Articles Posted in Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the district court summarily denying Defendant's 2015 motion to correct an illegal sentence with respect to his 1997 jury trial conviction for rape, holding that Defendant was attempting to avail himself of a subsequent change in law. In his motion, Defendant argued that his sentence was based on an incorrectly calculated criminal history score because a pre-Kansas Sentencing Guidelines Act burglary conviction was erroneously classified as a person felony. The district court summarily dismissed the petition, stating that because the sentence was final long before the decisions in Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000), and State v. Dickey, 350 P.3d 1054 (Kan. 2015), these cases did not apply to Defendant's case retroactively. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the court of appeals' affirmance of the district court's summary denial of Defendant's motion to correct and illegal sentence was not in error. View "State v. Dawson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court summarily denying Defendant's pro se motion to correct an illegal sentence and pro se motion to withdraw his plea filed more than a decade after Defendant's felony-murder conviction, holding that the district court did not err when it considered the State's written responses to Defendant's motions without appointing counsel to represent him. The State filed written responses to Defendant's motions, arguing that the district court could summarily deny the motions without appointing counsel for Defendant, that his sentencing challenge fell outside the scope of an illegal sentence, and that his plea withdrawal motion was untimely and failed to show excusable neglect. The district court summarily denied the motions. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Defendant's statutory right to counsel was not triggered for either motion because the district court did not find a substantial issue of law or triable issue of fact in them; and (2) summary denial was appropriate as to the two motions. View "State v. Laughlin" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the judgment of the district court summarily denying Defendant's pro se Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-1507 motion after considering a written response by the State, holding that the district court did not violate Defendant's due process rights when it failed to appoint counsel to represent him and that summary denial was appropriate because Defendant failed to establish a manifest injustice to excuse his untimely filing. Specifically, the Court held (1) Defendant's due process rights were not violated when the district court did not appoint counsel to represent him; (2) Defendant failed to establish manifest injustice to exclude his untimely motion; and (3) no remand was required to resolve Defendant's sovereign citizen claim. View "Requena v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the district court's summary denial of Defendant's 2015 motions to correct his allegedly illegal sentences imposed in 1996, holding that subsequent changes in the law did not render Defendant's sentences illegal for purposes of a Kan. Stat. Ann. 22-3504(1) motion to correct an illegal sentence. In his section 22-3504 motions Defendant asserted that his sentences were barred on an incorrect criminal score because his pre-Kansas Sentencing Guidelines Act (KSGA) burglary convictions should have been classified as nonperson felonies. In denying Defendant's motions, the district court found them to be procedurally barred. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that, pursuant to the Supreme Court's opinion in State v. Dickey, 380 P.3d 230 (Kan. 2016) (Dickey II), the motions were not procedurally barred and that Dickey II required that Defendant's pre-KSGA convictions be classified as nonperson felonies. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Defendant's sentences were legal when pronounced and were final before the change in the law upon which Defendant relied, and therefore, the district court correctly denied Defendant's section 22-3504 motions. View "State v. McAlister" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court summarily denying Defendant's pro se Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-1507 motion, holding that Defendant's due process rights were not violated and that summary denial was appropriate. After Defendant filed his section 60-1507 motion the State filed a written response asking the district court to summarily deny the motion because the motion was untimely, Defendant's claims were conclusory, and Defendant failed to establish a manifest injustice. The district court summarily denied the motion three days later. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not violate due process when it declined to appoint counsel for Defendant; and (2) summary denial was appropriate in this case. View "Sherwood v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the district court's summary denial of Defendant's second Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-1507 motion, holding that the court of appeals did not err in holding that counsel was not required to be appointed and that the district court did not err in finding that exceptional circumstances did not exist that would excuse Defendant's failure to make his claims in his first section 60-1507 motion. Specifically, the Court held (1) the district court did not violate Defendant's due process rights when it failed to appoint counsel to represent Defendant after requesting and receiving the State's response to Defendant's pro se motion; and (2) Defendant was not entitled to an evidentiary hearing on his motion because no exceptions existed that would permit his untimely and successive filing. View "Thuko v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the district court's summary denial of Defendant's Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-1507 motion but reversed the district court's imposition of a filing fee as a condition precedent to accepting Defendant's "motion for summary disposition," holding that summary denial of Defendant's motion was appropriate but that the district court's imposition of the filing fee was erroneous. Specifically, the Court held (1) the procedure employed by the district court in adopting the State's response as its findings did not deny Defendant due process; (2) the failure to appoint counsel to represent Defendant was not erroneous because the district court did not find substantial issues of law or triable issues of fact and did not conduct a hearing at which the State was represented; (3) the court of appeals properly determined that each of the substantive claims raised in Defendant's section 60-1507 motion did not warrant relief; and (4) the district court's imposition of the $195 filing fee for the dispositive motion was erroneous because Defendant had filed a poverty affidavit pursuant to Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-2001. View "Breedlove v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the district court's summary denial of Defendant's Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-1507 motion, holding that summary denial of the section 60-1507 motion was appropriate in this case. On appeal, the court of appeals concluded that the district court erred in elying upon the State attorney's written response to Defendant's pro se motion without first appointing counsel for Defendant but that the error was harmless because the record conclusively established the Defendant was not entitled to relief. The Supreme Court affirmed while disagreeing with the court of appeals' resolution of the right to counsel issue, holding (1) the State's filing of a written response, standing alone, did not trigger Defendant's statutory right to counsel; and (2) the substantive claims Defendant raised in his section 60-1507 motion did not warrant relief. View "Stewart v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the district court summarily denying Defendant's fourth Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-1507 motion, holding that there was no error in the proceedings below. The district court summarily denied Defendant's fourth motion as untimely, successive, and an abuse of remedy. The court of appeals affirmed, holding that Defendant's motion was barred as successive and an abuse of remedy because Defendant failed to show exceptional circumstances allowing him to raise his claims in his fourth section 60-1507 motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the failure to appoint counsel for Defendant did not violate his due process rights; and (2) the court of appeals did not err in affirming the district court's finding that Defendant failed to establish exceptional circumstances to permit a merits review of his successive section 60-1507 motion. View "Dawson v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the district court's summary denial of Defendant's motion to correct an illegal sentence, holding that the lower courts did not err or abuse their discretion. Specifically, the Court held (1) the district court's construing Defendant's motion consistent with its form and the substance of its content, rather than as a Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-1507 motion, was not in error; (2) the district court followed proper statutory procedures for imposing a departure sentence, and therefore, Defendant's sentence was not illegal; and (3) the district court did not err by summarily denying the motion without appointment of counsel for Defendant. View "State v. Redding" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law