Articles Posted in Kansas Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction for first-degree premeditated murder and remanded the case to the district court for resentencing, holding that the district court erred in ordering postrelease supervision rather than parole. On appeal, Defendant raised numerous arguments relating to her defense that she was not criminally responsible because a mental disease or defect prevented her from forming the culpable mental state necessary to convict her of first-degree premeditated murder, including several jury instruction issues. The Supreme Court affirmed the conviction, holding that the district court committed one instructional error, but the error was harmless. The Supreme Court then rejected all but one of Defendant’s sentencing issues but remanded the case for resentencing because the district court erred in ordering postrelease supervision rather than parole. View "State v. McLinn" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction for first-degree premeditated murder and remanded the case to the district court for resentencing, holding that the district court erred in ordering postrelease supervision rather than parole. On appeal, Defendant raised numerous arguments relating to her defense that she was not criminally responsible because a mental disease or defect prevented her from forming the culpable mental state necessary to convict her of first-degree premeditated murder, including several jury instruction issues. The Supreme Court affirmed the conviction, holding that the district court committed one instructional error, but the error was harmless. The Supreme Court then rejected all but one of Defendant’s sentencing issues but remanded the case for resentencing because the district court erred in ordering postrelease supervision rather than parole. View "State v. McLinn" on Justia Law

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A Kansas court may proceed with a hearing on a Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-1507 motion after a defendant’s term of probation has expired and the defendant has been released from physical custody. In her pro se motion filed under section 60-1507, Defendant argued that her counsel provided ineffective assistance during her criminal proceedings. The district court summarily denied the motion. The court of appeals affirmed, ruling that Defendant’s release from probation did not deprive the courts of jurisdiction but concluding that the court lacked jurisdiction to consider Defendant’s argument that her section 60-1507 counsel was ineffective because the issue was not included in the notice of appeal. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the court had jurisdiction over Defendant’s appeal even where she had been released from custody; (2) the court of appeals erred in concluding that it lacked jurisdiction to determine Defendant’s ineffective assistance of section 60-1507 counsel claim; (3) it was not clear from the record whether section 60-1507 counsel provided ineffective assistance of counsel; and (4) summary denial of Defendant’s 60-1407 motion was appropriate. View "Mundy v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals reversing Defendant’s convictions for theft by deception and making false information, holding that there was insufficient evidence supporting the convictions. One issue in this appellate challenge was whether the State presented sufficient evidence to support the actual elements of making false information, regardless of whether it could have successfully prosecuted Defendant for forgery. The Supreme Court held (1) the State did not prove that Defendant committed theft by deception; and (2) the State failed to meet its burden to prove the first element of the crime of making false information, and therefore, Defendant’s conviction must be reversed. View "State v. Ward" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the district court sentencing Defendant to nine months’ imprisonment, awarding him credit for his nearly twelve months of pretrial confinement, and imposing eighteen months’ probation. The court of appeals did not address whether sentencing Defendant to probation was in error and in violation of his double jeopardy rights, ruling that his sentence was a presumptive one under the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines Act and thus beyond judicial review. The Supreme Court reversed the lower courts, holding (1) Defendant was not challenging a presumptive sentence, so review was appropriate; and (2) because Defendant’s sentence of confinement had already been served, probation was improper. View "State v. Kinder" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s summary denial of Defendant’s motion to correct illegal sentence under Kan. Stat. Ann. 22-3504(1), thus rejecting Defendant’s argument that his sentence was illegal because he was subjected to unequal treatment in a manner constitutionally prohibited. The district court summarily denied Defendant’s motion. On appeal, Defendant argued that he was entitled to a new sentencing hearing under Kan. Stat. 21-6620(e). The Supreme Court affirmed without reaching the merits of Defendant’s argument regarding section 21-6620, holding (1) a defendant cannot raise constitutional challenges to a sentence via a section 22-3504(1) motion; and (2) as to any other issues, Defendant has waived or abandoned those arguments. View "State v. Amos" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions for first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, aggravated assault, and illegal use of a communication facility but vacated the portion of Defendant’s sentence imposing lifetime postrelease supervision and remanded the case for resentencing. The court held (1) the district court did not err when it did denied Defendant’s request to provide the jury with a lesser included offense instruction of voluntary manslaughter; but (2) the district court imposed illegal sentences in violation of Kan. Stat. Ann. 22-3717 when it ordered lifetime postrelease supervision. View "State v. Ruiz-Ascencio" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s summary denial of Defendant’s motion to correct an illegal sentence under Kan. Stat. Ann. 22-3504(1), rejecting each of Defendant’s claims of error. The court held (1) Defendant was not entitled to resentencing based on State v. Murdock, 323 P.3d 846 (Kan. 2014), which was overruled by State v. Keel, 357 P.3d 251 (Kan. 2015); (2) the application of Keel to Defendant’s motion does not violate the Ex Post Facto Clause of the federal Constitution; (3) the classification of Defendant’s prior offenses as person/nonperson offenses does not violate the Sixth Amendment to the federal Constitution; and (4) the district court did not deprive Defendant of a statutory right to a hearing when it summarily denied relief. View "State v. Campbell" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court sentencing Defendant to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment for fifty years for first-degree premeditated murder. The court held (1) the district judge’s decision to discharge a juror and substitute an alternate juror during deliberations was not in error; (2) the prosecutor did not exceed the latitude permitted him in discussing the evidence of this case and did not misstate the law during closing argument; and (3) the district judge’s pronouncement of the hard fifty sentence did not create an illegal ambiguity in the length of Defendant’s sentence or violate Defendant’s statutory right to be present at sentencing. View "State v. Hilt" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s sentence. Pursuant to a plea agreement, Defendant pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder. The State agreed to recommend to the sentencing court that the sentences for both offenses be ordered to run concurrently, for an aggregate sentence of life in prison with parole eligibility after twenty-five years. The sentencing court imposed a hard twenty-five life sentence for the first-degree premeditated murder but erroneously stated the applicable sentencing range for the attempted first-degree murder count. The court sentenced Defendant to serve 165 months in prison. Despite the parties’ joint recommendation, the court ran the sentences consecutively. When the court was made aware of the sentencing error, the court stated the correct presumptive sentencing range for the attempted murder conviction was 258 to 285 months and then granted Defendant’s request to depart downward to the original sentence of 165 months’ imprisonment. Defendant appealed, arguing that the district court erred when it refused to follow the plea agreement’s recommendation by running his sentences concurrent to each other. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the court’s decision was not arbitrary, fanciful, or unreasonable. View "State v. Beck" on Justia Law