Appeal No. 90,044: State of Kansas v. Reginald Dexter Carr
Appeal No. 90,198: State of Kansas v. Jonathan Carr
Appeal No. 90,044 archived oral argument
Appeal No. 90,198 archived oral argument
The Kansas Supreme Court issued opinions affirming the death sentences of brothers Reginald Carr and Jonathan Carr for the capital murder of H.M., A.S., B.H., and J.B.
A jury in a joint trial convicted the brothers for crimes committed in a series of three incidents in December 2000 in Wichita. The first incident centered on the robbery and kidnapping of Andrew Schreiber. The second incident centered on the murder of Linda Ann Walenta. The final incident centered on a Birchwood Drive home invasion, which led to the brothers committing sex crimes, kidnappings, robberies, and, ultimately, murder and attempted murder against H.M., A.S., B.H., J.B., and H.G.
Each brother was found guilty of multiple offenses, including multiple counts of capital murder. After a separate sentencing proceeding, the jury sentenced both brothers to death.
Both R. Carr and J. Carr appealed to the Kansas Supreme Court, which issued an opinion affirming a single capital murder conviction for each brother, among other lesser convictions. However, the Court vacated the death sentence in each case, concluding that the Carrs' Eighth Amendment rights to an individualized sentencing were violated by the Sedgwick County District Court judge's refusal to sever the penalty phase.
The State sought and was granted a writ of certiorari by the United States Supreme Court. The U.S. Supreme Court held that the joint sentencing proceeding neither implicated the Carrs' Eighth Amendment rights nor violated their rights under the due process clause. As a result, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Kansas Supreme Court's decision and remanded the case to the Kansas court to address the appeal considering the U.S. Supreme Court's decision.
On remand, the Kansas Supreme Court reviewed more than 20 penalty phase issues the U.S. Supreme Court had not addressed, including two supplemental state constitutional issues raised after the U.S. Supreme Court's decision.
The Kansas Supreme Court rejected both challenges raised under the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights. The court held that capital punishment does not infringe on the inalienable right to life protected by Section 1. The court noted that although the framers of the Kansas Constitution intended the right to be inalienable, they did not intend it to be nonforfeitable. And a defendant who has been convicted of capital murder beyond reasonable doubt forfeits this right, and the state is free to impose lawful punishment for the crime.
Appeal No. 122,584: State of Kansas v. Paul Corby
Appeal No. 122,584 archived oral argument
Corby pled guilty to two counts of illegal drug possession in Sedgwick County District Court. He agreed to a criminal history score of "B" based on two prior felonies for fleeing and eluding. On appeal, Corby argued the district court erred in scoring his prior convictions as felonies because the State failed to offer sufficient proof to support that classification. The Court of Appeals disagreed. In an opinion written by Justice Eric Rosen, the Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals, ruling that under K.S.A. 2020 Supp. 21-6814, a defendant's admission to criminal history relieves the State of having to present anything more to support a proposed criminal history score.