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September 11, 2020

Posted By Administration, Monday, September 14, 2020

Kansas Supreme Court

 

CIVIL

 

HABEAS CORPUS—INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL
KHALIL-ALSALAAMI V. STATE
RILEY DISTRICT COURT—COURT OF APPEALS IS AFFIRMED,

DISTRICT COURT IS REVERSED—CASE REMANDED
NO. 115,184—SEPTEMBER 11, 2020

 

FACTS: Khalil-Alsalaami was convicted of two counts of aggravated criminal sodomy. At trial, a primary issue was the voluntariness of custodial statements made by Khalil-Alsalaami to law enforcement. Issues included the accuracy of the Miranda warning, the fact that Khalil-Alsalaami's primary language is Arabic, and a question about whether Khalil-Alsalaami knew he was confessing to an actual crime. Trial counsel stipulated that Khalil-Alsalaami's partial confession was knowing and voluntary and did not object when that stipulation was introduced at trial. After an unsuccessful direct appeal, Khalil-Alsalaami filed a K.S.A. 60-1507 motion challenging the effectiveness of his trial counsel. The district court denied the motion, finding that the stipulation and the failure to object to introduction of the agreement was a strategic decision. Khalil-Alsalaami appealed, and the Court of Appeals unanimously reversed and remanded, finding that trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective. The ruling gave particular mention to the failure of law enforcement to provide an interpreter for Khalil-Alsalaami. The State's petition for review was granted.

 

ISSUES: (1) Deficient performance of trial counsel; (2) prejudice resulting from deficient performance

 

HELD: The Court does not believe it is necessary to decide whether the lack of an interpreter renders Khalil-Alsalaami's confession involuntary. Instead, given the plain testimony from trial counsel, it is easy to see that counsel's performance was ineffective. The admissibility of Khalil-Alsalaami's confession was the paramount issue in the case, and counsel's failure to even attempt to keep it from the jury cannot be attributed to trial strategy. It is easy to see that prejudice occurred. This case must be returned to district court for a new trial.

 

CONCURRENCE: (Beier, J., joined by McAnany, S.J.) The majority reached the right decision. But it should also have found that Khalil-Alsalaami's confession was per se involuntary due to the lack of an interpreter, which was required by the plain language of K.S.A. 75-4351.

 

DISSENT: (Biles, J., joined by Stegall, J.) Counsel's motion to suppress would not have succeeded at trial, so a failure to file it could not have amounted to prejudicial ineffective assistance of counsel.

 

STATUTES: K.S.A. 60-1507, 75-4351

 

MORTGAGES
FAIRFAX PORTFOLIO LLC V. CAROJOTO LLC
WYANDOTTE DISTRICT COURT—COURT OF APPEALS IS AFFIRMED

DISTRICT COURT IS REVERSED—CASE REMANDED
NO. 118,712—SEPTEMBER 11, 2020

 

FACTS: Fairfax owned commercial real estate which was secured by a promissory note and mortgage held by Carojoto. Fairfax was in default on the note at the time Carojoto acquired the debt. Without warning, Carojoto took possession of the property and filed a mortgage foreclosure action. Carojoto eventually purchased the property at a sheriff's sale. Fairfax filed this action, claiming Carojoto improperly took possession of the property prior to the foreclosure action, causing damages. Carojoto sought dismissal, claiming it was allowed to take possession of the property under the terms of the mortgage. The district court agreed. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that Carojoto was not allowed to rely on provisions of executory agreements. A petition for review was granted.

 

ISSUE: (1) Ability to take property

 

HELD: It has long been established that in the absence of stipulations to the contrary, a mortgagor of real property may retain possession of that property. The mortgage instrument alone cannot provide a sufficient stipulation for possession. Even if Carojoto included such language in its mortgage instrument, it cannot be enforced.

 

CONCURRENCE: (Stegall, J.) Justice Stegall concurs in the judgment solely on the grounds of stare decisis, which should be followed especially closely in instances where there is economic reliance.

 

DISSENT: (Biles, J.) The mortgage provision allowing possession is a "stipulation to the contrary" which overrides the general rule that a mortgagor is allowed to hold property.

 

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 60-212(d); K.S.A. 58-2301

 

Criminal

 

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW—CRIMINAL PROCEDURE—MOTIONS—SENTENCING—STATUTES

STATE V. COLEMAN

WYANDOTTE DISTRICT COURT—AFFIRMED

NO. 120,246—SEPTEMBER 11, 2020

 

FACTS: Coleman’s 1999 conviction for first-degree premeditated murder and aggravated assault convictions were affirmed but case was remanded for resentencing because district court considered two aggravating factors not found in the statute to impose a hard-40 life prison term. 271 Kan. 733 (2001). Coleman again sentenced in 2001 to a hard-40 life term which was then affirmed in 2003 (unpublished). Coleman filed 2018 motion to modify his sentence to require no mandatory prison term, citing Alleyne v. United States, 570 U.S. 99 (2013), and State v. Soto, 299 Kan. 102 (2014). District judge summarily denied the motion, noting in part Coleman’s earlier K.S.A. 60-1507 motion. Coleman appealed.

