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Supreme Court Decisions, March 11, 2022

11 Mar 2022 10:48 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)

Appeal No. 119,747: State of Kansas v. Robert E. Mitchell

Summary calendar; no oral argument

Mitchell was convicted of aggravated burglary, aggravated kidnapping, rape, and two counts of aggravated sodomy and was sentenced to a controlling prison sentence of a minimum of life plus 60 years and a maximum of two life sentences plus 60 years. The Supreme Court affirmed the Johnson County District Court's summary denial of Mitchell's motion to correct an illegal sentence under K.S.A. 22-3504. In a unanimous opinion written by Justice Eric Rosen, the Court held that Mitchell's motion to correct an illegal sentence is an improper vehicle for claiming he was deprived of his statutory right to a speedy trial and his right to allocution at sentencing. The Court further held that even if Mitchell's motion were construed as one filed under K.S.A. 60-1507, he would not be entitled to relief based on the law-of-the-case doctrine as well as Mitchell's failure to prove the requisite exceptional circumstances that would excuse the filing of a successive motion, or the manifest injustice required to circumvent the one-year time limitation on such motions.

Appeal No. 121,888: Dale M.L. Denney v. Joe Norwood

Appeal No. 121,888 archived oral argument

Denney, an inmate at El Dorado Correctional Facility, petitioned for writ of habeas corpus under K.S.A. 60-1505 against the Secretary of Corrections, alleging that the Department of Corrections had improperly classified and managed him as a sex offender. A Court of Appeals panel affirmed the Labette County District Court's decision holding that Denney was properly classified as a sex offender under the Department's policy. In so doing, the panel relied on K.S.A. 60-212(b)(6), a civil procedure statute that allows a party to raise the defense of failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. In a unanimous opinion written by Justice K.J. Wall, the court held that the panel erred by analyzing the district court's ruling under K.S.A. 60-212 because habeas corpus proceedings are governed under Article 15 of Chapter 60 of the Kansas Statutes Annotated, and so the ordinary rules of civil procedure do not apply. After laying out the procedures and standards of review that apply to habeas corpus proceedings brought under K.S.A. 60-1505, the Court ultimately affirmed the panel's judgment because the record established that no cause for granting a writ of habeas corpus existed and that summary dismissal was proper.

Appeal No. 123,419: State of Kansas v. Dion Jamal Green

Appeal No. 123.419 archived oral argument

Green pleaded guilty to two counts of felony first-degree murder and was sentenced to consecutive life sentences with a mandatory minimum of 25 years for each sentence before becoming eligible for parole. On appeal, he challenged the procedures the Geary County District Court employed in imposing the sentences. Writing for a unanimous Court, Justice Eric Rosen affirmed the sentence. The Court found that competent evidence supported the district court’s references to Green having committed the murders in the hope of receiving financial compensation. The Court also found no error in the district court’s decision not to continue sentencing to allow Green’s mother to speak in person on his behalf. It was Green who proposed allowing a video transmission to substitute for live testimony, and he did not challenge the quality of the video transmission at the time of sentencing.

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