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State v. Kraft

July 27, 2007

STATE OF KANSAS, APPELLEE,
v.
BOBBY FRANK KRAFT, APPELLANT.



Appeal from Johnson District Court; JAMES FRANKLIN DAVIS, judge.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. The decision to deny a motion to withdraw a plea lies within the sound discretion of the trial court, and the court's decision will not be disturbed on appeal absent a showing that the court abused that discretion. A district court abuses its discretion when no reasonable person would adopt the view of the district court or if its decision goes outside the legal framework of or fails to properly consider statutory limitations or legal standards.

2. In evaluating whether good cause to withdraw a plea has been shown, the district court should consider (1) whether the defendant was represented by competent counsel, (2) whether the defendant was misled, coerced, mistreated, or unfairly taken advantage of, and (3) whether the plea was fairly and understandingly made.

3. The phrase "lawful custody" as used in the aggravated escape from custody statute, K.S.A. 2004 Supp. 21-3810, contemplates an intent on the part of prison officials to exercise actual or constructive control of the prisoner and that in some manner the prisoner's liberty is restrained. There is no requirement that the prisoner be constantly supervised or watched over by prison officials. Rather, the key factor is that prison officials have not evidenced an intent to abandon or give up their prisoner, leaving the prisoner free to go on his or her way.

4. Under the facts of this case, a probationer who was under "house arrest," i.e., the first phase of conditional release from a residential community corrections program, and failed to abide by the conditions of the release, remained in the "lawful custody" of the program pursuant to K.S.A. 2004 Supp. 21-3810(a)(1). The district court therefore did not abuse its discretion in refusing to set aside his plea to aggravated escape from custody.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Caplinger, J.

Affirmed in part, dismissed in part, and remanded with directions.

Before MARQUARDT, P.J., GREEN and CAPLINGER, JJ.

Bobby Frank Kraft appeals from the district court's denial of his motion to withdraw his plea to aggravated escape. Kraft claims that because he was on "house arrest" at the time he absconded, he was not in "lawful custody" pursuant to K.S.A. 2004 Supp. 21-3810(a)(1). Therefore, Kraft argues the factual basis provided to the district court was insufficient to support his plea and the district court abused its discretion in denying his motion. Kraft also alleges the district court failed to consider his ability to pay attorney fees on the record at sentencing.

Factual and procedural background

At the plea hearing, the State recited the following factual basis for Kraft's plea to aggravated escape from custody:

"Judge, evidence would be on January 4th, 2005, at the Johnson County Residential Center in Johnson County, Kansas, the defendant, Bobby Frank Kraft, was allowed to leave. He was being held there on conviction for attempted robbery on Johnson County case 02CR1106. As terms of his probation, the defendant was allowed to go to his residence in Kansas City, Kansas. Corrections personnel were unable to locate him. He was declared absent without leave when he failed to return to the Center."

Following this recitation, Kraft's trial counsel agreed that the State had proffered a factual basis sufficient to permit a jury to convict Kraft of aggravated escape, and Kraft affirmed that the State's factual proffer was accurate. After Kraft affirmed that he entered the plea of his own free will, the court found Kraft guilty of attempted aggravated escape from custody.

Prior to sentencing, Kraft filed motions to withdraw his plea and to dismiss the complaint. Kraft asserted good cause existed to withdraw his plea because (1) his attorney erred in explaining the charges to him and in concluding he was in lawful custody at the time he absconded; and (2) Kraft would not have pled guilty to a crime he could not have committed.

Following a hearing, the district court ruled Kraft was in lawful custody at the time he absconded and, therefore, had not ...


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