 

ISSUE: (1) Motion to modify sentence

 

HELD: Appeal involves constitutional issues and questions of statutory interpretation.  Developing caselaw regarding sentence enhancement based on judicial fact finding is summarized. Coleman’s motion is not proper under K.S.A. 22-3504 (to correct an illegal sentence) or under K.S.A. 60-1507 (a collateral attack on an unconstitutional sentence), and Alleyene and Soto do not operate retroactively to provide a remedy in this case. Coleman cites K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 21-6628(c), but under analysis in State v. Thurber, 308 Kan. 140 (2018), that statute does not apply. District court judgment is affirmed.  

 

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 21-6628(b), -6628(c), 60-1507(f)(1), -1507(f)(2); K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 21-6622(h); K.S.A. 21-4635, -4629, 60-1507,  22-3504

 

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW—CRIMINAL LAW—JURY INSTRUCTIONS

STATE V. KEYES

GRANT DISTRICT COURT—REVERSED AND REMANDED

NO. 118,894—SEPTEMBER 11, 2020

 

FACTS: Jury convicted Keyes of first-degree premeditated murder for fatally shooting victim in the chest and head. District court denied Keyes’ request to instruct jury on self-defense and involuntary manslaughter finding the evidence failed to support either instruction. Keyes appealed, claiming in part reversible error by the district court’s refusal to give the requested instructions. State argued a self-defense instruction was not justified where Keyes provoked the victim by taking a gun to the victim’s trailer and threatening the victim, and any error was harmless because Keyes’ testimony was implausible.

 

ISSUE: (1) Jury instruction

 

HELD: Based on evidence introduced at trial, a self-defense instruction was both legally and factually appropriate. State’s theory ignores Keyes’ testimony, if believed, that it was necessary to kill the victim in order to defend himself. Viewing the evidence in light most favorable to Keyes, district court erred in not instructing jury on self-defense and the court is not convinced there is no reasonable probability this error affected the outcome of the trial. Keyes’ additional claims in the appeal are not reached. Reversed and remanded.

 

CONCURRENCE (Leben, J.): Joins the court’s opinion in full but also comments on the standard of review. Because Keyes’ constitutional right to present a defense is at issue, the constitutional harmless-error test should apply. No need to decide which standard should apply here because State has not shown the district court’s error was harmless under either standard. This standard-of-review question can be addressed in a future case with briefing. 

 

STATUTE: K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 21-5108(c), -5222, -5226

 

 

 

Court of Appeals

 

CIVIL

 

FORECLOSURE—REAL ESTATE
BUCKLIN NATIONAL BANK V. HAYSE RANCH
KIOWA DISTRICT COURT—REVERSED AND REMANDED
NO. 121,690—SEPTEMBER 11, 2020

 

FACTS: In 2002, L.P.P. Mortgage Ltd. obtained a default judgment of foreclosure against Helen Hayse and her son, Paul. The district court confirmed the sheriff's sale and ordered a statutory redemption period of three months. The day before the redemption period ended, Helen assigned her rights of redemption to Celia Pruitt for $100. Pruitt then filed notice of her exercise of the right of redemption and deposited the total amount of Helen's debt to redeem the property. Pruitt followed up by filing an affidavit with the Register of Deeds in which she declared herself to be the owner of the property by virtue of her acquisition and subsequent exercise of redemption rights. Helen and Paul had previously used the property to secure a series of loans from Bucklin National Bank. Helen died intestate in January 2017, and after these loans went unpaid the Bank initiated foreclosure proceedings. Pruitt intervened in the action seeking a declaratory judgment that she was the rightful owner of the property. The Bank moved for summary judgment and the district court granted it, finding that exercising an assigned right of redemption was ineffective to pass title absent a document of conveyance. After her motion for new trial was denied, Pruitt appeals.

 

ISSUES: (1) Action to quiet title; (2) whether a deed is necessary to convey title

 

HELD: A statutory right of redemption is different than the common law equitable right of redemption, the latter of which arises before the foreclosure sale. Under the statutory scheme in Kansas, an assignee of a property owner's redemption rights obtains all property rights of the owner upon exercise of those redemption rights. Pruitt obtained equitable title to the property when she exercised the redemption rights that she purchased from Helen. It is not necessary to have a deed of conveyance to prove ownership of property. Pruitt took many official steps to register her equitable title, and that was enough to secure her primary right to the property. But the case must be remanded to determine whether Pruitt has a colorable claim of adverse possession.

 

STATUTE: K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 60-2414, -2414(h), -2414(i)

 

DIVORCE—MAINTENANCE
IN RE MARRIAGE OF WELTER
MIAMI DISTRICT COURT—REVERSED AND REMANDED
NO. 121,605—SEPTEMBER 11, 2020

 

FACTS: Steven and Keira Welter divorced in 2016. The decree ordered Steven to pay monthly maintenance of $781 for 73 months. One of the conditions on maintenance is that payments would stop if Keira remarried or was cohabitating, which was defined as living with a non-relative adult for substantially consecutive periods of time in excess of 30 days, even if the relationship was not marriage-like. Steven's maintenance payments were often suspended in the years after the divorce, primarily because Keira refused to comply with certain requirements of the divorce decree. In December 2018, Steven moved to terminate maintenance on grounds that Keira was cohabitating with her boyfriend. Keira objected, claiming she lived with her boyfriend only because she could not afford to live independently due to the lack of maintenance payments. After hearing arguments, the district court denied Steven's motion to terminate and instead modified the maintenance agreement to shorten Steven's obligation by nine months – the length of time Keira was cohabitating. Steven appealed.

