Articles Posted in Constitutional Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction of failing to register as required by the Kansas Offender Registration Act (KORA), holding that the retroactive application of KORA to Defendant did not amount to a retroactive punishment in violation of the Ex Post Facto Clause. Defendant pled guilty to possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute and to selling cocaine. While Defendant served her prison sentence, the Kansas Legislature amended KORA to require drug offenders such as Defendant to register. After Defendant was paroled, she was found guilty of failing to register and ordered to pay a $200 DNA database fee. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) KORA’s registration requirements as applied to drug offenders are not punishment or subject to the limitations of the Ex Post Facto Clause; (2) Defendant’s original sentence was not illegal; and (3) the district court did not err when it ordered Defendant to pay the DNA database fee over her objection. View "State v. Simmons" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decisions of the district court denying Appellant’s presentence motion to withdraw plea as well as his request to appoint new counsel connected with the requirement that Appellant register as a drug offender pursuant to the Kansas Offender Registration Act (KORA). On appeal, Appellant argued, in essence, that retroactively requiring him to register violated the Ex Post Facto Clause of the United States Constitution. The Supreme Court held that KORA’s registration requirements as applied to drug offenders are not punishment and subject to the limitations of the Ex Post Facto Clause, and therefore, the district court properly disposed of Appellant’s request. View "State v. Richardson" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decisions of the court of appeals and district court and vacated Defendant’s convictions, holding that this court could not determine from the record whether the district judge examined any unreasonable “use” of race in the traffic stop of Defendant, which is the conduct prohibited by Kan. Stat. Ann. 22-4609, as opposed to examining whether Defendant’s race was the ultimate “cause” of the traffic stop. The district judge denied Defendant’s motion to suppress. Before the Supreme Court, Defendant argued that a law enforcement officer violated section 22-4609, the biased-police policing statute, in stopping him for a traffic infraction and that this violation required suppression of the evidence obtained during the traffic stop under Kan. Stat. Ann. 22-3216(1). The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed the decisions of the lower courts, holding that it could not be determined from the record whether the district court applied the correct test to Defendant’s argument that a statutory violation created a possible suppression remedy. View "State v. Gray" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of a panel of the court of appeals affirming Defendant’s two convictions and sentences for failure to register as require by the Kansas Offender Registration Act. The court held (1) Defendant’s argument that the registration requirements are ex post facto punishment for a drug offense Defendant committed before registration was required for such offenses was foreclosed by State v. Shaylor, 400 P.3d 177 (Kan. 2017); and (2) the complaint initiating one of the convictions was sufficient even where it failed to allege Defendant resided in the county where the State alleged he failed to register. View "State v. Scuderi" on Justia Law

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The State did not meet its burden of showing that Senate Bill 19 meets the adequacy and equity requirements set forth in Kan. Const. art. VI, 6(b). S.B. 19 was remedial legislation passed by the legislature in an attempt to bring the State’s education financing system into compliance with Article 6. In one of the four previous decisions by this court in this case, the Supreme Court issued a mandate for the State to create a school funding system that complies with Article 6 of the Kansas Constitution. The Supreme Court held that although S.B. 19 makes positive strides, the State’s public education financing system passes neither the test for adequacy nor the test for equity. As a remedy, the Supreme Court stayed the issuance of its mandate until June 30, 2018, at which time the State will have to satisfactorily demonstrate that its proposed remedy brings the State’s education financing system into compliance with Article 6 regarding adequacy and equity. View "Gannon v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions arising from his participation in two interconnected felony murders that were consolidated for trial. The two homicides were tied together by Defendant’s involvement, drug-related violence, and shared evidence. The court held (1) the trial court did not err in refusing to suppress Defendant’s statements to police because the warnings given to Defendant, in their totality, reasonably conveyed Defendant’s right to counsel as required by Miranda; (2) the evidence was sufficient to support Defendant’s convictions; and (3) the instructions given to the jury were not clearly erroneous. View "State v. Brown" on Justia Law

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Defendant pleaded no contest to two counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child for offenses he committed in 2008. At the time of his plea, the Kansas Offender Registration Act required lifetime registration. On appeal, Defendant argued for the first time that the lifetime requirement violated the Ex Post Facto Clause because at the time of the crimes only ten years’ registration would have been required. The court of appeals concluded that the constitutional grounds for reversal asserted for the first time on appeal were not properly before the court. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Defendant’s petition for review failed to challenge the court of appeals’ decision not to consider his ex post facto claim for the first time on appeal. View "State v. Tappendick" on Justia Law

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Defendant, who was convicted of drug offenses committed in 2010, challenged the 2011 amendments to the Kansas Offender Registration Act (KORA), arguing that the requirement that she register was illegal because the retroactive imposition of registration requirements ran afoul of the Ex Post Facto Clause of the United States Constitution. The court of appeals held that the duty to register is a civil penalty, not punitive, and therefore, retroactive application of the amendments to drug offenders did not violate the Ex Post Facto Clause. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Defendant was unable to satisfy the “clearest proof” standard because the record below was not sufficiently developed. View "State v. Hill" on Justia Law

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Defendant was convicted of failing to register and placed on supervised probation. The State later moved to revoke Defendant’s probation. Prior to the revocation hearing, Defendant filed a motion to correct his underlying sentence for a felony drug conviction. Defendant argued in part that because he had not been required to register under the Kansas Offender Registration Act (KORA) at the time of his drug conviction, his sentence for failing to register was illegal because the retroactive imposition of registration requirements ran afoul of the Ex Post Facto Clause of the United States Constitution. The district court denied the motion. The court of appeals affirmed the district court’s denial of the motion to correct illegal sentence. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the lower courts had jurisdiction to hear and consider Defendant’s motion as a motion to correct an illegal sentence, but (2) because Defendant’s motion advanced no meritorious argument demonstrating that his sentence was illegal, his claim failed on the merits. View "State v. Kilpatrick" on Justia Law

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Defendant, who challenged the registration requirements of the Kansas Offender Registration Act (KORA) as applied to drug offenders, was unable to satisfy the “clearest proof” standard because the record had not been sufficiently developed. Defendant pled no contest to one count of distribution of cocaine. By the time Defendant was released from prison, the legislature had changed KORA by lowering the time an offender must register upon change of residence from ten days to three days. Defendant was subsequently charged with failing to timely update his registration. A jury convicted Defendant of violating KORA for failing to report a change of residence within three business days. On appeal, Defendant argued that applying the KORA amendments to him violated the Ex Post Facto Clause of the United States Constitution. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that registration is not punishment, and therefore, the amendments could be applied retroactively to Defendant. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Defendant failed to satisfy the clearest proof standard to override legislative intent and transform what has been denominated a civil remedy into a criminal penalty. View "State v. Burdick" on Justia Law