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State v. Buford

Supreme Court of Kansas

December 1, 2017

State of Kansas, Appellee,
v.
Tyrence Lee Buford, Appellant.

         Appeal from Wyandotte District Court; R. Wayne Lampson, judge.

          Gerald E. Wells, of Jerry Wells Attorney-at-Law, of Lawrence, was on the brief for appellant.

          Jerome A. Gorman, district attorney, and Derek Schmidt, attorney general, were on the brief for appellee.

         SYLLABUS

         The denial of parole is not a sentence.

          OPINION

          Rosen, J.

         Tyrence Lee Buford appeals the district court's summary dismissal of his motion to correct an illegal sentence. Concluding that Buford's sentence was not illegal, we affirm.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         On March 6, 1990, Buford pled guilty to felony murder. The district court sentenced Buford on April 25, 1990, to life imprisonment pursuant to K.S.A. 21-4501(a) (Ensley 1988).

         Buford claims that since his imprisonment, he has appeared before the parole board on six different occasions and that the parole board "passed" him for a number of months each time. Buford contends that the most recent denial occurred in 2014.

         On November 21, 2014, Buford filed a pro se motion to correct an illegal sentence, arguing that each time the parole board passed him, it instituted a new and illegal sentence. The district court summarily denied his motion, stating that Buford received the proper sentence when the court sentenced him to life imprisonment and therefore his sentence was not illegal. Buford appealed to this court.

         Discussion

         Buford does not argue that his life sentence is illegal. He argues that the parole board instituted a new sentence each time it denied his parole and that these "sentences" are illegal under K.S.A. 22-3504. Buford appears to allege that the "sentences" are illegal because they increase his original penalty based on an improper classification of his criminal history, which is a violation of his Sixth Amendment rights under Descamps v. United States, 570 U.S. 254, 133 S.Ct. 2276, 186 L.Ed.2d 438 (2013), and State v. Dickey, 301 Kan. 1018, 350 P.3d 1054 (2015). More specifically, Buford's motion contends that the parole board denied his parole based on its classification of his criminal history according to the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines. Because he committed his prior crime before 1993, Buford argues that the parole board should have classified this conviction as a nonperson felony.

         We review the district court's summary denial of a motion to correct an illegal sentence de novo because we have the same access to the motions, records, and files. We must determine whether the documents conclusively show the defendant is not ...


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