BY THE COURT
definition of an illegal sentence does not include a claim
that the sentence violates a constitutional provision, and a
defendant may not file a motion to correct an illegal
sentence based on constitutional challenges to his or her
of the judgment of the Court of Appeals in an unpublished
opinion filed April 10, 2015.
Appeal from Sedgwick District Court; Benjamin L. Burgess,
judge. Judgment of the Court of Appeals is affirmed. Judgment
of the district court is affirmed.
Michael P. Whalen, of Law Office of Michael P. Whalen, of
Wichita, argued the cause and was on the briefs for
J. Gillett, assistant district attorney, argued the cause,
and Marc Bennett, district attorney, and Derek Schmidt,
attorney general, were with him on the brief for appellee.
2011, the State charged Jason A. Reese with aggravated
assault with a deadly weapon after he used his vehicle to
repeatedly ram another vehicle in an apparent road rage
incident. Shortly thereafter, the Kansas Offender
Registration Act (KORA), K.S.A. 22-4901 et seq., was
amended to include any offender who "on or after July 1,
2006, is convicted of any person felony and the court makes a
finding on the record that a deadly weapon was used in the
commission of such person felony." L. 2011, ch. 95, sec.
2; K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 22-4902(e)(2). The legislature also
lengthened the amount of time certain violent offenders are
required to register from 10 years to 15 years. L. 2011, ch.
95, sec. 6; K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 22-4906(a)(1).
14, 2011, Reese pled no contest to the charge, and the court
later ordered Reese to serve 24 months' probation and
imposed an underlying 29-month prison sentence. At
sentencing, the court notified Reese of his duty to register
under KORA- mistakenly reciting a 10-year period. It
subsequently memorialized this decision in an order nunc pro
tunc, stating that the district court had determined Reese
committed the crime with a deadly weapon and that he was
required to register for 10 years. Shortly thereafter, the
Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) mailed letters to
offender registrants-including Reese-explaining that they
were now required to register for 15 years pursuant to the
2011 amendments to KORA.
the time for direct appeal had passed, Reese filed-through
counsel-a motion challenging the retroactive application of
the 2011 KORA amendments, asking the court to "declare
2011 SB 37 unconstitutional as retroactively applied."
Several months later, Reese's counsel filed another
motion with an attached brief, arguing in greater detail that
the 2011 amendments constitute punishment under the Ex Post
Facto Clause of the United States Constitution. Throughout
November and December 2012, Reese's counsel submitted
several motions claiming (1) the plain language of the 2011
amendments did not contain explicit language authorizing
retroactive application; (2) the KBI violated the separation
of powers doctrine by altering the amount of time Reese was
required to register; (3) Reese's right to effective
assistance of counsel was violated because he was not
provided accurate advice about the length of time he would be
required to register at the time of his plea; (4)
registration constituted cruel and unusual punishment; (5)
registration is punishment; and (6) the prosecution unfairly
modified the plea agreement after plea negotiations by
lengthening the amount of time Reese is required to register.
The State responded to these motions by challenging the
primarily on State v. Jackson, 291 Kan. 34, 238 P.3d
246 (2010), and State v. Myers, 260 Kan. 669, 923
P.2d 1024 (1996), the district court ruled that Reese's
registration was an "incident of sentencing, " and
that the court lost subject matter jurisdiction once the
order became final. To its credit, the court candidly
admitted that it had erred by imposing a 10-year registration
term rather than the 15-year term. It later entered several
journal entries denying the motions, from which Reese filed a
timely notice of appeal.
argued before the Court of Appeals that the district court
possessed the requisite jurisdiction to consider his
challenge as a motion to correct illegal sentence. The panel
held, however, that it had considered and rejected a similar
argument in State v. Ward, No. 109, 325, 2014 WL
5610212 (Kan. App. 2014) (unpublished opinion), rev.
granted 304 Kan. 1022 (2016), which, in turn, relied
upon State v. Simmons, 50 Kan.App.2d 448, 451, 329
P.3d 523 (2014), rev. granted 304 Kan. 1021 (2016).
State v. Reese, No. 110, 021, 2015 WL 1782348, at *6
(Kan. App. 2015) (unpublished opinion). The panel ultimately
dismissed Reese's appeal for a lack of jurisdiction, and
we granted his petition for review.
asserts on appeal that the 2011 amendments to KORA created an
illegal sentence. See K.S.A. 22-3504. Whether a sentence is
illegal pursuant to K.S.A. 22-3504 is a question of law
subject to plenary review. State v. Jeffries, 304
Kan. 748, 751, 375 P.3d 316 (2016). We have defined an
illegal sentence as one:
" imposed by a court without jurisdiction;  a
sentence that does not conform to the statutory provision,
either in the character or the term of the punishment
authorized; or  a sentence that is ambiguous with respect
to the time and manner in which it is to be served."