Saturday, April 29, 2006

Improper criminal history results in illegal sentence

Michelle Davis won in State v. Donaldson, No. 92,530 (Kan. App. April 28, 2006), obtaining a remand for evidentiary hearing on Mr. Donaldson’s motion to correct illegal sentence. In his motion, he argued that the district court improperly classified certain Oklahoma prior convictions as person felonies. The state argued that the district court lacked jurisdiction and/or that Mr. Donaldson waived the claim by stipulating to the classification at sentencing. The COA disagreed, holding that a sentence obtained after an incorrect criminal history classification is not in conformity with the statute and, therefore, illegal. The COA also noted that the classification of a prior conviction is a legal question and, therefore cannot be the subject of a stipulation. The COA held that Mr. Donaldson was entitled to a hearing on his claim and at that hearing, the state bears the burden!

[Update: the state did not file a petition for review and the mandate issued on June 1, 2006].

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