Articles Posted in Kansas Supreme Court

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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

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s sentence of life without the possibility of parole for fifty years (hard fifty sentence), holding that the district court’s retroactive application of Kan. Stat. Ann. 21-6620 did not violate the prohibition on ex post facto laws. Defendant was convicted of first-degree premeditated murder and sentenced to a hard fifty sentence. The Supreme Court vacated the hard fifty sentence and remanded. On remand, the district court again imposed a hard fifty sentence. Defendant appealed the district court’s determination that it could retroactively apply the hard fifty sentencing procedures of section 21-6620. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the retroactive application of the hard fifty sentencing procedures in section 21-6620 to Defendant’s resentencing did not violate the Ex Post Facto Clause. View "State v. Hayes" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions for child abuse and felony murder, holding that the instances of prosecutorial error in this case did not require reversal, either individually or cumulatively. Specifically, the Court held that the prosecutor exceeded the wide latitude afforded to prosecutors on three occasions during closing argument, but the State proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the error did not affect the trial’s outcome in light of the entire record. Further, the Court held that the cumulative effective of the claimed errors did not deprive Defendant of a fair trial. View "State v. Anderson" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction of premeditated first-degree murder on retrial and his hard-twenty-five life sentence, holding that Defendant was not prejudiced by any errors so as to deny him a fair trial. In 2005, Defendant was convicted of premeditated first-degree murder. In 2012, the Court of Appeals granted Defendant's motion for postconviction relief and ordered a new trial. Upon retrial, a new jury also convicted Defendant of premeditated first-degree murder. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Defendant failed to demonstrate that actual prejudice from pretrial publicity mandated a reversal of his conviction; (2) Defendant failed to establish he was prejudiced by the trial court’s denial of his for-cause challenges to ten prospective jurors; (3) any error in the prosecutor’s violation of a limine order prohibiting any mention of pornography was harmless; and (4) Defendant was not substantially prejudiced by the cumulative effect of multiple errors. View "State v. Miller" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the district court’s modification of its originally ordered period of postrelease supervision after the original term of supervision had ended and vacated Defendant’s sentence, holding that Defendant was entitled to be discharged from custody. The Court held that because the original sentence had been completely served when the district court purported to correct Defendant’s sentence, the imposition of a new sentence was precluded by the double jeopardy provisions of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution and section 10 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights. The Court remanded this case with directions to discharge Defendant. View "State v. Lehman" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s denial of Defendant’s motion to suppress drug evidence law enforcement officers discovered after searching a car Kimberly Motley was driving and in which Defendant was a passenger, holding that the facts available to the officers when Motley consented to the search were sufficient to warrant a person of reasonable caution to believe Motley had authority over the passenger floorboard and zipper bag on the floorboard. The search of the passenger floorboard of the car revealed a black zipper bag, inside of which were methamphetamine, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia. The officers later learned the zipper bag belonged to Defendant. Defendant was convicted of possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court erred in denying her motion to suppress because it was unreasonable for the officers to believe that Motley’s consent extended to the search of the zipper bag. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that when Motley gave her consent, it was objectively reasonable for the officers to believe Motley had authority over the zipper bag. View "State v. Boggess" 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

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The Supreme Court held that a law enforcement officer lacked an articulable and reasonable suspicion that the unidentified driver of a car stopped at a traffic stop did not have a valid driver’s license, and therefore, the district court properly granted Defendant’s motion to suppress evidence obtained during the stop. The officer in this case stopped the car because he assumed the driver was the registered owner, whose driver’s license had been revoked. Defendant, the driver, filed a motion to suppress, arguing that the officer lacked a reasonable suspicion of illegal activity when he stopped the car. The district court denied the motion. The court of appeals reversed, holding that reasonable suspicion can arise because an officer may presume the owner is the driver absent contrary information. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the court of appeals’ owner-is-the-driver presumption is invalid because it implicitly requires applying and stacking unstated assumptions that are unreasonable without further factual basis and relieves the State of its burden of proving that the officer had particular and individualized suspicion that the registered owner was driving the vehicle. View "State v. Glover" on Justia Law