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State v. Hachmeister

Supreme Court of Kansas

June 16, 2017

State of Kansas, Appellee,
Jason Hachmeister, Appellant.


         1. As a general rule, issues not raised before the district court cannot be raised on appeal.

         2. A reviewing court must determine the sufficiency of a search warrant affidavit from the four corners of the affidavit.

         3. Search warrants and their supporting affidavits are presumed valid, and one attacking their validity carries the burden of persuasion.

         4. Lifetime postrelease registration for sex offenders mandated by the Kansas Offender Registration Act, K.S.A. 22-4901 et seq., does not constitute punishment for purposes of applying provisions of the United States Constitution or § 9 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights.

         Review of the judgment of the Court of Appeals in an unpublished opinion filed December 4, 2015.

         Appeal from Shawnee District Court; Evelyn Z. Wilson, judge. Judgment of the Court of Appeals affirming the district court is affirmed on the issues subject to our review. Judgment of the district court is affirmed.

          Gerald E. Wells, of Jerry Wells Attorney-at-Law, of Lawrence, argued the cause, and Peter Maharry, of Kansas Appellate Defender Office, was on the brief for appellant.

          Jodi E. Litfin, deputy district attorney, argued the cause, and Michael F. Kagay, district attorney, Chadwick J. Taylor, former district attorney, and Derek Schmidt, attorney general, were with her on the briefs for appellee.


          Biles, J.

         A jury convicted Jason Hachmeister of 105 counts of sexual exploitation of a child after police discovered child pornography on his computer while investigating the homicide of Hachmeister's mother. On petition for review from a decision by a panel of the Court of Appeals, we consider two claims of error: (1) whether the evidence from Hachmeister's computer should have been suppressed because it was not properly within the scope of various search warrants issued during the homicide investigation; and (2) whether the district court violated Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 120 S.Ct. 2348, 147 L.Ed.2d 435 (2000), when it made a factual finding that the victims were under 14 years old, which was a predicate finding required for ordering Hachmeister to register as a sex offender. We affirm.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         In September 2011, Topeka police began investigating the death of Hachmeister's mother, whose body was found at her home where Hachmeister also lived. The police obtained six search warrants as the inquiry unfolded. The first five were for the homicide investigation and the sixth was to search Hachmeister's computers for child pornography. Officers recovered more than 100 pornographic images of children, most of whom appeared prepubescent. Hachmeister unsuccessfully moved to suppress the photographs.

         The jury convicted Hachmeister of 105 of the 108 counts of sexual exploitation on which the State tried him. The district court sentenced him to 86 months in prison. And after finding the images depicted victims 14 years old and under, the court ordered Hachmeister to submit to lifetime offender registration under the Kansas Offender Registration Act, K.S.A. 22-4901 et seq.

         Hachmeister timely appealed, raising multiple issues including whether the district court erred refusing to suppress the images recovered from his computers and whether the registration requirement violates Apprendi because it was imposed based on a factual finding not submitted to a jury and proved beyond a reasonable doubt. A Court of Appeals panel affirmed. State v. Hachmeister, No. 112, 260, 2015 WL 8175905, at *1 (Kan. App. 2015) (unpublished decision). We granted review of the panel's disposition of the suppression and Apprendi questions. Jurisdiction is proper. See K.S.A. 60-2101(b) ("[A]ny decision of the court of appeals shall be subject to review by the supreme court.").

         It should be noted Hachmeister was convicted for the first-degree murder of his mother in a separate criminal proceeding, which is presently on appeal. See State v. Hachmeister, No. 114, 796. His murder case is not part of this appeal.

         No Error as to the Challenged Search Warrants

         Investigating officers secured six search warrants during their months-long investigation. Four warrants are relevant to this appeal. Using the identifying labels for the warrants adopted by the panel, the four relevant warrants and the searches or seizures pursuant to each that Hachmeister argues were illegal are: (1) SW-A, the seizure of a Gateway laptop; (2) SW-D, the seizure of a Lenovo laptop; (3) SW-E, the search of the Lenovo laptop; and (4) SW-F, the searches of both the Gateway and Lenovo laptops, resulting in the discovery of the pornographic images. We must consider these along with the district court's handling of three separate motions to suppress. This requires a more comprehensive factual recitation, including a chronological summary of each of the six warrants involved in this case.

         The search warrants

         SW-A: September 10, 2011

         The affidavit supporting SW-A stated that Hachmeister had called 911 around 4:05 p.m. to report that he found his mother Sheila "deceased lying on the floor with a blood pool around the head and twine or small rope around her neck and a cut or gash on [her] forehead." He told police he last saw his mother the day before around 10:45 p.m. He said he left the house at approximately 11:30 a.m. the day of her death to run errands and heard her "moving around up stairs but did not physically see her." He also told police she had "been talking with a couple of gentlemen via her lap top computer." Relying on these statements, investigators secured SW-A, which authorized them to search Sheila's home and to seize her body and "any blood evidence, occupancy documents, any trace evidence, and bloody clothing, and cell phone(s), computers, twine or small rope." (Emphasis added.)

         SW-B: September 10, 2011

         The affidavit supporting SW-B contained substantially the same statements but added, "AMR roll[ed] the victim over to check for signs of life . . . [and noticed] the victim was in full rigor but that does not occur until approximately twelve hours after death." The affidavit noted this was inconsistent with the timeline established by Hachmeister's earlier statements, so the affiant concluded, "Hachmeister is not telling the full truth about what has occurred to his mother and where he had been while driving his car earlier today." SW-B permitted the police to search Hachmeister ...

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