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State v. Murrin

Supreme Court of Kansas

March 8, 2019

State of Kansas, Appellee,
Brian A. Murrin, Appellant.


         1. A voluntary intoxication defense is available under K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 21-5205(b) "when a particular intent or other state of mind is a necessary element to constitute a particular crime," that is, when a defining mental state is a stand-alone element separate and distinct from the actus reus of the crime.

         2. Voluntary intoxication is an available defense to criminal trespass under K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 21-5808(a)(1)(A). The statute prescribes a stand-alone particular intent or other state of mind as a necessary element: The accused must know he or she "is not authorized or privileged to" enter or remain.

         3. Voluntary intoxication is not an available defense to interference with law enforcement under the language of K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 21-5904(a)(3) alone. The "knowingly" requirement in the statute defining interference with law enforcement simply modifies the actus reus. The statute prescribes no stand-alone particular intent or other state of mind as a necessary element. However, when the trial judge in this case relied upon case precedent to add a stand-alone particular intent or other state of mind as a necessary element to prove the crime, then a voluntary intoxication instruction also should have been given.

         4. The two instruction errors identified in this case do not qualify as clearly erroneous; thus defendant's convictions must be affirmed.

         Review of the judgment of the Court of Appeals in an unpublished opinion filed December 2, 2016.

          Appeal from Clay District Court; John F. Bosch, judge.

          Rick Kittel, of Kansas Appellate Defender Office, argued the cause and was on the brief for appellant.

          Richard E. James, county attorney, argued the cause, and Derek Schmidt, attorney general, was with him on the briefs for appellee.


          BEIER, J.

         Defendant Brian A. Murrin challenges a Court of Appeals panel's conclusion that a Clay County district court judge did not err by failing to instruct on voluntary intoxication in determining his guilt on charges of criminal trespass and interference with law enforcement. We agree with Murrin that the facts of this case made the voluntary intoxication instruction appropriate, but Murrin cannot establish that the failure to give the instruction was clearly erroneous and thus reversible. For the reasons outlined below, we affirm the Court of Appeals decision affirming Murrin's convictions.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         On the evening of August 18, 2014, Murrin and his wife, Alea, got into an argument. Murrin was drunk and "hollering things." At some point, Alea told Murrin that she had had "enough." Alea would testify at trial that Murrin left and came back "really drunk." Again, Murrin was "hollering things," which scared the couple's children. Alea believed that her daughter might have called the police to the apartment.

         Officer Scott Galindo of the Clay Center Police Department responded to a 911 hang up at the Murrin's apartment complex. Galindo spoke with Alea and agreed to take her and the children to Grace True's house. True was Alea's mother-in-law. Galindo and another officer transported the family to True's. As Galindo was leaving, True told him that her son would come looking for Alea.

         Later in the evening, Galindo was called to True's house for an "unwanted subject." Galindo arrived to find Murrin in the front yard, yelling at his wife and mother, trying to persuade Alea to come home. Galindo would testify at trial that Murrin appeared to have been drinking.

         True told Galindo that she did not want Murrin on the property that night. Galindo relayed the request to Murrin and told Murrin that he would have to go home. Galindo warned Murrin that if he came back to True's house he would be arrested for criminal trespass. Murrin eventually walked away from True's house and toward his apartment complex.

         After Murrin left, Galindo parked his car down the street from True's house and waited to see if Murrin would return. After 10 or 15 minutes, Murrin did. He went to True's front porch and began knocking on the door. Galindo approached the porch and announced "'police, stop, '" at which point Murrin ran to the end of the porch, jumped over the railing, landed on his feet, and ran away.

         Galindo returned to his patrol car and called dispatch before he began looking for Murrin. He eventually found him walking down another street. Galindo again announced, "police, stop," and this time Murrin stopped. Murrin told Galindo that he was not doing anything wrong. Galindo told Murrin that he had personally seen him on True's property and that he was under arrest for criminal trespass. When Galindo took physical control of Murrin, Murrin tried to break free, but Galindo was able to "keep him under control."

         As part of a search of Murrin's person incident to his arrest, Galindo found marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

         The State charged Murrin with felony possession of marijuana, misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, criminal trespass, and interference with law enforcement.

         At trial, True testified that on the night of Murrin's arrest, she could smell alcohol on his breath and that he was "acting like he was heavily intoxicated." True saw Murrin stumble a couple of times, but he did not fall. She also testified that her son had a history of alcohol problems and would often black out and not remember anything that had happened while he was drinking.

         Galindo testified that when he initially responded to True's home, Murrin was in the front yard, yelling at Alea and True. He described Murrin as angry and belligerent and said he appeared to have been drinking. According to Galindo, after he told Murrin to leave, Murrin was able to "walk backwards" before walking away; he "wasn't staggering or tripping or stumbling."

         Galindo also testified about Murrin's efforts to break free from him. Galindo testified, "First, I got the handcuffs on. As soon as I put the handcuffs on behind his back, he started leaning forward and tried pulling away from me and swinging his arms back and forth."

         Clay County Sheriff's Deputy Ken Hughes also was present for the arrest and gave his account of it at trial. According to Hughes, Galindo held Murrin against the rear quarter panel of the patrol car. "Murrin tried to turn to face Officer Galindo and Officer Galindo put his hip [into him] and pushed him up against the car." Galindo then moved Murrin around to the trunk of the car. During cross-examination, Hughes attempted to clarify:

"I wouldn't necessarily say it was [a] fight, but Officer Galindo had him against the car, like I said, and he was-his belt buckle would have been against the car, so his back is to Officer Galindo, and Officer Galindo had one arm holding him and the other arm was patting down, I do believe it was his right leg, because Galindo's back was to me, and I saw Murrin try to spin and Galindo had to put his hip into him to push him back up against the car."

         After the State concluded its case-in-chief, Murrin called Alea as a witness. Alea recalled Murrin "was really inebriated, he was really drunk, he was hollering things. It scared my children." When Murrin would get that drunk, she said, "it's just best for me and the children not to be around it." Alea also claimed that the marijuana and drug paraphernalia were hers. She did not know why Murrin would have picked the items up and taken them from their apartment.

         Murrin also testified in his own defense. Alea had told him that "she's done," when she first left. Murrin explained that the "bottle" is his typical recourse if Alea does something like that. Murrin went to a friend's house. While there, he and his friend smoked marijuana, and Murrin "ended up taking more pain killers than [he] should have, mixing it with alcohol." Murrin believed that he and his friend had "consumed over a 30 pack [of beer] and half a gallon of whiskey."

         Murrin's recollection of the rest of the night's events was hazy and incomplete. He recalled being at his mother's house and hearing someone yell, "'hey.'" Murrin ran, believing it was someone looking to fight him. The only other thing Murrin remembered from his encounter with Galindo was being put in the police car and asking why he was being arrested.

         At the conclusion of evidence, the district judge and counsel discussed the jury instructions.

         Murrin requested a voluntary intoxication instruction for the two drug-related charges. The State opposed the instruction, arguing that it was not factually appropriate. According to the State, because Murrin could remember some things, he was not intoxicated enough at the ...

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