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Cornelius v. Kansas Dep't of Revenue Division of Motor Vehicles

April 4, 2008

DAVID E. CORNELIUS, APPELLANT,
v.
KANSAS DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE DIVISION OF MOTOR VEHICLES, APPELLEE.



Appeal from Shawnee District Court; DAVID E. BRUNS, judge.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. On appeal, a district court is restricted to considering whether, as a matter of law, (1) the administrative agency acted fraudulently, arbitrarily, or capriciously; (2) the agency's administrative order is supported by substantial evidence; and (3) the agency's action was within the scope of its authority.

2. In reviewing a district court's decision of an agency's action, the appellate court must determine whether the district court followed the requirements and restrictions placed upon it, and then make the same review of the administrative agency's action as does the district court.

3. County and city law enforcement officers have jurisdiction within their respective county or city, and in any other place when a request for assistance has been made by law enforcement officers from that place, or when in fresh pursuit of a person.

4. The fundamental rule of statutory construction is that the intent of the legislature governs if that intent can be ascertained. The legislature is presumed to have expressed its intent through the language of the statutory scheme. Ordinary words are given their ordinary meanings. When a statute is plain and unambiguous, the court must give effect to the intention of the legislature as expressed, rather than determine what the law should or should not be.

5. As a general rule, courts should construe statutes to avoid unreasonable results and presume that the legislature does not intend to enact useless or meaningless legislation.

6. Law enforcement officers employed by county law enforcement agencies or departments, and sheriffs and their deputies, may exercise their powers as law enforcement officers anywhere within their county.

7. K.S.A. 2004 Supp. 22-2401a(3) is interpreted and applied.

8. Where there is an agreement between a county sheriff's department and a Native American Indian Tribe police department that gives the tribal officers authority under K.S.A. 2004 Supp. 22-2401a(3)(c) to act outside of their respective reservations, the requirements in K.S.A. 2004 Supp. 22-2401a(3)(a) do not apply.

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

Affirmed.

Before MARQUARDT, P.J., MALONE, J., and BRAZIL, S.J.:

David E. Cornelius appeals the district court's order affirming the Kansas Department of Revenue's (KDR) suspension of his driver's license. We affirm.

The relevant facts are undisputed. On November 24, 2004, Cornelius was stopped at a sobriety checkpoint a few miles outside of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Reservation in Jackson County. The Jackson County Sheriff's Department was the authority responsible for arranging and operating the sobriety checkpoint. The Jackson County Sheriff's Department and the Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribal Police orally agreed that they would cooperate with one another in the operation of the checkpoint.

Cornelius refused to submit to a blood alcohol test and was issued multiple citations by Corporal Michael Boswell, an officer of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribal Police Department. Cornelius filed a motion to dismiss, claiming that Corporal Boswell lacked jurisdiction pursuant to K.S.A. 2004 Supp. 22-2401a(3)(a) to issue the citations. Cornelius claimed that officers employed by a Native American Indian Tribe (tribal police) may only exercise jurisdiction outside of their reservations if there is a valid written agreement for liability insurance coverage which waives tribal immunity and is verified by the attorney general. Cornelius argued that without a written insurance agreement, Corporal Boswell did not have jurisdiction to suspend his driver's license. In response, the KDR argued that the liability insurance provisions of K.S.A. 2004 Supp. 22-2401a(3) only apply where tribal police are acting on their own without an agreement with another law enforcement agency.

Following a hearing, the KDR suspended Cornelius' driver's license. The KDR relied in part on K.S.A. 2004 Supp. 22-2401a(3)(c), which provides: "Nothing in this subsection (3) shall be construed to prohibit any agreement between any state, county or ...


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