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State v. McCroy

Court of Appeals of Kansas

January 10, 2020

State of Kansas, Appellant,
v.
Patrick M. McCroy, Appellee.

         SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

         1. Under Kansas law, the right to appeal is entirely statutory. Thus, appellate courts do not have discretionary power to entertain appeals from all district court orders. Rather, the contours of appellate jurisdiction are defined by statute.

         2. Appellate courts only have jurisdiction to hear an appeal by the State if it is taken within the time limitations and in the manner prescribed by the statutes defining appellate jurisdiction.

         3. K.S.A. 60-2101 is the starting point for the inquiry into appellate jurisdiction in both civil and criminal cases. K.S.A. 60-2101(a) dictates that "[a]ppeals from the district court to the court of appeals in criminal cases shall be subject to the provisions of K.S.A. 22-3601 and 22-3602."

         4. K.S.A. 22-3602 distinguishes between the appellate rights of defendants and the prosecution. While a criminal defendant has a broad right of appellate review, the State only has a limited right to appeal tightly restricted by statute.

         5. Jurisdiction defines an appellate court's authority to hear a case. When the record discloses a lack of jurisdiction, this court must dismiss the appeal.

         6. K.S.A. 22-3504 is not an appellate jurisdiction statute; it is contained in Article 35 of our code of criminal procedure, which governs posttrial motions.

         7. Kansas courts have interpreted K.S.A. 22-3504 to allow either party to challenge the legality of a sentence at any time, including for the first time on appeal, because the legality of a sentence (1) can be challenged at any time and (2) is a question of law subject to de novo review.

         8. There is a distinction between permitting a party to assert a claim for the first time on appeal and this court's jurisdiction to hear the appeal in the first place. The ability to raise a claim generally encompasses considerations of notice, preservation, and timeliness. Jurisdiction defines a court's power to consider an appeal at all, regardless of the issues raised.

         9. K.S.A. 22-3504 does not vest an appellate court with jurisdiction to consider an appeal by the State solely on the claim that a sentence is illegal. Instead, an appellate court's jurisdiction in a criminal case must arise from one of the limited procedural postures set forth in K.S.A. 22-3602.

         10. The Court of Appeals is duty-bound to follow Kansas Supreme Court precedent unless the court is convinced, based on recent decisions by the state's highest court, that a decision no longer accurately reflects Kansas law.

          Appeal from Reno District Court; Trish Rose, judge.

          Andrew R. Davidson, assistant district attorney, Keith Schroeder, district attorney, and Derek Schmidt, attorney general, for appellant.

          Shannon S. Crane, of Hutchinson, for appellee.

          Before Malone, P.J., ...


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