 

ISSUE: (1) District court's authority to modify maintenance

 

HELD: It is undisputed that Keira violated the cohabitation termination condition of the divorce decree. The automatic termination clause of the decree means that Steven's maintenance obligation automatically terminated after June 2018. It does not matter that, at the time Keira was cohabitating, Steven's maintenance obligation has been temporarily suspended by the district court. Once the terminating event of cohabitation occurred, the district court lost the authority to modify Steven's maintenance obligation and equity does not require a different result.

 

DISSENT: (Atcheson, J.) All of the decisions made by the district court were within its discretion and authority, and the majority opinion places too many restrictions on district court action.

 

STATUTE: K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 23-2711(a)(3), -2902, -2903, -2904

 

CRIMINAL

 

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE—SENTENCING—STATUTES

STATE V. PATTON

RENO DISTRICT COURT—AFFIRMED

NO. 120,434—SEPTEMBER 11, 2020

 

FACTS: State charged Patton in November 2016 with DUI. In 2018, jury convicted him on that charge and district court imposed a 12 month sentence upon finding this was Patton’s fourth or subsequent DUI conviction. On appeal Patton claimed the prosecutor erred in closing argument by misstating the evidence. He also claimed district court erred under rule outlined in State v. Wetrich, 307 Kan. 552 (2018), by using Patton’s 2003 Oklahoma and 2007 Missouri DUI convictions to enhance the sentence.

 

ISSUES: (1) Prosecutorial error; (2) classification of prior out-of-state convictions to enhance sentence

 

HELD: Given the entire context of prosecutor’s closing arguments, prosecutor’s statements that Patton had been drinking on New Year’s Day 2016, and that the standard field sobriety tests showed Patton was under the influence, were not inconsistent with evidence presented at trial.

            Patton and the State agreed the rule Weitrich controls because K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 8-1567(i) was the rule in effect at the time Patton committed the DUI offense. But under State v. Reese, 300 Kan. 650 (2014), when a court enhances a current DUI sentence under K.S.A. 8-1567(i) it must apply the sentencing rule in effect at the time of sentencing. Applying the 2018 amendment to K.S.A. 8-1567(i) and (j), district court did not err in sentencing Patton as a fourth or subsequent DUI offender.

           

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 8-1567(a), 22-3504(a); K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 8-1567, -1567(i), -1567(i)(1); K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-6811(e)(2)(A), -6811(e)(3); K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 8-1567, -1567(a), -1567(a)(3), -1567(b)(1)(D), -1567(i), -1567(j)

 

 

 

Tags:  constitutional law  criminal law  criminal procedure  divorce  foreclosure  habeas corpus  ineffective assistance of counsel  jury instructions  Kiowa District Court  maintenance  mortgages  motions  real estate  Reno District Cou  Riley District Court  sentencing  statutes  Wyandotte District Court 

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August 7, 2020 Digests

Posted By Administration, Monday, August 10, 2020

Kansas Supreme Court

criminal

constitutional law—criminal procedure—
evidence—fourth amendment
state v. ellis
lyon district court—reversed and remanded;
court of appeals—affirmed
No. 120,046—august 7, 2020

FACTS: Police were called to check on welfare of a person (Ellis) in convenience store bathroom. Ellis stated she was okay and having stomach trouble. Police asked for identification, held Ellis’ drivers license to run warrant check, arrested her on an outstanding probation violation warrant, and found drugs and paraphernalia in subsequent search. State charged Ellis with drug offenses. She filed motion to suppress, arguing the seizure and subsequent search exceeded the scope of the encounter. State argued the attenuation doctrine set out in Utah v. Strieff, 579 U.S. __ (2016), legitimized the search. District court denied the motion and convicted Ellis in bench trial. Ellis appealed. Court of Appeals reversed, holding the investigatory detention exceeded the scope of the welfare check and the evidence obtained as a result should have been suppressed. 57 Kan.App.2d 477 (2019). State’s petition for review granted.

ISSUES: (1) Scope of welfare check; (2) attenuation doctrine

HELD: Under facts of the case, the officer lawfully engaged with Ellis and requested her identification. But police may not lawfully extend a welfare check by running a warrant check on an individual who is the subject of the check unless some other circumstances support prolonging the check and converting it into a detention. Here, the officer had no reasonable suspicion that Ellis was committing, had committed, or was about to commit a crime. Checking if Ellis “had some pick up order” exceeded the scope of the safety check. Ths constituted an unlawful seizure and consequent search.

              Application of the attenuation exception to the exclusionary rule is inappropriate on facts in this case. Factors in Strieff are applied finding all weigh against admissibility of the drug evidence under the attenuation doctrine: (1) a very short passage of time; (2) under Kansas caselaw the discovery of an outstanding warrant was not an attenuating factor in this case; and (3) the clarity of Kansas law forbidding the officer’s illegal conduct supports a finding of flagrant official misconduct. District court’s judgment is reversed and evidence seized subsequent to the initial conduct must be suppressed. Remanded for further proceedings.

CONCURRENCE (Stegall, J.)(joined by Luckert, C.J. and Wilson, J.): Concurs with the result but majority appears to back away from the more stringent requirements in Strief. Under Strief as outlined in State v. Tatro, 310 Kan. 263 (2019), when a preexisting valid warrant is discovered, the only question remaining is whether the unconstitutional conduct was purposeful or flagrant. Agrees with majority’s finding of flagrant misconduct, but would limit the analysis in these circumstances to that question only.  

