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State v. Bradford

Supreme Court of Kansas

April 25, 2014

STATE OF KANSAS, Appellee,
v.
VIRGIL S. BRADFORD, Appellant

Appeal from Dickinson District Court; BENJAMIN J. SEXTON, judge.

SYLLABUS

BY THE COURT

1. An illegal sentence is one that (1) is imposed by a court without jurisdiction, (2) does not conform to the statutory provision, either in character or the term of punishment imposed, or (3) is ambiguous with regard to the time and manner in which it is to be served.

2. A claim that convictions are multiplicitous does not fall into the narrow category of issues that can be raised in a motion to correct an illegal sentence.

Jennifer Wyatt, of Salina, was on the brief for appellant.

Kristafer R. Ailslieger, deputy solicitor general, and Derek Schmidt, attorney general, were on the brief for appellee.

OPINION

Page 169

MORITZ, J.

Virgil Bradford appeals the district court's denial of his motion to correct an illegal sentence in which he asserted his convictions were multiplicitous. We affirm that denial based on well-established caselaw that precludes raising a multiplicity challenge in a motion to correct an illegal sentence.

Factual and Procedural Background

In 1997, Virgil Bradford and Robert Verge broke into an occupied home to steal keys to a vehicle after their car became stuck in mud. During the subsequent altercation, the home's residents were beaten with a blunt object and repeatedly stabbed before receiving fatal gunshot wounds to the head. A jury convicted Bradford of capital murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, and two counts of felony theft for his part in the altercation. See State v. Bradford, 272 Kan. 523, 524-27, 34 P.3d 434 (2001) (reciting additional factual details).

This court affirmed Bradford's convictions but remanded for resentencing based on the district court's grant of upward durational departures for Bradford's convictions other than the capital murder [299 Kan. 289] conviction because this court in State v. Gould, 271 Kan. 394, Syl. ¶ 3, 23 P.3d 801 (2001), had held the Kansas upward durational departure scheme unconstitutional. Bradford, 272 Kan. at 542. On remand, the district court sentenced Bradford to life with a mandatory minimum term of 40 years for his capital murder conviction and a total of 238 months on his remaining convictions, to run consecutive to his capital murder sentence.

In May 2012, Bradford filed a pro se motion to correct an illegal sentence asserting his convictions were multiplicitous. At a hearing before the district court, at which Bradford was represented by counsel, the State argued the district court need not consider Bradford's motion because he could not raise a multiplicity claim in a motion to correct an illegal sentence. Nevertheless, the ...


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