Kargus v. State

Decision Date27 July 2007
Docket NumberNo. 92,432.,92,432.
Citation162 P.3d 818
PartiesMark Weldon KARGUS, Appellant, v. STATE of Kansas, Appellee.
CourtKansas Supreme Court

Randall L. Hodgkinson, of Kansas Appellate Defender Office, argued the cause, and Brent Getty and Heather Cessna, of the same office, were with him on the briefs for appellant.

Steven J. Obermeier, assistant district attorney, argued the cause, and Paul J. Morrison, district attorney, and Phill Kline, attorney general, were with him on the briefs for appellee.

Jean Gilles Phillips, Elizabeth Seale Cateforis, and Alice C. White, of University of Kansas School of Law, of Lawrence, were on the brief for amicus curiae The Paul E. Wilson Defender Project.

The opinion of the court was delivered by LUCKERT, J.:

This case raises two principal questions. First, does a criminal defendant whose felony conviction and sentence have been affirmed by the Court of Appeals have a right to effective assistance of appointed appellate counsel when filing a petition requesting this court's discretionary review of the Court of Appeals' decision? Second, if a defendant does have such a right in a direct appeal, is the right denied when appointed counsel fails to file a petition after the defendant has requested that a petition be filed? To resolve the second question, we must decide whether the traditional analysis for ineffective assistance of counsel, a modified version of that test, or an entirely different test will be applied. Our analysis requires us to consider several ancillary issues regarding the procedure and remedy to be applied.

A review of the procedural history of this case explains more fully the context of the issues. In 1997, Mark Weldon Kargus was charged with aggravated kidnapping and rape. The district court appointed counsel and, after a jury trial, Kargus was convicted as charged and sentenced. The Court of Appeals affirmed his convictions on direct appeal in State v. Kargus, No. 82,486, 4 P.3d 1187, unpublished opinion filed June 2, 2000. A petition seeking review of that decision was not filed.

In March 2003, Kargus filed a pro se K.S.A. 60-1507 motion in which he argued, inter alia, that he received ineffective assistance of appellate counsel in the direct appeal because his attorney failed to file a petition for review despite Kargus' request that one be filed. The district court found that a petitioner does not have a constitutional right to counsel for the purpose of pursuing a discretionary review in the Kansas Supreme Court and summarily denied Kargus' K.S.A. 60-1507 motion.

Kargus, through appointed counsel, appealed to the Court of Appeals. A Court of Appeals panel, in a 2 to 1 decision, determined Kargus' right to effective appellate counsel on direct appeal extended to the petition for review phase of the appeal. Based upon Kargus' argument that his appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to file a petition for review after Kargus had asked his attorney to do so, the Court of Appeals determined the representation was ineffective and prejudicial because "filing a petition for review would have been successful at least to the extent of exhausting State remedies and thereby preserving the issue for federal habeas review." Kargus v. State, No. 92,432, 2006 WL 1520530, unpublished opinion filed June 2, 2006, slip op. at 3. The panel observed that there was no evidence received from Kargus' appellate counsel, despite Kargus' allegation that he personally requested his attorney file a petition for review. Thus, the Court of Appeals determined that the district court should have conducted an evidentiary hearing on this matter. The case was reversed and remanded for an evidentiary hearing to determine whether an untimely petition for review should be permitted.

The State filed a petition for review, asking this court to resolve an apparent conflict between the holding in Kargus and other Court of Appeals' decisions, both published and unpublished. In particular, the State pointed to a decision of a different Court of Appeals panel in Swenson v. State, 35 Kan. App.2d 709, 135 P.3d 157 (2006). Swenson was filed 2 weeks before Kargus. The Swenson panel agreed that the defendant had the right to effective assistance of counsel in seeking review of a Court of Appeals decision. 35 Kan.App.2d at 726, 135 P.3d 157. However, the Swenson panel employed a different analysis than that used by the Kargus panel when determining whether the failure to file a petition resulted in ineffective assistance of counsel. The Swenson panel held that, even if the defendant's appellate counsel was deficient in failing to file a timely petition for review, the defendant failed to meet the prejudice prong of the test for ineffective assistance of counsel because the petition would not have been granted. 35 Kan. App.2d at 726-27, 135 P.3d 157.

We granted the State's petition for review in this case and the defendant's petition for review in Swenson v. State, ___ Kan. ___, 162 P.3d 808, 2007 WL 2141450 (2007), this day decided.

On our review of the Court of Appeals' decision in this case, the State argues that we should adopt the Swenson panel's analysis and conclude that a defendant's claim of ineffective assistance of counsel must fail where the defendant cannot show prejudice by appellate counsel's failure to file a discretionary petition for review. The defendant and a brief of amicus curiae, filed by counsel representing the Paul E. Wilson Defender Project, argue there is a right to effective assistance of counsel in pursuing a petition for review and a failure to file a petition for review is either presumptively prejudicial or a structural error that automatically results in a determination of ineffective assistance of counsel.

Right to Effective Assistance of Counsel

The first consideration is the question of law of whether Kargus had the right to effective assistance of counsel in pursuing discretionary review of the Court of Appeals' decision in his direct appeal. The district court ruled that there is no constitutional right to counsel in order to pursue a discretionary review before this court, citing Foy v. State, 17 Kan.App.2d 775, 844 P.2d 744, rev. denied 252 Kan. 1091 (1993).

