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State v. Burnett

Supreme Court of Kansas

May 31, 2013

State of Kansas, Appellee,
v.
Frank Burnett, Appellant.

SYLLABUS

1. The Uniform Mandatory Disposition of Detainers Act (UMDDA), K.S.A. 22-4301 et seq., provides an intrastate procedure for persons incarcerated in Kansas penal or correctional institutions to request final disposition of other criminal charges pending within the state. It is a statutory right, not a constitutional one.

2. To obtain the speedy trial right as legislatively defined in the UMDDA, the prisoner must comply with the UMDDA's provisions. This includes preparing the written request for disposition of detainer, which is to be addressed to the county attorney and court in which the indictment, information, or complaint is pending.

3. Once a prisoner's compliant request for final disposition is received, a pending criminal charge must be brought to trial within 180 days unless a court grants extensions of time in accordance with statutory provisions. Otherwise, the court loses jurisdiction over the untried charge.

4. A prisoner's substantial compliance with the UMDDA is sufficient to invoke its provisions.

5. Under K.S.A. 22-4301 anyone imprisoned in either a penal institution or correctional institution in Kansas may invoke the UMDDA. A county jail facility is a "penal institution" as that term is used in the UMDDA.

6. Under K.S.A. 22-4303, if all other conditions are met, the passage of the 180-day statutory period must be treated as conclusive of undue delay unless: (a) the court for good cause in open court grants additional time; (b) the parties stipulate to a continuance; or (c) a continuance is granted on notice to the attorney of record and there is an opportunity to be heard.

Review of the judgment of the Court of Appeals in an unpublished opinion filed December 24, 2009. Appeal from Reno District Court; Richard J. Rome, judge. Opinion filed May 31, 2013. Judgment of the Court of Appeals affirming the district court is reversed. Judgment of the district court is reversed and remanded with directions.

Benjamin J. Fisher, of Hutchinson, argued the cause, and Shawn P. Lautz, of Hutchinson, was on the brief for appellant.

Stephen D. Maxwell, senior assistant district attorney, argued the cause, and Keith E. Schroeder, district attorney, and Stephen Six, attorney general, were on the brief for appellee.

OPINION

Biles, J.

Frank Burnett seeks review of a Court of Appeals decision affirming his conviction for an aggravated weapons violation. He claims his statutory speedy trial rights were violated because he was not brought to trial within 180 days of his request to expedite his case under the Uniform Mandatory Disposition of Detainers Act (UMDDA), K.S.A. 22-4301 et seq. The UMDDA provides an intrastate process for prisoners in Kansas penal or correctional institutions to request final disposition of other criminal charges pending in the state. Once the prisoner properly initiates disposition of the other charges under the UMDDA, the State's failure to bring those charges to trial within 180 days deprives the district court of jurisdiction, subject to certain statutory exceptions. K.S.A. 22-4303.

We hold that the Court of Appeals incorrectly determined there were procedural bars precluding review of Burnett's case. We further hold that the district court erred when it determined the UMDDA was inapplicable to Burnett's pending charges. Based on this and the lack of any claim that continuances tolled the running of the 180-day period, we hold the district court lost jurisdiction to try, convict, or sentence Burnett. Accordingly, we reverse the Court of Appeals decision affirming the district court. Burnett's conviction is reversed and his sentence vacated.

Factual and Procedural Background

The timeline is important to understanding the speedy trial issues. On September 7, 2006, Burnett was charged in Reno County for an aggravated weapons violation, domestic battery, battery, fleeing and eluding police, no proof of insurance, and illegal display of a license plate. About 2 months after the Reno County charges were filed, Burnett was sentenced to 44 months in prison in an unrelated case in McPherson County (McPherson Case I). The sentencing journal entry in that case states that the district court ordered "the Sheriff or a designee transport [Burnett] to the custody of the Secretary of Corrections." (Emphasis added.) Although Burnett began serving that sentence on November 27, 2006, he remained in the McPherson County Jail because he had another, unrelated, criminal case (McPherson Case II) pending there.

About 3 months after Burnett began serving the McPherson Case I sentence in the McPherson County Jail, Burnett filed with the Reno County District Court a pro se "[R]equest for Mandatory Disposition of Detainers Act to be Imposed." The motion cited the UMDDA, and there is no dispute that it is dated February 7, 2007. In it, Burnett requested the resolution within 180 days of all indictments, information, or complaints pending against him in Reno County. He certified that he sent a copy of his request to the Reno County district attorney, the Reno County District Court clerk, and the Kansas secretary of corrections. He explained in his request that he was sending a copy to the secretary—rather than a prison warden—because he was not being held at a Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC) facility at that time. Burnett was transferred from the McPherson County Jail to a KDOC facility on March 12, 2007, 5 weeks after filing his UMDDA request.

Following multiple continuances for the preliminary hearing on the Reno County charges, Burnett was bound over for trial on May 14, 2007. A jury trial was scheduled for August 13, 2007. But on August 9, 2007, Burnett filed a motion to dismiss those charges, claiming he was not brought to trial within 180 days of his UMDDA request as specified in K.S.A. 22-4303. There were 183 days between February 7, 2007, when Burnett filed his request with the Reno County District Court, and August 9, 2007.

In its opposition to Burnett's motion, the State conceded that Burnett filed his request on February 7, 2007, but claimed the motion to dismiss should be denied because: (1) Burnett was in the McPherson County Jail at the time of his request and was not being held by or serving a sentence with KDOC; (2) Burnett's request was not accompanied by a certificate from KDOC or any other facility certifying the time commitment on his sentence; and (3) Burnett was not under a detainer when he filed his request, and one was not placed until May 7, 2007. The State argued these facts rendered the UMDDA inapplicable. Notably, the State did not claim any of the continuances granted in the Reno County proceedings tolled the 180-day period. See K.S.A. 22-4303 ("the parties may stipulate for a continuance or a continuance may be granted on notice to the attorney of record and opportunity for him to be heard").

During the hearing on the motion to dismiss, Burnett admitted into evidence the sentencing journal entry from McPherson Case I, which reflected that he began serving a 44-month sentence with KDOC on November 27, 2006. The State mainly argued that Burnett's incarceration in the McPherson County Jail did not count for purposes of calculating the 180 days. The district court denied the motion after finding the UMDDA did not apply because Burnett had not been serving a sentence with KDOC at the time he filed his request. Burnett was later convicted of the aggravated weapons violation and sentenced to 17 months in prison with a 12-month postrelease supervision term.

Burnett challenged the denial of his motion to dismiss on appeal. In its ruling, the Court of Appeals took a different analytical approach than the district court by determining that the issue before it was whether the UMDDA's 180-day speedy trial mandate begins to run before authorities physically transport an inmate to a KDOC facility. It characterized this issue as one of first impression, but ultimately held it could not reach that issue due to procedural ...


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