Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. LaPointe

Supreme Court of Kansas

March 3, 2017

State of Kansas, Appellant,
v.
Jack R. LaPointe, Appellee.

         SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

         1. The right to appeal is entirely statutory, and the limits of appellate jurisdiction are imposed by the legislature.

         2. The determination of whether the Court of Appeals had jurisdiction over an appeal rests on the interpretation of statutes and involves a question of law over which the Kansas Supreme Court, upon review of a Court of Appeals decision, exercises unlimited review.

         3. The district court must have entered a final judgment before the prosecution may bring a question-reserved appeal under K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 22-3602(b)(3).

         4. Question-reserved appeals under K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 22-3602(b)(3) may proceed only where they seek a ruling on questions of statewide interest that are important to the correct and uniform administration of the criminal law and the interpretation of statutes.

         5. An order granting postconviction DNA testing under K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 21-2512 occurs at the midpoint in the proceedings required by the statute and is not a final judgment from which the State may appeal on a question reserved under K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 22-3602(b)(3).

         6. A State's question-reserved appeal from an interim order allowing postconviction DNA testing may not be treated as a premature appeal that may lie dormant until a final judgment is entered.

         7. An order allowing postconviction DNA testing cannot be considered final for purposes of a question-reserved appeal simply because a judgment of conviction and sentence has been entered in the underlying criminal case.

         8. Under the circumstances of this case, the State, having invoked the appellate courts' jurisdiction over a question reserved in a criminal case, as provided for in K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 22-3602(b)(3), cannot expand its elected, and repeatedly asserted, statutory basis for jurisdiction.

         Review of the judgment of the Court of Appeals in 51 Kan.App.2d 742, 355 P.3d 694 (2015). Appeal from Johnson District Court; Kevin P. Moriarty, judge. Judgment of the Court of Appeals dismissing the appeal is affirmed. Appeal dismissed.

          Steven J. Obermeier, assistant district attorney, argued the cause, and Stephen M. Howe, district attorney, and Derek Schmidt, attorney general, were with him on the briefs for appellant.

          Richard Ney, of Ney & Adams, of Wichita, argued the cause and was on the briefs for appellee.

          OPINION

          LUCKERT, J.

         In this appeal, we are presented with a novel question: May the State use K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 22-3602(b)(3), which allows the prosecution to take a criminal appeal "upon a question reserved, " after a district court grants postconviction DNA testing under K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 21-2512 but before the testing is conducted and thus before any posttesting court proceedings have been completed? The Court of Appeals concluded the State could not bring such a "question reserved" appeal because there had been no final order in the case. Specifically, at the time the State tried to bring its appeal the district court had only entered an order granting DNA testing-which, under the testing statute, was merely a midpoint in the statutory proceedings. The Court of Appeals further concluded the State's inability to meet the requirements for a question-reserved appeal meant the Court of Appeals lacked jurisdiction. See State v. LaPointe, 51 Kan.App.2d 742, 355 P.3d 694 (2015).

         On petition for review, the State asks us to reverse the Court of Appeals and determine that it may take an appeal from an order granting postconviction DNA testing. But the State fails to persuade us that a final order had been entered, and we hold that the Court of Appeals lacked jurisdiction over the State's appeal in this case and that the appeal was properly dismissed.

         Facts and Procedural History

         The question before us rests on the procedural history of the case, not the underlying facts of the crime. For our purposes, it is enough to know that a jury convicted LaPointe of aggravated robbery and aggravated assault. LaPointe's criminal history scored as a category A on the Kansas sentencing guidelines grid, and the district court sentenced him to a total of 245 months' imprisonment to run consecutive to sentences imposed in other state and federal cases. On direct appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed LaPointe's convictions and sentences. State v. LaPointe, No. 93, 709, 2006 WL 2936496 (Kan. App. 2006) (unpublished opinion), rev. denied 283 Kan. 932 (2007).

         Approximately 7 years later, LaPointe filed, in his underlying criminal case, a request for postconviction DNA testing pursuant to K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 21-2512(a). LaPointe acknowledged that the statute was written to apply only to criminal defendants convicted of first-degree murder or rape and that he had not been convicted of those crimes. He argued, however, that the statute should be extended to cover him because his controlling term of 245 months' imprisonment (more than 20 years) equaled or exceeded the terms for first-degree murder or rape and therefore caused him to be similarly situated to someone who had been convicted of those crimes. Citing State v. Cheeks, 298 Kan. 1, 6-14, 310 P.3d 346 (2013), LaPointe argued there was no rational basis to treat his offenses and resulting sentences differently from first-degree murder or rape and, as a result, the postconviction DNA testing statute violated the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution.

         The district court agreed, over the State's objections. The State then appealed from the district court's order, and in its notice of appeal stated: "This appeal is taken to the Court of Appeals of the State of Kansas upon a question reserved pursuant to K.S.A. 22-3602(b)(3), K.S.A. 60-2101(a) and K.S.A. 60-2102(a)(2)." Through the question-reserved appeal, the State argued the district court erred in extending the postconviction DNA testing statute to a defendant ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.