January 30th. The Kansas Supreme Court has issued its decision in State v. Davis (No. 99,665), a motion to correct an illegal sentence. In a brief, unanimous, opinion, written by Justice Davis the Court rejected Mitchell Davis’s argument that the enactment of the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines in 1993 changed his parole date eligibility for crimes he committed in 1992. Note: Robert Davis is now the Chief Justice of the Kansas Supreme Court. This case was argued when former Chief Justice, Kay McFarland was still a member of the Court. McFarland herself was recused from the case. Her place was taken by Judge Christel Marquardt of the Court of Appeals.
Mitchell Davis was convicted in 1992 of a variety of crimes, up to and including attempted first-degree murder. He was sentenced to forty years to life imprisonment, with eligibility for parole after 20 years. In 1993, Kansas enacted the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines Act. Under this regime, Davis would have received a lighter sentence. Davis contended that his parole eligibility must be recalculated based on this amendment to the law. The Court dismissed this argument entirely, noting that the relevant part of the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines Act by its own language only applies to felony cases for crimes committed on or after July 1, 1993. Davis’ crimes were committed before that, and therefore his parole eligibility is governed by the law in place at the time of his conviction.