State v. Shockley

Decision Date10 September 2021
Docket NumberNo. 117,216,117,216
Citation494 P.3d 832
CourtKansas Supreme Court
Parties STATE of Kansas, Appellee, v. Bruce T. SHOCKLEY, Appellant.

Randall L. Hodgkinson, of Kansas Appellate Defender Office, Topeka, KS, argued the cause, and Sam Schirer, of the same office, was with him on the briefs for appellant.

Daniel G. Obermeier, assistant district attorney, argued the cause, and Lois Malin, assistant district attorney, and Derek Schmidt, attorney general, Topeka, KS, were with him on the brief for appellee.

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

Bruce T. Shockley was convicted of felony murder, criminal discharge of a firearm, and criminal possession of a firearm. As a result, he received a hard 25 life sentence consecutive to 216 months in prison. Shockley now appeals on theories of speedy trial violations and insufficient evidence. Finding no error, we affirm his convictions.


Shockley was arrested and charged with his crimes after driving by and firing shots indiscriminately into his ex-girlfriend's house, killing her father. The drive-by occurred after Shockley's ex, Rachel Smith, reported his domestic abuse to law enforcement, prompting Shockley to confront and threaten Smith by text message. Three people riding in the vehicle with Shockley at the time of the shooting would later testify against him at trial.

This case was filed on December 22, 2014, and Shockley was arrested on warrant the next day, when he also had his first appearance. Shockley's preliminary hearing was held February 20, 2015 after which he waived arraignment. A jury trial was then scheduled for June 15, 2015.

Before that trial could happen, Shockley's first attorney was permitted to withdraw. Appearing at a status conference on May 8, 2015, Shockley moved for a continuance of the jury trial because his new counsel needed more time to prepare for trial. The following exchange is from that status conference:

"[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: Thank you, Judge. Judge, the record probably reflects that I have only very recently entered my appearance in the case. ...
"I understand, first of all, that there's a problem with the trial date as that is the judicial conference week; so it could not proceed to trial that week nonetheless, but I have just received from the State the discovery. It's voluminous. ...
"So we're going to have to request to continue the [June] trial date. I've explained to my client that if he wants me to be adequately prepared, it will take some time past [June] that will necessitate him waiving his speedy trial to make that happen.
"THE COURT: Please stand, sir. Do you understand what your right to a speedy trial is?
"MR. SHOCKLEY: Yes, Your Honor.
"THE COURT: And you've discussed that with your attorney?
"MR. SHOCKLEY: Yes, Your Honor.
"THE COURT: Do you have any questions about that right for either the Court or your attorney?
"MR. SHOCKLEY: No, Your Honor.
"THE COURT: And it's your intention to waive that right here today?
"MR. SHOCKLEY: Yes, sir.
"THE COURT: Please be seated. Thank you. [Prosecutor]?
"[PROSECUTOR]: Judge, I've talked to [Defense Counsel] about this, and I concur with him. The evidence in this case is quite voluminous. It's two very large three-ring binders, and so I can understand why it would take him some time to go through that. Given that, and given the defendant's waiver of that speedy trial, the State's not objecting to it.
"THE COURT: Very well. Your motion will be granted for good cause shown, and the Court accepts your client's waiver of his right to a speedy trial.
"Before you leave, get a new trial date, and set it out far enough in advance so that you will have adequate time to prepare.
"[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: Yes, sir, Thank you.
"THE COURT: If nothing further, we will be adjourned."

After the hearing and off the record, a new trial date was set to begin September 28, 2015.

On September 24, 2015, the district court held a motion hearing, which included the State's request for a continuance of the jury trial because one of the lead detectives (and an anticipated Jackson v. Denno hearing witness) was having medical issues. After discussing the detective's medical issues, the State continued:

"[PROSECUTOR]: So, given all of that—we do believe she's gonna be available after the surgery, so I don't think there's any issue there. The defendant did prior waive his speedy trial, so there's no speedy trial issues here either.
"... So, given those reasons, Judge, the State is asking to continue the trial.
"THE COURT: Yes, sir.
"[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: Judge, I submit the state has failed to meet the threshold requirement for a motion to continue. [Prosecutor] indicated there are two detectives in this case, Mansaw and Detective Lynn, and I submit my review of the discovery would indicate that Detective Mansaw could testify essentially to anything that Detective Lynn would testify to and could lay a foundation for my client's statement. So, for those reasons, I submit that the State does not have evidence that is unavailable under—as it's defined by the statute[,] and I would ask the Court to deny his motion to continue.
"THE COURT: Well, based on the allegations of the district attorney, I'm gonna grant his motion for good cause shown. [Prosecutor] does not lightly ask for continuances in this Court, at least that has been my experience.
"[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: (Nodding head up and down.)
"THE COURT: That being the case, I'm granting the motion for good cause shown over the objection of the defendant. And, before you leave, I'd like you to get a new motion hearing date and a new trial date." (Emphasis added.)

Sometime after this hearing, trial was apparently scheduled to begin January 11, 2016. We only know that, however, because of later references in the record and a notation on a docket sheet that indicates the trial was again continued—this time by the court without hearing—to May 9, 2016.

