facts in this case there was no showing of prejudice, and no violation of Miller’s constitutional or statutory rights.
Miller’s bifurcation claim is evidentiary rather than constitutional. District court did not err in refusing to bifurcate trial by separate elements.
No showing of error in district court’s modification of the proposed limiting instruction.
Under facts in this case, which included defendant’s son living rent free with an Assistant District Attorney (ADA), and DA’s office acquiring but not disclosing possession of a day planner of Miller’s attorney in first trial, district court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to disqualify the DA’s office based on conflict of interest or DA’s unprofessional handling of the planner. Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct discussed.
Judicial misconduct claim fails. Taken in context, trial judge’s response was not erroneous, much less misconduct.
Miller did not object to State forensic pathologist’s cause-of-death opinion until basis for that opinion had been thoroughly parsed and interminably repeated through multiple examinations by both parties. Failure to make timely contemporaneous objection defeats review of the merits of this evidentiary claim.
Prosecutor’s mention of pornography was error, but error was harmless in this case. Likewise, if any error in rebuttal witness testimony, the error was harmless.
In following precedent set in Miller I, district court did not err by admitting evidence of extramarital affair for purpose of motive. Under facts in this case, probative value of detective’s testimony about Miller accessing dating websites is tenuous but any error was harmless, and no error in admitting evidence of life insurance. District court’s admission of graphic photographs is affirmed based on law of the case established in Miller I.
Trial court’s decision to allow Miller’s retrial counsel to inspect Miller I testimony and respond with arguments was a reasonable remedy of the discovery violation. Under circumstances in this case, district court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to continue or suspend the retrial for a separate hearing on State’s motion to admit the Miller I testimony.
Viewed in context of the entire record, Miller was not so prejudiced by cumulative effect of errors declared in this case as to deny him a fair trial.
DISSENT (Johnson, J.): Notwithstanding practical and emotional costs of yet another retrial that likely again would result in a conviction, Constitutions require that result to maintain integrity of our criminal justice system. Cannot condone the conviction in this case because the retrial was fundamentally unfair. Unfairness starts with retrial’s venue, citing his dissent in Carr. Allowing juror A.S. to sit on retrial jury was fundamental error. Testimony about Miller accessing dating websites had no logical connection to a relevant fact that would make it more likely that Miller killed his wife. Imprudent to apply law of the case doctrine to uphold admission of graphic photographs. And testimony of State’s forensic pathologist should have been considered in assessing impact of cumulative error.
DISSENT (Wurtz, J., appointed to hear case vice Justice Stegall): Agrees that if an erroneous expert opinion on cause of death is added to the cumulative error analysis in this case, prejudice caused by cumulative effect of all errors denied Miller a fair trial. Also agrees that expert opinion on the cause of death was not based on medical evidence but rather on the doctor’s factual determination that Miller had lied about being in the room when his wife died. Would find Miller’s objection to expert opinion on the cause of death was sufficient to preserve the question for appellate review on the merits.
STATUTES: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 22-3212(a)(1), -3212(i), -3601(b)(3), 60-242(b), -426, -426(b); K.S.A. 2014 Supp. 60-226(b)(6)(C), -226(b)(6)(C)(ii); K.S.A. 22-2101 et seq., -2616(1), -3423(1)(c), 60-101 et seq., -404, -407(f), -445, -456, -1507
criminal law—criminal procedure—evidence—jury instructions—prosecutors
state v. anderson
bourbon district court—affirmed
No. 116,710—october 5, 2018
FACTS: Anderson was convicted of child abuse and felony murder in shaken-baby case. On appeal he claimed: (1) district court failed to give multiple acts instruction to ensure jury unanimity as to whether Anderson injured victim by throwing down on the couch or by shaking; (2) district court erroneously admitted testimony under K.S.A. 60-455 of Bodine—a person who had previously lived with Anderson and wife—about Anderson’s prior aggressive behavior toward the child victim; and (3) during closing argument the prosecutor engaged in speculation not fairly based on the evidence by suggesting Anderson believed the State’s doctors were out to get him for the fun of it, by saying Anderson was trying to manipulate jury by calling the victim his son, and by saying Anderson lost his temper which resulted in a child with massive brain injury. Anderson also claimed cumulative error denied him a fair trial.
ISSUES: (1) Refusal to give a requested unanimity instruction, (2) admission of K.S.A. 60-455 evidence, (3) prosecutorial error in closing argument, (4) cumulative error
HELD: Court reviews distinction between multiple acts and alternative means. Here, jury did not have to choose between multiple acts. District court did not err in declining to give jury a unanimity instruction.
Under facts in this case, any error district court may have made in allowing K.S.A. 60-455 testimony of Bodine about Anderson’s prior treatment of the child victim was harmless.
Prosecutor’s comments about doctors’ motives constitute error. Prosecutor arguing that jury should attribute a bad motive to Anderson referencing the victim as his son was error. And prosecutor’s remarks about Anderson losing his temper were not supported by the record, and argued facts that were contrary to the evidence. Nonetheless, under facts in this case, no reasonable possibility that the absence of prosecutor’s erroneous comments would have changed outcome of the credibility and expert battles that Anderson lost.
