Review of the judgment of the Court of Appeals in an unpublished order filed May 10, 2007. Appeal from Sedgwick district court; DAVID J. KAUFMAN, judge. Judgment of the Court of Appeals dismissing the appeal is reversed. The State's appeal on a question reserved is sustained in part and denied in part.
1. Appellate courts will accept appeal of questions reserved when the issues are matters of statewide interest important to the correct and uniform administration of the criminal law and the interpretation of statutes but will not consider cases in which the resolution of the questions would not provide helpful precedent.
2. Jurisdiction is a question of law subject to appellate courts' unlimited review.
3. An abuse of discretion standard includes review to determine that the discretion was not guided by erroneous legal conclusions. Under the facts of this case, the Court of Appeals erred in dismissing the State's appeal under K.S.A. 22-3602(b)(3) upon a question reserved.
4. The decision to revoke probation typically involves two distinct components: (1) a retrospective factual question whether the probationer has violated a condition of probation; and (2) a discretionary determination by the sentencing authority whether violation of a condition warrants revocation of probation.
5. Where there is discretion to continue or revoke probation, the probationer is entitled to an opportunity to show not only that he or she did not violate the conditions, but also that there was a justifiable excuse for any violation or that revocation is not the appropriate disposition.
6. The general rule is that a criminal statute must be strictly construed in favor of the accused, which simply means that words are given their ordinary meaning. Any reasonable doubt about the meaning is decided in favor of anyone subjected to the criminal statute. This rule of strict construction, however, is subordinate to the rule that judicial interpretation must be reasonable and sensible to effect legislative design and intent.
7. Conduct occurring after the end of the probation term generally cannot serve as the basis of a probation violation.
8. The timely issuance of a warrant for violation of probation conditions under K.S.A. 22-3716 does not toll the probation period or otherwise extend the probationary conditions or the court's jurisdiction over all of the probationer's conduct through the probation violation hearing.
9. While post-probationary-period conduct cannot be considered by the court during the violation stage of the proceedings, if a violation of the conditions of probation is established, the conduct may then be considered by the court during the disposition stage as part of the district court's discretion.
10. Under the facts of this case, the district court correctly held that post-probationary-period conduct cannot be considered by the court during the violation stage of the proceedings but incorrectly held that the conduct cannot be considered during the disposition stage.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Nuss, J.
The district court refused to consider, for any probation-related purpose, Kenneth Skolaut's conduct occurring after his probation term but during the pendency of probation violation proceedings under K.S.A. 22-3716. The State appealed the ruling on a question reserved which the Court of Appeals dismissed, apparently for lack of jurisdiction. We granted the State's petition for review to consider two issues. Those issues, and our accompanying holdings, are as follows:
1. Did the Court of Appeals err in dismissing the State's appeal? Yes.
2. For purposes of determining probation violations, may a district court consider a defendant's conduct that occurred after the probation term but during the pendency of probation violation proceedings under K.S.A. 22-3716? No.
Accordingly, the State's appeal on a question reserved is reinstated, and the appeal is sustained in part and denied in part.
The facts, and resultant arguments, are best understood when presented in the following chronology:
January 27, 2005: Kenneth R. Skolaut was convicted of felony driving under the influence (DUI), possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana, and driving while suspended.
April 8, 2005: Skolaut was sentenced to an underlying term of 15 months in prison but granted 12 months' probation.
February/March 2006: Skolaut violated conditions of his probation. Specifically, he failed to report as directed, failed to report change of address and telephone number as directed, and failed to make payments as directed.
April 8, 2006: Skolaut's 12 months' probation was scheduled to terminate.
April 19, 2006: At the request of Lesia Hedgepeth, Skolaut's probation officer, the district court issued a probation violation warrant alleging Skolaut's violations that had occurred before the end of the probation term: February/March 2006.
May 9, 2006: End of the 30-day period after probation was scheduled to terminate during which time the district court was authorized to issue a probation violation warrant under K.S.A. 22-3716(a).
June 28, 2006: During a traffic stop, Skolaut was arrested on the probation violation warrant.
June 30, 2006: At the request of Hedgepeth, the district court issued a second probation violation warrant, alleging the June 28 events were additional violations. Specifically, Skolaut allegedly failed to provide proof of insurance, failed to yield on a left turn, and drove without possession of a license.
August 23, 2006: During Skolaut's probation violation hearing, he admitted the violations occurring during the initial probation term: February/March 2006. Accordingly, the State requested that the court revoke his probation and impose the underlying prison sentence. The hearing was continued for 1 week to allow the parties to research whether the June 28 events, although occurring after the initial probation term, could nevertheless also be considered by the district court.
August 31, 2006: The district court found that it had erred in issuing the second warrant because it was prohibited from considering the June 28 events due to their occurring after the initial term of probation. It therefore set aside the warrant:
"The reason the second warrant, in my opinion, is not valid is because it doesn't address an allegation that occurred during the initial term of probation. If the warrant had addressed an additional allegation that had occurred during the initial term of probation, that second warrant generally can be considered. . . . [B]ecause the ...