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In re J.O.

Supreme Court of Kansas

July 27, 2018

In the Matter of J.O.

         SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

         1. K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 22-2401a(2) generally authorizes law enforcement officers employed by a city to act within the city's limits, on property owned by or under the control of the city, and "in any other place when a request for assistance has been made by law enforcement officers from that place or when in fresh pursuit of a person."

         2. Under the "request for assistance" exception in K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 22-2401a(2)(b), city law enforcement officers cannot exercise police powers outside the boundaries of their own city unless they have received a request for assistance from the law enforcement officers of the other place. Mere acquiescence or acceptance of assistance by the officers of the invaded jurisdiction after notification by the invading officers does not constitute a request for assistance under K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 22-2401a(2)(b).

         3. The Legislature adopted K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 22-2401a's statutory limitations on the jurisdiction of city law enforcement officers to protect the local autonomy of neighboring cities and counties, rather than to create an individual right.

         4. Generally, the remedy of suppression is unavailable if law enforcement officers conduct a search in violation of state statute only and the statute violated does not vest a defendant with an individual right, the statute violated does not contemplate exclusion of evidence as a remedy, and the violation results in no cognizable injury to a defendant's substantial rights.

         5. In general, appellate courts review a district court's factual findings relating to a motion to suppress for substantial competence evidence-evidence that is relevant, substantive, and furnishes a substantial basis in fact from which the issues can reasonably be resolved. Appellate courts do not reweigh evidence, assess the credibility of witnesses, or resolve conflicts in evidence and instead give great deference to the factual findings of the district court, including when a district court draws reasonable factual inferences from the evidence.

         6. Suppression of evidence is a deterrent measure, not a personal right. So courts restrict its application to those situations that effectively advance its remedial purpose.

         Review of the judgment of the Court of Appeals in an unpublished opinion filed October 27, 2017.

          Appeal from Johnson District Court; Thomas E. Foster, judge.

          Jean Ann Uvodich, of Olathe, argued the cause and was on the brief for appellant.

          Andrew J. Jennings, assistant district attorney, argued the cause, and Stephen M. Howe, district attorney, and Derek Schmidt, attorney general, were with him on the briefs for appellee.

          OPINION

          LUCKERT, J.:

         K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 22-2401a(2) authorizes law enforcement officers employed by a city to act within the city's limits, on property owned by or under the control of the city, and "in any other place when a request for assistance has been made by law enforcement officers from that place or when in fresh pursuit of a person." Here, the district court held the Prairie Village Police Department (PVPD) violated this statute when it orchestrated two controlled buys from J.O., a juvenile, at her residence in Shawnee. The district court also found the PVPD committed willful and recurrent violations of the statute, in part because the buys occurred after this court held the PVPD had violated the statute in circumstances similar to this case. See State v. Vrabel, 301 Kan. 797, 347 P.3d 201 (2015).

         On appeal, the parties do not dispute the district court's conclusion that the PVPD violated K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 22-2401a (at least once) or its findings that the PVPD officers acted willfully and that the PVPD had repeatedly violated the statute. Instead, the parties focus on whether the district court should have suppressed the evidence. We reject J.O.'s request for an order of suppression because (1) the district court took other action to deter future violations of the statute, (2) J.O. does not allege a constitutional violation or otherwise state a cognizable injury to her substantial rights, and (3) K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 22-2401a does not vest J.O. with an individual right.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         The district court made the following detailed factual findings:

"At around 8:00 a.m. on August 24, 2015, a confidential informant ('CI') advised Officer Travis Gray of the Prairie Village Police Department ('PVPD') that [J.O.] had marijuana wax for sale in Shawnee, Kansas. At Gray's request, the CI arranged to buy drugs from [J.O.] in Shawnee at 3:00 p.m. later that day. At around 2:15 p.m., prior to the buy, Gray contacted Sergeant Brent Griffin of the Shawnee Police Department ('SPD') to 'see if they could assist us in the buy that we had set up.' Griffin notified Gray that the SPD had no personnel available to assist PVPD with the controlled buy.
"Around 3:00 p.m. the CI met [J.O.] in Shawnee and purchased marijuana wax from [J.O.]. Officer Gray surveilled the transaction and later received the marijuana wax from the CI. SPD officers were not present at the buy location and did not provide assistance to Gray. The PVPD officers ...

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