19 P.3d 172 (Kan. 2001), 83,574, State v. Crum

Docket Nº:83,574.
Citation:19 P.3d 172, 270 Kan. 870
Opinion Judge:[11] The opinion of the court was delivered by: Larson, J.
Party Name:STATE of Kansas, Appellee, v. Robert Lee CRUM, Appellant.
Attorney:[10] John Jenab, of Jenab & Kuchar, argued the cause, and Alice A. Craig, of the same firm, was on the brief for appellant. Lee J. Davidson, deputy county attorney, argued the cause, and Carla J. Stovall, attorney general, was with him on the brief for appellee.
Case Date:March 16, 2001
Court:Supreme Court of Kansas
 
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Page 172

19 P.3d 172 (Kan. 2001)

270 Kan. 870

STATE of Kansas, Appellee,

v.

Robert Lee CRUM, Appellant.

No. 83,574.

Supreme Court of Kansas

March 16, 2001

Page 173

Syllabus by the Court

1. A warrantless inspection of a motor vehicle authorized to transport property for hire and subject to regulations of the State of Kansas that was stopped by an officer of the Kansas Highway Patrol solely to conduct an inspection pursuant to K.S.A. 74-2108(b) without any suspicion on the part of the officer that there was a violation of any laws of the State of Kansas, does not violate either the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution or Section 15 of the Bill of Rights of the Kansas Constitution.

2. When the sufficiency of the evidence is challenged in a criminal case, the standard of review is whether, after review of all the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the prosecution, the appellate court is convinced that a rational factfinder could have found the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

3. A driver's knowledge of his or her status as a habitual violator may be inferred from the fact that notification of the driver's status as a habitual violator was mailed to

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the driver at his or her last known official address.

John Jenab, of Jenab & Kuchar, argued the cause, and Alice A. Craig, of the same firm, was on the brief for appellant.

Lee J. Davidson, deputy county attorney, argued the cause, and Carla J. Stovall, attorney general, was with him on the brief for appellee.

LARSON, J.:

This is Robert Lee Crum's direct appeal of his conviction of driving as a habitual violator, K.S.A.1998 Supp. 8-287, a severity level 9 nonperson felony.

Crum contends that the random stop of his commercial vehicle violates the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and there was insufficient evidence to establish that he had been notified of his status as a habitual violator.

Our jurisdiction is under K.S.A. 20-3018(c) (transfer on our own motion).

While the legal effect is contested, the facts are not in dispute.

Kansas Highway Patrol Motor Carrier Inspector Alan Boyle, while on patrol on U.S. Highway 81, near South Haven, Kansas, stopped a truck hauling an empty auto trailer. Inspector Boyle noticed the truck had a logo on the cab and Kansas apportioned license plates. He testified he was absolutely certain he was dealing with a commercial motor carrier.

Inspector Boyle did not observe any traffic infractions, nor did he have any particularized suspicion that the driver was committing any crimes. He activated his emergency lights and stopped the truck solely to determine if the truck and driver complied with the state and federal rules and regulations applicable to motor carriers.

Inspector Boyle requested the driver's log and permits. The driver did not have a log book but stated he had delivered a load of cars to Oklahoma City and was returning to Valley Center. The driver provided all other necessary permits. When Inspector Boyle asked for the driver's license, the driver responded, "I'll just tell you right now. It's suspended." The driver was identified as Robert Lee Crum.

Inspector Boyle ran Crum's information through the dispatcher and learned that his driving privileges were revoked as a habitual violator. Inspector Boyle then arrested Crum and charged him with driving while his license was revoked as a habitual violator.

Prior to a preliminary hearing, Crum moved to suppress evidence, claiming the stop of his vehicle was invalid. After an evidentiary hearing, the court overruled the motion to suppress.

When the matter came for trial, the State asked the court to consider Inspector Boyle's testimony given during the motion to suppress, as well as a certified copy of Crum's driving record that showed his K.S.A.1998 Supp. 8-286 habitual violator notice. Crum objected based upon the arguments presented in his motion to suppress evidence. The court allowed the evidence and found Crum guilty of the offense of driving while his license was revoked as a habitual violator.

[270 Kan. 872] Subsequently, after determining Crum's criminal history to be category F, the court sentenced him to 9 months in the custody of the Secretary of the Department of Corrections and placed him on probation for a period of 24 months. As a condition of probation, Crum was ordered to serve 10 days in the county jail. Crum appeals.

We first consider whether the random stops of commercial vehicles violates the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Our scope of review was set forth in State v. Toothman, 267 Kan. 412, 416, 985 P.2d 701 (1999), where we stated:

"An appellate court reviews the factual underpinnings of a district court's decision 'by a substantial competent evidence standard and the ultimate legal conclusion drawn from those facts by a de novo standard. An appellate court does not reweigh the evidence. The ultimate determination of the suppression of evidence is a legal question requiring independent appellate review.' "

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The specific wording of K.S.A. 74-2108, which is challenged herein, states:

"(a) The superintendent and members of the Kansas highway patrol are hereby vested with the power and authority of peace, police and law enforcement officers anywhere within this state irrespective of county lines.

"(b) In addition to the general power and authority prescribed by subsection (a), the superintendent and members of the Kansas highway patrol are hereby authorized and directed to execute and enforce the laws of this state relating to public and private motor carriers of passengers or property, including any rules and regulations...

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