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State v. Arnett

Supreme Court of Kansas

March 23, 2018

State of Kansas, Appellee,
v.
Taylor Arnett, Appellant.

         SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

         1. An issue not briefed by an appellant is deemed waived and abandoned.

         2. We do not consider issues that a party raises for the first time in a letter filed under Supreme Court Rule 6.09(b) (2018 Kan. S.Ct. R. 39).

         3. When considering a restitution order, we review a district court's factual findings relating to the causal link between the crime committed and the victim's loss for substantial competent evidence. Our review of a legal conclusion regarding the interpretation of the restitution statute is de novo.

         4. When interpreting a statute, we give effect to its plain and unambiguous language. We will not read into the statute words not readily found there. If the language of the statute is unclear or ambiguous, we turn to canons of statutory construction, consult legislative history, or consider other background information to ascertain the statute's meaning.

         5. To establish that one thing proximately caused another, a party must prove two elements: cause-in-fact and legal causation. Generally, causation-in-fact requires proof that it is more likely than not that, but for the defendant's conduct, the result would not have occurred. Legal cause limits the defendant's liability even when his or her conduct was the cause-in-fact of a result by requiring that the defendant is only liable when it was foreseeable that the defendant's conduct might have created a risk of the harm and the result of that conduct and any contributing causes were foreseeable.

         6. When causation is based on a chain of events, an intervening cause may absolve the defendant of liability. If the intervening cause is foreseen or might reasonably have been foreseen by the defendant, his or her conduct may still be considered to have proximately caused the result.

         7. The causal link between a defendant's crime and the restitution damages for which the defendant is held liable must satisfy the traditional elements of proximate cause: cause-in-fact and legal causation.

         Review of the judgment of the Court of Appeals in an unpublished opinion filed November 6, 2015.

          Appeal from Wyandotte District Court; Michael A. Russell, judge.

          Samuel D. Schirer, of Kansas Appellate Defender Office, argued the cause and was on the brief for appellant.

          Ethan Zipf-Sigler, assistant district attorney, argued the cause, and Alan T. Fogleman, assistant district attorney, Jerome A. Gorman, district attorney, and Derek Schmidt, attorney general, were on the brief for appellee.

          ROSEN, J.

         The State appeals the Court of Appeals' decision vacating the district court's order of restitution. We reverse the Court of Appeals and remand the case to the Court of Appeals for further review consistent with this opinion.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         On January 8, 2013, Taylor Arnett lent her mother's car to Joseph Stroble and Brandon Bryant so the two could break into houses. Allegedly, Stroble and Bryant then burglarized two different houses, damaging one in the process, and stole over $50, 000 worth of ...


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