BY THE COURT
that a criminal sentence is illegal because it violates the
United States Constitution cannot be brought under K.S.A.
from Wyandotte District Court; Wesley K. Griffin, Judge.
Maharry, of Kansas Appellate Defender Office, argued the
cause, and Corrine E. Gunning, of the same office, was on the
brief for appellant.
Zipf-Sigler, assistant district attorney, argued the cause,
and Mark A. Dupree Sr., district attorney, and Derek Schmidt,
attorney general, were with him on the brief for appellee.
19 years after his second-degree murder conviction, Roy
Eugene Samuel filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence.
He claims his sentence of life imprisonment with a mandatory
10-year term violates the Eighth Amendment to the United
States Constitution because he was only 16 years old when he
committed the crime. The district court summarily denied the
motion. Samuel directly appeals to this court. We affirm
because the motion is not the appropriate procedural vehicle
to raise his claim. See State v. Amos, 307 Kan. 147,
148, 406 P.3d 917 (2017) ("This court has repeatedly
held a defendant cannot raise constitutional challenges to a
sentence via a motion to correct illegal sentence under
and Procedural Background
1996, Samuel, then 16 years old, killed Patrick Brunner. The
State charged him with second-degree murder under K.S.A. 1996
Supp. 21-3402(a), which was an off-grid person felony. After
he pled guilty as charged in 1997, the district court
sentenced him to life imprisonment with a mandatory 10-year
term before being eligible for parole.
2016, Samuel moved under K.S.A. 22-3504(1) to correct an
illegal sentence based on the United States Supreme Court
decisions in Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460, 132
S.Ct. 2455, 183 L.Ed.2d 407 (2012) (holding mandatory life
imprisonment without parole for those under the age of 18 at
the time of their crimes violates the Eighth Amendment's
prohibition on cruel and unusual punishments), and
Montgomery v. Louisiana, 577 U.S. __, 136 S.Ct. 718,
193 L.Ed.2d 599 (2016) (holding Miller should apply
retroactively for purposes of state collateral review of
sentence). His motion acknowledged Miller was
applicable only to "those juvenile offenders who were
sentenced to life without the possibility of
parole" but asked the district court to extend
Miller to his case, "serving life with
the possibility of parole." (Emphases added.)
alternatively argued his sentence is substantively
unconstitutional because he will be subject to lifetime
supervision when he is paroled, seeking to extend State
v. Dull, 302 Kan. 32, 351 P.3d 641 (2015) (mandatory
lifetime postrelease supervision categorically
unconstitutional when imposed on a juvenile convicted of
aggravated indecent liberties with a child).
district court summarily denied the motion. See
Makthepharak v. State, 298 Kan. 573, 576, 314 P.3d
876 (2013) (when presented with a motion to correct illegal
sentence, a district court should conduct an initial
examination of the motion to determine if it raises
substantial issues of law or fact). The court held the motion
to correct an illegal sentence was not a proper vehicle to
challenge a sentence as unconstitutional. It alternatively
held his sentence was constitutional. In that respect, the
court relied on State v. Warrior, 303 Kan. 1008, 368
P.3d 1111 (2016) (holding K.S.A. 22-3504 "does not cover
a claim that a sentence violates a constitutional
provision"), and State v. Brown, 300 Kan. 542,
Syl. ¶ 8, 331 P.3d 781 (2014) (mandatory hard 20 life
sentence imposed on juvenile defendant convicted of felony
murder did not violate the Eighth Amendment).
directly appealed to this court. Jurisdiction is proper.
K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 22-3601(b)(3) (direct appeal when "a
maximum sentence of life imprisonment has been
imposed"); K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 22-3601(b)(4) (direct
appeal when "the defendant has been convicted of an
off-grid crime"); Kirtdoll v. State, 306 Kan.
335, 337, 393 P.3d 1053 (2017) ("A ruling on a motion to
correct an illegal sentence, where the sentence ...