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State v. Kenney

Supreme Court of Kansas

May 16, 2014

STATE OF KANSAS, Appellee,
v.
NATHANIEL KENNEY, Appellant

Review of the judgment of the Court of Appeals in an unpublished opinion filed October 5, 2012.

Appeal from Wyandotte District Court; JOHN J. MCNALLY, judge.

Judgment of the Court of Appeals affirming the district court is reversed. Judgment of the district court is reversed, and the case is remanded.

SYLLABUS

BY THE COURT

A criminal defendant's misinformation from counsel about the applicable law during plea negotiations--particularly when reinforced later by the written plea agreement and by counsel's and the district judge's incorrect statements during the defendant's plea hearing--easily constitutes good cause to withdraw a no contest plea under K.S.A. 22-3602(a).

Matthew J. Edge, of Kansas Appellate Defender Office, was on the brief for appellant.

Jerome A. Gorman, district attorney, and Derek Schmidt, attorney general, were on the brief for appellee.

OPINION

BEIER, J.

Defendant Nathaniel Kenney appeals from denial of his presentencing pro se motion to withdraw his no contest plea to one count of aggravated kidnapping and one count of aggravated robbery.

On appeal to the Court of Appeals, Kenney argued that the district judge had denied his right to counsel under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution by hearing the motion to withdraw plea without appointing a new lawyer for him. The Court of Appeals rejected this argument, and we granted Kenney's petition for review.

Page 1289

We reverse the judgment of the district court and the decision of the Court of Appeals and remand to the district court for further proceedings.

Factual and Procedural Background

The State charged Kenney with 13 felonies based on his alleged participation in a home invasion in Kansas City.

[299 Kan. 390] Eleven days before trial was scheduled to start, Kenney's court-appointed defense counsel, Jeffrey Leiker, filed a motion to withdraw. In the motion, Leiker wrote that Kenney had demanded Leiker " withdraw as his legal representation and cease all activity on his behalf." The motion also said that Kenney had sent Leiker " multiple ...


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