Posts Tagged ‘DUI’

Decision: Moser v. KDoR

September 4, 2009

August 28th. The Kansas Supreme Court has issued its opinion in Moser v. Kansas Department of Revenue (No. 96,734) an appeal from a suspension of a driving license. In a unanimous opinion, written by Justice Lee Johnson, the court held that an administrative appeal against a driving license suspension must be filed within 10 days of the suspension, or be procedurally blocked from further relief.

Brandon Moser was in a car accident and police suspect him of DUI. He refused a breath test. This was not the first time this had happened. Given all this, his license was suspended by the police officer attending the scene, who filled out a form notifying Moser that in 30 days his license would be suspended for 10 years, absent his appealing. Moser did not file an administrative appeal, and outside the 10 day period to do so filed a suit in District Court seeking to overturn his suspension on the grounds that the 10 year suspension was excessively penal.

The District Court heard his motion, because it was filed within 30 days of the suspension notice. The Court found that in this case the 10 day rule did not apply and that a separate 30 day rule did. The Court then rejected Moser’s case on the grounds that he had not used up his administrative remedies.

Moser appealed the latter part, the Department of Revenue appealed the ruling about the 30 day rule applying. The Court of Appeals held that the 10 day rule applied but affirmed the District Court’s ruling that it could not reach the merits of the case. Moser appealed to the Kansas Supreme Court.

The Kansas Supreme Court agreed with the Court of Appeals. It found that the District Court’s ruling that the 30 day appeal period applied was not supportable based on the plain reading of the statute. The 10 day rule is the one which applies. Therefore it found that there was no jurisdiction for the case to be heard in any court and affirmed the lower Courts’ dismissal of Moser’s actions.

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Decision: Rebel v. Kansas Dept. of Revenue

April 4, 2009

March 27th. The Kansas Supreme Court has issued its opinion in Rebel v. Kansas Department of Revenue (No. 98,930), a judicial review of a driving license suspension for DUI. In a unanimous opinion, written by Justice Davis, the court upheld an unpublished opinion of the Court of Appeals which had reversed a District Court decision that the petition for judicial review had been improperly filed. The case was therefore reinstated, and remanded to the District Court for proceedings. Notes: This case was a companion case to Kingsley v. Kansas Dept. of Revenue, and treads essentially the same ground, clarifying an earlier decision about what the requirements are to bring such actions. Robert E. Davis is now the Chief Justice of the Kansas Supreme Court. At the time this case was argued, Kay McFarland was still the Chief Justice.

In October 2005, Derek Rebel was pulled over in Hays for driving erratically. He was tested for alcohol and found to be over the limit, though the test was not based on a valid sample as Rebel refused to complete the test. The police officer testifies that Rebel told him that he had consumed alcohol or drugs and that Rebel failed a field sobriety test. Consequently, Rebel’s driving license was suspended.

Rebel sought an administrative hearing, which affirmed the license suspension. He then sought judicial review and the District Court dismissed his case based on his petition not strictly adhering to the requirements of the statute governing judicial review of agency actions. He appealed to the Court of Appeals which held that he had properly filed his petition. The Department of Revenue appealed to the Kansas Supreme Court.

As in its ruling in Kingsley, the Kansas Supreme Court finds that Rebel did comply with the statute in his petition for judicial review. He demonstrated that he had standing to file the petition through having exhausted the agency actions, and he provided the facts which supported his reasons for believing that he would prevail in Court. [Rebel asserts that he did not complete the test due to a medical condition, and that the paperwork filed by the police was incorrectly completed].

Separately to the argument over whether Rebel’s petition was valid, the Department of Revenue argued that he could not litigate the claim relating to the alleged medical condition since he had not raised it in his administrative agency hearing, because in such cases judicial review is only available for matters raised there. The Court affirms that this is the legal rule but rejects the Department of Revenue’s argument here because the notes from the hearing indicate that the medical condition was mentioned there. A similar situation occurred in the companion case of Kingsley, with the Department of Revenue arguing that a particular issue was not raised in the hearing, when in fact it was. It would seem that ensuring the official record is complete in such hearings is an important step.

Decision: Kingsley v. Kansas Dept. of Revenue

April 1, 2009

March 27th. The Kansas Supreme Court has issued its opinion in Kingsley v. Kansas Department of Revenue (No. 98,301) a judicial review of a driving license suspension for DUI. In a unanimous decision, written by Justice Davis, the court held that both the District Court and the Court of Appeals had wrongly concluded that Joshua Kingsley had not properly filed his petition for judicial review. Kingsley’s case was therefore reinstated and remanded to the District Court for rulings on its merits (which were unaddressed). Note: Robert E. Davis is now the Chief Justice of the Kansas Supreme Court. At the time this case was argued, Kay McFarland was still the Chief Justice.

Joshua Kingsley was pulled over by police in Hays in 2005, driving erratically. He appeared to be drunk, and indeed admitted that he had been drinking, or taking drugs. A breath test revealed that he was above the allowable blood alcohol level. As a result, his driving license was suspended. Subsequently, Kingsley appealed against the suspension, arguing that the preliminary breath test and search of his vehicle had been illegal, depriving him of his due process rights. The Kansas Department of Revenue board which heard his appeal, ruled against him and affirmed the suspension of his driving license. He then filed a petition for judicial review of this decision in District Court. The District Court and the Court of Appeals both ruled that the petition failed to comply with the requirements of the statute which lays down this procedure, because it did not provide sufficient information about the appeal. These decisions were based on a previous Kansas Supreme Court decision which had held that jurisdiction was only granted to the courts for the judicial review process for appealing agency administrative decisions by correctly and carefully complying with the requirements set out in the statute. That case was Bruch v. Kansas Dept. of Revenue (2006).

In this case the Kansas Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals and District Court, clarifying its Bruch decision to make it clear that while the jurisdictional rules still apply, the lower courts in this case had been too swift to rule that Kingsley’s brief petition for judicial review had not met the requirements of the statute. The opinion demonstrates that Kingsley met the twin burdens under Bruch of showing that he was able to seek a judicial review of an agency decision and of stating the facts he sought to have reviewed. He met the former by being subject to the decision and having exhausted the administrative appeals process. He met the latter with his brief assertion that the DUI stop had been in breach of the fourth amendment. The Court carefully noted that the statute merely requires a statement of facts supporting the petition for review, not a legal argument as had been implied by the lower court decisions.

Kingsley’s case was therefore sent back to the District Court for further action. He is unlikely to be successful however, since while this case has been through the court system testing procedural issues the Kansas Supreme Court ruled in Martin v. Kansas Department of Revenue (2008) that held that the exclusionary rule does not apply to appeals of driving license suspensions.