Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Insufficient evidenc to support accident convictions

Kevin P. Sheppard won in State v. Holm, No. 100, 943 (Kan. App. May 29, 2009), reversing a Shawnee County leaving the scene of an accident and failure to report an accident convictions. The COA construed K.S.A. 8-1602 to -1604:
A reading of these statutes appears to require remaining at the scene of a noninjury accident only if the property damaged by the damaging driver is attended by another person. Therefore, a single-car, noninjury accident does not require remaining at the scene unless the property of some other person is damaged.
Because the state only showed a single-vehicle accident the COA reversed the leaving the scene of an accident conviction. Further, the Court noted that the statute has a minimum amount of damage that must occur before an accident must be reported:
K.S.A. 2008 Supp. 8-1606 only requires reporting requirements for noninjury property accidents if there is at least $1,000 in property damage. In construing K.S.A. 2008 Supp. 8-1606 in the light most favorable to the defendant, as we are required to do, Holm's conviction cannot stand. K.S.A. 2008 Supp. 8-1606 fails to criminalize the failure to report accidents with property damage less than $1,000. The State failed to introduce evidence to document an apparent $1,000 in damage to Holm's van or the ditch where it landed, although such damage may have occurred. As a result, there was insufficient evidence to support Holm's conviction for failure to report.
This might be useful in some other contexts.

[Update: the state did not file a PR and the mandate issued on July 2, 2009.]

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