BY THE COURT
most fundamental rule of statutory construction is that the
intent of the legislature governs if that intent can be
ascertained. To determine the intent of the legislature,
courts must first attempt to ascertain legislative intent
through the plain language of the statute-giving common words
their ordinary meanings.
K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 75-724(c) provides that a district court
shall not lessen or waive DNA database registration fees
unless the court has determined such person is indigent and
the basis for the court's determination is reflected in
the court's order.
district court is not required under the plain language of
K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 75-724 to sua sponte consider a
defendant's ability to pay the DNA database registration
from Saline District Court; Patrick H. Thompson, judge.
Jennifer C. Roth, of Kansas Appellate Defender Office, for
Mitchell, county attorney, and Derek Schmidt, attorney
general, for appellee.
Leben, P.J., Pierron and Bruns, JJ.
Rose Niehaus appeals the district court's order requiring
her to pay a $200 DNA database registration fee after she
pled no contest to second-degree murder and several other
crimes. On appeal, Niehaus argues that K.S.A. 2016 Supp.
75-724(c) required the district court to consider her ability
to pay the DNA database fee. Although we find that the plain
language of K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 75-724(c) requires a district
court to impose the fee and grants discretion to waive the
fee when the defendant is indigent, we do not find that it
requires a district court to sua sponte consider a
defendant's ability to pay. Nevertheless, the record
reflects that the district court did consider Niehaus'
ability to pay when it was determining whether to assess
restitution and other fees. Thus, we affirm.
facts of this case are undisputed. On August 1, 2014, Niehaus
was arrested for the violent murder of her younger sister.
Niehaus-who was 14 years old at the time the crime was
committed-was charged as an adult with first-degree murder,
in violation of K.S.A. 2014 Supp. 21-5402(a)(1).
8, 2015, the district court ordered Niehaus to receive a
forensic psychological evaluation and allowed her attorney to
request funding from the Kansas Board of Indigent Services
(BIDS). In addition, the district court granted Niehaus'
request that Saline County provide educational services for
her while she was in custody. On August 3, 2015, Niehaus
waived her right to a speedy trial.
to a plea agreement, the State filed an amended information
on March 2, 2016. The amended information charged Niehaus
with four counts: (1) murder in the second degree, in
violation of K.S.A. 2014 Supp. 21-5403; (2) interference with
law enforcement, in violation of K.S.A. 2014 Supp.
21-5904(a)(2); (3) interference with law enforcement, in
violation of K.S.A. 2014 Supp. 21-5904(a)(1)(A); and (4)
theft, in violation of K.S.A. 2014 Supp. 21-5801(a)(1). The
State charged Niehaus as an adult ...