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State v. Alvarez

Supreme Court of Kansas

January 18, 2019

State of Kansas, Appellee,
v.
Ivan Huizar Alvarez, Appellant.

         SYLLABUS

         When a defendant is convicted, K.S.A. 22-3801 and K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 28-172a permit a district court to tax the defendant for expenses that were reasonably related to the prosecution.

         Review of the judgment of the Court of Appeals in an unpublished opinion filed April 14, 2017.

          Appeal from Saline District Court; Jared B. Johnson, judge.

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

          Ellen H. Mitchell, county attorney, argued the cause, and Derek Schmidt, attorney general, was with her on the brief for appellee.

          OPINION

          ROSEN, J.

         Ivan Alvarez petitions for review of the Court of Appeals decision affirming the district court's order taxing him for certain expenses as "court costs." We affirm the portion of the decision holding that the district court did not err in imposing these expenses as court costs, but we reverse the portion holding that the relevant statutes required that the district court impose these costs.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         The State charged Alvarez with first-degree murder under K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 21-5402(a)(1). On January 22, 2016, three days before his trial was scheduled to begin, Alvarez pleaded no contest to one count of second-degree murder. Alvarez stated at the plea hearing that he had read the charge against him, which provided that the possible sentence ranged from 147 to 653 months' imprisonment.

         In March 2016, the State requested the district court order Alvarez to reimburse the State for expenses related to witnesses and the development of photographs that it had intended to use as trial exhibits. Itemized receipts showed $451.19 in witness expenses and $421.88 for trial exhibits.

         The district court held a sentencing hearing on April 8, 2016. The presentence investigation report determined that Alvarez' criminal history score was D. Alvarez did not object to this score. Both parties requested the standard-range sentence of 253 months' imprisonment, and the district court followed that recommendation. The district court then ordered Alvarez to pay all of the fees and expenses requested by the State. Alvarez did not object to paying the witness fees. But, with respect to the trial exhibit expenses, defense counsel stated the following:

"I would just ask the Court to consider whether or not the Court should be imposing basically office supply expenses for the State such as photo finishing. I understand witness mileage and witness expenses and we would not object to those as being obviously incurred, but we would ask the court to-just to seriously consider whether or not to consider basically office supplies such as photo finishing in this matter. That seems like that's just a cost of doing business just like I don't charge for copies or notebooks or pens that I may use in trial."

         The district court replied "[t]he Court finds that the statute provides that reimbursement for trial preparation fees such as those provided are appropriate and would find all those reasonable ...


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