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Archive for Friday, January 20, 2012

Kansas Supreme Court says local judge erred when sentencing man for indecent liberties with a child

January 20, 2012

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The Kansas Supreme Court Friday vacated the sentence of a 32-year-old man convicted of aggravated indecent liberties with a 6-year-old in Douglas County in 2009.

Kansas inmate Justin Jones, 32, will be re-sentenced in Douglas County after a Kansas Supreme Court vacated his 120-month sentence  for aggravated indecent liberties with a child. Jones had pleaded no contest to the charge in Douglas County in 2009, and as part of plea agreement, received a reduced sentence. However, the sentence was "illegal" because the judge failed to follow the proper procedure in departing from sentencing guidelines.

Kansas inmate Justin Jones, 32, will be re-sentenced in Douglas County after a Kansas Supreme Court vacated his 120-month sentence for aggravated indecent liberties with a child. Jones had pleaded no contest to the charge in Douglas County in 2009, and as part of plea agreement, received a reduced sentence. However, the sentence was "illegal" because the judge failed to follow the proper procedure in departing from sentencing guidelines.

Justin Jones pleaded no contest to the charge in Douglas County in 2009, and as part of a plea agreement, Douglas County District Court Judge Peggy Kittel departed from the prescribed sentence of life in prison with a mandatory 25 years.

Kittel sentenced Jones to 120 months in prison with lifetime supervision, as agreed upon by the prosecution and defense.

However, the Kansas Supreme Court said the sentence was “illegal” because Kittel failed to follow the proper procedures for departing from sentencing guidelines, which call for a judge to use the Kansas Sentencing Grid.

“Both sides agreed to 120 months,” said Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson. “The court said how we got there was incorrect. ... We believe the sentence should be 120 months based upon the party’s agreement.

The case will now head back to Douglas County for a sentencing hearing.

Comments

kimk 2 years, 10 months ago

Wow, Judge Kittel is not having a good day! Another one of her cases just got reversed and remanded today due to gross and flagrant misconduct by District Attorney, Amy McGowan. They state that the judge "turned a blind eye" to Ms. McGowans misconduct. The court of appeals also stated "Unlike the district court, our Supreme Court has not turned a blind eye to such misconduct." Looks like Charles Branson's head henchman, Amy McGowan, got slapped around a little bit today as well as Judge Kittel.

ebyrdstarr 2 years, 10 months ago

Yeah, I've been waiting all day to see a story about that rape case.

In this one, I'm curious how Branson says the sentence really should be 120 months when that's a number pulled out of nowhere that has no connection to the guidelines. The Supreme Court said it was an illegal sentence for a reason. And the parties can't agree to an illegal sentence.

Mark Currie 2 years, 10 months ago

32 year old molesting 6 year old = 120 months in the electric chair, or 7.62 through the head!

formerfarmer 2 years, 10 months ago

If both parties agreed to the sentence, who appealed to the Supreme Court?

ebyrdstarr 2 years, 10 months ago

The defendant. He would have been assigned to a new attorney and the new attorney recognized the problem with the sentence. A court can correct an illegal sentence at any time. And the parties cannot agree to an illegal sentence.

ebyrdstarr 2 years, 10 months ago

Also, there was another issue relating to the length of postrelease that everyone knew would be appealed.

goodcountrypeople 2 years, 10 months ago

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dozer 2 years, 10 months ago

It isn't about liberals, corrupt judges, unethical prosecutors, or dirty cops, it is about a field of practice that is always evolving. Jury trials are not scripted, things happen all the time that the parties don't anticipate. The only guidance the parties have is caselaw (published cases by the appellate courts saying what to do in a particular circumstance). But since every case is so fact specific, there are times when the caselaw doesn't help. The parties make a decision at the local level, and the appellate courts end up saying if they did it right or not. That is the process we have. Sure it is frustrating when a case gets reversed for an error, but that doesn't mean the people were stupid, it likely means there wasn't guidance on the issue at the time they faced it. So unless you're going to go to law school and make a difference, stop being an armchair lawyer.

BlackVelvet 2 years, 10 months ago

Yeah, it's not at all about finding the truth. It's more about who plays "the game" better. And interprets the (ever changing) rules most correctly. pity.

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