Kansas Supreme Court Decisions, June 10, 2022

10 Jun 2022 10:24 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)

Appeal No. 122,163: State of Kansas v. Jeff Hillard

Appeal No. 122,163 archived oral argument

The Supreme Court affirmed Hillard’s Sedgwick County District Court convictions for first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated battery, and rape, but reversed his conviction for conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.

Hillard’s charges stem from the 2016 kidnapping, torture, and murder of Scottie Goodpaster Jr., and the kidnapping and rape of Goodpaster’s girlfriend. On appeal, Hillard argued that the district court erred by declining to suppress evidence obtained from his cell phone and his home surveillance system, by admitting transcripts of audio recordings taken from his cell phone, as well as an enhanced version of one of those recordings, and by incorrectly instructing the jury on the elements of his charged offenses and the proper venue for his trial. Hillard also argued there was insufficient evidence to support any of his convictions.

In a unanimous decision written by Justice K.J. Wall, the Court held there was insufficient evidence to support Hillard’s conviction for conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. The Court reversed that conviction and vacated the accompanying sentence. The Court rejected Hillard’s other claims of error and affirmed his remaining convictions and sentence for first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated battery, and rape.

Appeal No. 123,613: State of Kansas v. Brian Bailey

Summary calendar; no oral argument

In a unanimous decision written by Chief Justice Marla Luckert, the Supreme Court held that a defendant could not seek to compel post conviction DNA testing of evidence because he had already litigated the issue in two previous appeals. Under a Kansas statute that allows defendants to have post conviction DNA testing of evidence under certain circumstances, Bailey sought testing of evidence related to his 1988 Wyandotte County District Court conviction for aggravated criminal sodomy. This was the third time Bailey had sought DNA testing of the evidence. In two prior appeals, Bailey had been denied relief, in part, because the evidence is no longer in the State’s possession. The Supreme Court held that Bailey could not relitigate this issue based on preclusionary doctrines that prohibit parties from endlessly relitigating matters that have been subject to a final ruling by previous courts.

Appeal No. 124,134: State of Kansas v. Harvey L. Ross Jr.

Summary calendar; no oral argument

On direct appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed the Sedgwick County District Court’s denial of Ross’ post conviction request to reverse his conviction based on allegations that the trial court did not have subject matter jurisdiction over his criminal proceedings. In a unanimous opinion written by Justice Melissa Standridge, the Court held that K.S.A. 22-3201 is not a procedural vehicle to bring a cause of action and that defective complaint claims are not properly raised in a motion to correct an illegal sentence under K.S.A. 22-3504. The Supreme Court affirmed the district court because Ross failed to identify a timely, unexhausted, and proper procedural vehicle for presenting his challenge.

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