Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Laughlin

Supreme Court of Kansas

July 12, 2019

State of Kansas, Appellee,
v.
Derrick Laughlin, Appellant.

         SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

         If either a motion to correct an illegal sentence or a postsentence motion to withdraw a plea presents a substantial question of law or triable issue of fact and the movant is indigent, then the district court must appoint counsel to represent the movant. And if the district court conducts a hearing at which the State will be represented by counsel, then due process of law requires the movant to be represented by counsel unless the movant waives that right. But the district court's consideration of the State's written response to either motion, standing alone, does not constitute a hearing or require the appointment of counsel.

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

          Carl Maughan, of Maughan Law Group, of Wichita, was on the brief for appellant.

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

          OPINION

          Stegall, J.

         Derrick Laughlin filed a pro se motion to correct an illegal sentence and a pro se motion to withdraw his plea over a decade after his felony-murder conviction. The Sedgwick County District Court summarily denied the motions. On appeal, Laughlin argues the district court erred when it considered the State's written responses to his motions without appointing counsel to represent him. We hold Laughlin's right to counsel was not triggered and, as a result, we affirm.

         In May 1993, Laughlin and two teenaged friends kidnapped, robbed, and killed a pizza delivery person. Laughlin was prosecuted as an adult. He ultimately pled guilty to felony murder, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery, and possession of a firearm by a minor. The district court imposed two consecutive sentences of life imprisonment, plus another consecutive sentence of 10 years to life. We affirmed his convictions on direct appeal. State v. Laughlin, No. 73, 594, unpublished opinion filed April 19, 1996 (Kan.).

         In July 2016, Laughlin filed three pro se motions in district court: a motion for appointment of counsel, a motion to correct an illegal sentence, and a motion to withdraw his plea. His motion to correct an illegal sentence alleged that his aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery convictions were multiplicitous with his felony-murder conviction. His plea withdrawal motion alleged many errors, including that his plea was not knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily made.

         The State filed written responses to Laughlin's motions. It argued that the court could summarily deny the motions without appointing counsel for Laughlin; that his multiplicity challenge fell outside the scope of an illegal sentence; and that his plea withdrawal motion was untimely and failed to show excusable neglect. See K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 22-3210(e)(2) (stating the time limitation for postsentence plea withdrawal may be extended "only upon an additional, affirmative showing of excusable neglect by the defendant").

         The district court summarily denied Laughlin's motions. First, the court ruled it was unnecessary to appoint counsel for Laughlin because the motions, files, and record of the case showed he was not entitled to relief. Second, the court determined Laughlin's motion to correct an illegal sentence was a collateral attack on his convictions, which falls outside the scope of an illegal sentence under K.S.A. 22-3504. See State v. Nash, 281 Kan. 600, 602, 133 P.3d 836 (2006) (holding that K.S.A. 22-3504 is not a vehicle for a collateral attack on a conviction). Third, the court found Laughlin's plea withdrawal motion was untimely and he failed to establish excusable neglect.

         Laughlin appealed the summary denial of these motions directly to this court. See K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 22-3601(b)(3) (permitting appeal from a district court judgment directly to the Supreme Court in "any [criminal] case in which a maximum sentence of life imprisonment has been imposed"). Now through counsel, Laughlin argues the district court erred when it considered the State's written responses without appointing counsel to represent him on both the motion to correct an illegal sentence and the motion to withdraw plea. Laughlin also claims his sentence is illegal because his convictions are multiplicitous. He does not otherwise argue the merits of his motions.

         To what extent Laughlin had a right to counsel to represent him on these motions is a question of law subject to unlimited review. See Stewart v. State, 309 Kan. ___, ___, ___ P.3d ___ (No. 115, 149, this day decided), slip op. at 6; Mundy v. State, 307 Kan. 280, 294, 408 P.3d 965 (2018). Summary denial of a motion to correct an illegal sentence is reviewed de novo. State v. Gilbert, 299 Kan. 797, 801, 326 P.3d 1060 (2014).

         Laughlin argues the district court violated his statutory right to counsel when it considered the State's written response to his K.S.A. 22-3504 motion without appointing counsel to represent him. He concedes that a K.S.A. 22-3504 motion may be summarily denied without the appointment of counsel when the motion, files, and records of the case conclusively show the defendant is not entitled to relief. See, e.g., State v. Hoge, 283 Kan. 219, 224, 150 P.3d 905 (2007). But he claims the district court effectively held a hearing when it considered the State's response to his motion, which triggered his statutory right to appointed counsel. He anchors this argument in K.S.A. 2018 Supp. 22-3504(1), which states that "the defendant shall have a right to a hearing, after reasonable notice to be fixed by the court, to be personally present ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.