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State of Kansas v. Douglas Leclair

October 26, 2012

STATE OF KANSAS, APPELLEE,
v.
DOUGLAS LECLAIR, APPELLANT.



SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT 1. When the sufficiency of evidence is challenged in a criminal case, the standard of review is whether, after review of all the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the prosecution, the appellate court is convinced that a rational factfinder could have found the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. 2. An appellate court interprets the statutory language as it appears; it is not free to speculate and cannot read into the statute language not readily found there. 3. Kansas courts are required to follow the rules of statutory construction set out at K.S.A. 77-201 unless "the construction would be inconsistent with the manifest intent of the legislature or repugnant to the context of the statute." 4. Under K.S.A. 22-4904(b), an offender does not change the address of residence until obtaining a new place of habitation where the person intends to remain. 5. Under the facts of this case, insufficient evidence exists to support defendant's conviction under K.S.A. 22-4904(b) of failing-within 10 days of changing his address of residence-to inform the law enforcement agency where he last registered of his new address. Review of the judgment of the Court of Appeals in 43 Kan. App. 2d 606, 228 P.3d 1103 (2010). Appeal from Saline District Court; RENE S. YOUNG, judge.

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

Judgment of the Court of Appeals affirming the district court is reversed. Judgment of the district court is reversed.

Sex offenders must inform their local law enforcement agency within 10 days of changing their address of residence per K.S.A. 22-4904(b). Registered sex offender Douglas LeClair left his Salina residence on June 1, 2007. He then traveled the southwest United States for approximately 3 weeks before settling in Las Vegas, Nevada, and registering as an offender on July 9.

LeClair was convicted of one count of failing to notify the Saline County Sheriff within 10 days of changing his address of residence-for the time period of June 1-11. The Court of Appeals affirmed LeClair's conviction, rejecting his argument that he had not yet established a new residence and therefore had no duty to register during that 10- day period. We granted LeClair's petition for review under K.S.A. 20-3018(b), and we now reverse.

FACTS

In 1988 Douglas LeClair pleaded guilty to statutory rape and indecent liberties in Washington state. He later moved to Salina and duly registered as a sex offender with the Saline County Sheriff's Department on April 4, 2007.

The following June 1, LeClair caught a ride with his landlord to the Salina bus station. LeClair told his landlord that he planned on going to Las Vegas, Nevada. LeClair traveled to Las Vegas but left after spending a couple of nights in a shelter. He then hitchhiked to Salt Lake City and Provo in Utah. While in Provo, he mailed a letter postmarked June 5 to the Saline County Sheriff's Office, which stated, "I, Douglas M. LeClair, . . . a registered sex offender in Saline County, am leaving the State of Kansas. I will not be returning. When I get to where I am going, I will contact local law enforcement."

For the remainder of the first 3 weeks of June, LeClair hitchhiked to Flagstaff and Phoenix in Arizona and to Santa Maria in California. He testified he often slept outside in the "bush" on the roadside in a sleeping bag. And he never stayed in one city for more than 3 or 4 days.

During the third week in June, LeClair moved to Las Vegas, eventually renting an apartment on June 30. Within 10 days, on July 9, he registered as an offender with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. He testified that he "thought he had done everything [he] was supposed to do" under the Kansas Offender Registration Act (KORA), K.S.A. 22-4901 et seq., because when registering in Nevada, he confirmed that the Las Vegas police would notify the State of Kansas. The Las Vegas police did notify the Saline County Sheriff via email on March 12, 2008, that LeClair had registered with them on July 9, 2007.

In October 2007, the State charged LeClair with five counts of failing to register as an offender as required by the KORA. See K.S.A. 22-4903. Count 1 charged that he failed to inform the Saline County Sheriff's Department of his new address within 10 days of leaving Salina: June 1 through June 11, 2007. Counts 2-5 charged him with similarly failing to inform the department for four consecutive 30-day periods between June 11 and October 11, 2007.

After a bench trial, the district court found LeClair guilty of Count 1 but acquitted him of Counts 2-5. Failure to register as an offender is a severity level 5 person felony under K.S.A. 22-4903, and the district court sentenced him to 24 months' incarceration and 24 months' postrelease supervision. LeClair appealed, and the Court of Appeals affirmed. State v. LeClair, 43 Kan. App. 2d 606, 228 P.3d 1103 (2010).

ANALYSIS

Issue: The evidence is insufficient to support ...


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