Appeal No 116,223: State of Kansas v. Tabitha Carter
Archived oral argument video
The Supreme Court affirmed Carter's obligation to register as a violent offender under the Kansas Offender Registration Act following her Sedgwick County conviction for aggravated robbery. Carter brandished a Taser while robbing a Wichita Dollar General.
At Carter's sentencing, the district court judge stated on the record he found there "was a dangerous weapon involved" in the aggravated robbery. But the judge checked a box on Carter's journal entry of sentencing stating he found Carter used a deadly weapon in the commission of the crime. Carter argued the oral finding was not enough. The Supreme Court found that, because Kansas Offender Registration Act registration is not part of a defendant's sentence, the journal entry checkbox was a sufficient finding to support a registration requirement.
Carter next argued there was no evidence she "used" a "deadly" weapon. The Supreme Court rejected these arguments. It held whether a weapon is "deadly" is a factual finding; this factual finding involves both objective and subjective elements. Substantial competent evidence supported the district judge's determination a Taser was a deadly weapon. The Supreme Court also concluded brandishing a Taser during a robbery qualifies as "use."
Finally, the Supreme Court rejected Carter's argument that district judges' deadly weapon findings under the Kansas Offender Registration Act violate Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 120 S. Ct. 2348, 147 L. Ed. 2d 435 (2000).