Thursday, May 04, 2006

Maybe you can collaterally attack a prior conviction?

I don't usually want to deal with DUI cases on this blog (personal preference). But I did want to mention an interesting win by Michelle Davis in State v. Elliott, No. 92,853 (Kan. April 28, 2006), reversing a DUI conviction. The interesting part of this case is that the KSC allows Mr. Elliott to challenge, on a jurisdictional basis, a prior DUI conviction that is a predicate for an enhanced sentence. The state argued that a defendant could not collaterally attack a prior conviction except for Gideon error. But the KSC held that a conviction entered without subject matter jurisdiction is void and concluded that
A misdemeanor conviction for DUI may be challenged when it is included in the defendant's criminal history for the purpose of enhancing the sentence for a felony DUI conviction.
I don't know why this would particularly be limited to DUI cases. Any prior conviction listed in a PSI could be challenged for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. I guess this is just another reason to really scrutinize prior convictions that make a difference for defendant's at sentencing.

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