Articles Posted in Kansas Supreme Court

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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

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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

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decisions of the district court and court of appeals ruling that a search of Defendant’s van, which resulted in the discovery of drugs and a meth pipe, was not in violation of Defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights. Specifically, the Court held that the district court properly denied Defendant’s motion to suppress because assuming, without deciding, that the initial encounter became an investigatory detention, it was supported by reasonable suspicion and was therefore legal, and Defendant’s consent to the search during that time was not tainted. View "State v. Hanke" on Justia Law

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In deciding whether a plan of restitution is unworkable, courts should evaluate unworkability on a case-by-case basis. The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeals affirming Appellant’s order of restitution, holding that the Court of Appeals did not err in concluding that the restitution plan was a workable one. Here, the district court ordered that, upon Appellant’s release from prison, he pay $14,356.21 in restitution pursuant to Kan. Stat. Ann. 21-6604(b)(1). On appeal, Appellant argued that, as a result of his limited financial resources, he would not be able to pay off the order in a reasonable time frame and that the plan of restitution was unworkable. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion when it ruled that Appellant failed to show the restitution plan was unworkable. View "State v. Meeks" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Appellant’s convictions for premeditated first-degree murder and arson but vacated his sentence to life in prison for the murder and to a consecutive thirteen months for the arson, holding that a sentencing error required remand for resentencing. Specifically, the Court held (1) Appellant acted knowingly and voluntarily when waiving his right to a jury trial; (2) Appellant was not entitled to relief on his argument that the district judge erred in refusing to allow Appellant to present the testimony of a witness despite the witness’ violation of a sequestration order; and (3) the district judge erred in identifying the off-grid crime of first-degree murder, rather than the on-grid crime of arson, as the primary crime for purposes of calculating Appellant’s sentence. View "State v. Redick" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s order that Appellant comply with the Kansas Offender Registration Act (KORA), Kan. Stat. Ann. 22-4901 et seq., holding that the court made the requisite finding on the record that a deadly weapon was used in Appellant’s commission of the person felony for which he was convicted, and the court’s failure to inform Appellant about his registration obligations at the time of conviction was error, but the error was harmless. Appellant pleaded no contest to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. When convicted, Appellant was not informed of his duty to register. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) based on Kan. Stat. Ann. 22-3602(a), this Court had jurisdiction to decide if Appellant’s registration responsibilities were invalid because Appellant was not challenging his conviction on appeal; (2) because Appellant was convicted of a person felony and the court found he used a deadly weapon, which was supported by the record, Appellant was a violent offender subject to KORA’s registration requirements; and (3) the court’s failure to notify Appellant of his duty to register at the time of his conviction did not excuse Appellant’s KORA registration obligations. View "State v. Marinelli" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals panel in this case erred by dismissing Appellant’s appeal from the requirement that he register for lifetime under the Kansas Offender Registration Act (KORA), Kan. Stat. Ann. 22-4901 et seq., on the grounds that the notice of appeal mentioned only sentencing. Appellant pleaded guilty to aggravated indecent solicitation of a child. The district court sentenced Appellant to a term of imprisonment and ordered lifetime registration under KORA. On appeal, Appellant argued that the lifetime registration violated the Ex Post Facto Clause of the federal Constitution because it exceeded the registration period applicable at the time he committed his crime. The Court of Appeals panel dismissed the appeal, holding that the notice of appeal limited the court’s jurisdiction because KORA registration was not part of a criminal sentence. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Appellant’s notice of appeal should have been read broadly enough to encompass his KORA challenge under the conflicting caselaw existing when he appealed. As to the merits, the Supreme court affirmed the lifetime registration requirements, holding that changes to offender registration requirements implemented after Appellant committed his crime are not “punishment” and so are not cruel and unusual punishment proscribed by the Eighth Amendment to the federal Constitution. View "State v. Rocheleau" on Justia Law

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At issue was whether Defendant had an obligation to register as a violent offender under the Kansas Offender Registration Act (KORA), Kan. Stat. Ann. 22-4901 et seq., when the district court never made a finding on the record that a stiletto heel - the object Defendant used to commit aggravated battery with a deadly weapon - was a deadly weapon. The court of appeals upheld Defendant’s conviction but vacated her registration requirement and remanded the case to the district court to determine if the high-heel shoe she used in the commission of the crime constituted a deadly weapon requiring registration under the KORA. The Supreme Court reversed in part and vacated the court of appeals’ remand order, holding (1) Defendant met her burden of designating a record sufficient to establish that no duty to register existed; and (2) the absence of a court-made finding on the record that Defendant used a deadly weapon was not a sentencing error amenable to the remedy of a remand, and the court of appeals is reversed only insofar as it improperly prolonged these proceedings. View "State v. Thomas" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the district court’s order obligating Appellant to register as an offender under the Kansas Offender Registration Act (KORA), Kan. Stat. Ann. 22-4901 et seq., following Appellant’s conviction for aggravated assault. On appeal, Appellant argued that the registration requirement was an illegal sentence because the district court did not make a factual finding on the record that he used a deadly weapon in the commission of a person felony, pursuant to Kan. Stat. Ann. 22-4902. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that because there was no record that the court made a finding that Appellant used a deadly weapon in committing his crime of conviction, Appellant was not an “offender” as defined by section 22-4902(e)(2). View "State v. Gilkes" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the court of appeals’ sua sponte dismissal of Appellant’s appeal from the requirement that he register under the Kansas Offender Registration Act (KORA), Kan. Stat. Ann. 22-4901 et seq., for his lifetime. Appellant pleaded no contest to kidnapping, aggravated kidnapping, and aggravated burglary. At the time of his crimes KORA required ten years’ registration. Statutory amendments between Appellant’s crimes and his plea, however, expanded the requirement to lifetime registration. On appeal, Appellant argued for the first time that his lifetime registration violated the Ex Post Facto Clause of the federal Constitution. The court of appeals held that Appellant’s merits arguments could not be raised for the first time on appeal because they involved both factual and legal matters. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellant’s petition for review failed to challenge the lower court’s rulings upon which dismissal was based, and therefore, Appellant was not entitled to relief. View "State v. Pewenofkit" on Justia Law