STATUTES: None

constitutional law—criminal procedure—evidence—
jury instructions—prosecutors
state v. timley
shawnee district court—affirmed
No. 120,414—august 7, 2020

FACTS: Timley convicted of first-degree premeditated murder. During trial, Timley’s cellphone records including the cell towers accessed were admitted into evidence without objection, and a detective using Per Call Measurement Data (PCMD) from Sprint testified about the relative position of Timley’s phone throughout the day of the shooting. On appeal Timley claimed: (1) prosecutor erred during opening and closing arguments by making statements concerning the location of Timley’s phone at the time of the shooting; (2) district court erred in admitting the detective’s cell tower maps and accompanying testimony because detective lacked necessary expertise; (3) district court committed clear error by failing to instruct jury on intentional second-degree murder as a lesser included offense; (4) district court’s failure to instruct jury on lesser included offenses violated Timley’s right to due process; and (5) cumulative error denied him a fair trial.

ISSUES: (1) Prosecutorial error; (2) admission of evidence; (3)jury instruction on lesser included offense; (4) due process; (5) cumulative error

HELD: Prosecutor’s remarks during closing argument did not stretch the PCMD distance from a cell tower to Timley’s phone into a certitude, and thereby did not exceed the wide latitude extended to prosecutors. Prosecutor’s opening statement, by postulating that Timley’s phone was “exactly” at the site of the shooting, barely avoided error, but even if error, no possibility the prosecutor’s remark contributed to the verdict.

            Under facts of the case, no expert witness was needed. The detective’s exhibits and accompanying testimony did not require any specialized knowledge or expertise beyond that which he was demonstrated to possess.

            District court erred in failing to sua sponte instruct jury on lesser included offense of intentional second-degree murder, but under facts of the case, no clear error is found.

              In noncapital case, a district court’s failure to sua sponte instruct on lesser included offense does not violate a defendant’s constitutional right to due process. Based on State v. Becker, 311 Kan. 176 (2020), and State v. Love, 305 Kan. 716 (2017), no due process violation found in district court’s failure to issue a lesser included offense instruction sua sponte.

            Cumulative error claim is rejected. Only one harmless error found in district court’s failure to sua sponte instruct jury on a lesser included offense. Even if prosecutor’s opening statement was harmless error, it bore no relation to the instructional error.

CONCURRENCE (Biles, J.)(joined by Rosen, J. and Ward, S.J.): Disagrees that prosecutor’s opening statement was fair comment. Would hold it was error for prosecutor in opening statement to tell jury the cell tower data would reflect Timley’s exact location, but agrees the error is harmless for reasons stated by majority.

STATUTES: None

 

Kansas Court of Appeals

criminal

criminal law—insurance—jurisdiction—statutes
state v. rozell
wyandotte district court—affirmed
No. 121,094—August 7, 2020

FACTS: Rozell (Missouri resident) and Lopez (Wyandotte County, Kansas, resident) were in a car accident in Missouri. Rozell submitted bodily injury claim on Lopez’ State Farm insurance to a claims representative in Tennessee who discovered the Missouri hospital bill Lopez submitted had been altered to show a post-accident date. State charged Rozell in Wyandotte County with one count of making false information and one count of fraudulent insurance act, listing State Farm as the victim of Rozell’s crimes. District court granted Rozell’s motion to dismiss the charges for lack of jurisdiction. State appealed, arguing proximate result jurisdiction existed under K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-5106(b)(3) for a person who attempts to defraud a Kansas insurance policy issued to a Kansas resident, and Wyandotte County was the proper venue.

ISSUE: Proximate result jurisdiction

HELD: District court’s dismissal of the charges for lack of jurisdiction is affirmed. Kansas does not have proximate result jurisdiction to prosecute Rozell for making false information, K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 21-5824(a), or committing a fraudulent insurance act, K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 40-2,118(a), just because he allegedly intended to defraud a Kansas insurance policy. The law related to proximate result jurisdiction is reviewed. When determining proximate result jurisdiction, Kansas courts may consider the negative consequences of a person’s out-of-state criminal acts within Kansas only if the statutory language of that person’s charged crime considered such negative consequences. Here, the State failed to analyze the elements of the charged crimes. Neither the making false information statute, nor the fraudulent insurance act statute consider the negative consequences of a person’s out-of-state criminal acts in the language of the statute.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 21-40-2,118(a), -5106, -5106(b), -5106(b)(3), -5824(a), -5830(a)(2); K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 40-2,118(a), -2,118(e), -5106(b),-5106(b)(3), -5824(a) ; K.S.A. 1994 Supp. 21-3734(a)(2)

Tags:  Constitutional Law  criminal procedure  evidence  Fourth Amendment  insurance  jurisdiction  jury instructions  Lyon District Court  prosecutors  Shawnee District Court  statutes  Wyandotte District Court 

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April 24, 2020 Digests

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 27, 2020

Kansas Supreme Court

criminal

appeals—criminal procedure—immunities—statutes
state v. collins
sedgwick district court—reversed and remanded; court of appeals—affirmed
no. 117,743—April 24, 2020

FACTS: Wielding a knife in an altercation with three unarmed women, Collins killed one and injured a second. Collins filed motion to dismiss the complaint, claiming self-defense immunity. District court granted the motion and dismissed charges of second-degree murder and reckless aggravated battery, ruling Collins had reasonable grounds to believe he was in danger of great bodily harm. Court of Appeals reversed and remanded for further proceedings. 56 Kan. App. 2d 140 (2018).  Collins’ petition for review granted. Review also granted on State’s conditional cross-petition for review of panel’s failure to decide whether State met its probable cause burden to demonstrate Collins was the aggressor at the time of the fatal stabbing and initially provoked the use of force. Review granted on Collins’ petition and State’s conditional cross-petition.

