Articles Posted in Kansas Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court affirmed the sentence imposed upon Defendant following remand, holding that there was no reversible error in the trial court’s judgment. Defendant was convicted of first-degree premeditated murder, felony murder, and abuse of an infant victim. The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction on appeal but remanded to the trial court for a new sentencing hearing. After a sentencing trial on remand, the jury sentenced Defendant to a minimum term of imprisonment of fifty years, to run consecutive with the sentence imposed for the other counts at the first trial. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) assuming, without deciding, that the admission of a witness’s transcribed testimony was erroneous, the error was harmless; and (2) there was sufficient evidence supported the jury’s conclusion that Defendant committed a felony that inflicted great bodily harm or disfigurement. View "State v. Lloyd" on Justia Law

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As detailed in the Supreme Court’s decision in State v. Gensler, __ P.3d __, also decided this day, the Supreme Court held that a conviction based on a Wichita ordinance prohibiting operation of a vehicle under certain circumstances cannot be used to enhance a sentence for a conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) under Kan. Stat. Ann. 8-1567 because the Wichita ordinance prohibits a broader range of conduct than the Kansas statute. Defendant’s sentence for DUI was based on two prior convictions for DUI, one of which was a Wichita Municipal Court conviction. The Supreme Court vacated Defendant’s sentence and remanded the case to the district court for resentencing, holding (1) Gensler was dispositive in this case and compelled a decision in Defendant’s favor; and (2) Defendant’s Wichita municipal DUI could not be used for sentencing purposes for his current DUI prosecuted under section 8-1567. View "State v. Mears" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated defendant’s sentence for driving under the influence (DUI), which was based on two prior convictions in a Wichita Municipal Court, holding that a conviction based on the ordinance cannot be used to enhance a sentence for a DUI conviction under Kan. Stat. Ann. 8-1567. As detailed in the Court’s decision in State v. Gensler, __ P.3d __, also decided this day, the Court held (1) a prior municipal DUI conviction under the Wichita ordinance in effect at the time of Defendant’s conviction does not count as a prior DUI under section 8-1567(i)(1) because the ordinance defines “vehicle” more broadly than the Kansas statute and therefore prohibits a broader range of conduct; and (2) the broader definition in the ordinance means that the ordinance does not prohibit the acts that section 8-1567 prohibits. View "State v. Fisher" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated Defendant’s sentence for involuntary manslaughter while driving under the influence (DUI), a sentence that was based on a prior conviction in Wichita Municipal Court as a person felony, holding that a conviction under the Wichita DUI ordinance does not count as a prior DUI, scored in this case as a person felony, because it prohibits a broader range of conduct than state law. The court of appeals agreed with Defendant that the breadth of prohibited acts under the Wichita ordinance precluded Defendant’s conviction under the ordinance from being counted as a person felony under Kan. Stat. Ann. 21-6811(c)(2) and thus vacated Defendant’s sentence. The Supreme Court affirmed and remanded this case for resentencing, holding (1) the Wichita ordinance prohibits a broader range of conduct than that prohibited under Kan. Stat. Ann. 8-1567; and (2) therefore, Defendant’s prior Wichita DUI should not have been included as a person felony in his criminal history score for purposes of sentencing on his conviction of involuntary manslaughter under Kan. Stat. 21-5405(a)(3). View "State v. Schrader" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that the invited-error doctrine does not automatically apply every time a party requests a jury instruction at trial but them claims on appeal that the district court erred by giving it. Rather, appellate courts must engage in a probing analysis of the specific facts of the case to determine whether the complaining party actually invited the error. Defendant was convicted of aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court erred in instructing the jury on aggravated robbery. The court of appeals affirmed, holding that Defendant had not preserved the issue because he invited the error. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that invited error precluded this Court’s review of Defendant’s alleged jury instruction error on the facts. View "State v. Fleming" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated Defendant’s sentence for driving under the influence (DUI), which was based on two prior convictions for DUI, holding that the sentencing provisions of Kan. Stat. Ann. 8-1567(i)(1) that define “conviction” did not cover Defendant’s previous convictions under a Wichita municipal ordinance. Defendant was twice convicted of DUI under the Wichita municipal ordinance. On appeal, Defendant argued that the Wichita DUIs could not be used to enhance his current DUI sentence because that Wichita ordinance prohibited a broader range of conduct than Kan. Stat. Ann. 8-1567 prohibited. The Supreme Court agreed and remanded this case to the district court for resentencing, holding (1) the elements of the Wichita ordinance are not the same as, or narrower than, the elements of the Kansas statute; and (2) therefore, Defendant’s convictions under the ordinance could not be used as prior DUIs for purposes of this DUI prosecution under section 8-1567. View "State v. Gensler" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals reversing Defendant’s conviction for aggravated criminal sodomy, holding that the conviction was unsupported by sufficient evidence of the crime the State charged. Defendant was found guilty by a jury of aggravated criminal sodomy, and the district court gave Defendant a life sentence. On appeal, Defendant challenged the charging document, which charged Defendant with causing the complainant “to engage in oral copulation with another person” under Kan. Stat. Ann. 21-5504(b)(2). The court of appeals reversed, relying on State v. Laborde, 360 P.3d 1080 (Kan. 2015), and State v. Dickson, 69 P.3d 549 (Kan. 2003). The State filed a petition for review, arguing that Dickson was wrongly decided and applied and that any error in the charging document was not reversible because it informed Defendant of the accusation he must defend against. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding (1) the State’s invitation to overrule Dickson is declined; and (2) the State did not present sufficient evidence of the crime of aggravated sodomy as charged under section 21-5504(b)(2). View "State v. Fitzgerald" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the ruling of the district court that Defendant violated the terms of his probation but reversed and remanded for further proceedings concerning the revocation of probation and imposition of the original underlying sentence, holding that the hearing transcript and journal entry failed precisely to state whether the district court made the requisite findings in order to impose the underlying prison term and thus bypass the intermediate probation violation sanctions mandated by Kan. Stat. Ann. 2203716. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court failed to base its decision imposing the underlying prison term on a statutory exception that would have authorized the court to bypass the mandatory intermediate probation violation sanctions. The Supreme Court remanded the case to the district court because the district court did not clarify the precise basis for imposing the underlying prison term, and the journal entry was ambiguous on that point. View "State v. Dooley" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court committing Defendant to Larned State Hospital for care and treatment after finding that he was mentally ill and dangerous under Kan. Stat. Ann. 59-2946(e) and (f)(3), holding that Snyder’s constitutional rights were not violated and that the evidence was sufficient to involuntarily commit him. The district court found by clear and convincing evidence that Snyder was a mentally ill person subject to involuntary commitment for care and treatment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Snyder was not denied equal protection; (2) Snyder was not denied due process; and (3) the State presented sufficient evidence that Snyder was likely to cause harm to others. View "In re Care & Treatment of Snyder" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that although the Prairie Village Police Department (PVPD) violated Kan. Stat. Ann. 22-2401a(2) when it conducted two controlled buys from J.O., a juvenile, at her residence, the district court did not err when it decided not to suppress the evidence. On appeal, J.O. argued that the district court should have suppressed the evidence because it had found that the PVPD willfully and repeatedly violated section 22-2401a, which generally authorizes city law enforcement officers to act within the city’s limits or on property under the control of the city. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the district court properly denied J.O.’s motion to suppress because (1) the district court took other action to deter future violations of the statute; (2) J.O. did not allege a constitutional violation or otherwise state a cognizable injury to her substantial rights; and (3) section 22-2401a did not vest J.O. with an individual right. View "In re J.O." on Justia Law