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Kansas Supreme Court Decisions for September 24, 2021

27 Sep 2021 9:42 AM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

Appeal No. 113,705: State of Kansas v. Brooke Danielle Dinkel

Dinkel was charged with 10 counts of rape of a child under 14 and 10 counts of criminal sodomy in Saline County District Court. In defense, Dinkel argued the alleged victim had physically forced the first act of sexual intercourse and blackmailed Dinkel into continuing the sexual contact and that she had a mental disease or defect. The jury convicted Dinkel of two counts of rape of a child under 14. Dinkel appealed, alleging many errors, and the Court of Appeals remanded the case for a hearing on whether her trial counsel had been ineffective. The district court concluded counsel had not been ineffective and the Court of Appeals agreed. The Court of Appeals also rejected Dinkel's additional claims of error, largely based on its conclusion that her intent was irrelevant because there is no mental culpability requirement for rape of a child. On review, the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals conclusion that Dinkel's intent was irrelevant. It ruled that evidence the sexual intercourse was physically forced was relevant to the voluntary act requirement. It remanded the case to the district court for a hearing on whether counsel had been ineffective for failing to argue the voluntary act requirement. The district court concluded counsel had not been ineffective. In an opinion written by Justice Eric Rosen, a majority of the Supreme Court disagreed. It held that counsel had been ineffective when it failed to craft a defense that rendered Dinkel's claims of forced intercourse legally relevant. But it affirmed the Court of Appeals conclusion there is no mental culpability requirement for rape of a child. The court vacated Dinkel's convictions and remanded the case for a new trial. Justice Evelyn Wilson concurred and dissented. She agreed there is no mental culpability requirement but would have concluded counsel had not been ineffective.

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