BY THE COURT
21-4724 was clear as to the time at which eligibility for the
retroactive application of the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines
Act was to be determined-a person's pre-July 1, 1993,
criminal acts were compared to the law in effect on July 1,
1993, to determine conversion eligibility.
from Sedgwick District Court; John J. Kisner, Jr., judge.
F.A. Maughan, of Maughan Law Group LC, of Wichita, and Sean
M.A. Hatfield, of the same firm, were on the brief for
A. Koon, assistant district attorney, Marc Bennett, district
attorney, and Derek Schmidt, attorney general, were on the
brief for appellee.
the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines Act (KSGA), certain
offenders who committed crimes before KSGA's effective
date are eligible to have their sentences converted to the
sentences they would have received under KSGA. Undra D. Lee
was convicted and sentenced under pre-KSGA law for
first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping, kidnapping, and
aggravated assault. In this appeal, Lee argues the district
court erred by summarily denying his motions to correct an
illegal sentence through which he sought to have his
sentences converted to KSGA grid sentences. He advances two
justifications for this relief.
he argues conversion must occur because the KSGA grid-box
designations, upon which conversion eligibility turned, did
not exist in Kansas law until the KSGA was enacted. Therefore
he argues that his pre-KSGA crimes must be considered
conversion-eligible under State v. Murdock, 299 Kan.
312, 319, 323 P.3d 846 (2014) (regarding person/nonperson
classification of prior out-of-state offenses for purposes of
calculating criminal history score), overruled State v.
Keel, 302 Kan. 560, 357 P.3d 251 (2015), cert.
denied 136 S.Ct. 865 (2016). Second, he argues the
district court's summary denial deprived him of his
statutory right to a hearing under K.S.A. 22-3504.
not entitled to have his sentences converted because
Murdock has been overruled, and its rationale is
nonetheless inapplicable to sentence-conversion claims. See
State v. Jeffries, 304 Kan. 748, 751-52, 375 P.3d
316 (2016) (noting Murdock involved an
interpretation of K.S.A. 21-4711[e]'s ambiguity language,
whereas the Jeffries court applied K.S.A. 21-4723
[Furse 1995], which was "crystal clear" about the
KSGA's retroactive application eligibility). Moreover,
because the record conclusively demonstrates Lee is not
entitled to relief on his motions, the district court did not
err by summarily denying them.
and Procedural Background
convicted Lee of four January 1993 crimes: first-degree
murder, aggravated kidnapping, kidnapping, and aggravated
assault. He was sentenced for these crimes in 1995.
1, 1993, the KSGA became effective. K.S.A. 1993 Supp. 21-4701
et seq. The KSGA's purpose was
"'"to standardize sentences so that similarly
situated offenders would be treated the same, thus limiting
the effects of racial and geographic bias."'"
Keel, 302 Kan. at 574. To this end, the KSGA
established a grid under which the sentence for a felony
conviction is determined by applying two controlling factors:
"the severity level of the current crime of conviction
and the offender's criminal history score." 302 Kan.
conjunction with the KSGA, the legislature assigned severity
levels to felony offenses. As of July 1, 1993, first-degree
murder was designated an off-grid crime subject to life
imprisonment rather than a grid sentence. K.S.A. 21-3401
(first-degree murder); K.S.A. 1993 Supp. 21-4706(c) (off-grid
crimes). Aggravated kidnapping was designated a severity
level 1 felony, kidnapping a severity level 3 felony, and
aggravated assault a severity level 7 felony. K.S.A. 21-3421
(aggravated kidnapping); K.S.A. 21-3420 (kidnapping); K.S.A.
21-3410 (aggravated assault).
KSGA permitted the Department of Corrections (DOC) in limited
circumstances to retroactively convert the sentences of
offenders, incarcerated on the KSGA's effective date for
certain offenses, to KSGA guidelines sentences. See K.S.A.
21-4724. The statute provided that "persons who
committed crimes which would be classified in a presumptive
nonimprisonment grid block on [the nondrug] sentencing grid,
in grid blocks 5-H, 5-I or 6-G of the nondrug grid . . . if
sentenced pursuant to the [KSGA] shall have their sentence
modified." K.S.A. 21-4724(b)(1). The statute directed
the DOC to prepare sentencing guidelines reports on all
inmates incarcerated as of July 1, 1993, "except ...