In Foy, the appellant argued his counsel was ineffective for failing to inform him that he could petition for review to this court. The Foy court observed that this court's decision whether to review a Court of Appeals' decision is discretionary. 17 Kan. App.2d at 775-76, 844 P.2d 744; see K.S.A. 20-3018(b); K.S.A.2006 Supp. 22-3602(e); Supreme Court Rule 8.03 (2006 Kan. Ct. R. Annot. 62). It further noted that, in Wainwright v. Torna, 455 U.S. 586, 587-88, 102 S.Ct. 1300, 71 L.Ed.2d 475 (1982), the United States Supreme Court held that a criminal defendant could not be deprived of effective assistance of counsel for retained counsel's failure to file a timely application for review in the Florida Supreme Court because the defendant had no constitutional right to counsel in a discretionary appeal. Foy, 17 Kan.App.2d at 775-76, 844 P.2d 744.

In addition to Wainwright, the Foy court cited Robinson v. State, 13 Kan.App.2d 244, 250, 767 P.2d 851, rev. denied 244 Kan. 738 (1989), where it was held that the dismissal of the defendant's appeal of the denial of his K.S.A. 60-1507 motion due to the failure of his attorney to timely perfect the appeal did not violate the defendant's due process rights because the constitutional right to counsel does not exist in state postconviction proceedings. Foy, likewise, held that the appellant did not have a constitutional right to counsel to pursue a discretionary review in the Kansas Supreme Court. Consequently, the panel held that Foy was not denied effective assistance of counsel when his attorney failed to file a petition for review or failed to let him know that he had the option to do so. 17 Kan.App.2d 775, Syl, 844 P.2d 744.

Ten years later, this court overruled Robinson in deciding Brown v. State, 278 Kan 481, 101 P.3d 1201 (2004), the case on which Kargus relies to argue that he has a right to counsel. In Brown, this court held that, although there is no constitutional right to appointed counsel to pursue a K.S.A. 60-1507 motion, there is a statutory right under certain circumstances to counsel for collateral attacks and such a right includes a right to have the effective assistance of counsel. 278 Kan. 481, Syl, 101 P.3d 1201.; see K.S.A.2006 Supp. 22-4522(e)(4).

The Brown court looked to other jurisdictions where courts held that some standard of competence is required by appointed counsel and quoted the following from Cullins v. Crouse, 348 F.2d 887, 889 (10th Cir.1965):

"`Although the right to counsel in a civil case is not a matter of constitutional right under the Sixth Amendment, counsel should be appointed in post conviction matters when disposition cannot be made summarily on the face of the petition and record. When counsel is so appointed he must be effective and competent. Otherwise, the appointment is a useless formality.'" Brown, 278 Kan. at 484, 101 P.3d 1201.

This court agreed with the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals' analysis.

In overruling Robinson and its progeny, this court held that, where there was a statutory right to counsel, there was a right that counsel be effective and competent. It was also pointed out that it would be impossible for Brown to obtain postconviction relief if he was not permitted to file his appeal out of time. Because Brown's counsel did not timely inform him of the right to appeal the denial of his K.S.A. 60-1507 motion, this court held he should be permitted to file his appeal out of time. 278 Kan. at 484-85, 101 P.3d 1201.

In this case, the Court of Appeals implicitly expanded the Brown analysis to Kargus' case, observing that "Foy's analysis has changed since Brown." In support of this reasoning, the panel recognized that another unpublished Court of Appeals' decision, Swarthout v. State, Nos. 93,133...

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3 cases
  • State v. Moyer
    • United States
    • Kansas Supreme Court
    • February 15, 2019
    ... ... But that holding relied on Kargus v. State , 284 Kan. 625, 162 P.3d 818 (2007), a companion case issued on the same day. Kargus was founded on the notion that the Strickland prejudice approach did not apply when counsel fails to file an appeal because failure to file the requested appeal " arguably led not to a judicial ... ...
  • Bd. of County Commissioners of Sedgwick County v. City of Park City
    • United States
    • Kansas Supreme Court
    • September 9, 2011
    ... ... Board of Sedgwick County Commr's, 41 Kan.App.2d at 654, 204 P.3d 648; cf. State ex rel. Murray v. Palmgren, 231 Kan. 524, 536, 646 P.2d 1091 (1982) ( Ignorance of the law is no excuse. ); Flott v. Wenger Mixer Manufacturing ... opportunity for timely appeal of criminal conviction; remedying loss of constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel); see also Kargus v. State, 284 Kan. 625, 64546, 162 P.3d 818 (2007) (allowing untimely appeal where ineffective assistance of counsel resulted in lost opportunity ... ...
  • Swenson v. State
    • United States
    • Kansas Supreme Court
    • July 27, 2007
    ... ... 35 Kan.App.2d at 726-27, 135 P.3d 157 ...         The same issue was raised in another case heard on the same docket as Swenson's petition for review: Kargus v. State, No. 92,432, ___ Kan. ___, 162 P.3d 818, 2007 WL 2141445 (2007), this day decided. In Kargus, we fully discussed the issue and concluded that an indigent defendant who has been convicted of a felony and has appealed from that conviction has a statutory right to effective assistance of ... ...

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