State v. Lewis, 80,822.

CourtCourt of Appeals of Kansas
Citation998 P.2d 1141,27 Kan. App.2d 134
Docket NumberNo. 80,822.,80,822.
PartiesSTATE OF KANSAS, Appellee, v. JEROME E. LEWIS, Appellant.
Decision Date03 March 2000

27 Kan. App.2d 134
998 P.2d 1141

STATE OF KANSAS, Appellee,
v.
JEROME E. LEWIS, Appellant

No. 80,822.

Court of Appeals of Kansas.

Opinion filed March 3, 2000.


Debra J. Wilson, assistant appellate defender, and Jessica R. Kunen, chief appellate defender, for appellant.

David Lowden, assistant district attorney, Nola Foulston, district attorney, and Carla J. Stovall, attorney general, for appellee.

27 Kan. App.2d 135
Before BRAZIL, C.J., RULON and GREEN, JJ

BRAZIL, C.J.:

Jerome Lewis appeals the trial court's denial of his motion to set aside his guilty plea and the presumptive sentence imposed by the court.

Lewis argues that the trial court abused its discretion by refusing to appoint new counsel and that it erred in denying his motion to withdraw his pleas, in imposing a presumptive sentence, and in refusing to consider an unaccepted plea offer as a factor for downward departure. Finally, he contends that his presumptive sentence of 692 months is cruel and unusual punishment.

We find no reversible error and affirm.

Lewis pled guilty and was convicted of one count of rape for having sexual intercourse with a child under 14 years of age. The victim testified that Lewis did not force her to do anything and she never told him her age.

Refusal to Appoint New Counsel

"`As a general rule whether the dissatisfaction of an indigent accused with his court-appointed counsel warrants discharge of that counsel and appointment of new counsel is for the trial court, in its discretion, to decide.'" State v. Ferguson, 254 Kan. 62, 69, 864 P.2d 693 (1993) (quoting State v. Banks, 216 Kan. 390, Syl. ¶ 2, 532 P.2d 1058 [1975]). Judicial discretion is abused when judicial action is arbitrary, fanciful, or unreasonable, which is another way of saying that discretion is abused only when no reasonable person would take the view adopted by the trial court. State v. Davidson, 264 Kan. 44, 56, 954 P.2d 702 (1998).

"`As long as the trial court has a reasonable basis for believing the attorney-client relation has not deteriorated to a point where appointed counsel can no longer give effective aid in the fair presentation of a defense, the court is justified in refusing to appoint new counsel.'" 254 Kan. at 70. "The lack of cooperation or communication between defendant and trial counsel does not in and of itself constitute a violation of the Sixth Amendment right to counsel." 254 Kan. at 71. "Irreconcilable conflict between a defendant and his attorney may, under certain circumstances, require

27 Kan. App.2d 136
the appointment of substitute counsel in order to protect a defendant's Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel." State v. Cromwell, 253 Kan. 495, 500, 856 P.2d 1299 (1993)

In State v. Saeger, 13 Kan. App.2d 723, 779 P.2d 37 (1989), this court adopted the factors an appellate court should consider when determining whether the court abused its discretion in denying a defendant's motion to discharge his or her court appointed attorney as set forth in United States v. Gallop, 838 F.2d 105, 108 (4th Cir.), cert. denied 487 U.S. 1211 (1988). The factors include the "timeliness of the motion, adequacy of the trial court's inquiry into defendant's complaint, and whether the attorney-client conflict was so great that it resulted in total lack of communication preventing an adequate defense." 13 Kan. App.2d at 724.

Lewis argues the trial court abused its discretion by denying his request for substitute counsel because a complete breakdown in trust and communication existed between him and his attorney. Lewis contends his requests were timely as he first requested new counsel in December 1996, 7 months before trial. He requested new counsel again in April 1997, and he filed his motion in May 1997, which was still 2 months before trial. He contends these requests could have been granted without any delay or inconvenience to any party. Lewis concedes the court's inquiry into this case was adequate because he was able to tell the judge he had no confidence in his attorney, his attorney was unwilling to fight for him, and he could not stand to be around his attorney. Thus, Lewis concludes he could not receive effective assistance of counsel and the trial court erred in not appointing substitute counsel.

The State argues that although counsel and Lewis disagreed about strategic matters and Lewis did not like him, nothing in the record supports Lewis' claim that these factors prevented him from receiving effective assistance of counsel. The State contends Lewis controlled the course of his case, counsel did everything possible to protect his rights, and counsel was not ineffective in recommending that Lewis enter a plea in light of the strong evidence and lengthy sentence involved. Thus, the State concludes that the court had a reasonable basis for believing the attorney-client relationship

27 Kan. App.2d 137
had not deteriorated to the point where counsel could not effectively represent Lewis

After reviewing this case under the Saeger factors, the State's argument is more persuasive. In Saeger, this court found Saeger's request for new counsel on the morning of trial to be untimely. 13 Kan. App.2d at 725. Clearly, the first factor in this case weighs in Lewis' favor because he made oral motions and filed a written motion months before trial.

The second factor contemplates the adequacy of the trial court's inquiry into Lewis' request for substitute counsel. However, Lewis concedes in his brief that the trial court met the second factor by adequately inquiring into his request for substitute counsel.

The final factor under Saeger is whether the conflict was so great that there was a total lack of communication which prevents an adequate defense. 13 Kan. App.2d at 726. Although Lewis contends he did not have sufficient communication with his counsel, the record does not support this contention. Counsel met with Lewis and kept him constantly apprised of what was happening in his case, and he provided Lewis with copies of all documents pertaining to his case. He relayed all plea offers to him. Communication was not lacking between counsel and Lewis simply because they did not agree on defense strategies. Counsel testified he had to change defense strategies as Lewis would change his version of events. Lewis told the court at the plea hearing he had adequate time to discuss this case with his attorney and he was satisfied with the services of his attorney. Thus, the record shows ample communication between Lewis and his attorney to...

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18 cases
  • Harms v. Cline
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of Kansas
    • June 13, 2014
    ...reviewed on direct appeal and must be raised in post-conviction proceedings under K.S.A. § 60–1507. Id. at 7–8 (citing State v. Lewis, 27 Kan.App.2d 134, 140–42, 998 P.2d 1141 (Kan.Ct.App.) (“[B]ecause the issue is not one that could have been presented on direct appeal, it necessarily is o......
  • Harms v. Cline
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of Kansas
    • June 13, 2014
    ...reviewed on direct appeal and must be raised in post-conviction proceedings under K.S.A. § 60–1507. Id. at 7–8 (citing State v. Lewis, 27 Kan.App.2d 134, 140–42, 998 P.2d 1141 (Kan.Ct.App.) (“[B]ecause the issue is not one that could have been presented on direct appeal, it necessarily is o......
  • State v. Mitchell
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Kansas
    • April 8, 2011
    ...that constitutional challenges to a presumptive guidelines sentence are not cognizable on direct appeal, citing State v. Lewis, 27 Kan.App.2d 134, 140–42, 998 P.2d 1141, rev. denied 269 Kan. 938 (2000). Second, constitutional issues raised for the first time on appeal are not properly befor......
  • Harms v. Cline, 12-3081-SAC
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of Kansas
    • June 13, 2014
    ...reviewed on direct appeal and must be raised in post-conviction proceedings under K.S.A. § 60-1507. Id. at 7-8 (citing State v. Lewis, 27 Kan.App.2d 134, 140-42, 998 P.2d 1141 (Kan.Ct.App.) ("[B]ecause the issue is not one that could have been presented on direct appeal, it necessarily is o......
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