BY THE COURT
Proceedings regarding the collection of judgments resulting
from orders of restitution are civil in nature.
plain and unambiguous language of K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 60-2403
states that all restitution judgments not void as of July 1,
2015, continue to be enforceable forever.
from Sedgwick District Court; Jeffrey E. Goering, judge.
Stephanie B. Poyer, of Butler & Associates, P.A., of
Topeka, for appellant.
D. Dwyer, appellee pro se.
Arnold-Burger, C.J., Atcheson, J., and Burgess, S.J.
D. Dwyer was convicted of three counts of theft in 2003.
Dwyer was ordered to pay $8, 450 in restitution as part of
his sentence. In 2017, Dwyer filed a motion with the district
court to release his judgment because it had remained dormant
for the statutory period of seven years. However, the Kansas
Legislature amended the dormant judgment statute in 2015 so
that, as of July 1, 2015, restitution judgments could no
longer be judicially released and instead would remain
collectible forever. Any restitution judgment that was deemed
void before July 1, 2015, could still be released. See K.S.A.
2017 Supp. 60-2403(b).The State argued that Dwyer's
judgment was not void as of July 1, 2015, and, thus, his
judgment could never be extinguished under the new statute.
The district court held Dwyer's judgment was already void
prior to the amendment's effective date and released his
judgment. The State appeals this decision. We reverse and
reinstate the judgment against Dwyer consistent with K.S.A.
2017 Supp. 60-2403(b).
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
February 24, 2003, Dwyer pled guilty to three counts of theft
and was sentenced to 12 months in prison with postrelease
supervision. The district court also ordered Dwyer to pay $8,
450 in restitution as a condition of his postrelease
supervision. Dwyer's sentence began on December 13, 2002.
November 29, 2017, Dwyer filed a motion to release his
judgments in four separate criminal cases, including this
one, arguing that no one had attempted to collect the
judgment in five years. Dwyer asserted that inaction rendered
the judgment dormant. Dwyer also argued that when the
judgments went dormant, no one attempted to collect on the
judgments for an additional two years which rendered them
void and subject to release. In contrast, the State argued
that, pursuant to K.S.A. 60-2403(d), a plaintiff has up to 12
years to collect a restitution judgment before the judgment
becomes void and is subject to release. Further, due to an
amendment to the statute in 2015, the State argued that
Dwyer's judgment would never become dormant and, thus,
could be enforced forever because his judgment was still
active as of the amendment date. See K.S.A. 2017 Supp.
district court agreed with Dwyer. The district court found
the sentencing journal entry "did not clearly and
unambiguously state" that the restitution owed was
immediately payable. Thus, even though Dwyer's
restitution was originally ordered on March 24, 2003,
pursuant to Kansas caselaw, the restitution's enforcement
date was stayed until Dwyer completed his sentence. The
record does not include the exact date Dwyer completed his
sentence, but the district court stated that Dwyer's
sentence would have been completed on December 13, 2003,
assuming that he did not earn any good time credit. However,
assuming Dwyer earned all his good time credit, he would have
completed his sentence in mid-October 2003 at the earliest.
Thus, his restitution payment would become due on either of
these days and the collection clock would start running.
district court also explained the legislative history of
K.S.A. 60-2403. Prior to 2015, subsection (d) provided that
an individual has 10 years to collect a restitution judgment
before it becomes dormant. If that judgment remained dormant
for an additional two years, a defendant could then ask the
district court to release that judgment. However, the statute
was amended in 2015 and subsection (d) was stricken, which
eliminated the 10-year collection period and imposed a 5-year
collection period in its place. Additionally, those judgments
that were not void as of July 1, 2015, would never become
dormant. See L. 2015, ch. 53, § 4.
district court then applied K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 60-2403.
Recognizing that no one had attempted to collect on the
judgment within the five-year collection period mandated by
the amended statute, the judgment became dormant "at
least by December 13, 2008." Because the statute
requires the judgment to remain dormant for an additional two
years before it may officially be deemed void, the judgment
would have become void on December 13, 2010, at the latest.
Therefore, the district court ruled the judgment was void as
of July 1, 2015, and could still be released from judgment