Friday, September 18, 2009

Downward duration departure upheld

Janine Cox won in State v. Henderson, No. 100,885 (Kan. App. Sept. 18, 2009)(unpublished), affirming Judge Dowd's downward durational departure sentence in a Shawnee County rape prosecution. The state claimed that Judge Dowd failed to state on the record the substantial and compelling reasons for its departure. The COA held that the district court adequately recorded his reasons:
In granting the departure, the district court adopted the reasons set forth in Henderson's motion. When pressed to identify the specific grounds for the departure sentence, the district court clarified that it was relying on the "three factors in the motion." The three departure factors where then set forth verbatim in the journal entry.

Here, as opposed to the Whitesell case [where the KSC found the district court's announcement insufficient to suppoort a departure sentence], the district court did more than make a vague reference to the departure motion in granting the departure sentence. Granted, the district court did not read into the record the specific departure factors relied upon by the court. However, the record is abundantly clear as to why the district court granted the departure and the three specific factors the district court relied upon to justify the reduced sentence.
The COA went on to hold that the three factors were sufficient to justify the departure sentence and, therefore, affirmed.

[Update: the state did not file a PR and the mandate issued on October 23, 2009.]

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