Articles Posted in Kansas Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions for first-degree premeditated murder, sexual exploitation of a child, eight counts of rape, and other offenses. The court held (1) any error in the admission of certain out-of-court statements was harmless because the testimony was largely cumulative of otherwise admissible evidence; (2) the district court did not err by failing to instruct the jury on assisting suicide as a lesser included offense of first-degree premeditated murder; (3) the district court did not err by admitting prior crime evidence under Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-455; (4) Defendant failed to show that the the limiting instructions regarding the prior crime evidence were clearly erroneous; and (5) the one assumed error in this case was insufficient to support reversal as cumulative error. View "State v. Perez" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction of one count of first-degree felony murder and one count of attempted aggravated robbery. The court held (1) the circumstances of this case did not support the instruction that Defendant requested urging the jury to exercise caution when evaluating the reliability of a prison informant; (2) the district court did not err in denying Defendant’s motion for new trial based on newly discovered evidence; and (3) the limiting instruction given by the trial court regarding the use of prior crimes - Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-455 - evidence was appropriate. View "State v. Ashley" on Justia Law

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Defendant was convicted of 105 counts of sexual exploitation of a child. The convictions stemmed from the police discovering child pornography on Defendant’s computer while investigating the homicide of Defendant’s mother. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court did not err in denying the evidence because it was properly within the scope of various search warrants issued during the homicide investigation; and (2) the district court’s finding that Defendant’s victims were under fourteen years old did not expose him to an increased penalty within the meaning of Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000), and therefore, there was no constitutional violation when that fact was found by the court. View "State v. Hachmeister" on Justia Law

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Appellant was convicted and sentenced under pre-Kansas Sentencing Guidelines Act (KSGA) law for first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping, kidnapping, and aggravated assault. Appellant later filed motions to correct an illegal sentence based on State v. Murdock, 323 P.3d 846 (Kan. 2014), seeking to have his sentences converted to KSGA grid sentences. The district court summarily denied the motions. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not err when it ruled that Murdock did not provide a basis for granting Appellant’s motions; and (2) the district court did not err by denying Appellant’s motions without a hearing. View "State v. Lee" on Justia Law

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The district court erred when it refused Defendant’s initial pretrial request for a new attorney without any inquiry, and the presiding judge erred in making on-the-record observations about Defendant’s interactions with his attorney when Defendant was not present, but the errors were harmless. Defendant was convicted of felony murder and aggravated robbery. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court abused its discretion by cutting off any dialogue after being told that Defendant wanted to move for new counsel and objected to any further proceedings, but the error was harmless; (2) Defendant’s constitutional and statutory rights were violated when the judge made the on-the-record remarks, but the error did not require reversal; and (3) the felony murder instruction appropriately stated the law. View "State v. McDaniel" on Justia Law

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Defendant was convicted of felony murder, two counts of aggravated burglary, and other offenses and sentenced under the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines Act (KSGA). In calculating Defendant’s criminal history, the sentencing court included a 1992 juvenile adjudication for aggravated assault, which was scored as a person felony. Defendant later filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence, arguing that the 1992 aggravated assault was misclassified as a person crime. The district court summarily denied the motion. The Supreme Court held (1) Defendant was not entitled to have the 1992 juvenile adjudication for aggravated assault classified as a nonperson offense under State v. Murdock, 323 P.3d 846 (Kan. 2014); (2) the KSGA’s person/nonperson classification of pre-KSGA offenses does not violate the Sixth Amendment’s prohibition on nonjury factual findings that increase a defendant’s sentence; and (3) the district court did not did not err by denying Defendant’s motion without a hearing. View "State v. Sims" on Justia Law

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After a bench trial on stipulated facts, Defendant was convicted of first-degree murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault, and criminal possession of a firearm. The Supreme Court affirmed on direct appeal. Thereafter, Defendant filed a pro se Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-1507 motion collaterally attacking his conviction and sentence, alleging that appointed counsel had a conflict of interest and provided deficient representation. The district court denied the motion. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that Defendant was barred by res juicata from relitigating his claims and that his newly asserted claim of ineffective assistance of counsel failed on the merits. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the court of appeals erred as a matter of law when it determined that Defendant’s ineffective assistance of counsel claim was barred by the doctrine of res judicata because it was not litigated on direct appeal; but (2) the court of appeals correctly held that Defendant’s claim failed on the merits because he could not demonstrate any prejudice. View "Bogguess v. State" on Justia Law

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Defendant was convicted of possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. Defendant appealed the district court’s denial of his motion to suppress, arguing that the warrantless search of his backpack violated the Fourth Amendment. The district court concluded that the officers did not have probable cause to conduct a warrantless search of Defendant’s backpack but that the evidence was nonetheless admissible because it would have been discovered through a valid inventory search. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that an unconstitutional search occurred and that the State did not prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the contraband would have been inevitably discovered through a valid inventory search of Defendant’s backpack. View "State v. Baker" on Justia Law

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A.D.T., a juvenile, pled guilty to first-degree premeditated murder, completed the incarceration portion of his juvenile sentence and was placed on conditional release. A.D.T. subsequently violated his conditional release by twice testing positive for drugs. The district court revoked his juvenile sentence and imposed his adult sentence of life imprisonment. A.D.T. appealed, arguing that manifest injustice was caused to his constitutional rights. The State counted that the district court strictly complied with the provisions of Kan. Stat. Ann. 38-2364(b) governing the revocation of A.D.T.’s juvenile sentence and the invocation of his adult sentence. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that it was not manifestly unjust for the district court to impose A.D.T.’s adult sentence for the positive urinalysis tests where (1) although A.D.T. did not receive the recommended substance abuse treatment while in the juvenile correctional facility, that circumstance cannot trump the plain language of section 38-2364(b); and (2) A.D.T. had fair notice and warning that, if he failed another drug test, he was facing a hard twenty-five life sentence as an adult. View "In re A.D.T." on Justia Law

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Defendant was sentenced to life imprisonment for felony murder and a term of fifteen years to life for aggravated robbery. The district court ordered the sentences to be served consecutively to each other and to sentences imposed in separate cases in Saline County and Geary county. This appeal concerned the Saline County District Court’s summary dismissal of Defendant’s fourth motion to correct an illegal sentence. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the sentencing judge’s pronouncement of consecutive sentence was not ambiguous; and (2) Defendant failed to show that his consecutive sentencing illegally failed to conform to statutory provisions. View "State v. Swafford" on Justia Law