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State v. Branson

September 21, 2007

STATE OF KANSAS, APPELLEE,
v.
DARRELL J. BRANSON, APPELLANT.



Appeal from Douglas District Court; JACK A. MURPHY, judge.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. Whether an affirmative defense to a crime exists is a question of law subject to unlimited review by the appellate courts.

2. One philosophy of the criminal law in this state is that criminal prosecution is a State affair and that a criminal act specified and defined in the criminal code occurs against the peace and dignity of the State.

3. The consent of a victim is not a defense to the crime of violating a protective order under K.S.A. 2005 Supp. 21-3843(a)(1).

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

Affirmed.

Before CAPLINGER, P.J., ELLIOTT, J., and BUKATY, S.J.

Darrell J. Branson appeals his conviction following a bench trial for violation of a protective order. He essentially argues that the victim consented to his contact with her and this constitutes a defense to the charge. We affirm, finding that consent is not a defense to a charge of violation of a protective order.

The State charged Branson with violating "a protection from abuse order issued pursuant to K.S.A. 60-3105, K.S.A. 60-3106, [and] K.S.A. 60-3107 . . . in violation of K.S.A. 21-3843(a)(1)." It alleged the crime occurred on or about October 18, 2005. Among the witnesses listed was Pamela Hird.

Almost 4 months before the events leading to the charge, Hird had obtained a protection from abuse (PFA) order against Branson under the provisions of K.S.A. 60-3101 et seq. Authorities served Branson with the order shortly after its issuance.

The PFA order prohibited Branson from having any contact with Hird "except as authorized by the Court in this Order." It provided that Branson "shall not enter or come on or around the premises or the residence or workplace where [Hird] resides, stays or works." An exception, not applicable here, allowed Branson to obtain his personal property from Hird's home one time while accompanied by a law enforcement officer.

By its terms, the order expired at midnight on June 27, 2006. It further warned:

"THE DEFENDANT IS HEREBY PUT ON NOTICE THAT VIOLATION OF THIS ORDER MAY CONSTITUTE VIOLATION OF A PROTECTIVE ORDER AS PROVIDED IN K.S.A. 21-3843 . . . AND MAY RESULT IN PROSECUTION AND CONVICTION UNDER KANSAS CRIMINAL STATUTES. VIOLATION OF THIS ORDER MAY ALSO BE PUNISHABLE AS A CONTEMPT OF THIS COURT."

At trial, Hird testified that on the evening in question, she was at home. She received a telephone call from an employee of a business that Hird owned stating that Branson had appeared at the business. The employee apparently knew of the PFA order and did not admit Branson to the business. The employee saw Branson leave in ...


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