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State v. Baker

Supreme Court of Kansas

May 31, 2013

State of Kansas, Appellee,
v.
Mark Anthony Baker, Appellant.

SYLLABUS

1. A life sentence for an off-grid crime is not considered a presumptive sentence under the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines Act. Therefore, K.S.A. 21-4721(c)(1) does not prevent a defendant from challenging a district court's decision ordering a sentence for an on-grid crime to run consecutive to a life sentence for an off-grid crime in a multiple conviction case involving both off-grid and on-grid crimes.

2. Generally, it is within the district court's sound discretion to determine whether a sentence should run concurrent with or consecutive to another sentence.

3.Under K.S.A. 21-4721(c)(1), an appellate court is without jurisdiction to consider a challenge to a presumptive sentence, even if that sentence is to the highest term in a presumptive grid block.

4. The use of prior convictions for sentencing enhancement is constitutional and does not violate Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 120 S.Ct. 2348, 147 L.Ed.2d 435 (2000).

Appeal from Labette District Court; Robert J. Fleming, judge.

Joanna Labastida, of Kansas Appellate Defender Office, was on the brief for appellant.

Stephen P. Jones, assistant county attorney, and Derek Schmidt, attorney general, were on the brief for appellee.

OPINION

Luckert, J.

In this appeal, Mark Anthony Baker raises three sentencing issues. In the first issue, he argues no reasonable person would agree with the district court judge's decision to impose consecutive sentences and, therefore, the judge abused his discretion. We reject this argument, concluding a reasonable person could agree with the judge's decision. In two other issues, Baker raises arguments that are contrary to well-settled rulings of this court, and he fails to present any new arguments to persuade us to abandon our prior rulings. Consequently, we affirm Baker's sentences.

Facts and Procedural Background

In July 2011, Mark Baker pleaded guilty to four crimes: felony murder, an off-grid felony in violation of K.S.A. 21-3401(b); child abuse, a severity level 5 person felony in violation of K.S.A. 21-3609; obstruction of official duty, a severity level 9 nonperson felony in violation of K.S.A. 21-3808; and possession of marijuana, a severity level 4 drug felony in violation of K.S.A. 2010 Supp. 21-36a06(b)(3). These charges arose after Baker abused the 19-month-old son of his girlfriend, causing skull fractures, brain damage, and multiple internal injuries that resulted in the child's death.

At sentencing, Baker requested concurrent sentences. The district court denied Baker's request and ran the sentences for the four crimes consecutive to one another. The court imposed a life sentence with no possibility of parole for 20 years for felony murder; 128 months' imprisonment for child abuse, which is the aggravated sentence in the applicable Kansas Sentencing Guidelines Act (KSGA) grid block; 12 months' imprisonment for possession of marijuana; and 7 months' imprisonment for obstruction of official duty.

Baker timely appealed, raising three sentencing issues. This court has jurisdiction under K.S.A. 2012 Supp. 22-3601(b)(3) (maximum ...


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