BY THE COURT
merely procedural defect in competency proceedings does not
deprive the district court of jurisdiction to sentence a
from Anderson District Court; Eric W. Godderz, judge.
E. Wells, of Jerry Wells Attorney-at-Law, of Lawrence, was on
the brief for appellant.
Brandon L. Jones, county attorney, and Derek Schmidt,
attorney general, were on the brief for appellee.
an appeal from summary denial of a motion to correct illegal
sentence filed by defendant Leslie H. Roberts, Jr. Roberts
now concedes summary denial was appropriate, but he raises a
new challenge to his sentence on this appeal, arguing that
the handling of his pre-plea competency issue deprived the
district court of jurisdiction to sentence him. We reject
this new claim and affirm the denial of the motion to correct
and Procedural Background
was sentenced to a hard 25 life sentence after pleading no
contest to rape of a child under the age of 14 in violation
of K.S.A. 21-3502(a)(2). This court affirmed Roberts'
sentence in State v. Roberts, 293 Kan. 1093, 272
P.3d 24 (2012).
filed a pro se motion to correct illegal sentence years
later. He asserted that he had never admitted he was older
than 18 or that the victim was under the age of 14 at the
time of the crime, undercutting sentence-enhancing elements
that had not been submitted to a jury and proved beyond a
reasonable doubt. The district court judge dismissed
Roberts' motion without appointment of counsel or holding
a hearing; the judge determined that the record established
Roberts' and the victim's ages at the time of the
crime. See Makthepharak v. State, 298 Kan. 573, 576,
314 P.3d 876 (2013) (when presented with motion to correct
illegal sentence, district court should conduct initial
examination of the motion to determine if it raises
substantial issues of law or fact).
appeal, Roberts concedes the district judge's ruling was
correct on the age issue, but he asserts he is nevertheless
entitled to relief. Roberts now argues that K.S.A. 22-3302(1)
procedures for determining defendant competency were not
followed before he entered his plea, depriving the court of
jurisdiction to sentence him. See State v. Samuel,
309 Kan. 155, 157, 432 P.3d 666 (2019) (sentence pronounced
without jurisdiction illegal).
Roberts' prosecution was launched in early 2010, defense
counsel Craig Cole requested a determination of Roberts'
competency. Cole stated that he had "serious concerns
about [Roberts'] ability to understand the charges and
help with his defense." The district judge ordered an
evaluation to determine competency.
results of the evaluation were filed with the court in the
form of a letter from the psychologist who had performed it.
The psychologist determined "that Mr. Roberts is
competent to stand trial in that he understands the nature
and purpose of the proceedings against him, and has the
ability to work with an attorney to make a defense." The
psychologist advised, however, that the court should take
into consideration some "special concerns" to
maintain Roberts' competency throughout the proceedings.
Specifically, the psychologist advised that Roberts was
"a non-reader and ha[d] a low to borderline intellectual
level of functioning."
court acknowledged the evaluation in open court before moving
on to rescheduling ...