State v. Reyna, No. 100,000 (Kan. 6/4/2010), No. 100,000.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Kansas
Writing for the CourtRosen
PartiesSTATE OF KANSAS, <I>Appellee,</I> v. ISRAEL REYNA, <I>Appellant.</I>
Decision Date04 June 2010
Docket NumberNo. 100,000.

Page 1

ISRAEL REYNA, Appellant.
No. 100,000.
Supreme Court of Kansas.
Opinion filed June 4, 2010.

1. When a defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence in a criminal case, the standard of review is whether after reviewing 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.

2. The question of whether a complaint or information is sufficient to give the district court jurisdiction is a question of law over which this court has unlimited review.

3. Under the grand jury provision of the Fifth Amendment and the notice and jury trial provision of the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, any fact other than a prior conviction that increases the maximum penalty for a crime must be charged in an indictment, submitted to a jury, and proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The requirement that such facts be charged in an indictment only applies in federal cases, as the Fifth Amendment's grand jury provision does not apply to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment.

Page 2

4. In analyzing whether an information is sufficient, the court applies one of two tests, depending on when the objection is raised.

5. When a defendant files a motion for arrest of judgment based on a defective information, the pre-Hall standard applies. State v. Hall, 246 Kan. 728, 764-65, 793 P.2d 737 (1990), overruled in part on other grounds Ferguson v. State, 276 Kan. 428, 78 P.3d 40 (2003). Under this standard, an information which omits one or more of the essential elements of the crime it attempts to charge is jurisdictionally and fatally defective, and a conviction based on such an information must be reversed.

6. Under the pre-Hall standard, an information is sufficient if it substantially follows the language of the statute or charges the offense in equivalent words or others of the same import, so long as the defendant is fully informed of the particular offense charged and the court is able to determine under what statute the charge is founded.

7. When a defendant fails to file a motion for arrest of judgment, the applicable test for determining whether the information was sufficient is the test set out in Hall, 246 Kan. at 764-65. Under that test the court looks to whether the claimed defect in the information has: (a) prejudiced the defendant in the preparation of his or her defense; (b) impaired in any way defendant's ability to plead the conviction in any subsequent prosecution; or (c) limited in any way defendant's substantial rights to a fair trial under the guarantees of the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution and the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights, § 10. If a defendant is able to establish a claim under either

Page 3

(a), (b), or (c), the defective information claim, raised for the first time on appeal, will be allowed.

8. Any fact, other than the fact of a prior conviction, that enhances a convicted defendant's sentence beyond the statutory maximum for the crime must be found by a jury, not by a judge. A defendant's right to a jury trial is violated where the judge makes the sentence enhancement factfinding rather than the jury.

9. This court will apply harmless error analysis to the omission of an element from the instructions to the jury.

10. When a reviewing court concludes beyond a reasonable doubt that the omitted element was uncontested and supported by overwhelming evidence, such that the jury verdict would have been the same absent the error, the erroneous instruction is properly found to be harmless.

11. Characterizing the omission of an element from the instructions to the jury as judicial factfinding of the omitted element, when that element enhances the maximum applicable sentence, does not change the harmless error analysis.

12. The admission of expert testimony lies within the sound discretion of the trial court, and its decision will not be overturned absent an abuse of such discretion.

Page 4

13. Despite facially different methods of stating the standard, the basis for the admission of expert testimony is necessity, arising out of the particular circumstances of the case.

14. Testimony from a qualified expert concerning the characteristic behaviors of child victims of sexual assault, including such things as failure to report the abuse immediately, is proper and helpful to the jury and may be introduced to corroborate victim testimony.

15. It is permissible for an expert to testify that, having examined the victim, the expert concluded the victim has symptoms consistent with a child who had been sexually abused.

16. The purpose of voir dire examination is to enable the parties to select jurors who are competent and without bias, prejudice, or partiality. Generally the nature and scope of the voir dire examination is entrusted to the sound discretion of the trial court; however, in determining whether the trial court has taken sufficient measures to assure that the accused is tried by an impartial jury free from outside influences, appellate courts have the duty to make an independent evaluation of the circumstances.

