Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Stacks on stacks

Nathan Webb won in State v. Leach, No. 94,157 (Kan. App. April 7, 2006)(unpublished), reversing a conviction for felony obstruction of duty from Atchison County. The Court of Appeals agreed that the record did not contain evidence to show that Mr. Leach knew or should have known that the officers were officers. The Court noted that a jury might infer that fact if the record showed direct evidence that the officers were in uniform, were driving a marked patrol car, or that Mr. Leach knew the officers from prior contacts. But the record did not contain such direct evidence. The state argued that such facts could be fairly inferred from other evidence, but the Court held that basis would constitute improper inference stacking. In particular, the Court held that the fact that an officer announced that he was there to execute a warrant does not satisfy the requirement that Mr. Leach knew or should have known the person was a law enforcement officer. By reversing this conviction on sufficiency grounds, the Court avoided some sticky instructional issues regarding misdemeanor obstruction as a lesser-included offense.

[Update: the state did not file a petition for review and the mandate issued in this case on May 11, 2006]

No comments: