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City of Topeka v. Ramos

Court of Appeals of Kansas

February 9, 2018

City of Topeka, Appellee,
v.
Peter Matthew Ramos, Appellant.

          SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

         1. When a municipal traffic offender pays his or her ticket online pursuant to the court's fine schedule, the judgment is final when the online transaction is successfully completed. This begins the 14-day time period to appeal under K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 22-3609(b).

         2. The plain language of K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 22-3609(a) allows appeals only from municipal court judgments finding a defendant guilty of an ordinance violation or a finding of contempt. A denial of a motion to withdraw plea does not fit under either option. Accordingly, it is not an appealable order.

         Appeal from Shawnee District Court; C. William Ossmann, judge.

          Nicholas David, of The David Law Office LLC, of Topeka, for appellant.

          Paige A. Blevins, assistant city attorney, for appellee.

          Before Arnold-Burger, C.J., Buser and Schroeder, JJ.

         Arnold-Burger, C.J.: Kansas law provides that an appeal may be taken from any judgment in a municipal court that adjudges the defendant guilty of a violation of a city ordinance. K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 22-3609(a). The appeal must be filed within 14 days after the sentence is imposed. K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 22-3609(b).

         Peter Matthew Ramos was ticketed by Topeka police for racing/exhibition of speed in August 2015. On September 11, 2015, without appearing in court, Ramos pled no contest and paid his ticket and court costs online. Several months later he filed a motion to set aside his plea which was denied by the municipal court. He appealed to the district court which dismissed his appeal on the basis that it was not timely as to his conviction and there was no statutory right to appeal the withdrawal of a plea. Because we agree that the district court lacked jurisdiction to consider Ramos' appeal, we affirm the dismissal.

         Factual and Procedural History

         The facts are not in dispute. In August 2015, Peter Matthew Ramos was given a traffic citation for racing/exhibition of speed, in violation of a Topeka city traffic ordinance. Like thousands of other traffic violators around the state, on September 11, 2015, without appearing in court, Ramos pled no contest and paid his ticket and court costs online. Apparently because of some unanticipated collateral consequences to his Florida driver's license as a result of his plea, over three months later Ramos retained counsel and filed a motion to withdraw his plea. The Topeka Municipal Court judge heard and denied Ramos' motion on January 21, 2016. Ramos filed a notice of appeal in the Shawnee County District Court on the same day. On January 27, 2016, the municipal court judge signed a "Record of Proceedings from Municipal Court."

          The "Record of Proceedings" states: "I, the undersigned, Municipal Court Judge of the City of Topeka, hereby certify that the within is a full, true, complete and perfect copy of the proceedings in the above action, had by and before me, at my office in said city, as the same appears of record." The journal entry sets out the charges from Ramos' traffic citation and then states:

"On this 11th Day of September 2015, Peter Matthew Ramos being arraigned, pleads No Contest. Whereupon the case is tried by the Court 11th ...

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