Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Another downward departure upheld

Janine Cox won in State v. Craver, No. 103,048 (Kan. App. Dec. 10, 2010)(unpublished), affirming Judge Chamber's imposition of a downward dispositional departure in three drug cases. The COA seemed somewhat unimpressed with the state's argument on appeal:
On appeal, the State only challenges the district court's first reason for the dispositional departure, i.e. that Craver was not the ringleader and did not participate in the planning of the drug manufacture. The "argument and authority" section of the State's brief is three pages in length. The thrust of the State's argument is that the district court erred by granting Craver a departure on the ground that she played a minor role in the crimes for which she was convicted. Although the State's brief contains a passing reference to Craver being a long-time drug addict, the brief contains no argument that Craver's drug problem is not a substantial and compelling reason for departure. An issue not briefed by the appellant is deemed waived and abandoned.

. . . .

Generally, when the district court offers two independent bases for its judgment, the appellant's failure to address an alternative basis for the district court's decision is a sufficient reason to deny an appeal. Because the State does not challenge the district court's alternative basis for granting Craver a dispositional departure, i.e. that Craver has a severe drug problem, this is sufficient reason to deny the State's appeal.
The COA went on, though, to hold that Judge Chambers' uniquely tailored sentence for Ms. Craver was supported by the record and was "consistent with the principles underlying the [Kansas Sentencing Guidelines Act.]"

[Update: the state did not file a PR and the mandate issued on January 13, 2011.]

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