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Kansas Supreme Court Decisions for August 27, 2021

30 Aug 2021 11:03 AM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

Appeal No. 121,328: City of Shawnee v. Asnake H. Adem

Appeal No. 121,328 archived oral argument

 In a 5-2 decision, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled Adem’s conviction in Shawnee Municipal Court of sexual battery, as defined by the Shawnee Municipal Code, required him to register as a sex offender under the Kansas Offender Registration Act. Under the Act, registration is required for certain offenses defined by state statute and for comparable offenses. In a decision written by Justice Dan Biles, the Supreme Court ruled the municipal sexual battery conviction triggered the registration requirement under that rule. A violation of the Kansas sexual battery statute requires registration, and the Shawnee ordinance is identical to the statute. Justices Melissa Standridge and Eric Rosen dissented, arguing the Legislature did not intend for the Act to apply to municipal prosecutions.

Appeal No. 121,108: Almario V. Chalmers v. Brittany Burrough

Appeal No. 121,108 archived oral argument

 A Florida court ordered Chalmers to pay support for his child. When he later wished to modify the amount of that order, he attempted to register the order in a Kansas district court where his child was living, pursuant to the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). The Sedgwick County District Court temporarily modified the order. Burrough moved to set the modification aside. Chalmers subsequently realized he had failed to include a copy of the Florida order with his registration materials pursuant to UIFSA requirements and moved the court to allow him to add the Florida order to the record. Burrough then moved to vacate the temporary order and dismiss the case, arguing that Chalmer's failure to include the Florida order meant the district court never had jurisdiction over the case. The district court agreed with Burrough, vacated the temporary modification, and dismissed the case. A majority of a Court of Appeals panel affirmed, holding the failure to substantially comply with the registration requirements of the UIFSA meant the district court never obtained subject matter jurisdiction over the out-of-state order. In a decision written by Justice Eric Rosen, the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals. It held the registration requirements in the UIFSA are not prerequisites to a district court's subject matter jurisdiction over an out-of-state support order. It remanded the case to the district court so it could proceed with the case and consider Chalmers's motion to add to the record and Burrough's motion to set aside the modification.

Appeal No. 122,237: State of Kansas v. David Clayton Montgomery 

Appeal No. 122,237 archived oral argument

In a case originating in Johnson County, the Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals decision to vacate Montgomery's sentence and remanded for resentencing. The court unanimously held the sentencing court erred when it departed from the presumptive sentence set out by the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines Act because it wrongfully relied on a nonstatutory mitigating factor by improperly considering the dissimilar character of Montgomery's current domestic violence offense and his past nonviolent offenses.

 Justice Caleb Stegall, writing for the court, examined the Guidelines' purposes and design, which includes accounting for crime seriousness and criminal history while promoting public safety, reducing sentence disparities, and establishing proportional and easily understood presumptive sentences. This purpose-based rationale led the court to conclude the Guidelines already correctly accounted for past convictions and determined that differences in past convictions alone cannot constitute a mitigating factor supporting a departure sentence.

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