As Amended May 6, 2015.
Appeal from Johnson District Court; JANICE D. RUSSELL, judge.
BY THE COURT
1. Whether the district court erred in applying K.S.A. 2014 Supp. 22-3402(b) to a particular defendant raises an issue of statutory construction, a matter over which appellate review is de novo.
2. K.S.A. 2014 Supp. 22-3402 guarantees a criminal defendant's right to a speedy trial.
3. In City of Elkhart v. Bollacker, 243 Kan. 543, 545, 757 P.2d 311 (1988), the Kansas Supreme Court recognized the legislature's intent that persons charged with crimes should be granted prompt and speedy trials to prevent the oppression of citizens by holding criminal prosecutions suspended over those persons for an indefinite time and to prevent delays in the administration of justice, and the legislature intended to provide statutory speedy trials for all persons held to respond to criminal charges. Based upon Bollacker, the provisions of K.S.A. 2014 Supp. 22-3402 apply to criminal defendants whose appearances were secured by receiving a notice to appear or a summons, and the 180-day time limitation provided for in K.S.A. 2014 Supp. 22-3402(b) applies to such defendants.
4. When the legislature fails to modify a statute to avoid a long-standing judicial construction of that statute, the legislature is presumed to agree with the court's interpretation.
5. The provisions of K.S.A. 2014 Supp. 22-3402 apply to a corporate defendant, including a limited liability company.
Steven J. Obermeier, senior deputy district attorney, Stephen M. Howe, district attorney, and Derek Schmidt, attorney general, for appellant.
Tricia A. Bath, Thomas J. Bath, and Mitch E. Biebighauser, of Bath & Edmonds, P.A., of Overland Park, for appellee.
Before MALONE, C.J., MCANANY and SCHROEDER, JJ.
[51 Kan.App.2d 438] MCANANY, J.:
The State of Kansas appeals from the district court's decision to dismiss a criminal complaint against Spencer Gifts, LLC, due to a violation of statutory speedy trial rights under K.S.A. 2014 Supp. 22-3402(b). The State contends the speedy trial provision of K.S.A. 2014 Supp. 22-3402(b) does not apply to an LLC that was never held to answer on an appearance bond.
On October 6, 2010, the State filed a criminal complaint against Spencer Gifts, LLC, charging it with promoting obscenity that was harmful to minors pursuant to K.S.A. 21-4301c. A summons was issued which directed Spencer Gifts to appear in court on October 27, 2010. Spencer Gifts appeared through counsel at the appointed time and entered a plea of not guilty. During the pendency of the action, Spencer Gifts continued to appear as the case was pending in district court. Spencer Gifts requested continuances from November 2010 until June 2011.
Spencer Gifts contended that it had a statutory right to a speedy trial. It did not assert a constitutional speedy trial claim. In response, the State requested that the district court determine whether K.S.A. 2014 Supp. 22-3402(b) applied. The State argued the speedy trial statute did not apply because Spencer Gifts had been ordered to appear by summons and, therefore, was not held on an appearance bond. Following a hearing in June 2013, the district court judge agreed with the State and determined that Spencer Gifts had not been held to answer on an appearance bond: " A corporation has never been in custody, never been on a bond in this case. So I'm going to find there is no speedy trial violation." The district court judge also ruled that the LLC was not a " person" as contemplated under the speedy trial statutes " based on the status of the defendant as a corporation."
Shortly before trial in February 2014, Spencer Gifts moved to dismiss for violation of its speedy trial rights, more than 180 days having passed since commencement of the action without the matter being brought to trial. It argued that Kansas courts had applied the speedy trial statute to individuals who were charged with a crime but were not held on an appearance bond. See City of Elkhart [51 Kan.App.2d 439] v. Bollacker, 243 Kan. 543, 757 P.2d 311 (1988) (defendant commanded to appear by notice to appear); State v. Palmquist, 247 P.3d 233, 2011 WL 767861 (Kan. App. 2011) (unpublished opinion) (defendant commanded to appear by summons), rev. denied 292 Kan. 968 (2011). In response, the State maintained its position that because Spencer Gifts was not held on an appearance bond, K.S.A. 2014 Supp. 22-3402(b) did not apply.
The motion was reassigned to a senior district court judge who, relying on the holdings in Bollacker and Palmquist, ruled that the speedy trial statute applied to Spencer Gifts regardless of the fact that it had been ordered to appear by summons. The court determined that based on the passage of time, Spencer Gifts' statutory speedy trial rights under K.S.A. 2014 Supp. 22-3402(b) had been violated. The court dismissed the complaint, and the State appeals.
On appeal, the State argues that the district court erred in applying K.S.A. 2014 Supp. 22-3402(b)
to Spencer Gifts, a limited liability company that was not subject to an appearance bond. This contention raises an issue of statutory construction, a matter which we review de novo. State v. Arnett, 290 Kan. 41, 47, 223 P.3d 780 (2010). As a general rule, criminal statutes are strictly construed in favor of the accused. The rule is constrained by the rule that the interpretation of a statute must be reasonable and sensible to affect the legislative design and intent of the law. State v. Phillips, 299 Kan. 479, 495, 325 P.3d 1095 (2014). The rule of lenity arises only when there is any reasonable doubt of the statute's meaning. See State v. Beaman, 295 Kan. 853, 868, 286 P.3d 876 (2012).
K.S.A. 2014 Supp. 22-3402 guarantees a criminal defendant's right to a speedy trial. K.S.A. 2014 Supp. ...