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State v. Scuderi

Supreme Court of Kansas

October 27, 2017

State of Kansas, Appellant/Cross-appellee,
v.
Willie J. Scuderi, Appellee/Cross-appellant.

         SYLLABUS

         1. The legislature intended the Kansas Offender Registration Act (KORA) to be civil and nonpunitive for all classes of offenders.

         2. Because the legislature intended KORA to be a regulatory scheme that is civil and nonpunitive, only the clearest proof will suffice to override legislative intent and transform what has been denominated a civil remedy into a criminal penalty.

         3. Charging documents do not bestow or confer subject matter jurisdiction on state courts to adjudicate criminal cases; the Kansas Constitution does.

         4. Charging document sufficiency is a question of law subject to de novo review.

          5. Charging documents need only show that a case has been filed in the correct court, e.g., the district court rather than municipal court; show that the court has territorial jurisdiction over the crime alleged; and allege facts that, if proved beyond a reasonable doubt, would constitute a Kansas crime committed by the defendant.

         Review of the judgment of the Court of Appeals in an unpublished opinion filed July 19, 2013.

         Appeal from Reno District Court; Trish Rose, judge. Judgment of the Court of Appeals affirming the district court is affirmed on the issues subject to review. Judgment of the district court is affirmed.

          Keith E. Schroeder, district attorney, Stephen D. Maxwell, senior assistant district attorney, and Derek Schmidt, attorney general, were on the briefs for appellant/cross-appellee.

          Patrick H. Dunn, of Kansas Appellate Defender Office, was on the briefs for appellee/cross-appellant.

          OPINION

          Biles, J.

         Willie J. Scuderi seeks review of the decision by a panel of the Court of Appeals affirming two convictions and sentences for failure to register as required by the Kansas Offender Registration Act, K.S.A. 22-4901 et seq. He argues the panel erred because (1) the registration requirements are ex post facto punishment for a drug offense he committed before registration was required for such offenses; (2) his sentences were imposed in violation of the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution because they were calculated using his criminal history, which was not submitted to a jury and proved beyond a reasonable doubt; and (3) the complaint initiating one of the convictions was deficient because it failed to allege he resided in the county where the State alleged he failed to register. We affirm.

          We hold that the panel properly rejected Scuderi's ex post facto and criminal history score claims. See State v. Shaylor, 306 Kan. 1049, 1051-52, 400 P.3d 177 (2017) (holding defendant failed to demonstrate retroactive imposition of registration requirements for drug offense was punishment as required to prevail on ex post facto claim); State v. Ivory, 273 Kan. 44, 45-48, 41 P.3d 781 (2002) (holding Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments do not require jury findings on criminal history used to calculate sentence). We also affirm the panel's outcome on the defective complaint issue, although we do so using the analysis in State v. Sayler, 306 Kan.__, __ P.3d __ (No. 110, 048, this day decided), slip op. at 6-7 (holding charging documents do not bestow or confer subject matter jurisdiction on state courts to adjudicate criminal cases and further holding similarly worded charging document alleged facts that if proved beyond a reasonable doubt would constitute KORA violation).

         Factual and Procedural Background

         In 2002, Scuderi was convicted of possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell, a violation of K.S.A. 65-4161. In 2010, the State charged Scuderi in two cases with failing to register under the Kansas Offender Registration Act, K.S.A. 22-4901 et seq.

         Scuderi moved to dismiss the complaints because the prosecutions violated the Ex Post Facto Clause of the United States Constitution. He argued the registration requirement, which did not exist at the time of his original offense, retroactively increased the offense's punishment. He cited the in-person reporting requirements and the fees associated with registration.

         During arguments on the motions, Scuderi's counsel "conced[ed] that the courts have held generally that the duty to register . . . is not punitive and not a violation of ex post facto." But counsel contended the prior cases did not address the $20 registration fee, which counsel "would consider a fine . . . ." Nor, he argued, did they consider the change from mail to in-person registration. Scuderi presented no evidence to support his arguments.

         The district court denied the motions, reasoning that our appellate courts had determined the registration requirements of the Kansas Offender Registration Act are not punishment and therefore do not violate the Ex Post Facto Clause of the Constitution. The court cited State v. Evans, 44 Kan.App.2d 945, 242 P.3d 220');">242 P.3d 220 (2010).

         At a consolidated jury trial, Scuderi stipulated that in "February through April 2010, [he] was a person convicted of a crime that required [him] to register in writing to the sheriff's office in the county of his residence . . . and . . . prior to February 2010, knew of his requirement to so register." His defense was that the State did not prove he lived in Reno County, as ...


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