Articles Posted in Constitutional 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

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Defendant pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to sell, deliver, or distribute methamphetamine. Before Defendant entered his plea, the legislature amended the Kansas Offender Registration Act (KORA), raising the time Defendant was required to register as a drug offender from ten years to fifteen years. The district court imposed a fifteen-year registration period, finding that the amendments applied retroactively. The court of appeals affirmed. Defendant appealed, arguing that retroactively applying the amendments to him violated the Ex Post Facto Clause. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Defendant was unable to satisfy the “clearest proof” standard because the record had not been sufficiently developed. View "State v. Hirschberg" on Justia Law

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Based on the record below, Defendant was unable to establish that the effect of the registration requirements set forth by the Kansas Offender Registration Act (KORA) constitute punishment. Defendant pleaded guilty to robbery and aggravated burglary. The district court ordered Defendant to register as a violent offender under KORA after finding that he used a deadly weapon to commit those offenses. Defendant appealed, arguing that the registration requirement violated the Booker/Apprendi rule because the jury did not find beyond a reasonable doubt that he used a deadly weapon. The court of appeals rejected Defendant’s Apprendi claims. The Supreme Court affirmed the registration order, holding (1) because there was no evidentiary basis supporting Defendant’s argument that KORA requirements are punishment as applied to violent offenders, the court could not conduct the appropriate analysis to determine KORA’s alleged punitive effects on violent offenders such as Defendant; and (2) because the registration requirements did not increase Defendant’s punishment under the law of this case, it was not necessary that Defendant’s use of a deadly weapon be found by a jury. View "State v. Huey" on Justia Law

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Registration for sex offenders mandated by the Kansas Offender Registration Act (KORA) does not constitute punishment under the Ex Post Facto Clause of the United States Constitution. When Appellant was convicted of aggravated indecent liberties with a child, KORA required him to register for ten years. Before Appellant’s registration period expired, the Kansas Legislature amended KORA by adding a tolling provision tolling the registration period of an offender who was imprisoned or noncompliant with KORA. During the decade following his conviction, Appellant was noncompliant for at least four years and two months, and therefore, his registration period was extended. During the extended period, Appellant committed two additional offender registration violations and pleaded guilty to the offender registration violations. Appellant later moved to withdraw his plea because he was not required to register at the time of the alleged violations. The district court denied the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that registration pursuant to KORA for sex offenders is not punishment and that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Appellant’s motion to withdraw his plea. View "State v. Reed" on Justia Law

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While Defendant was imprisoned for drug offenses, the legislature amended the Kansas Offender Registration Act (KORA) by adding certain drug offenders, such as Defendant, to the list of those required to register. After Defendant was released from prison, he pled no contest to one count of failing to register. The district court subsequently revoked, reinstated, and extended Defendant’s probation multiple times. When the State moved to revoke Defendant’s probation a fourth time, Defendant filed a motion to correct his underlying sentence for failing to register, arguing that because he had not been required to register at the time of his drug conviction, his subsequent sentence was illegal. The court of appeals held that it did not have jurisdiction to consider Defendant’s ex post facto claim because “the definition of an illegal sentence does not include a claim that the sentence violates a constitutional provision.” The Supreme Court affirmed the outcome below, albeit for different reasons, holding (1) according to the court’s decisions in State v. Wood, 393 P.3d 631 (2017), and State v. Reese, 393 P.3d 599 (2017), the lower courts had jurisdiction to hear and consider Defendant’s motion as a motion to correct an illegal sentence; but (2) Defendant’s claim failed on the merits. View "State v. Kilpatrick" on Justia Law