Friday, October 14, 2011

Insufficient evidence of mistreatment

Lydia Krebs won in State v. Anderson, No. 103,484 (Kan. App. Sept. 30, 2011)(unpublished), reversing a Saline County felony mistreatment of a dependent adult conviction. The state charged Ms. Anderson stemming from her taking money out of a bank account on which she was a joint signatory with her mother. The COA held that such actions did not amount to the crime of mistreatment of a dependent adult:

Here, however, the evidence fails to support the State's obligation to show that Anderson somehow influenced Johnson to part with the money in the bank account. That didn't happen. Anderson had been authorized to sign checks on Johnson's account. And sign away, she did—apparently taking thousands of dollars to make improvements to her house and otherwise for her own benefit. Anderson did not need to induce Johnson to do anything to get the money and didn't attempt to do so. She just wrote checks.

The evidence and the scheming do not amount to mistreatment of a dependent adult. Had Anderson gone to Johnson and used the illicit means described in the statute to get Johnson to write checks to her that would have constituted mistreatment in violation of K.S.A. 21-3437(a)(2). For example, if Anderson had falsely claimed to need the money for her own medical care or threatened to move Johnson to an inferior care facility to get Johnson to sign checks payable to her, such conduct would violate the statute. But that's not what happened here.
As a result, the COA reversed the conviction.

[Update: the state did not file a PR and the mandate issued on November 3, 2011.]

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