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State v. Edwards

Supreme Court of Kansas

May 10, 2019

State of Kansas, Appellee,
v.
Steven Wade Edwards, Appellant.

         SYLLABUS

         1. A sentencing court has no authority to order a term of lifetime postrelease supervision for a conviction of first-degree felony murder.

         2. When there is a discrepancy between a court's oral ruling to waive a Board of Indigents' Defense Services (BIDS) administrative fee and the written journal entry, the judge's oral instruction from the bench controls. An error in the journal entry concerning a BIDS administrative fee waiver is a clerical mistake that may be corrected at any time.

         3. In this case, the evidence of defendant's dissatisfaction with his counsel is insufficient to establish good cause to withdraw a guilty plea.

          Appeal from Sedgwick District Court; Jeffrey E. Goering, judge. .

          Jennifer C. Roth, of Kansas Appellate Defender Office, argued the cause and was on the brief for appellant.

          Lesley A. Isherwood, assistant district attorney, argued the cause, and Marc Bennett, district attorney, and Derek Schmidt, attorney general, were with her on the brief for appellee.

          OPINION

          Stegall, J.

         Steven Wade Edwards pled guilty to two counts of felony murder, one count of aggravated burglary, and one count of aggravated robbery. Edwards subsequently moved to withdraw his plea. The district court denied Edwards' motion and sentenced him to two concurrent life sentences for the killings and a total of 141 additional months' incarceration for the lesser crimes. The court also ordered a lifetime period of postrelease supervision and waived both the Board of Indigents' Defense Services (BIDS) attorney fees and BIDS administrative fee. We affirm the district court's denial of Edwards' motion to withdraw plea, but we vacate the lifetime postrelease supervision portion of his sentence and remand with instructions to impose lifetime parole and to correct the clerical error in the journal entry regarding the BIDS administrative fee.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         Steven Edwards was charged with two counts of capital murder, aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, burglary, felony theft, and criminal possession of a firearm for his role in the October 16, 2014, killing of Martha Lopez Moreno and Godofredo Moreno-Lopez. The district court found Edwards indigent at his first appearance and appointed two experienced public defenders as counsel.

         Several months after being charged, Edwards filed a pro se motion asking the court to appoint new counsel. Edwards gave four reasons in support of his motion:

(1) Edwards' attorneys neglected to share discovery with him; (2) Edwards and his counsel had "yet to agree upon anything"; (3) counsel told him numerous times he would be unsuccessful at trial; and (4) counsel brought Edwards' mother to jail to persuade him to take a plea deal.

         The district court subsequently held a hearing on Edwards' motion for new counsel. Edwards informed the court he was not comfortable with his counsel based on their discussions with him about taking a plea, their predictions of a trial outcome, and the lack of discovery provided to him while in jail. Edwards believed counsel was only interested in taking ...


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