Sunday, December 14, 2014

Proof of prior violates Descamps

Patrick H. Dunn won in State v. Martinez, No. 110,186 (Kan. App. Nov. 21, 2014), obtaining a new sentencing hearing in a Sedgwick County failure to register prosecution.  The issue had to do with how to classify violations of Wichita city ordinance regarding failure to comply with bond conditions.  The district court had compared it to a state conviction for violation of a protective order.  The COA agreed that the offenses were comparable, but further held that such classification would violate Descamps (blogged about here):
Here, in order to avoid engaging in forbidden judicial factfinding, we must examine whether the elements of the prior offense at issue, Wichita Municipal Ordinance § 1.04.125, match the elements of the corresponding "generic" offense, K.S.A. 1996 Supp. 21-3843(a)(4). The State argues because the ordinance is a divisible one, the modified categorical approach applies. Martinez argues the ordinance is broader than the misdemeanor statute and the elements do not match. Martinez also argues another ordinance is much more analogous. 
We think it irrelevant that another ordinance may be more analogous to the misdemeanor statute in question. If the elements of the municipal ordinance match those in the misdemeanor statute, then Martinez' Sixth Amendment rights are satisfied and it matters not what another ordinance may state. When reviewing both, it would appear that although the municipal ordinance is broader, contained within the ordinance are elements which prohibit contact with a third person, appearing to match the elements contained in the statute and suggesting that the modified categorical approach is applicable. 
The operative language in the violation of a protective order statute, K.S.A. 1996 Supp. 21-3843(a)(4), "orders the person to refrain from having any direct or indirect contact with another person . . . ." In comparison, Wichita Municipal Ordinance § 1.04.125(1)(a) sets out alternative versions of the "Failure to Comply" crime under § 1.04.125(2). That is, the ordinance prohibits persons released from custody from knowingly violating or knowingly failing to comply with (a) "restrictions on [their] association (including no contact orders with the victim or others)" or (b) "place of abode." Alternative (a) matches the element in the misdemeanor statute, but alternative (b) does not. Therefore, in order to determine whether Martinez was convicted under alternative (a), we are permitted to examine in the record the appropriate extra-statutory materials. 
The COA concluded that in order to prove that the municipal conviction fell into the state statute, additional an improper judicial factfinding was required:
At sentencing, the prosecutor provided the court with documents relating to Martinez' three municipal convictions for failing to comply with bond restrictions. Significantly, we note the record reveals that Martinez had five other person misdemeanors which were converted for criminal history purposes; thus, only one of his convictions for failure to comply with bond restrictions needed to qualify as a person misdemeanor in order to place Martinez in criminal history category B. Our review of the documents in the record leaves us uncertain whether Martinez' 1997 failure to comply with bond restrictions involved prohibited third person contact; therefore, we must vacate the defendant's sentence and remand the matter to the district court for a further examination of the appropriate extra-statutory materials to explore this question.
[Update: the state did not file a PR and the mandate issued on December 29, 2014.]

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