Articles Posted in Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals vacating Defendant's sentence for trafficking contraband in jail, holding that the district court should not have included a Missouri municipal ordinance violation for endangering the welfare of a child as a person misdemeanor when calculating Defendant's criminal history score. The district court included in Defendant's criminal history score a 2005 Missouri municipal ordinance violation for endangering the welfare of a child. This ordinance violation is not a crime under Missouri state law. On appeal, Defendant argued that the sentencing court erred in classifying her ordinance violation as a misdemeanor. The Supreme Court vacated Defendant's sentence and remanded her case to the district court for resentencing. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court erred in including the municipal ordinance violation in Defendant's criminal history; and (2) the error scoring the violation as a misdemeanor was not harmless. View "State v. Smith" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court's denial of Defendant's motion to withdraw plea but vacated the lifetime postrelease supervision portion of his sentence, holding that the district court had no authority to order lifetime postrelease supervision and that the journal entry must be corrected to show that the district court waived the Board of Indigents' Defense Services (BIDS) administrative fee. Defendant pled guilty to two counts of felony murder, one count of aggravated burglary, and one count of aggravated robbery. Thereafter, Defendant moved to withdraw his plea. The district court denied the motion and sentenced Defendant to two concurrent life sentences for the murders and 141 months' incarceration for the remaining crimes. The court also ordered a lifetime period of postrelease supervision and waived the BIDS attorney fee and BIDS administrative fee. The Supreme Court held (1) the district court did not err in denying Defendant's motion to withdraw his plea; and (2) this case is remanded with instructions to impose lifetime parole and to correct a clerical error in the journal entry regarding the BIDS administrative fee. View "State v. Edwards" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's convictions of attempted capital murder, kidnapping, burglary, and interference with law enforcement but vacated the court's order that Defendant pay a percentage of the attorney fees incurred for his defense, holding that the district court violated statutory requirements by imposing the fees as a percentage without knowing what the total amount was. Specifically, the Court held (1) this Court had jurisdiction despite a misdirected notice of appeal; (2) the trial court did not abuse its discretion by allowing evidence about Defendant's criminal acts in Oklahoma; (3) any error on the part of the prosecutor in making certain comments during trial was harmless; (4) the trial court did not err in instructing the jury; and (5) the trial court erred in ordering Defendant to pay thirty percent of the attorney fees without knowing how much they were. View "State v. Garcia-Garcia" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court vacated Defendant's sentence in part and remanded for resentencing, holding that the district court, on remand, did not comply with the mandate of the Supreme Court by changing Defendant's life sentence from running concurrent with, to consecutive to, Defendant's sentences for his two nonvacated on-grid crimes. The Supreme Court vacated the original hard fifty life sentence for Defendant's premeditated first-degree murder conviction because the sentence was unconstitutional. On remand, the district court imposed a hard twenty-five life sentence for that conviction and changed the life sentence from concurrent with, to consecutive to, the sentences for convictions for Defendant's two on-grid crimes. The court also changed Defendant's nonvacated sentences in length and sequence. The Supreme Court vacated the sentence in part, holding (1) the district court erred on remand by changing the life sentence; and (2) the court also erred by modifying Defendant's two nonvacated, on-grid sentences. View "State v. Moore" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court correcting Defendant's postrelease supervision term after Defendant's probation was revoked and he was ordered to serve his original sentence and the court of appeals' endorsement of that decision, holding that the district court judge did not err in correcting Defendant's postrelease term. Defendant pleaded no contest to sexual exploitation of a child and was sentenced to thirty-six months in prison and two years of postrelease supervision. The district court suspended imposition of the sentence. After Defendant committed another crime, his probation was revoked and his original sentence imposed. Thereafter, the district court ruled that Defendant should have received a lifetime postrelease term because of his plea to a sexually violent crime. The district judge then corrected the two-year postrelease term to lifetime. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district judge properly corrected Defendant's two-year postrelease term to lifetime. View "State v. Brook" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the summary denial of Defendant's pro se motion, which Defendant called a combined "motion to correct illegal sentence" and "motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction," holding that Defendant failed to establish that his sentence was illegal and that Defendant could not overcome the procedural hurdles of the motion being successive and filed outside the statutory time limit. In his combined motion, Defendant requested that his convictions be reversed, invoking Kan. Stat. Ann. 22-3504 as the basis for jurisdiction. The district court summarily dismissed the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Defendant cannot collaterally attack a conviction through a motion to correct an illegal sentence filed under section 22-3504 claiming that a defective complaint meant the district court lacked jurisdiction to convict; (2) the district court lacked jurisdiction over Defendant's motion to dismiss; and (3) Defendant's motion could not be considered as one filed under Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-1507 because such a motion is procedurally barred. View "State v. Robertson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court sentencing Defendant a third time for two counts of aggravated robbery and one count of robbery, holding that Defendant's second sentence was legally imposed, and this Court's subsequent decision in State v. Keel, 357 P.3d 251 (Kan. 2015), did not render that sentence illegal. In his first appeal, Defendant argued that the district court miscalculated his criminal history score when it classified his two out-of-state offenses as person crimes, which resulted in a criminal history score of A. The Supreme Court agreed. At resentencing, the district court followed the Supreme Court's mandate and scored Defendant's prior out-of-state convictions as nonperson felonies, resulting in a criminal history score of C. Thereafter, the Supreme Court decided Keel, which overruled State v. Murdock, 323 P.3d 846 (Kan. 2014). The State moved to correct Murdock's sentence, and the district court granted the motion, resentencing Defendant a third time and finding a criminal history score of A. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded with directions to reinstate Defendant's second sentence, holding that Defendant's second sentence was legal when pronounced, and Keel did not render Defendant's second sentence illegal. View "State v. Murdock" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed Defendant's conviction for premeditated first-degree murder, holding that the district erred in denying Defendant's request for a self-defense instruction and that the error was not harmless. Defendant shot and killed a man following a dispute over a pool game. The Supreme Court reversed his conviction of premeditated first-degree murder for failure to give lesser included offenses instructions. After a retrial, Defendant was again found guilty of premeditated first-degree murder. Defendant appealed, arguing that the district court erred in determining that the evidence did not support a self-defense instruction. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that Defendant's testimony sufficed to make the self-defense instruction factually appropriate and that the error in denying the instruction was not harmless. View "State v. Qualls" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction and sentence for one count of aggravated indecent liberties with a child, holding that no error occurred in the conduct of Defendant's trial that required reversal. The State charged Defendant with one count of aggravated indecent liberties with a child who was fourteen or more years of age but less than sixteen years of age. The State filed a motion seeking admission of evidence under Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-455(d) that Defendant had been convicted of two sex crimes in Missouri. The court granted the motion, finding that the evidence was material and had probative value. The jury found Defendant guilty. The court of appeals affirmed. Defendant appealed, arguing that the district court abused its discretion by allowing the State to introduce the fact of his prior Missouri convictions for sex crimes. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the evidence; (2) section 60-455(d) does not violate the Bill of Rights contained in the Kansas Constitution; and (3) the record did not support Defendant's speedy trial claims. View "State v. Razzaq" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction and sentence for one count of aggravated indecent liberties with a child, holding that there was no error in the conduct of the trial and that Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-455, the statute allowing the introduction of evidence of propensity to commit sex crimes, is not unconstitutional. Defendant was charged with one count of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. The trial court granted in part the State's motion to admit evidence of prior conduct under Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-455 in order to show Defendant's propensity to commit the offense, allowing the State to introduce evidence of Defendant's Nebraska conviction of sexual assault on a nine-year-old neighbor girl. Defendant was subsequently convicted as charged. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) section 60-455(d) does not violate federal constitutional protections; (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the challenged evidence; and (3) Defendant's challenges to his sentence were unavailing. View "State v. Boysaw" on Justia Law