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The plain language of Kan. Stat. Ann. 22-4508 permits privately retained counsel to pursue funding for certain services through the State Board of Indigents’ Defense Services (BIDS) so long as the defendant is financially unable to obtain investigative, expert, or other services necessary to an adequate defense. Petitioner, who was charged with first-degree murder, moved to be declared, through his retained counsel, partially indigent. The district court judge declared Petitioner partially indigent. When Petitioner presented the new presiding criminal judge of the district court with a request for a transcript, the judge denied the request, concluding that an indigent defendant may only access BIDS for payment of expenses associated with his defense through appointed counsel. The Supreme Court granted Petitioner’s petition for writ of mandamus in part and directed the district court to hold an ex parte hearing on Petitioner’s requests for investigative, expert, or other services under section 22-4508 and determine whether those services were necessary to an adequate defense, holding that the judge had a duty, despite Petitioner’s representation by retained counsel, to hold such a hearing. View "Landrum v. Goering" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court convicting Defendant of premeditated first-degree murder and sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for twenty-five years. The court held (1) the State presented sufficient evidence from which a rational jury could find, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Defendant committed premeditated first-degree murder; (2) the prosecutor did not commit reversible error during closing argument; and (3) the district court did not violate Defendant’s right to present a defense by excluding photographs. View "State v. Banks" on Justia Law

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A crane permanently attached to a truck chassis and associated tools do not qualify as cargo under 49 U.S.C. 31101(1), and therefore, the truck does not qualify as a commercial vehicle subject to registration and fee requirements under the federal Unified Carrier Registration Act (UCR). The Kansas Corporation Commission fined Appellant, whose truck was stopped by a highway patrol trooper, for failure to register and pay the fee required by the Act. Appellant requested a hearing to challenge the UCR violation. The Kansas Corporation Commission upheld the fine, concluding that Appellant’s truck was a commercial motor vehicle. The district court and court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed the lower courts and vacated the fine, holding that the Commission, district judge, and court of appeals erroneously affirmed the fine because Appellant’s crane and tools did not qualify as cargo, and therefore, the truck was not a commercial motor vehicle in Appellant’s fleet. View "Midwest Crane & Rigging, LLC v. Kansas Corp. Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction for first-degree felony murder and aggravated battery rendered after a jury trial. The court held (1) the prosecutor did not err by introducing gang affiliation evidence and the State did not mislead the district judge about its basis for the admission; and (2) Defendant’s challenge to the procedure employed by the court clerk’s office in Sedgwick County for handling pro se motions in criminal cases, as it was employed in Defendant’s case and as it is generally employed for other defendants, cannot be brought in his direct appeal. View "State v. Pollard" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The coconspirator exception to the hearsay rule, as derived from the vicarious liability exception set forth in Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-460(i)(2), can apply when the hearsay is offered at trial by a coconspirator rather than a third party. Defendant was convicted and sentenced for attempted first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder of her husband, Dennis Davey (Dennis). Defendant was prosecuted, in part, on the theory that she conspired with her daughter and two others to kill Dennis. During trial, the trial court admitted several hearsay statements that were made among the conspirators. The court of appeals concluded that the hearsay evidence was admissible under the coconspirator exception. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court did not err in admitting the evidence because the hearsay fit within the coconspirator exception to the hearsay rule. View "State v. Davey" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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In State v. Cheever, 284 P.3d 1007 (Kan. 2012), the Supreme Court held that Defendant did not waive his privilege against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment by presenting a voluntary intoxication defense to capital murder charges. The United States Supreme Court vacated the Kansas Supreme Court’s decision, holding that the rebuttal testimony presented by the State in the form of expert opinion was admissible. On remand, the Kansas Supreme Court addressed whether the testimony the expert gave exceeded the scope of rebuttal allowed by the Fifth Amendment or by Kansas evidentiary rules. The court affirmed Defendant’s convictions and sentences, holding (1) the expert’s testimony did not exceed the proper scope of rebuttal, either constitutionally or under state evidentiary rules; and (2) none of the remaining issues raised on appeal required reversal or remand. View "State v. Cheever" on Justia Law

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In State v. Ryce, 368 P.3d 342 (Kan. 2016), (Ryce I) the Supreme Court held that Kan. Stat. Ann. 8-1025 was facially unconstitutional because it punishes an individual for withdrawing his consent to a search even the right to withdraw consent has been recognized in cases applying the Fourth Amendment to the federal Constitution and section 15 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights. After the court issued its decision in Ryce I, the State filed a motion to stay the mandate until the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Birchfield v. North Dakota, 579 U.S. __ (2016), which held that warrantless breath tests are reasonable as searches incident to lawful arrest but that blood test may not be administered as a search incident to a lawful arrest for drunk driving. After considering additional arguments and the effect of Birchfield on Ryce I, the court again determined that section 8-1025 is facially unconstitutional and that nothing in the Birchfield decision altered the ultimate basis for Ryce I. View "State v. Ryce" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions for first-degree premeditated murder, sexual exploitation of a child, eight counts of rape, and other offenses. The court held (1) any error in the admission of certain out-of-court statements was harmless because the testimony was largely cumulative of otherwise admissible evidence; (2) the district court did not err by failing to instruct the jury on assisting suicide as a lesser included offense of first-degree premeditated murder; (3) the district court did not err by admitting prior crime evidence under Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-455; (4) Defendant failed to show that the the limiting instructions regarding the prior crime evidence were clearly erroneous; and (5) the one assumed error in this case was insufficient to support reversal as cumulative error. View "State v. Perez" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction of one count of first-degree felony murder and one count of attempted aggravated robbery. The court held (1) the circumstances of this case did not support the instruction that Defendant requested urging the jury to exercise caution when evaluating the reliability of a prison informant; (2) the district court did not err in denying Defendant’s motion for new trial based on newly discovered evidence; and (3) the limiting instruction given by the trial court regarding the use of prior crimes - Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-455 - evidence was appropriate. View "State v. Ashley" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Defendant was convicted of 105 counts of sexual exploitation of a child. The convictions stemmed from the police discovering child pornography on Defendant’s computer while investigating the homicide of Defendant’s mother. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court did not err in denying the evidence because it was properly within the scope of various search warrants issued during the homicide investigation; and (2) the district court’s finding that Defendant’s victims were under fourteen years old did not expose him to an increased penalty within the meaning of Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000), and therefore, there was no constitutional violation when that fact was found by the court. View "State v. Hachmeister" on Justia Law