On May 5, 2016, Shockley filed a motion asserting a violation of his statutory right to a speedy trial. On May 6, 2016—three days before the scheduled trial—the district court held a hearing on the motion, which it ultimately denied. During that hearing, defense counsel attempted to have the district court clarify and make rulings on several points, including whether Shockley's waiver on May 8, 2015, was unconditional; if so, whether Shockley's objection to trial continuance on September 24, 2015, reasserted his speedy trial rights; which delays were attributable to whom; and whether Shockley acquiesced to the court's delay. Shockley validly asserted that he was questioning the court because he had the responsibility to create a record which could be reviewed on appeal. See State v. Espinoza , 311 Kan. 435, 436, 462 P.3d 159 (2020) ("the defendant bears the responsibility of ensuring that the district court makes adequate factual findings").

It appears from the record that some—but clearly not all—transcripts from the earlier hearings were available to the court at the May 2016 motion hearing. With only three days left before trial, the defense did not want to risk another continuance for the rest of the transcripts to be produced for the court's review. Consequently, the motion hearing proceeded without all the transcripts from the hearings of May 8, 2015, and September 24, 2015.

No additional evidence was presented at the May 6, 2016 motion hearing. After arguments from both counsel, the following exchange occurred:

"THE COURT: Well, based upon what is before me today, and that does not include transcripts of every hearing and, in fact, I suspect there are no transcripts for at least one of the hearings that I know of, the problem that the defense has, in the Court's opinion, is parties do agree to continuances—
"[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: (Nodding head up and down.)
"THE COURT: —and it's a fact and it makes the system work. If there is any problem with a continuance or an agreement to continue, then the defendant and/or the State must make a record and specify an objection. I can find none of those other than the one instance where it was continued over the objection of the defendant and then parties agreed on a new trial date. Is a defendant's waiver of his right to a speedy trial a blanket and unconditional waiver of those rights? I don't think so. But I think in a reasonable sense and in a practical sense, it is a waiver and it is unconditional unless there is specificity referred. There is none.
"Certainly I don't believe based upon the information in front of the Court that there's been a statutory violation of your client's right to a speedy trial and based upon the case law and also the Court's own practical observations of speedy trial issues, I certainly do not believe that his Constitutional rights to a speedy trial have been violated. Now, you can accept this Court's ruling or you can ask to have all of the transcripts that were made typed up and made available to this Court for review and I will certainly review the same, but this is the Friday before a trial and that's entirely up to the defendant.
"[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: Couple things, Judge, if I may.
"[DEFENSE COUNSEL]: Okay. Thank you. First of all, as you indicated, there was not a transcript—there would not be a transcript from the January 2016 hearing because there was no hearing. So there would be no point in seeking that transcript. The next issue would be is there—well, there would be a transcript from September of 2015. I can say to you with the highest degree of certainty, Judge, that at that point in time, I would not have used some magic words like we are now reasserting my client's speedy trial rights. We objected, said that we were ready to proceed. And so did I say some magic words like that? I highly doubt it and—but I'm gonna ask the Court, if you will indulge me for just a moment, and this is the problem that ... I've run into in other cases, Judge, and it is I don't make an adequate record here so that I can get perhaps a

To continue reading

Request your trial
6 cases
  • State v. Kellner
    • United States
    • Kansas Court of Appeals
    • January 19, 2024
    ... ... defendant to determine whether the State violated a ... defendant's constitutional right to a speedy trial ... Barker v. Wingo , 407 U.S. 514, 530, 92 S.Ct. 2182, ... 33 L.Ed.2d 101 (1972); State v. Shockley , 314 Kan ... 46, 62, 494 P.3d 832 (2021). These factors are considered and ... weighed against one another, and no one factor is ... controlling. State v. Weaver , 276 Kan. 504, 506, 78 ... P.3d 397 (2003) ...           Length ... of Delay ... ...
  • State v. Campbell
    • United States
    • Kansas Court of Appeals
    • March 11, 2022
    ... ... Kansas. A conditional waiver has been addressed in the ... context of waiver of a speedy trial right to the effect that ... apparently a waiver can be subject to conditions as long as ... those conditions are explicitly stated. See State v ... Shockley , 314 Kan. 46, 55-56, 494 P.3d 832 (2021) ... ("If the defendant chooses to waive his speedy trial ... rights and does not otherwise say so, we must presume the ... waiver is unconditional.") ... A ... somewhat similar situation seemingly analogous to the ... ...
  • State v. Ford, 122,764
    • United States
    • Kansas Supreme Court
    • November 10, 2022
    ...have unlimited review when deciding if the State has violated a defendant's constitutional right to a speedy trial." State v. Shockley , 314 Kan. 46, 61, 494 P.3d 832 (2021). The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides: " ‘In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall e......
  • State v. Galloway
    • United States
    • Kansas Supreme Court
    • October 14, 2022
    ...See Galloway , 311 Kan. at 246, 459 P.3d 195.Galloway offers no basis for us to reweigh those determinations. See State v. Shockley , 314 Kan. 46, 53, 494 P.3d 832 (2021) ("An appellate court does not reweigh conflicting evidence, evaluate witness credibility, or determine questions of fact......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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