Topeka — An appeals court panel has rejected the arguments of a man convicted in Douglas County of aggravated kidnapping, aggravated burglary and aggravated intimidation of a witness.
Dale McCormick alleged that his appellate attorney, Jessica Kunen, was ineffective. A hearing was held on the issue in June 2009, and State District Court Judge Michael Malone, of Lawrence, denied McCormick’s motion. On Friday, a three-judge panel upheld that decision.
McCormick was convicted in connection with a 2003 break-in of a woman’s house.
“In fact, the record is replete with evidence of the victim’s prior fear of McCormick and her belief that he was stalking her prior to the incident that gave rise to this case,” the appeals panel wrote.
McCormick alleges that his appellate attorney made numerous errors during his appeal and that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction.
For example, the victim testified that her lip was cut and her wrists and thighs bruised when McCormick grabbed and held her. But McCormick argued that the victim’s injuries were “trivial” and not serious enough to constitute “bodily harm,” according to the appellate opinion.
But the appeals opinion said, “As recognized by the district court, however, the Kansas Supreme Court has found that while ‘trivial’ injuries are insufficient to constitute bodily harm, there is no requirement that injuries be ‘substantial.’”
Before his conviction, McCormick had sued the Lawrence Police Department numerous times, alleging it had violated his rights, and he videotaped officers during traffic stops.
McCormick’s earliest possible release date is in 2019, according to the Kansas Department of Corrections’ database.