State v. Legero, 89,485.

Citation278 Kan. 109,91 P.3d 1216
Decision Date25 June 2004
Docket NumberNo. 89,485.,89,485.
PartiesSTATE OF KANSAS, Appellee, v. ANTONIO L. LEGERO, Appellant.
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Kansas

278 Kan. 109
91 P.3d 1216


No. 89,485.

Supreme Court of Kansas.

Opinion filed June 25, 2004.

W. Greg Wright, of Hill, Beam-Ward & Kruse, LLC, of Overland Park, argued the cause and was 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 on the brief for appellee.

The opinion of the court was delivered by


The narrow single issue in this case is whether a defendant in a criminal case whose probation has been revoked by a district magistrate judge may appeal the revocation to the district court under authority of K.S.A. 2003 Supp. 22-3609a.

278 Kan. 110

The relevant facts and procedural history are not in dispute and may be summarized as follows. Legero pled guilty in separate cases to disorderly conduct and attempted criminal damage to property, both misdemeanors. On September 20, 2001, a district magistrate judge sentenced Legero to 30 days in jail for each count, to run concurrently. Legero was granted 12 months' probation.

On May 9, 2002, Legero was before the magistrate for a probation revocation hearing. Legero stipulated to the allegation that he had been arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. The magistrate revoked Legero's probation and ordered Legero to serve his jail sentence.

Legero filed a notice of appeal to the district court pursuant to K.S.A. 2003 Supp. 22-3609a. The notice appealed the magistrate's revocation of Legero's probation and imposition of sentence. The district court dismissed the appeal, finding that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction to review a magistrate's order revoking probation.

Legero appealed the district court's dismissal to the Court of Appeals. In a two to one decision, the Court of Appeals reversed the district court, concluding K.S.A. 2003 Supp. 22-3609a confers appellate jurisdiction in the district court. State v. Legero, 31 Kan. App. 2d 897, 75 P.3d 273 (2003). We granted the State's petition for review.


K.S.A. 2003 Supp. 22-3609a(1) provides in part: "A defendant shall have the right to appeal from any judgment of a district magistrate judge." (Emphasis added.)

Legero contends that a revocation of probation order issued by a district magistrate is included in the term "any judgment." The State contends the term "any judgment" as used in the statute is defined as a pronouncement of guilt and the determination of punishment. The parties agree that the resolution of this appeal depends upon the construction of the term "any judgment" as used in K.S.A. 2003 Supp. 22-3609a(1).

278 Kan. 111

Interpretation of a statute is a question of law permitting unlimited review. State v. Engles, 270 Kan. 530, 532, 17 P.3d 355 (2001).


The right to appeal is entirely statutory and is not contained in either the United States or Kansas Constitutions. Subject to certain exceptions, Kansas courts have jurisdiction to entertain an appeal only if the appeal is taken in the manner prescribed by Wasson v. United Dominion Industries, 266 Kan. 1012, 1018-19, 974 P.2d 578 (1999). No exception to the rule is claimed herein.

The precise question of whether K.S.A. 2003 Supp. 22-3609a affords a defendant an appeal from a district magistrate's revocation of his or her probation is a question of first impression. However, there are three cases involving somewhat different factual situations which warrant discussion herein.

In State v. Lashley, 233 Kan. 620, 664 P.2d 1358 (1983), the defendant sought to appeal from a magistrate's order binding him over for arraignment. The district court ruled that the order was not appealable under 22-3609a. We affirmed the district court, stating:

"The order binding the defendant over for arraignment was not a `judgment' from which a defendant has a right to an appeal. Judgments that can be appealed under K.S.A. 1982 Supp. 22-3609a are convictions in traffic or misdemeanor cases and those convictions rendered pursuant to K.S.A. 1982 Supp. 22-2909(c)." (Emphasis added.) 233 Kan. at 624.

In City of Wichita v. Patterson, 22 Kan. App. 2d 557, 919 P.2d 1047, rev. denied 260 Kan. 992 (1996), the defendant, over a 3-year period, pled guilty to several offenses in municipal court. On each occasion, the Wichita municipal court imposed a fine and a sentence, but placed the defendant on probation. In 1994, the municipal court revoked defendant's probation. Under K.S.A. 22-3609, defendant tried to appeal the probation revocation to the district court, which then dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction. Defendant then appealed the district court's order dismissing his appeal to the Court of Appeals.

278 Kan. 112
The precise issue in Patterson was whether 22-3609(1) authorized an appeal to the district court of an order entered in municipal court revoking defendant's probation. The Patterson court held
"K.S.A. 22-3609(1) is clear and unambiguous. It provides that one may only appeal from `any judgment of a municipal court which adjudges the defendant guilty of a violation of the ordinances of any municipality of Kansas.' This is the only right of appeal from the judgment of a municipal court provided by the legislature. Defendant seeks to appeal from an order revoking his probation. He is not appealing from an order adjudging him guilty of violating an ordinance, and under the clear and unambiguous language of the statute, his appeal is not permitted.
". . . K.S.A. 22-3610(a) states in part: `When a case is appealed to the district court, such court shall hear and determine the cause on the original complaint.' Interpreting this statute together with 22-3609 clearly indicates a legislative intent that appeals from municipal court will be limited to original adjudications of guilt and that post-trial decisions will not be appealable." 22 Kan. App. 2d at 558-59.

In State v. Remlinger, 266 Kan. 103, 968 P.2d 671 (1998), the defendant filed a notice of appeal under 22-3609a after he had been convicted of two misdemeanors but prior to sentencing. In district court, Remlinger claimed a violation of his speedy trial right when the de novo trial in district court was not commenced in a timely manner. The district court agreed and then dismissed his case. The State appealed therefrom, arguing that because Remlinger had appealed prior to sentencing by the magistrate judge, the district court never acquired jurisdiction in the case and so could not dismiss it on grounds of speedy trial violation. Remlinger countered that the district court had jurisdiction to dismiss because 22-3609a permitted an appeal of "any judgment," and a finding of guilt by a magistrate judge is a judgment. 266 Kan. at 105.

We rejected Remlinger's argument by noting that "Kansas courts have repeatedly defined a criminal `judgment' as a pronouncement of guilt and the determination of the punishment." (Emphasis added.) 266 Kan. at 106. We also expressly held that the difference in the wording relative to appealable judgments contained in 22-3609 (applicable to municipal court appeals) and 22-3609a amounted to "a distinction without a difference," as far as what judgments are appealable. 266 Kan. at 107.

278 Kan. 113
Lashley, Remlinger, and Patterson support the conclusion that K.S.A. 2003 Supp. 22-3609a does not authorize an appeal to the district court of a magistrate judge's order revoking a defendant's probation

However, the most compelling reason for concluding that a district magistrate's order of probation revocation is not appealable is the language of K.S.A. 2003 Supp. 22-3609a, itself, read in its entirety. An appellate court must consider all of the provisions of a statute in pari materia rather than in isolation, and these provisions must be reconciled, if possible, to make them consistent and harmonious. As a general rule, statutes should be interpreted to avoid unreasonable results. The fundamental rule of statutory construction, to which all other rules are subordinate, is that the intent of the legislature governs. State v. Manbeck, 277 Kan. 224, 227, 83 P.3d 190 (2004). In its totality, K.S.A. 2003 Supp. 22-3609a provides:

"(1) A defendant shall have the right to appeal from any judgment of a district magistrate judge. The chief judge shall be responsible for assigning a district judge for any such appeal. The appeal shall stay

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