ISSUE: Self-defense immunity

HELD: Collins is not entitled to self-defense immunity from prosecution. Relevant statutes examined—K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 21-5231 (self-defense immunity statute and State’s burden to show probable cause the defendant’s use of force was not statutorily justified), K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 21-5222 (statutory justification for use of force), and K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 21-5226 (grounds making self-defense justification unavailable). Another case examining these statutes, State v. Thomas, 311 Kan. __  (this day decided), is cited. On facts found by district court, there is probable cause to believe Collins’ use of force was not statutorily justified. The escalating sequences of events comprising the deadly encounter are broken down into four discrete uses of force and examined. The initial aggressor statute, K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 21-5226, operates conclusively to deny Collins’ immunity motion and district court is reversed on that basis. District relied on its accurate finding of no evidence that Collins was escaping from a felony, but failed to consider other disqualifying conduct in 21-5226(a)—that Collins was attempting to commit, or committing a forcible felony. State supplied probable cause to believe Collins’ killing and wounding of the victims were not justifiable acts of self-defense under the Kansas statutory scheme. State’s prosecution of Collins should have been permitted to continue.  

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 21-5111(n), -5221, -5221(a)(1)(A), -5222, -5222(b), -5226, -5226(a), -5226(b), -5226(c), -5226(c)(1), -5226(c)(2), -5231, -5231(a) -5231(c), -5403(a)(1), -5412(a); K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 21-5413(b)(2)(B)

appeals—criminal procedure—motions
state v. espinoza
wyandotte district court—affirmed
no. 118,737—april 24, 2020

FACTS: Espinoza pleaded guilty to first-degree felony murder. In pre-sentence motion he sought a durational departure claiming the mandated hard-25 sentence was unconstitutional as applied. He argued the three-pronged proportionality test in State v. Freeman 223 Kan. 362 (1978), required district court to assess specific facts of his case to determine constitutionality of his sentence under § 9 of Kansas Constitutional Bill of Rights, and listed facts he believed weighed in favor of granting a durational departure. District court denied the challenge. Espinosa challenged that decision on direct appeal, arguing the district court failed to make such findings, and seeking remand to develop the necessary factual record.

ISSUE: Appellate review of constitutional claim

HELD: It is a defendant’s responsibility to ensure the district court makes the factual findings necessary for appellate review, and this responsibility goes beyond merely raising a constitutional claim. Here, Espinoza did not object to district court’s failure to make factual findings at sentence, and he did not file a motion under Kansas Supreme Court Rule 165. Espinoza’s as-applied challenge to the constitutionality of his hard-25 sentence is not amenable to appellate review.  

appeals—criminal procedure—immunities—statutes
state v. Thomas
barton district court—reversed and remanded; court of appeals—affirmed
no. 116,111—April 24, 2020

FACTS:  State charged Thomas with first-degree murder for shooting and killing an unarmed man outside that man’s residence. Thomas filed pretrial motion to dismiss based on self-defense immunity under K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 21-5231. State argued Thomas did not qualify for statutory immunity because his use of deadly force was not justified under K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 5222, and because Thomas was the initial aggressor under K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 21-5226. Making no distinct factual findings, district court dismissed the complaint, cited the investigating officer’s testimony that Thomas was justified in drawing his weapon, and held the State did not meet its burden to show probable cause the self-defense immunity did not apply. State appealed. Court of Appeals reversed in unpublished opinion, finding the district court failed to make sufficient findings of fact and conclusions of law, and remanded case for another evidentiary hearing in compliance with Supreme Court Rule 165. Thomas’ petition for review granted.

ISSUE: Self-defense immunity

HELD: Panel’s judgment is affirmed. District court’s role in deciding complex immunity claims before trial is discussed, and relevant statutes are examined - K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 21-5231 (self -defense immunity statute and State’s burden to show probable cause the defendant’s use of force was not statutorily justified), K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 21-5222 (statutory justification for use of force), and K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 21-5226 (grounds making self-defense justification unavailable). Another case examining these statutes, State v. Collins, 311 Kan. __  (this day decided), is cited. Under State v. Hardy, 305 Kan. 1001 (2017), district court’s fleeting explanation of its conclusions in this case, without first adequately addressing contradictory testimony, was error and specific examples are identified. Also, Thomas did not directly challenge the panel’s additional direction that a new evidentiary hearing is necessary before making the required findings of fact and conclusions of law. District court’s judgment is reversed and case is remanded with directions.

