Kansas Supreme Court Decisions, March 10, 2023

10 Mar 2023 10:20 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)

Appeal No. 123,807:  State of Kansas v. Tyler D. Deck

Appeal No. 123,807 archived oral argument

The Supreme Court affirmed Deck's sentence. In a per curiam decision, the Court rejected Deck's claim that the Sedgwick County District Court did not have subject matter jurisdiction to sentence him on his attempted unintentional second-degree murder conviction because the crime he pleaded guilty to was logically impossible to commit. The Court reasoned that a motion to correct an illegal sentence, his chosen procedural vehicle, that alleged a defect in the charging document fell into the collateral attack category as inappropriate for courts to reverse a conviction that had become a final judgment, and therefore declined to address the claim's merit. 

Justice Dan Biles concurred, noting he would address the issue's merits because the statute governing a motion to correct an illegal sentence defines an illegal sentence as one imposed by a court without jurisdiction, and caselaw, State v. Dunn, 304 Kan. 773, 811, 375 P.3d 332 (2016), held that for a charging document to be statutorily sufficient it must allege facts that would constitute a Kansas crime committed by the defendant. He opined the facts stated in Deck's charging document satisfied Dunn, so the district court had subject matter jurisdiction to impose a sentence on his convicted crime.

Appeal No. 125,505: State v. Turner

Summary calendar; no archived oral argument

In 1992, Turner pled no contest to multiple felonies in three separate cases. He is currently serving an aggregated sentence of 80 years to life in prison. In the years following his convictions, Turner unsuccessfully challenged his sentence in various ways. In his most recent challenge, Turner moved the Wyandotte County District Court for an order nunc pro tunc to correct his sentencing journal entries, claiming they are at odds with the actual sentence he is serving. Following the district court's denial of Turner's motion, the Supreme Court affirmed the district court in a unanimous decision written by Justice Melissa Standridge. The Supreme Court found that the Court of Appeals had previously affirmed the Kansas Department of Corrections' calculation of Turner's 80-years-to-life aggregated sentence and the Kansas Department of Corrections' calculation of Turner's aggregate sentence reflects the sentence imposed by the district court. Noting that nunc pro tunc orders are used to correct arithmetic or clerical errors, the Supreme Court concluded there was no arithmetic or clerical error to correct.
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