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May 22, 2015, Appellate Court Digests
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Kansas Supreme Court – Civil




NO. 108,391 – MAY 22, 2015


FACTS: A Kansas Highway Patrol (KHP) trooper stopped Thomas for speeding in Wyandotte County. When the trooper exited his patrol vehicle, Thomas sped away. An ensuing high-speed chase ended when Thomas crashed head-on into a tree. The trooper removed Thomas from his car, put him on the ground, handcuffed him, and formally placed him under arrest. Although the trooper called for an ambulance, Thomas initially refused any medical services, but the trooper later took Thomas to the emergency room at Kansas University Medical Center. Staff insisted on keeping Thomas overnight and the trooper instituted a "police hold" on Thomas, which meant that he wanted the hospital to call him before releasing Thomas. The trooper picked up Thomas the next day and took him directly to the Wyandotte County Jail. No KHP officers guarded Thomas during his hospital stay, although there was an officer from the Kansas University Police Department in Thomas' room when the trooper arrived to take Thomas to jail. During the hospital stay, Thomas—whose indigence the parties do not challenge—incurred $23,197.29 in medical charges from the University of Kansas Hospital Authority and $2,311 from the Kansas University Physicians Inc. The Hospital Authority demanded payment from both the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas, and KHP. Both refused to pay the Hospital Authority for Thomas' expenses, each claiming it was not liable under the law. The Hospital Authority filed suit against both the County and KHP. The County prevailed in its arguments before the district court and Court of Appeals. Both KHP and the Hospital Authority continue to argue the county should be liable for Thomas' medical care.


ISSUES: (1) Health care expenses and (2) indigent criminal offender


HELD: Court held that Thomas was under arrest and in KHP's custody at the time he was taken to the hospital for treatment. Based on that custody, KHP was liable for Thomas' reasonable medical expense under K.S.A. 22-4612(a), which superseded the holding in Wesley, 237 Kan. 807. Court held the district court correctly granted the Hospital Authority's motion for summary judgment, and the Court of Appeals correctly affirmed the district court's resolution of the case.


STATUTES: K.S.A. 19-1910; and K.S.A. 22-2202, -4612, -4613

Kansas Supreme Court – Criminal




NO. 110,245 – MAY 22, 2015


FACTS: Dickey pled guilty to felony theft. Presentence investigation report (PSI) designated criminal history score based on three prior person felonies, including a 1992 pre-KSGA juvenile adjudication. On appeal Dickey argued for first time that this classification violated Sixth Amendment, citing Descamps v. United States, 570 U.S. __, 133 S. Ct. 2276 (2013), and Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000). He also cited the analysis in State v. Murdock, 299 Kan. 312 (2014), as further support. State argued Descamps was inapplicable because it involved application of a federal sentencing enhancement statute, and claimed the invited-error doctrine barred Dickey’s challenge because he did not challenge the classification at sentencing. Court of Appeals vacated the sentence and remanded, holding (1) the Descamps argument could be raised for first time on appeal, (2) the analysis and holding in Murdock did not apply in this case, and (3) classifying the 1992 juvenile adjudication as a person felony required judicial factfinding in violation of Dickey’s constitutional rights as described in Descamps and Apprendi. 50 Kan. App. 2d 468 (2014). Court granted state’s petition for review and Dickey’s cross-petition.


ISSUES: (1) Waiver, (2) applicability of Murdock, and (3) Descamps


HELD: Dickey’s legal challenge to classification of his 1992 burglary adjudication can be raised for first time on appeal. A defendant’s stipulation or failure to object at sentencing to convictions listed in PSI may prevent a later challenge to the existence of the listed convictions, but a stipulation or lack of objection regarding how those convictions should be classified or counted for purpose of determining the criminal history score will not prevent a subsequent challenge under K.S.A. 22-3504(1) of the prior convictions. To the extent State v. Vandervort, 276 Kan. 164 (2003), State v. Goeller, 276 Kan. 578 (2003), and State v. McBride, 23 Kan. App. 2d 302 (1996), stand for proposition that a subsequent legal challenge under K.S.A. 22-3504(1) is waived if a defendant stipulated or failed to object at sentencing to classification of prior convictions or the resulting criminal history score, those cases are specifically overruled.


Unlike prior convictions at issue in Murdock, KSGA provides a specific method for classifying prior burglaries for criminal history purposes. Issue in this case is controlled by K.S.A. 2014 Supp. 21-6811(d). Neither Murdock’s legal reasoning nor holding has any applicability to this classification issue.