STATUTE: K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 21-5221(a), -5221(a)(1)(B), -5221(a)(2), -5222, -5222(b), -5226, -5226(b), -5226(c), -5231, -5402(a)(1)

Tags:  appeals  Barton District Court  criminal procedure  immunities  motions  Sedgwick District Court  statutes  Wyandotte District Court 

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March 27, 2020 Digests

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Kansas Supreme Court

criminal

appeals—constitutional law—criminal law—criminal procedure—
evidence—juries—jury instruction—statutes
state v. Gonzalez
wyandotte district court—affirmed
no. 119,492—march 27, 2020

FACTS: Passenger (Espinoza) in car driven by Gonzalez shot and killed a man outside a bar. Gonzalez convicted of felony murder, attempted aggravated robbery, and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery. During trial, district court refused to compel testimony of Espinoza who had already pleaded guilty and been sentenced for his participation. On appeal Gonzalez argued: (1) insufficient evidence supported the convictions; (2) the attempt and conspiracy convictions were multiplicitous; (3) district court’s aiding and abetting jury instruction erroneously lowered the State’s burden of proof on specific intent crimes; (4) district court erroneously permitted Espinoza to invoke Fifth Amendment privilege; (5) State’s peremptory strikes during jury selection constituted purposeful racial discrimination to exclude prospective Hispanic jurors; and (6) cumulative error denied him a fair trial.

ISSUES: (1) Sufficiency of the evidence; (2) multiplicitous offenses; (3) jury instruction—aiding and abetting; (4) Fifth Amendment—failure to compel testimony, (5) Batson challenge, (6) cumulative error 

HELD: Evidence in this case established the pair’s intent to rob the victim and an agreement to commit aggravated robbery. Evidence included detective’s testimony, without objection, that provided a concrete context to ambiguous text messages.

            District court’s instruction accurately reflected Kansas’ aiding and abetting statute, but did not accurately state applicable caselaw limiting the statute’s use when defendants are charged with aiding and abetting specific intent crimes. In this case the legal error was harmless under the clear error standard.

             Multiplicity claim, raised for first time on appeal, is considered. Gonzalez’ conspiracy and the aiding and abetting attempted aggravated robbery convictions are not multiplicitous - each requires proof of an element not required by the other.

            Gonzalez’ failure to make an adequate proffer of what Espinoza would have testified about provides no basis for appellate review of whether trial court abused its discretion in not compelling the testimony.

            Jury selection in this case is examined. No abuse of district court’s discretion in finding Gonzalez failed to show purposeful discrimination given the State’s race-neutral reasons for its peremptory strikes.

            The single error found in this case does not support application of the cumulative error doctrine.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 21-5210, -5210(a), -5301, -5301(a), -5302(a), -5402(a)(2), -5402(c)(1)(D), -5420, 22-3414(3), -3601(b)(3), -3601(b)(4); K.S.A. 60-405

 

Kansas Court of Appeals

Civil

DIVORCE—PROPERTY DIVISION
IN RE MARRIAGE OF PERALES
SALINE DISTRICT COURT—AFFIRMED
NO. 120,306—MARCH 27, 2020

FACTS: Gary Perales is serving a life sentence in prison. At the time of his divorce from Cynthia Perales, Cynthia was supporting herself and the couple's four children. Gary did not complete a property affidavit, but he has been imprisoned since 2012. The district court held a hearing to consider separation of the couple's property. At the hearing, Cynthia provided a quitclaim deed showing that Gary had deeded the house to her and testified that she needed Gary's truck to transport herself and their children. Cynthia also testified that she made payments on both the house and truck after Gary's imprisonment. Gary disputed Cynthia's testimony about the quitclaim deed and claimed that he sold both the house and his truck to his sister. After weighing the evidence, the district court ruled that it would be most equitable to award Cynthia both the house and the truck. Gary appealed.

ISSUES: (1) Award of the house; (2) requirement that Cynthia compensate Gary

HELD: There is no evidence that the district court failed to consider the home as marital property subject to division. To the contrary, the district court appropriately considered the factors established by K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 23-2802(c). A division of marital property need only be equitable, not equal. There is a statutory requirement that property division may be accomplished by the payment of a "just and proper sum" to one party. In some cases, equity may allow that sum to be zero. The extraordinary facts of this case mean the district court's award of assets to Cynthia was equitable.

STATUTE: K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 23-2801, -2802(a)(1), -2802(a)(2), -2802(c)

criminal

criminal law—statutes
state v. lucas
sedgwick district court—affirmed
no. 120,510—March 27, 2020

FACTS: Lucas convicted of being a felon in criminal possession of a “firearm or knife,” K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 216304(c)(2). The weapon in this case was a folding knife 9 inches long when unfolded, 5.5. inches long when closed, with a 4.5 in. blade. Lucas argued the folding knife was not a “knife” as defined by K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-6304(c)(1).

ISSUE: Statutory definition of “knife”

HELD: District court did not err in concluding the folding knife in this case is a dangerous or deadly cutting instrument of like character to those listed in K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-6304(c)(1).

STATUTE: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-6304, -6304(a)(2), -6304(c)(1), -6304(c)(2)

appeals—criminal procedure—discovery—evidence—jurisdiction
state v. mundo-parra
sedgwick district court—affirmed
no. 118,875—march 27, 2020

FACTS: Mundo-Parra convicted in 2005 on no contest pleas to kidnapping and rape. In 2017 while still serving his sentence, he asked prosecutors to provide State’s investigatory files in the case, including anything that might show his innocence. District court denied the request. Mundo-Parra appealed. State argued the appeal was not timely filed within 30 days of district court’s ruling.

ISSUES: (1) Appellate jurisdiction; (2) district court’s jurisdiction; (3) postconviction discovery

HELD: State’s jurisdictional hurdle is rejected. District court entered its order electronically, with no record in district court’s file that court clerk mailed a copy of the order to Mundo-Parra. After that order had been entered Mundo-Parra made several requests for a court ruling on his discovery request, and filed his notice of appeal well within 30 days of district court’s denial of Mondo-Parra’s last request for a ruling.

            District court had jurisdiction to consider Mundo-Parra’s request for postconviction discovery, even though there was no pending motion in the criminal case and no pending civil action challenging his confinement. There is no Kansas statute governing postconviction discovery, and no statutory limit on district court’s general jurisdiction over it.

            No provision in Kansas Code of Criminal Procedure covers postconviction discovery. Kansas cases are reviewed and guidance sought from rules and statutes in federal and state jurisdictions. Panel concludes postconviction discovery sought by the defendant should be allowed when the defendant shows it is necessary to protect substantial rights. To get discovery, the defendant must make a good-cause showing by identifying the specific subject matter for discovery and explaining why discovery about those matters is necessary to protect substantial rights. Mundo-Parra made no such showing in this case. Instead, his request is a classic fishing expedition with no stated connection to any claim that could lead to setting aside either his no-contest pleas or his convictions.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 21-2512, 22-3210(d)(2), -3212, -3213, 60-1507, -2103(a); K.S.A. 20-301

 

Tags:  appeals  constitutional law  criminal law  criminal procedure  discovery  divorce  evidence  juries  jurisdiction  jury instructions  property division  Saline District Court  Sedgwick District Court  statutes  Wyandotte District Court 

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February 7, 2020 Digests

Posted By Administration, Monday, February 10, 2020

Kansas Court of Appeals

Civil

SEXUALLY VIOLENT PREDATORS
IN RE CARE AND TREATMENT OF JONES
WYANDOTTE DISTRICT COURT—REVERSED AND REMANDED
NO. 120,309—FEBRUARY 7, 2020

FACTS: Jones was convicted of rape in 2005. As the end of his prison sentence neared, the State filed a motion seeking to have Jones civilly committed under the Kansas Sexually Violent Predator Act. As part of its petition, the State designated Dr. Sutherland as an expert witness. In that capacity, Dr. Sutherland recommended civil commitment because Jones presented an unmanageable risk of reoffending. Based on this evidence, the district court found probable cause to believe that Jones was a sexually violent predator. Larned State Hospital hired Dr. Flesher as an expert witness for Jones. It was Dr. Flesher's opinion that Jones did not meet the criteria for designation as a sexually violent predator. Given the split between the experts, the district court elected to hear testimony from Dr. Flesher. After hearing that testimony, the district court ordered Jones released and dismissed the case. The State appeals.

ISSUE: (1) Whether the district court erred by granting summary judgment to Jones

HELD: There was no procedural or statutory bar that would prevent the district court from considering a motion for summary judgment after the probable cause determination was made. In this case, summary judgment was improper because there was evidence to support the State's claim that Jones should be civilly committed. Where there were opposing expert witness positions, summary judgment was inappropriate.

STATUTE: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 59-29a04(a), -29a04(g), 60-212, -212(d), -256

 

TORT CLAIMS ACT
HENDERSON V. MONTGOMERY COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
MONTGOMERY DISTRICT COURT - AFFIRMED
NO. 120,369 – FEBRUARY 7, 2020

FACTS: Henderson picked up Garcia, who was hitchhiking. Unbeknownst to Henderson, Garcia was fleeing authorities after shooting a police officer in Oklahoma. Once law enforcement located Garcia, a chase ensued. Henderson attempted to let Garcia out of his truck, but Garcia exited shooting. Deputy Grimes returned fire, and Henderson was hit in the neck. He sued both Deputy Grimes and the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners for negligence. Both defendants moved for summary judgment, claiming that the public duty doctrine prevented any liability for either defendant. They also claimed that they were entitled to immunity under the discretionary function exemption to the Kansas Tort Claims Act. The district court granted summary judgment on both claims, and Henderson appeals.

ISSUES: (1) Application of the public duty doctrine; (2) application of the discretionary function exception to the KTCA

HELD: Instead of determining whether a special duty applied, the court assumes without deciding that a duty existed. The discretionary function exception is still good law. Guidelines for law enforcement on how to handle a felony high-risk stop are not mandatory and are instead best practice suggestions. All of the decisions made by Deputy Grimes were discretionary. For that reason, the discretionary function exception applies to excuse him and the Board from liability.

STATUTE: K.S.A. 75-6103(a), -6104, -6104(e), -6104(n)

 

criminal 

constitutional law—criminal law—evidence—fourth amendment—statutes
state v. arceo-rojas
geary district court—affirmed
no. 119,266—february 7, 2020

FACTS: Officer stopped Arceo-Rojas for driving too long in left lane and unsafe lane change, and after completing the traffic stop detained Arceo-Rojas until a K-9 unit arrived. K-9 alert led to discovery of 54 pounds of individually packaged bags of marijuana. Arceo-Rojas arrested and charged with drug offenses. She filed motion to suppress, arguing the officer had no reasonable suspicion to stop her and later detain her for purpose of a drug sniff.  District court denied the motion, finding the officer had reasonable and articulable suspicion that Arceo-Rojas was staying in left lane in violation of K.S.A. 8-1522, and that she failed to maintain a safe distance between her car and the car behind her when she changed lanes. Arceo-Rojas convicted in bench trial as charged. She appealed, alleging district court erred in denying motion to suppress.

ISSUES: (1) Traffic stop, (2) extension of traffic stop

HELD: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 8-1522(c) is interpreted. “Overtaking and passing another vehicle” phrase in the statute shows a legislative intent to keep multilane roads and highways open for passing. Under facts in this case, officer had reasonable suspicion that Arceo-Rojas was driving in left lane without meeting any of the four statutory exceptions. Accordingly, the traffic stop was justified and no need to address whether officer also had reasonable suspicion that Arceo-Rojas committed an unsafe lane change in violation of K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 8-1522(a), or whether officer made a “reasonable mistake” of law when he stopped Arceo-Rojas based on holding in Heien v. North Carolina, 574 U.S. 54 (2014).

       Arceo-Rojas’ comparison to State v. DeMarco, 263 Kan. 727 (1998), is not persuasive. Under totality of the circumstances  (1) Arceo-Rojas’ implausible and inconsistent travel plans, (2) use of a strong but dissipating masking odor consistent with being sprayed as officer stopped the car, (3) vehicle rented in the name of a third party, and (4) a large black duffel bag in back of the car—gave officer grounds for reasonable suspicion for both the initial traffic stop and extending the stop. District court’s denial of the motion to suppress is affirmed.

DISSENT (Arnold-Burger, C.J.): Would reverse district court’s ruling and suppress all evidence obtained after the traffic stop, at a minimum, and certainly after Arceo-Rojas was given a warning ticket and told she was free to leave. Initial stop was unlawful. K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 8-1522(c) does not state how long a person may drive in the left lane before committing a violation, and a person of reasonable caution would not interpret Arceo-Rojas’ driving as a violation of the statute. Also, officer had no reasonable and articulable suspicion to detain Arceo-Rojas while waiting for drug dog to arrive and circle the car. The four factors cited by district court and the majority are criticized, finding none support a finding of reasonable suspicion either together or separately. Case highlights the problem with the introduction of and the overreliance on profiles of drug courier activity. Traits of a drug-courier profile as asserted by federal agents are listed, and absence in this case is noted of factors indicated by Kansas law enforcement officers as linked to highway drug trafficking. Agrees with Justice Rosen’s concurrence in State v. Schooler, 308 Kan. 333 (2018), on danger of “using the promise of freedom” to circumvent a driver’s constitutional rights.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 8-1522, -1522(a), -1522(c), -1522(c)(1); K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 8-1522(c); K.S.A. 60-404

constitutional law—criminal procedure—motions—statutes
state v. terning
chautauqua district court—affirmed
no. 119,904—february 7, 2020

FACTS: Terning entered 2008 no contest plea to aggravated kidnapping and rape. Consecutive 165-month prison terms imposed, plus 36 months postrelease supervision. Kansas appellate courts summarily dismissed Terning’s direct appeal, but mandate not issued until May 2017. That same month Terning filed motion to correct an illegal sentence, arguing he should have received lifetime postrelease supervision. State filed similar motion. Five months later Terning filed motion to withdraw his plea, arguing his plea was not knowing and voluntary because he was never informed of lifetime post-release supervision. District court denied motion to withdraw plea. Terning appealed.

ISSUE: (1) Withdrawal of guilty plea after sentencing

HELD: Under circumstances in this case, district court did not abuse its discretion in finding Terning failed to demonstrate he would not have entered his plea if he had been informed that he would be subject to lifetime postrelease supervision. Even though district court did not strictly comply with K.S.A. 22-3210 at the plea hearing, record supports district court’s finding that Terning’s plea was knowingly and understandingly made. Different conclusion reached in State v. Metzger,  (Kan.App. 2017)(unpublished opinion), rev. denied 307 Kan. 992 (2018), is distinguished. Even though Terning was unaware of lifetime postrelease supervision period when he pleaded, he was informed that he potentially faced a period of incarceration longer than his natural life, regardless of any postrelease term. And by pleading no contest to both charges he avoided an upward departure that could have resulted in an even longer prison sentence.

DISSENT (Standridge, J.): Would hold the district court erred as a matter of law in its legal conclusion that Terning failed to show manifest injustice to withdraw his plea. District court failed to advise Terning of the maximum penalty upon his no contest plea, which is a clear statutory violation of K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 22-3210(a)(2) and a due process constitutional violation. Strongly disagrees with majority’s adoption of new analytical framework which provides that due process is not violated by failure to advise a criminal defendant of applicability of a lifetime postrelease supervisory period if the combined prison sentences assigned to the defendant are not meaningfully different from life in prison. Metzger sets forth a better analytical framework. Application of factors in State v. Edgar, 281 Kan. 30 (2006), and State v. Moses, 280 Kan. 939 (2006), to facts in this case tips balance in favor of finding manifest injustice under K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 22-3210(d)(2).

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 22-3210(a)(2), -3210(d), -3210(d)(1), -3210(d)(2), -3717(d)(1)(G); K.S.A. 2007 Supp. 75-5217(c)-(d); K.S.A. 2006 Supp. 22-3717(d)(1)(G), -3717(d)(2)(A); K.S.A. 21-4720(b)(2), -4720(b)(5), 22-3210, -3504

 

Tags:  Constitutional Law  Criminal Law  Criminal Procedure  Evidence  Fourth Amendment  Montgomery District Court  Montgomery District Court.  Motions Chautauqua District Court  sexually violent predators  Statutes  Tort Claims Act  Wyandotte District Court 

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