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State v. Ayers

Supreme Court of Kansas

January 11, 2019

State of Kansas, Appellee,
v.
Curtis R. Ayers, Appellant.

         SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

         1. State v. Robinson, 281 Kan. 538, 132 P.3d 934 (2006), requires a district court judge to explicitly consider on the record a criminal defendant's financial resources before assessing a Board of Indigents' Defense Services fee. Failure to do so compels vacation of the fee assessment and remand for its reconsideration.

         2. Imposition of consecutive on-grid sentences consecutive to a life sentence without possibility of parole is not an abuse of discretion.

          Appeal from Wyandotte District Court; Bill Klapper, judge.

          Meryl Carver-Allmond, of Kansas Capital Appellate Defender Office, argued the cause, and was on the briefs for appellant.

          Ethan Zipf-Sigler, assistant district attorney, argued the cause, and Mark A. Dupree, district attorney, and Derek Schmidt, attorney general, were with him on the brief for appellee.

          OPINION

          BEIER, J.:

         This case involves Board of Indigents' Defense Services (BIDS) fees imposed on defendant Curtis R. Ayers and his sentences for capital murder and other felonies.

         The district court judge assessed BIDS fees against Ayers after his conviction, but the district court did not follow proper procedure in assessing the fees. Ayers now challenges this procedural defect and further asserts that it was unreasonable for the district judge to order most of his sentences to be served consecutively. As detailed below, the district judge erred by failing to explicitly consider Ayers' financial resources when he assessed the BIDS fee. See State v. Robinson, 281 Kan. 538, 132 P.3d 934 (2006). But the district judge did not abuse his discretion by ordering consecutive sentences. We affirm Ayers' sentences, vacate the BIDS fee assessed, and remand this case for reconsideration of that fee.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         The State charged Ayers with multiple felonies directly related to an incident in which he killed Detective Brad Lancaster. Because Ayers was indigent, he was appointed a public defender. Ayers pleaded guilty to all counts.

         At sentencing, the district court judge sentenced Ayers to life without the possibility for parole for the capital murder conviction and various on-grid sentences for his other crimes. Ayers received 247 months for a first count of aggravated robbery; 61 months for a second count of aggravated robbery; 61 months for each of two counts of kidnapping; 34 months for each of two counts of aggravated burglary; 34 months for aggravated battery; 19 months for aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer; and 9 months for criminal possession of a firearm. All of Ayers' sentences were ordered to run consecutive to each other except for the aggravated burglary sentences, which the district judge ordered to run concurrent.

         Ayers' public defender argued that the district court should not require Ayers to reimburse BIDS. The district judge then asked defense counsel, "Where are we on attorney's fees?" Defense counsel responded that "the work done on this case was limited" and Ayers pleaded guilty quickly so that the public defender was seeking only "100 or 200 dollars" in reimbursement, "a nominal amount." The district judge then said, "I take it that the attorney's fees incurred are substantially more than that," which defense counsel admitted was true. There ...


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