17. 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. If reasonable persons could differ as to the propriety of the action taken by the trial court, then it cannot be said that the trial court abused its discretion.

Page 5

18. The constitutionality of a sentence under the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution and § 9 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights is both a factual and a legal issue and the defendant's failure to raise the issue below and create a factual record sufficient for an appellate court's review precludes review on appeal.

19. The standard of review on the denial of a sentencing departure is abuse of discretion.

Appeal from Saline District Court; DANIEL L. HEBERT, judge. Opinion filed June 4, 2010. Affirmed.

Rachel L. Pickering, of Kansas Appellate Defender Office, argued the cause and was on the brief for appellant.

Amy E. Taylor, assistant county attorney, argued the cause, and Christine Trocheck, assistant county attorney, Ellen Mitchell, county attorney, and Steve Six, attorney general, were on the brief for appellee.

The opinion of the court was delivered by


Israel Reyna appeals from convictions of four counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child under K.S.A. 2006 Supp. 21-3504. He was sentenced to life with no possibility of parole for 25 years pursuant to K.S.A. 2006 Supp. 214-643(a)(C) and (c), commonly known as Jessica's Law. He raises a number of issues on appeal. This court's jurisdiction is under K.S.A. 22-3601(b)(1).

Page 6

In December 2006, Reyna lived in Salina with his ex-wife, Kelly. The two had divorced but later reconciled. Kelly operated a daycare center out of their home. One of the children that she routinely cared for was the 6-year-old daughter, B.B., of her brother, Scott B. B.B. had two brothers. Scott had been seeing a woman named Amber E., who had two children: a girl, 7-year-old A.E., and a boy.

December 22, 2006, was Scott's 30th birthday and Amber had planned a surprise party for him at a Salina establishment called "The Scheme." Kelly wanted to attend the party but had also agreed that Scott's and Amber's children could stay at her house. Amber dropped the children off around 5:30 p.m.

Kelly left for the party around 8 p.m. Reyna decided not to go because most of Kelly's family would be there and his relations with them were strained. Kelly indicated that she did not intend to stay long. Kelly and Reyna's sons, Matt, age 13, and Aaron, age 11, were left in charge of the younger children, with Reyna present as the responsible adult.

While Kelly was gone, Reyna sat in their upstairs bedroom listening to music, watching television, and drinking whiskey and Coke. Aaron mostly stayed in his room, also upstairs near his parents' bedroom. Matt mostly stayed downstairs. The smaller children, A.E., B.B., and the three boys, apparently ran wild throughout the house, wrestling, getting into Kelly's makeup, making tents in the upstairs hallway, watching television, and playing video games with Aaron. A.E. and B.B. also spent some time in Reyna and Kelly's bedroom with Reyna. While Kelly was gone, a friend of hers called and talked to Reyna on the phone for 30 to 45 minutes.

As Kelly was leaving the party, Amber asked her if the children could spend the night at Kelly's so that Amber could continue partying with Scott and friends. Kelly

Page 7

agreed to keep the children. A.E. and B.B. were excited to learn that they would spend the night and slept on the living room couch together.

A.E. returned to school following the holiday break on January 4th. She attended an after-school care program. That afternoon, the supervisor of the program called Amber to come to the school. A.E. had told one of the program adults that Reyna had engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct with her and B.B. Amber called Scott. Scott and Kelly later brought B.B. from Kelly's house to the house where Amber and Scott were living. On the way, Scott asked B.B. if there was anything she needed to tell him. After first confessing that she got in trouble for hitting someone in daycare, she then said that Reyna had touched her "privates."

Reyna was charged with one count of rape or, in the alternative, aggravated indecent liberties with each child. He was also charged with a second count of aggravated indecent liberties with each child. The complaint set out his year of birth, and he testified at trial that he was 37 years of age; however, the complaint did not allege as part of the charges of aggravated...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT