State v. Murray, 110,214.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Kansas
Writing for the CourtThe opinion of the court was delivered by LUCKERT, J.
Citation302 Kan. 478,353 P.3d 1158
Decision Date31 July 2015
Docket Number110,214.
PartiesSTATE of Kansas, Appellee, v. Randall A. MURRAY, Appellant.

302 Kan. 478
353 P.3d 1158

STATE of Kansas, Appellee
v.
Randall A. MURRAY, Appellant.

110,214.

Supreme Court of Kansas.

July 31, 2015.


Gerald E. Wells, of Jerry Wells Attorney–at–Law, of Lawrence, argued the cause and was on the brief for appellant.

Jerome A. Gorman, district attorney, argued the cause, and Derek Schmidt, attorney general, was with him on the brief for appellee.

Opinion

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

In State v. Murray, 293 Kan. 1051, 271 P.3d 739 (2012) (Murray I ), we remanded this case for a determination of Randall A. Murray's motion to correct an illegal sentence. In his

302 Kan. 479

motion, he argued the district court lacked jurisdiction to convict him because it failed to suspend proceedings after ordering a competency examination in the underlying criminal case. On remand, the district court determined: (1) a competency hearing had not been conducted; (2) a retrospective competency hearing was feasible; and (3) Murray had been competent when tried and convicted. Murray now argues the district court on remand exceeded this court's mandate and, alternatively, that the district court erred in determining the retrospective competency hearing was feasible.

Facts and Procedural History

The State charged Murray in February 1983 with felony murder and aggravated robbery for holding up a gas station and shooting the cashier. Prior to trial, Murray filed a motion to determine competency. Under K.S.A. 22–3302(1), proceedings “shall be suspended and a hearing conducted to determine the competency of the defendant” when “the judge before whom the case is pending finds that there is reason to believe that the defendant is incompetent to stand trial.” The district court found “good cause” to grant Murray's motion the same day it was filed, and the court ordered Dr. William Reese to examine Murray. But in Murray's case, while Dr. Reese performed a competency evaluation, the record does not reflect that the district court conducted the statutorily mandated competency hearing. Nevertheless, the case proceeded to trial where a jury convicted Murray on May 25, 1983, of felony murder and aggravated robbery. Murray received a life sentence for murder and a consecutive sentence of 15 years to life for aggravated robbery.

After an unsuccessful direct appeal and a number of unsuccessful collateral challenges,

353 P.3d 1160

Murray filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence in 2009. He argued the district court's failure to conduct a competency hearing deprived it of jurisdiction to convict and sentence him. The district court summarily dismissed his motion, and Murray appealed to this court.

On appeal, this court held a district court loses jurisdiction if it proceeds without a competency evaluation and hearing when statutorily mandated. Murray I, 293 Kan. at 1054, 271 P.3d 739 ; see

302 Kan. 480

State v. Davis, 281 Kan. 169, 180, 130 P.3d 69 (2006). Since Murray alleged that was what occurred in his case, this court remanded

“to determine whether his factual assertion that he never received a competency hearing is accurate. Significantly, the State has not argued otherwise so far. On remand, in order to effectively contest Murray's assertion (and presumably his willingness to take the stand and swear that his assertion is the truth), the State must come forward with evidence to fill in the gaps in the reconstructed record to show that a competency hearing occurred. If the district court determines that Murray did not, in fact, receive a competency hearing under K.S.A. 22–3302(1), then the statute and our holding in Davis will compel it to grant relief.” Murray I, 293 Kan. at 1055, 271 P.3d 739.

On remand, the district court conducted an evidentiary hearing. The hearing included the testimony of Dr. Reese, the prosecutor, Murray's attorney, and Murray.

Dr. Reese indicated he had no memory of his examination of Murray, so he had little to add beyond his report. He read his report to the court into the record:

“[O]n March 28, ... 1983, I concluded my initial evaluation appraisal of Randall Murray. It is my observation that Randall Murray does not warrant further evaluation. I am satisfied he is competent to stand trial. I'm aware he has certain emotional liabilities; however, he sufficiently understands and comprehends the charges against him ..., the need to communicate with his attorney ..., and the consequences of his behavior.... I do not recommend further evaluation at this time.... [I]f I can be of further assistance, please don't hesitate to contact me.”

The Wyandotte County Assistant District Attorney who prosecuted Murray also indicated he could not specifically remember Murray's proceedings. Based on his files and the court record, he testified that he had agreed to the district court's order to determine competency and that he had received Dr. Reese's evaluation. He also testified that the preliminary hearing had been originally scheduled for March 15, 1983, but was continued to allow time for Dr. Reese's evaluation. Murray's preliminary hearing occurred on March 29, 1983, which was the day after receipt of Dr. Reese's evaluation. The attorney testified, however, that there was no competency hearing as required by K.S.A. 22–3302(1) ; if it had occurred, he believed the docket sheet or other notes in the record would have reflected it.

302 Kan. 481

Carl Cornwell, Murray's defense attorney, also testified that he could not remember many details of Murray's case. He recognized his motion to determine competency, and he testified that he must have observed something leading him to question whether Murray was “hitting on all cylinders.” While he found no evidence of a competency hearing in the record, he conceded that he had received Dr. Reese's report and apparently chose not to challenge it. Cornwell also testified he allowed the preliminary hearing to proceed the next day without seeking a second continuance and also counseled Murray through a plea in a parallel case—circumstances he would not have allowed if he had any concern about Murray's competence.

Murray testified that he remembered Dr. Reese's interview, which he estimated lasted only 5 or 15 minutes. Murray explained that he felt he had some “psychological problems” when he was younger. He also believed he had suffered a head injury the day before his arrest; he indicated this had caused him to lose his memory from one minute to the next. Further, he reported that he felt Cornwell was “out to get [him].”

After arguments from counsel, the district court took Murray's motion to correct an illegal sentence under advisement and later

353 P.3d 1161

issued a written order. The district court first found no evidence that Murray had received a competency hearing as required by K.S.A. 22–3302(1). Nevertheless, the district court concluded that it was feasible to retrospectively determine Murray's competence given the availability of contemporaneous medical evidence and the testimony of the witnesses. Finally, the district court found that Murray was competent to stand trial in 1983. The district court denied Murray's motion to correct an illegal sentence.

Murray timely appealed the denial to this court, and we have jurisdiction under K.S.A.2014 Supp. 22–3601(b)(3) (permitting direct appeal to supreme court when life imprisonment imposed).

Analysis

Before discussing the issues raised by Murray, we must discuss the procedural mechanism for Murray's claim—a motion to correct an illegal sentence—in light of our holding in

302 Kan. 482

State v. Ford, ––– Kan. ––––, 353 P.3d 1143, 2015 WL 4598831 (No, 109,806, this day decided). Ford, like Murray, alleged the district court lacked jurisdiction to convict him because he had been convicted without compliance with K.S.A. 22–3302. Both Ford and Murray relied on Davis, 281 Kan. at 174–75, 130 P.3d 69, in which this court allowed a motion to correct an illegal sentence to serve as the potential vehicle for reversing a conviction entered after a district court failed to follow the requirements of K.S.A. 22–3302. Ford also relied on Murray I, which followed Davis and recognized the appropriateness of using a motion to correct an illegal sentence in Murray's case.

Today, however, in Ford we have disapproved that part of the Davis and Murray I decisions that hold a failure to comply with K.S.A. 22–3302 is jurisdictional—which forecloses a motion to correct an illegal sentence as a mechanism for correcting a procedural competency error. Ford, ––– Kan. at ––––, 353 P.3d 1143, slip op. at 16. Nevertheless, in Murray I, we validated Murray's use of a motion to correct an illegal sentence; that holding is the law of his case, and the parties have not asked us to reexamine that holding. See State v. Collier, 263 Kan. 629, 631, 952 P.2d 1326 (1998) (discussing law of the case doctrine). Therefore, we will consider the merits of his appeal.

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19 practice notes
  • State v. Ford, 109,806.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Kansas
    • 31 Julio 2015
    ...because today we are also filing a decision arising from Murray's motion to correct an illegal sentence. State v. Murray, ––– Kan. ––––, 353 P.3d 1158, 2015 WL 4598833 (2015) (No. 110,214, this day decided) (Murray II ). Murray's current appeal arises from district court proceedings conduct......
  • State v. Williams, No. 108,394
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Kansas
    • 30 Noviembre 2018
    ...sound despite a lack of supporting authority or in the face of contrary authority is like failing to brief the issue. See State v. Murray, 302 Kan. 478, 486, 353 P.3d 1158 (2015). More significantly, the aggravated burglary statute does not require the State to prove (or disprove) a burglar......
  • State v. Cheever, No. 99,988
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Kansas
    • 20 Julio 2017
    ...v. Sprague, 303 Kan. 418, 425, 362 P.3d 828 (2015) (point raised incidentally but not argued also deemed abandoned); State v. Murray, 302 Kan. 478, 486, 353 P.3d 1158 (2015) (failure to support a point with pertinent authority akin to failing to brief the issue). Pointedly, the majority fai......
  • State v. Cheever, No. 99,988.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Kansas
    • 22 Julio 2016
    ...v. Sprague , 303 Kan. 418, 425, 362 P.3d 828 (2015) (point raised incidentally but not argued also deemed abandoned); State v. Murray , 302 Kan. 478, 486, 353 P.3d 1158 (2015) (failure to support a point with pertinent authority akin to failing to brief the issue). Pointedly, the majority f......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
19 cases
  • State v. Ford, 109,806.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Kansas
    • 31 Julio 2015
    ...because today we are also filing a decision arising from Murray's motion to correct an illegal sentence. State v. Murray, ––– Kan. ––––, 353 P.3d 1158, 2015 WL 4598833 (2015) (No. 110,214, this day decided) (Murray II ). Murray's current appeal arises from district court proceedings conduct......
  • State v. Williams, No. 108,394
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Kansas
    • 30 Noviembre 2018
    ...sound despite a lack of supporting authority or in the face of contrary authority is like failing to brief the issue. See State v. Murray, 302 Kan. 478, 486, 353 P.3d 1158 (2015). More significantly, the aggravated burglary statute does not require the State to prove (or disprove) a burglar......
  • State v. Cheever, No. 99,988
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Kansas
    • 20 Julio 2017
    ...v. Sprague, 303 Kan. 418, 425, 362 P.3d 828 (2015) (point raised incidentally but not argued also deemed abandoned); State v. Murray, 302 Kan. 478, 486, 353 P.3d 1158 (2015) (failure to support a point with pertinent authority akin to failing to brief the issue). Pointedly, the majority fai......
  • State v. Cheever, No. 99,988.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Kansas
    • 22 Julio 2016
    ...v. Sprague , 303 Kan. 418, 425, 362 P.3d 828 (2015) (point raised incidentally but not argued also deemed abandoned); State v. Murray , 302 Kan. 478, 486, 353 P.3d 1158 (2015) (failure to support a point with pertinent authority akin to failing to brief the issue). Pointedly, the majority f......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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