Appeal No. 122,418: State of Kansas v. Justin W. Steinert
Appeal No. 122,418 archived oral argument
Following his convictions for aggravated robbery, contributing to a child's misconduct, distribution of marijuana, and possession of paraphernalia to distribute or manufacture, Steinert appealed his sentence to the Court of Appeals. He also filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence with the Court of Appeals. In support of that motion, Steinert submitted a purported out-of-state journal entry to show his criminal history score was miscalculated. The Court of Appeals denied Steinert's motion, holding that a defendant may file a motion to correct an illegal sentence only in a district court. The panel also determined the document Steinert submitted was not part of the appellate record, so the panel refused to consider it.
In a unanimous decision written by Justice K.J. Wall, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeals. The court held that a defendant may file a motion to correct an illegal sentence in an appellate court while on direct appeal. But the Court did not decide whether Steinert could submit the purported journal entry to an appellate court or whether Steinert was serving an illegal sentence. Instead, the Court determined the Sedgwick County District Court was better positioned to resolve the remaining issues, in part, because there was a factual dispute about whether the document Steinert submitted was, in fact, a journal entry. Thus, it remanded the case to the district court, which has concurrent jurisdiction over illegal-sentence motions under a recent statutory amendment.