State v. Grissom

Decision Date10 November 1992
Docket NumberNo. 66268,66268
Citation251 Kan. 851,840 P.2d 1142
PartiesSTATE of Kansas, Appellee, v. Richard GRISSOM, Jr., Appellant.
CourtKansas Supreme Court

Syllabus by the Court

1. Circumstantial evidence is evidence that tends to prove a fact in issue by proving other events or circumstances which, according to the common experience of people, usually or always are attended by the fact in issue and, therefore, affords a basis for a reasonable inference by the jury or court of the occurrence of the fact in issue.

2. In homicide cases the corpus delicti is established by proof of two facts: that one person was killed and that another person did the killing. The corpus delicti may be proved by direct testimony, by indirect or circumstantial evidence, or by a combination of both.

3. The elements for the corpus delicti of murder must be established independently of admissions or confessions of the defendant. However, as a basis for introduction of the defendant's confession or admission, the prosecution is not required to establish the corpus delicti by proof as clear and convincing as is necessary to establish guilt; a slight or prima facie showing is sufficient. It is for the trial court to determine whether a prima facie showing has been made.

4. If the sufficiency of 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.

5. The State of Kansas has jurisdiction in a criminal case in which any element or the result of the crime occurs in Kansas or the defendant commits criminal acts in Kansas that are a substantial and integral part of an overall continuing crime plan and that are clearly in partial execution of the plan.

6. An information in the ordinary form charging that a killing was done with malice aforethought, deliberation, and premeditation is sufficient to sustain a conviction of murder in the first degree committed in the perpetration of a felony.

7. If an accused is charged in one count of an information with both premeditated murder and felony murder, it matters not whether some members of the jury arrive at a verdict of guilt based on proof of premeditation while others arrive at a verdict of guilt by reason of the killer's malignant purpose. Furthermore, the State is not required to elect between premeditated and felony murder because K.S.A. 21-3401 establishes the single offense of murder in the first degree and only provides alternative methods of proving the crime.

8. Robbery is defined as the taking of property from the person or presence of another by threat of bodily harm to his or her person or the person of another or by force.

9. If property is stolen by a succession of takings from the same owner and from the same place, each taking is a separate crime if it results from a separate impulse or intent. If it appears, however, that a single incriminating impulse or intent is involved in the successive takings, the takings constitute a single larceny.

10. A test for determining if a continuous transaction results in the commission of but a single offense is whether separate and distinct prohibited acts, made punishable by law, have been committed. A single motive for a series of acts does not result necessarily in a single crime.

11. Aggravated kidnapping differs from kidnapping in that it requires the additional element of bodily harm inflicted upon the victim.

12. Multiplicity exists if the State uses a single wrongful act as the basis for multiple charges. Charges are not multiplicious if each charge requires proof of a fact not required in proving the other. Charges are also not multiplicious if the offenses occur at different times and in different places.

13. The test for abandonment in the search and seizure context is whether the complaining party retains a reasonable expectation of privacy in the premises.

14. Events that occur after an abandonment may be considered by the court as evidence of the defendant's intent to abandon the property at a previous time.

15. The warrantless search of an automobile that has been abandoned by its owner will violate the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution only if the defendant manifested a subjective expectation of privacy in the automobile and its contents that society accepts as objectively reasonable.

16. The test for abandonment in the search and seizure context is distinct from the property law notion of abandonment: it is possible for a person to retain a property interest in an item, but nonetheless to relinquish his or her reasonable expectation of privacy in the object.

17. If the findings of the trial court on a motion to suppress evidence are based upon substantial evidence, this court on review will not substitute its view of the evidence for that of the trial court.

18. Substantial evidence is evidence that possesses both relevance and substance and that furnishes a substantial basis of fact from which the issues can reasonably be resolved. Stated in another way, substantial evidence is such legal and relevant evidence as a reasonable person might accept as being sufficient to support a conclusion.

19. A person attacking a search warrant must show the deliberate omission of a material fact. A fact is material if the fact that was omitted would have influenced the trial judge's finding on probable cause.

20. Whether probable cause exists to issue a search warrant is determined by the totality of the circumstances.

21. In determining whether probable cause exists to issue a search warrant, the task of the issuing magistrate is simply to make a practical, common-sense decision whether, given all the circumstances set forth in the affidavit, including the veracity and basis of knowledge of persons supplying hearsay information, there is a fair probability that contraband or evidence of a crime will be found in a particular place. The duty of the reviewing court is simply to ensure the magistrate had a substantial basis for concluding that probable cause existed.

22. Probable cause is the reasonable belief that a specific crime has been committed and that the defendant committed the crime. It does not require evidence of each element of the crime or evidence to the degree necessary to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Probable cause to issue a search warrant may be described as bits and pieces of information cobbled together until a picture is formed that leads a reasonably prudent person to believe a crime has been committed and to believe evidence of the crime may be found on a particular person or in a place or means of conveyance.

23. Whether rental property has been abandoned is a question of fact.

24. Traditionally, procedural and evidentiary issues are governed by the law of the forum. Admissibility of confessions presents a matter of state procedure. If a law enforcement officer takes an accused's statement in a foreign state and if the statement would be admissible in the forum state, no sound reason exists to exclude the statement in the forum state on the basis it would not be admissible in the foreign state. The policy behind the exclusionary rule is to deter unlawful police activity.

25. The voluntariness of a confession is to be viewed in light of the totality of circumstances, including the following factors: (1) the duration and manner of interrogation; (2) the accused's ability upon request to communicate with the outside world; (3) the accused's age, intellect, and background; and (4) the fairness of the officers in conducting the interrogation. The essential determination is whether the statement was the product of the accused's free and independent will. If the accused was not deprived of his or her free choice to admit, deny, or refuse to answer, the statement may be considered voluntary. The State has the burden of proving the statement was given voluntarily.

26. If a trial court conducts a full pretrial hearing on the admissibility of an extrajudicial statement by the accused; determines the statement was given freely, voluntarily, and knowingly; and admits the statement into evidence at the trial, an appellate court will accept that determination if it is supported by substantial competent evidence.

27. Subject to K.S.A. 60-447, evidence that a person committed a crime or civil wrong on a specified occasion is inadmissible to prove his or her disposition to commit crime or civil wrong as the basis for inferring that person committed another crime or civil wrong on another specified occasion but, subject to K.S.A. 60-455 and 60-448, such evidence is admissible if relevant to prove some other material fact including motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, or absence of mistake or accident.

28. In ruling upon the admissibility of evidence of a prior crime or civil wrong under K.S.A. 60-455, the trial court must: (1) determine it is relevant to prove one of the facts specified in the statute; (2) determine the fact is a disputed, material fact; and (3) balance the probative value of the prior crime or civil wrong evidence against its tendency to prejudice the jury.

29. Admission of evidence under K.S.A. 60-455 to show plan has been upheld under at least two theories. In one, the evidence, although unrelated to the crimes charged, is admitted to show the modus operandi or general method used by a defendant to perpetrate similar but totally unrelated crimes. The other theory admits such evidence if there is some direct or causal connection between the prior conduct and the crime charged.

30. The rationale for admitting evidence of prior unrelated acts to show plan under K.S.A. 60-455 is that the method of committing the prior acts is so similar to that utilized in the case being tried that it is...

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