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Supreme Court Releases for September 8, 2018

08 Sep 2017 1:26 PM | Tiffany Fisher (Administrator)

The Kansas Supreme Court released the following published decisions today: ‚Äč

Appeal No. 110,702: State of Kansas v. Joshua Harold Watkins
 
The Supreme Court affirmed a Reno County District Court judge's order that Watkins be required to register as a violent offender under the Kansas Offender Registration Act after the judge found he used a vehicle as a deadly weapon to commit an aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer. Watkins claimed a jury instead of the judge must make the factual finding that he used a deadly weapon.
 
A majority of the court held it would not disturb the judge's order because Watkins raised the issue for the first time on appeal and did not develop an evidentiary record in the district court to overcome prior caselaw that the Legislature intended the Kansas Offender Registration Act to be a regulatory scheme that is civil and nonpunitive. The majority noted that under existing U.S. Supreme Court precedent, only the facts necessary to increase the punishment for an offense other than a prior conviction must be established by a guilty plea or proved beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury.
 
The majority opinion, written by Justice Dan Biles, held that since registration is presumed not to be punishment, Watkins could overcome that presumption only by the clearest proof, which was lacking because Watkins did not raise the issue until he appealed. Joining in the decision written by Justice Biles were Chief Justice Lawton Nuss and Justice Marla Luckert. Senior Judge Michael J. Malone concurred in the majority's outcome based on recent prior precedent.
 
In dissenting, Justice Carol Beier argued the state's offender registration requirements are "maximally invasive, maximally pervasive, and infinitely more public" and should be considered punishment. She was joined in dissent by Justice Eric Rosen and Justice Lee Johnson.   
 

Appeal No. 111,904: State of Kansas v. Donaldo Morales
 
The Supreme Court reversed a Court of Appeals decision that had affirmed Morales' convictions in Johnson County District Court on one count of identity theft and two counts of making false information. The State's basis for the charge was Morales' use of a Social Security number that did not belong to him to obtain employment at a restaurant.
         
At issue on appeal was whether the prosecution was preempted by federal immigration law. Morales argued that because he had used the Social Security number to establish his eligibility to work in the United States, an area of the law regulated by the federal government, the State could not prosecute him for the crimes.
 
A majority of the Supreme Court agreed. The court held that such a prosecution is expressly preempted by the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Under the federal act, employment forms used to establish employment eligibility and any information contained in such forms may not be used for any purpose other than enforcement of federal immigration law.
 
Because Morales' prosecution was preempted by federal law, the court reversed his convictions.

Appeal No. 112,322: State of Kansas v. Guadalupe Ochoa-Lara
 
The Supreme Court reversed a Court of Appeals decision that had affirmed Ochoa-Lara's convictions in Johnson County District Court on two counts of identity theft. The State's basis for the charges was Ochoa-Lara's use of a Social Security number that did not belong to him to obtain employment at a restaurant.
         
At issue on appeal was whether the prosecution was preempted by federal immigration law. Ochoa-Lara argued that because he had used the Social Security number to establish his eligibility to work in the United States, an area of the law regulated by the federal government, the State could not prosecute him for the crimes.
 
A majority of the Supreme Court agreed. The court held that such a prosecution is expressly preempted by the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Under the federal act, employment forms used to establish employment eligibility and any information contained in such forms may not be used for any purpose other than enforcement of federal immigration law.
 
Because Ochoa-Lara's prosecution was preempted by federal law, the court reversed his convictions.

Appeal No. 112,502: State of Kansas v. Ramiro Garcia
 
The Supreme Court reversed a Court of Appeals decision that had affirmed Ramiro's conviction in Johnson County District Court on one count of identity theft. The State's basis for the charge was Garcia's use of a Social Security number that did not belong to him to obtain employment at a restaurant.
         
At issue on appeal was whether the prosecution was preempted by federal immigration law. Garcia argued that because he had used the Social Security number to establish his eligibility to work in the United States, an area of the law regulated by the federal government, the State could not prosecute him for the crime.
 
A majority of the Supreme Court agreed. The court held that such a prosecution is expressly preempted by the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Under the federal act, employment forms used to establish employment eligibility and any information contained in such forms may not be used for any purpose other than enforcement of federal immigration law.
 
Because Garcia's prosecution was preempted by federal law, the court reversed his conviction.

Kansas Court of Appeals decisions released today 


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