Cumulative error claim fails.
STATUTE: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 22-3601(b)(3), 60-261, -455, -455(b)
Posted By Administration,
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Updated: Monday, September 10, 2018
| Comments (0)
Kansas Supreme Court
Appeals–Criminal Procedure–Post-conviction Remedies–Sentences
Kirtdoll v. State
Shawnee District Court – Affirmed
– May 12, 2017
Kirtdoll’s 2004 conviction and hard 50 sentence were affirmed in his direct appeal which included an Apprendi challenge to his hard 50 sentence. No relief was granted in his two post-conviction motions under K.S.A. 60-1507. He filed a post-conviction motion in 2013, citing Alleyene v. United States, 570 U.S. __ (2013). District court analyzed the motion under K.S.A. 22-3504 and K.S.A. 60-1507 and denied relief, finding a motion to correct an illegal sentence could not be used to raise a constitutional claim, and the change in the law in Alleyne did not excuse a successive and untimely motion under K.S.A. 60-1507. Kirtdoll appealed.
ISSUES: (1) Appellate jurisdiction, (2) retroactive application of Alleyne to final cases
To dispose of the entire matter, the 60-1507 portion of the appeal is transferred to the Kansas Supreme Court on its own motion.
To the extent Kirtdoll’s motion is considered a motion to correct an illegal sentence under K.S.A. 22-3504, the rule of law in Alleyne cannot be applied retroactively to invalidate a sentence that was final when the Alleyne decision was released. For K.S.A. 60-1507 motions to be considered hereafter, Alleyne’s prospective-only change in the law cannot provide the exceptional circumstances required to permit a successive 60-1507 motion, or the manifest injustice necessary to excuse an untimely 60-1507 motion.
STATUTES: K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 22-3601(b)(3), 60-1507(d); K.S.A. 2013 Supp. 21-6620; K.S.A. 20-3018(c), 21-4635, 22-3504, 60-1507
Criminal Procedure–Sentences–Post-conviction Remedies
State v. Brown
Wyandotte District Court – Affirmed
– May 12, 2017
Brown’s 1999 conviction and hard 40 life sentence were affirmed on direct appeal, and he obtained no relief from various post-conviction motions. In 2013 he filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence, K.S.A. 22-3504, citing Alleyne v. United States, 570 U.S. __ (2013). District court denied relief, finding Alleyne did not apply retroactively to cases that were final when Alleyne was decided. Brown appealed, arguing K.S.A. 2013 Supp. 21-6620 mandates retroactive application of Alleyene.
ISSUE: Retroactive Application of Alleyne to Final Cases
A claim that a sentence violated the holding in Alleyne does not fit within the definition of an illegal sentence that may be addressed with a K.S.A. 22-3504 motion to correct an illegal sentence. K.S.A. 2013 Supp. 21-6620(d)(2) does not provide an independent reason to correct a hard 40 life sentence, such as Brown’s, that was final prior to June 2013. Because his conviction and sentence have not been vacated, they are excluded from that statute’s hard 50 sentencing procedures.
STATUTES: K.S.A. 2013 Supp. 21-6620, -6620(d)(2); K.S.A. 22-3504, -3504(1), 60-1507
Posted By Administration,
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Updated: Monday, September 10, 2018
| Comments (0)
Kansas Supreme Court
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW—CIVIL PROCEDURE
BOARD OF COUNTY COMM'RS V. KANSAS RACING & GAMING COMM'N
SHAWNEE DISTRICT COURT—AFFIRMED
NO. 115,978—MAY 5, 2017
FACTS: Castle Rock Casino Resort, LLC and the Board of County Commissioners of Cherokee County filed this action after the Kansas Lottery Commission selected Kansas Crossing Casino, LLC to manage a state-owned and operated casino in Southeast Kansas. The Lottery Commission rejected Castle Rock's proposal and suggested the state would be better served by a smaller casino in Crawford County, primarily because Castle Rock's proposed site was directly across the state line from a large casino in Oklahoma. After the Lottery Commission made its selection, the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission received many public comments, many of which disagreed with the Lottery Commission's choice. After a public hearing, the KRGC voted unanimously to approve Kansas Crossing's proposed facility. Cherokee County sought review in district court, as did Castle rock. The district court denied the requests for relief, finding that the decision to select Kansas Crossing was not arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable in light of the Southeast Kansas market. The motion to alter or amend was denied.
