The Kansas Supreme Court released the following published decisions today:
The first decision is from a case the Supreme Court heard during its April 9, 2018, special session at Colby High School.
Appeal No. 112,573: State of Kansas v. Daniel Barlett
The Supreme Court affirmed Barlett's conviction in Wyandotte County District Court of one count of criminal discharge of a firearm into a vehicle under a theory of aiding and abetting. Barlett earlier had pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter He sought a jury instruction of self-defense, which was denied under State v. Bell, 276 Kan. 785 (2003), and State v. Kirkpatrick, 286 Kan. 329 (2008), which held that a defendant charged with a forcible felony is barred from asserting self-defense. The Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction. Justice Eric Rosen, writing for a unanimous Supreme Court, held the Bell and Kirkpatrick rules were overly broad. The new rule is that a defendant may not assert self-defense if the defendant is already otherwise committing a forcible felony when he or she commits a separate act of violence, i.e., in purported self-defense. The court nevertheless found that, under the complex facts of the case, the instruction would have been factually inappropriate. Barlett also challenged the omission of a mere association instruction and an instruction defining intention. The court found no reversible error in these issues. Barlett finally asked the court to reverse his conviction because an equipment malfunction prevented the deliberating jurors from hearing part of a recording played during trial. The court held the district court adequately addressed the recording problem and Barlett suffered no prejudice from the equipment failure.
Appeal No. 112,224: State of Kansas v. Gregory Mark George Jr.
The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the lower courts to deny George's petition for DNA testing. George was convicted in Leavenworth County District Court of kidnapping, rape, aggravated robbery, and aggravated intimidation of a witness or victim. George petitioned to have several hairs that were found at the crime scene tested for DNA evidence. The Supreme Court holds that the hair may indeed produce exculpatory, noncumulative evidence and remands this case back to the district court to make that determination.
Appeal No. 113,117: Jesse J. Atkins v. Webcon
In a decision written by Justice Caleb Stegall, the Supreme Court affirmed the Workers Compensation Board's denial of benefits. A drunk driver's vehicle struck Atkins, who was working an out-of-town roofing job, while he was walking from a bar to his hotel room early one morning. The court unanimously held Atkins' injuries did not arise out of and in the course of his employment and the statutory going-and-coming exclusion did not apply because Atkins was neither on his way to assuming work duties nor leaving his work duties when he was injured.
Appeal No. 113,746: State of Kansas v. Johnathan L. Riffe
In a decision written by Justice Eric Rosen, the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals and remanded the case to Reno County District Court for further proceedings. Riffe argued in district court that lifetime post-release supervision was unconstitutional as applied to him. The district court considered the three-factor test from State v. Freeman, 223 Kan. 362 (1978), before concluding lifetime post-release supervision was unconstitutional as applied to Riffe under section 9 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights. The Court of Appeals disagreed and instructed the district court to impose lifetime post-release supervision. The Supreme Court held the district court erred by making insufficient factual findings on the first Freeman factor and refusing to consider the second and third Freeman factors. It remanded the case for consideration under the correct legal standard. Justice Lee Johnson concurred in part and dissented in part. He agreed with the majority's decision to remand for consideration of the second and third Freeman factors but disagreed with its determination the district court made insufficient findings on the first Freeman factor Justice Caleb Stegall concurred with the decision but wrote separately to observe the possibility the Freeman analysis has no basis in section 9 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights.
Appeal No. 115,160: State of Kansas v. Christopher Scott Futrell
In a decision written by Justice Eric Rosen, the Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision of the Court of Appeals and remanded the case to Riley County District Court with directions. Futrell pleaded no contest to a residential burglary that took place February 20. The district court ordered him to pay restitution for damages caused by the burglary and for money stolen during that burglary. The court also ordered him to pay for damages he allegedly caused in a separate burglary and theft on January 31 and for damage to a cell phone in a separate case. The Court of Appeals affirmed the order except for the portion requiring Futrell to pay for damages in the January 31 crimes. The Supreme Court affirmed the decision in part but vacated the order that Futrell pay for the February 20 theft damages and remanded the case for a new restitution hearing. It instructed the district court to reconsider its calculation of restitution under the standard adopted in State v Arnett, __Kan.__, 413 P.3d 787 (Appeal No. 112, 572, filed March 23, 2018), that provides a defendant may only be ordered to pay restitution for damages that were proximately caused by the crime of conviction.
Appeal No. 118,742: In the matter of Zane Todd Jr., respondent
This disciplinary case arose out of a diversion terminated when Todd failed to complete one of 16 required hours of continuing legal education. Because Todd's serious illness and communications irregularities—for which the Disciplinary Administrator's office bore at least partial responsibility—mitigated his culpability for his lapses, the Supreme Court declined to impose a recommended public censure. It instead remanded the case to the disciplinary administrator for imposition of a less serious sanction: an informal admonition.
Kansas Court of Appeals decisions released today