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June 17, 2016, Appellate Court Digests
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Kansas Supreme Court – Civil

Due process; Habeas Corpus; Prisons
May v. Cline
Reno District Court – Affirmed
Court of Appeals – Reversed
No. 110,095 – June 17, 2016

FACTS: While incarcerated, May was involved in an altercation with another inmate. May claimed that he was simply trying to defend himself from the other inmate's attack, and the guard on the scene reported that the other inmate seemed to be the aggressor. Nevertheless, the hearing officer found there was no evidence to prove self-defense and found it to be more true than not that May was involved in a fight. May filed a K.S.A. 60-1501 petition challenging his disciplinary conviction. The district court granted the petition and reversed the hearing panel, finding that May had the right of self-defense unless the preponderance of the evidence showed that the other inmate was not the aggressor. Cline appealed to the Court of Appeals, which reversed the district court, holding that there was "some evidence" to support the hearing officer's finding that May was fighting. May successfully petitioned for review to the Kansas Supreme Court.

ISSUE: Who carries the burden of proof when an inmate claims self-defense

HELD: Disciplinary decisions are generally not subject to judicial review; in order to obtain relief, an inmate must demonstrate a constitutional violation. May's issue was properly construed as a due process challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence. In a disciplinary proceeding, due process is satisfied if there is any evidence in the record that could support the conclusion of the disciplinary authority. In this case, the outcome turns on what had to be shown to support May's conviction for fighting, which in turn depends on who carried the burden to prove self-defense. Absence of self-defense is an element of fighting, which clearly establishes a burden on the disciplinary authority to prove that the behavior was not self-defense. In light of the record as a whole, there was no evidence that May did not act in self-defense. Because the disciplinary authority failed to prove one of the elements of the offense, May's conviction must be reversed.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 21-5108(c), 77-603(c); K.S.A. 60-1501

Kansas Supreme Court – Civil

Due process; Habeas corpus
Jamerson v. Heimgartner
Butler District Court – Appeal is moot. Question on review is answered
No. 110,977 – June 17, 2016

FACTS: Jamerson is serving a lengthy prison sentence, and his conviction and sentence have already been affirmed on appeal. In 2010, Jamerson was placed in administrative segregation after reports surfaced of gang violence and possible involvement in contraband trafficking. More than three years later, Jamerson filed a K.S.A. 60-1501 petition arguing that his 1,000+ days in administrative segregation violated his constitutional due process rights. The district court denied Jamerson's petition, finding that administrative segregation does not implicate due process and that penal officials are best suited to make classification and placement decisions. The Court of Appeals affirmed that ruling on appeal. The Kansas Supreme Court accepted Jamerson's petition for review on the issue of whether the duration of administrative segregation implicates due process rights. The underlying question is moot, as Jamerson has been released from administrative segregation.

ISSUE: Whether the duration of a term of administrative segregation may implicate an inmate's due process rights

HELD: Administrative segregation is nonpunitive. Courts give penal authorities great deference in the management of the prison system and inmates' rights are greatly curtailed. Nevertheless, a protected liberty interest may arise when authorities impose an atypical restraint and a significant hardship on an inmate. The due process claims here must be addressed outside of a procedural due process or cruel and unusual punishment framework. Rather, the analysis should focus on several factors, including the duration of the segregation. While there is no liberty interest in the initial assignment to administrative segregation, the duration is a factor that courts must consider when determining whether an inmate has demonstrated a violation of a liberty interest. Because no actual controversy is addressed, this opinion is dicta.

STATUTE: K.S.A. 60-1501

Kansas Supreme Court – Criminal

Appeals; Crimes and punishment; Statutes
State v. Tafoya
Sedgwick District Court – Affirmed
No. 107,684 – June 17, 2016

FACTS: Tafoya convicted in 2008 of one count of DUI. Based on three DUI convictions in 1990s, sentence imposed for fourth DUI included 180-day jail sentence, 12-month post-release supervision, and mandatory fine. In unpublished opinion (Tafoya I), court of appeals vacated sentence and remanded for resentencing because district court failed to make necessary findings concerning Tafoya’s finances or consider community service in lieu of fine.  Before remand hearing in 2012, legislature amended DUI lookback provisions to encompass convictions occurring only on or after July 1, 2001. Citing remand jurisdiction only to consider method of fine payment, district court rejected Tafoya's request for application of the more limited lookback period. Tafoya appealed, arguing for retroactive application of K.S.A. 2011 Supp. 8-1567(j)(3). Court of appeals affirmed in unpublished opinion (Tafoya II), but Kansas Supreme Court vacated and remanded the appeal to the panel for reconsideration in light of State v. Reese, 48 Kan.App.2d 87 (2012), rev’d 300 Kan. 650 (2014). Court of appeals again affirmed sentence for fourth DUI conviction, finding Tafoya was neither sentenced nor resentenced in the 2012 remand hearing. Tafoya petitioned for review.

ISSUE: Appellate mandate

HELD: Under facts of case and authorities cited concerning remand for reconsideration of amount of fine or method of payment, substantive effect of Tafoya I correctly limited mandate to vacating fine and instructing district court to reconsider method of payment. Tafoya was never resentenced, thus his claim for benefit of the 2011 lookback period necessarily fails.

STATUTES: K.S.A. 2011 Supp. 8-1567(j)(3); K.S.A. 2010 Supp. 8-1567(o)(3); K.S.A. 2006 Supp. 8-1567(j); K.S.A. 22-3504, 60-2106

Kansas Court of Appeals – Criminal

Criminal procedure; Probation
State v. Lloyd
Reno District Court – Vacated and remanded
No. 114,389 – June 17, 2016

FACTS: Lloyd convicted in 2013 and sentenced to 24-month probation with underlying 32-month prison term. In 2014 district court granted State’s motion to revoke Lloyd’s probation based on Lloyd being bound over for arraignment on a new kidnapping charge, and Lloyd’s defense counsel stipulated to the pending criminal action and to standard at the preliminary hearing being higher than for probation violation. Lloyd appealed.

ISSUE: Revocation of probation

HELD: District court erred in revoking probation based solely on probable cause finding made in the kidnapping case. State did not present any evidence of probation violation other than its own statements regarding the new kidnapping charge. State’s claim of invited error is rejected because defense counsel did not stipulate to Lloyd violating probation, and no party can properly stipulate to an incorrect application of the law. District court’s probation revocation order and imposition of sentence is vacated. Case is remanded for new probation violation hearing.

STATUTE: K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 22-2902(3), -3716(b)(2)