Articles Posted in Kansas Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s sentences for capital murder and other felonies and vacated the Board of Indigents’ Defense Services (BIDS) fee imposed on Defendant, holding that the district judge erred by failing explicitly to consider Defendant’s financial resources when he assessed the BIDS fee. During trial, because he was indigent, Defendant was appointed to a public defender. At sentencing, the district judge assessed a $1,000 BIDS fee against Defendant. Defendant appealed, arguing, among other things, that the district court improperly failed to consider, on the record, his ability to pay the BIDS fee assessed against him. The Supreme Court agreed and remanded this case for reconsideration of that fee, holding (1) the district judge did not follow the proper procedure in assessing the BIDS fees against Defendant; and (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion in imposing on-grid sentences consecutive to Defendant’s sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. View "State v. Ayers" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s denial of Appellant’s postconviction motion to compel discovery, holding that Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-237 did not authorize the relief Appellant sought. Appellant was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole plus 247 additional months. Appellant later filed a pro se “motion to compel exculpatory discovery” pursuant to section 60-237, arguing that the State had withheld “Brady/Giglio” information. The district court denied the motion in part because it concluded that Appellant had not cited authority for relief. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that nothing in the statute permits a postconviction motion to compel discovery in a criminal case. View "State v. Robinson" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s summary denial of Appellant’s motion to correct an illegal sentence, holding that this motion was not the appropriate procedural vehicle for Appellant to raise his claim. Appellant filed his motion to correct an illegal sentence approximately nineteen years after he was convicted of second-degree murder. In his motion, Appellant argued that his sentence of life imprisonment with a mandatory ten-year term violated the Eighth Amendment because he was under the age of eighteen when he committed the crime. The district court summarily denied the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, thus declining to overrule long-established caselaw codified into statute that a motion to correct an illegal sentence cannot raise claims that the sentence violates a constitutional provision. View "State v. Samuel" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the district court’s denial of Defendant’s motion to suppress the fruits of a vehicle search, holding that the general search of Defendant’s vehicle was an unconstitutional warrantless search. The vehicle Defendant was driving was stopped by a law enforcement officer to investigate whether the vehicle had any connection to a recent bank robbery. After seizing a digital scale from the back seat, the officer searched the vehicle. After a second trial, Defendant was convicted of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the matter for a new trial, holding (1) the search of the box that contained the digital scale retrieved from the vehicle’s back seat was unlawful, and the district court erred in refusing to suppress the evidence of the digital scale; and (2) the district court erred in finding that the automobile exception to the warrant requirement applied to the search of the entire vehicle in this case. View "State v. Doelz" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeals holding that the trial court abused its discretion in not granting Defendant a new trial because of the State’s exercise of a peremptory strike that removed an individual with a Spanish surname from the jury panel, holding that Defendant failed to establish that the trial court abused its discretion in denying Defendant’s motion for new trial. The district court determined that the state had a race-neutral reason for striking the potential juror. Because one of the State’s reasons was race-neutral, the district court denied Defendant’s objection to the State’s peremptory strike. After Defendant was convicted, the Court of Appeals determined that the circumstances showed the peremptory strike was not race-neutral. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court properly found that the State honestly believed the factual basis it first offered as the reason for its strike and that the reason was not a pretext. Therefore, Defendant failed to meet his burden of establishing that the State exercised its peremptory strikes based on purposeful racial discrimination. View "State v. Gonzalez-Sandoval" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed Defendant’s conviction for conspiracy to commit kidnapping, vacated his accompanying sentence, and reversed the district court’s order dismissing Defendant’s pro se motion under Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-1507, holding that Defendant’s motion was not procedurally barred and that the district court erred in dismissing the motion. Defendant filed his third section 60-1507 motion claiming that multiple errors led to his 2003 convictions for felony murder and numerous other felonies. The district court dismissed the motion as time barred, successive, and noncompliant with the pleading requirements of Supreme Court Rule 183(e). The Court of Appeals concluded that Defendant had demonstrated the requisite manifest injustice to prevent his motion from being time-barred because his conviction for conspiracy to commit kidnapping was likely multiplicitous but affirmed on the bases of being successive and noncompliant with Supreme Court rules. The Supreme Court reversed and reversed Defendant’s kidnapping conviction, holding (1) Defendant’s motion substantially complied with Supreme Court Rule 183(e); and (2) the district court failed to make the requisite findings of fact and conclusions of law to support its decision. View "Nguyen v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court remanded this case to the district court for a new hearing on the State’s motion to correct an illegal sentence, holding that prosecutorial error may occur during a sentencing proceeding before a judge and that the analytical framework from State v. Sherman, 387 P.3d 1060 (Kan. 2016) applies in both the guilt and penalty phases of any trial. Defendant failed to meet his probation terms and was ordered to serve his underlying prison sentence of thirty-two months. The State later moved to correct an illegal sentence, arguing that the district court erred by not imposing lifetime postrelease supervision as part of Defendant’s original sentence. The district court granted the motion. On appeal, Defendant argued that prosecutorial misconduct occurred during the hearing on the motion to correct an illegal sentence. The Supreme Court agreed and remanded the case, holding (1) Sherman provides the best measure to evaluate the prosecutorial error in the context of Defendant’s sentencing hearing before a district court judge; and (2) applying the Sherman test, the prosecutor was outside the wide latitude afforded when arguing the State’s motion to correct an illegal sentence. View "State v. Wilson" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part the district court’s order suppressing drug-related evidence seized during a residential search supported by a warrant, holding that the affidavit facts provided a substantial basis for the issuing judge’s determination that there was a fair probability that evidence of illegal marijuana possession would be found in the home. Specifically, the Court held (1) Miranda warnings were required before Defendant made incriminating statements used to support the warrant, and therefore, the incriminating statements were properly suppressed where the warnings were not given before the statements were made; but (2) the officer’s testimony that he executed the smell of raw marijuana coming from the residence provided the probable cause for the search warrant. View "State v. Regelman" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s misdemeanor convictions of possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, holding that the totality of the circumstances surrounding a police officer’s detection of the smell of raw marijuana emanating from a residence can supply probable cause to believe that the residence contains contraband or evidence of a crime. On appeal, Defendant argued that his motion to suppress should have been granted because police officers’ warrantless entry into his residence, purportedly for officer safety and to prevent evidence destruction, violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. The court of appeals affirmed but stopped short of finding that the odor of marijuana would have provided probable cause for officers to conduct a search of Defendant’s apartment because that search occurred after a warrant was issued. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) probable cause plus the exigent circumstances exception permitted the initial warrantless entry into Defendant’s apartment for a security sweep; and (2) to the extent the drug paraphernalia evidence and the search warrant were fruits of a warrantless search, the sweep was not illegal and the challenged evidence was not subject to exclusion. View "State v. Hubbard" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions of possession of cocaine, fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, and related offenses, holding primarily that the trial court did not err in refusing to suppress drug evidence found in Defendant’s vehicle after a police officer’s warrantless search. Specifically, the Court held (1) the initial seizure of Defendant’s person did not violate his Fourth Amendment rights, and his extended holding in the police car did not make his seizure illegal; (2) even if there were an initial vehicle seizure when pulling Defendant over to effect his arrest, that seizure ended when Defendant parked the car, got out, locked it, and stated he would not consent to its search; and (3) the evidence was sufficient to support Defendant’s fleeing conviction. View "State v. Parker" on Justia Law