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State v. Jones

Court of Appeals of Kansas

November 30, 2018

State of Kansas, Appellee,
v.
Angela L. Jones, Appellant.

         SYLLABUS

         1. Whether a sentence is illegal under K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 22-3504 is a question of law over which an appellate court has unlimited review.

         2. Generally, a sentence is effective when pronounced from the bench. A district court usually lacks jurisdiction to modify a legal sentence once that sentence is pronounced from the bench. But a court may correct an illegal sentence at any time.

         3. A sentence is illegal when it (1) is imposed by a court without jurisdiction; (2) does not conform to the applicable statutory provision, either in character or punishment; or (3) is ambiguous with respect to the time and manner in which it is to be served.

         4. There is one instance in which the court is authorized by statute to modify a legal sentence. Under K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 22-3716(b)(3)(B)(iii), upon a finding that a defendant has violated the terms of his or her probation, the district court may require the defendant to serve the sentence imposed, or any lesser sentence.

         5. K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 22-3716(b)(3)(B)(iii) authorizes the district court to impose any lesser sentence upon revoking a defendant's probation, including a sentence with no postrelease supervision term. Whether the district court mistakenly imposes no postrelease supervision term upon revoking a defendant's probation and ordering a modified sentence is not relevant because the Kansas Supreme Court has held that a sentence is effective when pronounced from the bench regardless of the court's intent at the time the sentence is pronounced.

         6. After revoking a criminal defendant's probation, a district judge may choose to sentence anew, even if some component of the original sentence was illegal because it failed to match a mandatory statutory minimum. In the alternative, a judge may simply require the defendant to serve the original sentence. If a new sentence is pronounced from the bench after probation revocation, any original illegality no longer exists, and the new sentence is not subject to challenge or correction under K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 22-3504. If the judge instead requires the defendant to serve the original sentence, any original illegality continues to exist and is subject to challenge or correction under K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 22-3504.

         7. Under K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-6804(e)(2)(C), when the district court imposes an original sentence under the revised Kansas Sentencing Guidelines Act and fails to pronounce the period of postrelease supervision from the bench, this failure does not negate the existence of the postrelease supervision term because it is required by law as part of the defendant's original sentence.

         8. K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-6804(e)(2)(C) does not apply to a sentence that is lawfully modified at a probation revocation hearing under K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 22-3716(b) because a postrelease supervision term is not required by law as part of the sentence when the district court sentences a defendant anew after revoking his or her probation.

          Appeal from Reno District Court; Joseph L. McCarville III, judge.

          Clayton J. Perkins, of Kansas Appellate Defender Office, for appellant.

          Thomas R. Stanton, deputy district attorney, Keith E. Schroeder, district attorney, and Derek Schmidt, attorney general, for appellant.

          Before Standridge, P.J., Malone, J., and Stutzman, S.J.

          MALONE, J.

         Angela L. Jones appeals the denial of her motion to correct an illegal sentence of postrelease supervision. Jones claims that the district court did not sentence her to a term of postrelease supervision when it revoked her probation and ordered her to serve a modified prison sentence. She argues that the district court's silence on the term of postrelease supervision constituted a lawful modification of her sentence under K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 22-3716(b). We agree ...


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