Under facts of this case, district court was constitutionally prohibited form classifying Dickey’s prior burglary adjudication as a person felony under K.S.A. 2014 Supp. 21-6811(d) because doing so necessarily resulted from district court making or adopting a factual finding (i.e., the prior burglary involved a dwelling) that went beyond simply identifying the statutory elements that constituted the prior burglary adjudication. Burglary of a "dwelling” (as defined in K.S.A. 2014 Supp. 21-5111[k]) was not included within statutory elements making up Dickey’s burglary adjudication under K.S.A. 1991 Supp. 21-3715, thus the burglary adjudication should have been classified as a nonperson felony for criminal history purposes. Sentence is vacated. Case is remanded to district court for resentencing with instructions that the prior burglary adjudication be classified as a nonperson felony.


STATUTES: K.S.A. 2014 Supp. 21-5111(k), -6809, -6811(a), -6811(d), -6814(c), -6820(e)(3); K.S.A. 21-4710(d)(8), -4711(a), -4715(c), -4721(e)(3); K.S.A. 22-3504, -3504(1); and K.S.A. 1991 Supp. 21-3715




NO. 102,256 – MAY 22, 2015


FACTS: District court revoked both first and second of Hilton’s two consecutive 12-month probation terms as a result of violation occurring during first 12 months. Court of Appeals dismissed Hilton’s appeal as moot because she had completed service of prison terms underlying the consecutive probations. Kansas Supreme Court reversed and remanded, finding exception to mootness doctrine because the dual revocation was issue of public importance likely to arise in other cases. Court of Appeals then affirmed the revocation of both probation terms, but questioned without addressing the predicate issue of whether district judge was empowered to grant consecutive probation terms in the first place. 49 Kan. App. 2d 586 (2013). Petition for review granted.


ISSUES: Mootness of the appeal


HELD: Court of Appeals was right in the first place. Appeal is dismissed as moot. Answering the question posed on petition for review would require court to reach and decide a predicate uncontested question on the authorization for consecutive probation periods. Court will await a more appropriate setting to consider whether a district judge may grant consecutive probation terms and, if so, under what circumstances such terms may be revoked.







NO. 109,796 – MAY 22, 2015


FACTS: Early on the morning of January 1, 2012, an Atwood police officer clocked Pianalto's vehicle traveling 28 miles per hour in an area he thought was 20 miles per hour speed limit on North Lake Road. The officer was unaware the speed limit sign at this location had been knocked down. During the stop, the officer developed suspicion that Pianalto was intoxicated. He administered field sobriety tests and arrested Pianalto for DUI. Pianalto was convicted in Atwood Municipal Court of DUI and speeding. Pianalto appealed arguing the officer lacked reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop based on the fallen traffic sign. He argued that unless otherwise marked, the speed limit automatically increased to 30 miles per hour at the place of the stop in accordance with K.S.A. 2011 Supp. 8-1558, so Pianalto's 28 miles per hour speed did not provide the reasonable suspicion to initiate a stop for speeding. The district court denied Pianalto's motion to suppress in a written order finding the officer was reasonably mistaken about the speed limit because the sign had been knocked down. Pianalto stipulated he was operating his vehicle with a breath alcohol content above the legal limit. The district court found him guilty of DUI. The district court made no findings and entered no judgment as to the speeding violation. The Court of Appeals affirmed the DUI conviction finding the speed limit was 30 miles per hour, but the officer was reasonably mistaken about the speed limit because he did not know the sign had fallen down. The Court of Appeals did not address the issue of another officer's earlier knowledge of the downed sign as imputed to the arresting officer because the issue was not preserved in the trial court.


ISSUES: (1) Reasonable suspicion, (2) speeding, and (3) missing speed limit sign


HELD: Court held the officer's mistake as to the speed limit was a mistake of fact, not a mistake of law. Court also held the officer's reliance on the false, but normally true, fact that a speed limit sign was in place was objectively reasonable. The district court found the speed limit had been 20 miles per hour on North Lake Road for "more years than anyone knew." And the evidence established that signs displaying the 20 miles per hour limit are normally in place on both ends of the road. Court found nothing in the record indicated the officer had any reason to doubt the continuing existence of the normal condition.


STATUTES: K.S.A. 8-1558, -1567; and K.S.A. 60-2101