ISSUES: (1) Was the scope of discovery appropriate; (2) was there error when ruling on the motion to amend the petitions; (3) was there error in refusing to allow an evidentiary hearing; (4) did the KRGC misapply the lottery act by failing to make required findings; (5) was the KRGC's decision supported by sufficient evidence
HELD: The scope of discovery was within the trial court's discretion and it was unclear whether traditional discovery was available in proceedings under the KJRA. It did not matter in this case, though, since the district court disallowed discovery because the requested discovery did not relate to issues raised in the petition for judicial review. Because Appellants did not brief the issue of whether amended petitions would have prejudiced the defendants, the district court was affirmed on that issue. The request for an evidentiary hearing was a duplicative renewed motion for discovery that was properly denied. The KRGC has broad discretion to decide which gaming contract is best for the state. The statute does not specifically require findings of fact. The record as a whole shows substantial evidence to support the choice of Kansas Crossing.
STATUTES: K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 74-8702(f)(2), -8734(b), -8734(g), -8734(h) -8735, -8735(a), -8735(h), -8736(b), -8736(e), -8737, 77-603(a), -614(b), -614(c), -621(a), -621(c), -621(d); K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 74-8736(b), 77-621(c); K.S.A. 2007 Supp. 74-8702(f), -8734(a); K.S.A. 77-606, -619(a)
state v. reese
sedgwick district court—affirmed
court of appeals—affirmed
no. 110,021—may 5, 2017
FACTS: Reese convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The sentencing court applied recent amendments to Kansas Offender Registration Act (KORA) making Reese’s use of deadly weapon a person felony, and lengthening the time violent offenders are required to register. Reese filed post-judgment motions to challenge the retroactivity of the KORA amendments. District court ruled that it lost subject matter jurisdiction once the sentencing order became final. Reese appealed, arguing the district court possessed jurisdiction to consider his challenge as a motion to correct an illegal sentence. In unpublished opinion, Court of Appeals cited cases that rejected a similar argument, and dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction. Reese’s petition for review granted.
ISSUE: Motion to Correct Illegal Sentence - Constitutional Claim
HELD: Lower courts had jurisdiction to hear and consider Reese’s motions to correct an illegal sentence, but Reese’s claim is premised on allegations of constitutional deficiencies. As in State v. Dickey, 305 Kan. 217 (2016), Reese advanced no meritorious argument demonstrating his sentence is illegal, so his claim fails on the merits. Judgments below are affirmed as right for the wrong reason.
STATUTES: K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 22-4902(e)(2), -4906(a)(1); K.S.A. 22-3504, -3504(1), -4901 et seq.
state v. Wood
sedgwick district court—affirmed; court of appeals—affirmed
no. 111,243—may 5, 2017
FACTS: Wood was convicted in 2003 of attempted indecent liberties with a child. Sentence imposed included certification of Wood as a sex offender with duty to register. Kansas Offender Registration Act (KORA) was amended in 2011 to increase registration period from 10 to 25 years. Woods filed motion challenging the retroactive application of the 2011 amendments. District court ruled it lacked jurisdiction to consider Wood’s constitutional claims. Wood appealed, arguing the district court possessed jurisdiction to consider his challenge as a motion to correct an illegal sentence. In unpublished opinion, Court of Appeals cited cases that rejected a similar argument, and dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction. Wood’s petition for review granted.
ISSUE: Motion to correct illegal sentence—Constitutional claim
HELD: Lower courts had jurisdiction to hear and consider Wood’s motions to correct an illegal sentence, but Wood’s claim was premised on allegations of constitutional deficiencies. As in State v. Dickey, 305 Kan. 217 (2016), Wood advanced no meritorious argument demonstrating his sentence was illegal, so his claim failed on the merits. Judgments below were affirmed as right for the wrong reason.
STATUTES: K.S.A. 2011 Supp. 22-4906(b)(1)(E); K.S.A. 2002 Supp. 22-4902(c)(2), -4906(b); K.S.A. 22-3504, -3504(1), -4901 et seq.
constitutional law—criminal law—search and seizure
state v. zwickl
reno district court—reversed and remanded
court of appeals—affirmed
no. 113,362—may 5, 2017
FACTS: Officers executed a warrant for search of Zwickl’s car and discovered pounds of marijuana. This led to issuance of a search warrant for Zickl’s residence where more drug evidence was discovered. State charged Zwickl with possession of marijuana with intent to sell and other related offenses. He filed motion to suppress, alleging the affidavit supporting the vehicle search warrant provided insufficient evidence to find probable cause for issuing the warrant. District court granted the motion, finding it entirely unreasonable for an officer to believe the vehicle search warrant was valid. State filed interlocutory appeal. In unpublished opinion, Court of Appeals reversed, finding sufficient indicia of probable cause for officers to reasonably rely in good faith on the warrant. Zwickl’s petition for review was granted.
ISSUE: Good-faith exception—probable cause determination
HELD: Applying Leon good-faith exception to exclusionary rule, adopted in State v. Hoeck, 284 Kan. 441 (2007), the details in the affidavit supporting the vehicle search warrant were examined, including the Colorado surveillance of Zwickl. That affidavit contained sufficient indicia of probable cause such that an officer’s reliance on the warrant was not entirely unreasonable. Panel’s decision was affirmed. District court’s suppression of the evidence was reversed and case was remanded.
STATUTE: K.S.A. 60-2101(b)
search and seizure