Articles Posted in Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the portion of the court of appeals decision affirming the district court’s order of restitution because neither the district court nor the court of appeals had the advantage of the decision in State v. Arnett, 413 P.3d 787 (Kan. 2018), when calculating or considering the restitution order here. Defendant pleaded no contest to the residential burglary of Ryan Platt’s home. The trial court denied Defendant’s motion to limit restitution to $250 in damage caused to the screen door in the residential burglary and ordered the restitution requested by the State. The Supreme Court reversed the portion of the court of appeals decision upholding the order that Defendant pay $680 for items removed from Platt’s home and vehicle and remanded for a new hearing on restitution, directing the district court to reconsider its calculation of restitution under the standard adopted in Arnett. View "State v. Futrell" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the decision of the district court, which ordered a reduced term of ten years of postrelease supervision after finding that a sentence of lifetime postrelease supervision would be unconstitutional as applied to Defendant. In reversing, the court of appeals directed the district court to impose lifetime postrelease supervision. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court made a legal error in its analysis and that the court of appeals erred when it did not remand the case for the purpose of using the proper legal standard to consider whether lifetime postrelease supervision was unconstitutional as applied to Defendant. View "State v. Riffe" on Justia Law

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A defendant may not assert self-defense if that defendant is already otherwise committing a forcible felony when he or she commits a separate act of violence. The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction of criminal discharge of a firearm into a vehicle under a theory of aiding and abetting, holding that there was no basis for reversal. The primary issue on appeal was whether the district court erred in denying Defendant’s request for an instruction on self-defense. The court of appeals held that the instruction was legally inappropriate in this case because Defendant was charged with a violent felony, which prevented him from asserting a theory of self-defense. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that under the new rule articulated above, the requested instruction was legally appropriate. But because the evidence was not factually appropriate, the district court properly denied Defendant’s request for an instruction on self-defense. The Supreme Court further held that Defendant’s remaining allegations of error were unavailing. View "State v. Barlett" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The district court erred in this case by denying Defendant’s petition for DNA testing of hairs found at the crime scene. Defendant was convicted of kidnapping, rape, aggravated robbery, and aggravated intimidation of a witness or victim. Defendant later filed a pro se petition for postconviction DNA testing under Kan. Stat. Ann. 21-2512 asking that collected by previously untested hairs found at the crime scene be tested against the DNA profile of the victim’s boyfriend. In denying the petition, the district court relied on the legal standard from State v. Lackey, 208 P.3d 793 (Kan. 2009)(Lackey I), which had been overruled by State v. Lackey, 286 P.3d 859 (Kan. 2012)(Lackey II), before the district court ruling. The court of appeals affirmed, ruling that while the district court erred in relying on Lackey I, the decision to deny should still be affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings, holding that the lower courts erred because the testing of hair from the crime scene may have produced exculpatory evidence that was “noncumulative” as required by the statute. View "State v. George" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the denial of Appellant’s pro se motion to set aside a “void judgment," holding that Appellant’s counsel’s urging that the court treat Appellant’s motion as one under Kan. Stat. Ann. 22-3210 to withdraw Appellant’s no contest plea accepted by the court nineteen years earlier qualified as invited error. Because Appellant failed to allege the required excusable neglect under section 22-3210’s provision allowing late motions for plea withdrawal, the district court denied the motion on the grounds that it was untimely. On appeal, Appellant argued that the district court should have construed his motion as one under Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-1507 and allowed the untimely filing to prevent manifest injustice. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the invited error doctrine applied because Appellant’s counsel twice invited the district court to treat the pleading as a motion to withdraw plea; and (2) the district court properly found that the motion was untimely. View "State v. Parks" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions for felony murder, rape, and aggravated burglary arising from an attack on 100-year-old M.S. in her home. On appeal, Appellant argued, among other things, that there was insufficient evidence to support the felony murder conviction because M.S.’s death twenty-one days after the attack did not occur within the res gestate of the underlying felony of rape and because there was no direct causal connection between the rape and M.S.’s death. The Supreme Court held (1) the record supported the jury’s decision that the act causing M.S.’s death occurred within the res gestate of the underlying felony of rape, and the evidence was sufficient to support causation; (2) there was sufficient evidence to support the aggravated burglary conviction; (3) an erroneous statement by the prosecutor during closing argument was harmless; and (4) the judge did not err when he refused to give a proposed race-switching instruction. View "State v. Nesbitt" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Dyron King’s convictions of attempted capital murder, aggravated robbery, and other crimes, holding that substantial evidence supported the jury verdict and there was no discernible error in the proceedings below. Specifically, the Court held (1) sufficient evidence supported King’s convictions; (2) there were three instances of prosecutorial error in closing arguments, but there was no reasonable possibility the prosecutor’s comments contributed to the verdict; (3) King waived any request to sever his trial from his codefendant’s; and (4) cumulative error did not deprive King of a fair trial. View "State v. King" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reaffirmed and applied the holding in State v. Perkins, 811 P.2d 1142 (Kan. 1991), which held that Kan. Stat. Ann. 22-3302 does not mandate that a defendant be present when the discussion concerns whether to hold a competency hearing. During the first day of Defendant’s trial, his attorney spoke with the trial judge and the prosecutor about the attorney’s concerns regarding Defendant’s mental state. Defendant’s attorney did not explicitly ask for a competency examination or a competency hearing. On appeal, Defendant argued that the trial court violated section 22-3302 by holding a chambers conference to discuss concerns about his mental state. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the holding in Perkins applies in this case; and (2) the ambiguous language of section 22-3302(7) does not support Defendant’s interpretation that he had a right to be present during the in-chambers discussion about his mental state on the first day of trial. View "State v. Gross" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of a Court of Appeals panel suppressing evidence obtained through a suspicionless search of the residence of Appellant, a parolee, holding that the suspicionless search of Appellant’s residence did not violate the Fourth Amendment. The trial court held that the parole officer in this case lacked reasonable suspicion or probable cause to search Appellant’s home but that the Internal Management Policies and Procedures of the Kansas Department of Corrections authorized such parole conditions and were not in violation of Kansas law. The majority of the Court of Appeals panel reversed, holding that the condition in Appellant’s signed parole agreement allowing the residential search was not authorized by Kansas law, as required by State v. Bennett, 200 P.3d 455 (Kan. 2009). The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the signed parole agreement stating that Appellant was subject to suspicionless residential searches by his parole officers as a condition of his parole was enough to uphold the parole officer’s suspicionless search. View "State v. Toliver" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The district court erred by sentencing Defendant to lifetime postrelease supervision instead of lifetime parole for his first-degree felony-murder conviction. Defendant was convicted of first-degree felony murder, conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, and attempted aggravated robbery. The district court sentenced Defendant to life in prison without the possibility of parole for twenty years for the first-degree felony murder and imposed lifetime postrelease supervision. The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions but vacated a portion of Defendant’s sentence, holding (1) Defendant’s challenges to his convictions were unavailing; and (2) the sentencing court erred when it imposed lifetime postrelease supervision rather than lifetime parole. The Court remanded the case to the district court so the court may impose lifetime parole. View "State v. Butler" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law