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Litigating The Non-Capital Sentencing Hearing At Trial.

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Presentation on theme: "Litigating The Non-Capital Sentencing Hearing At Trial."— Presentation transcript:

1 Litigating The Non-Capital Sentencing Hearing At Trial

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5  Lowest point in trial  You don’t want to be there  You will be there 5

6  Statutes  Pretrial Preparation  Motion Practice  Trial Strategy 6

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8  KRS – Truth-In-Sentencing  KRS – Persistent Felony Offender  KRS – Parole Eligibility  KRS Violent Offender 8

9 Truth-In-Sentencing Statute 9

10  Procedurally – Establishes the framework for a non-capital sentencing hearing  Substantively – Defines what evidence is admissible in sentencing hearing 10

11 Upon return of a verdict of guilty or guilty but mentally ill against a defendant, the court shall conduct a sentencing hearing before the jury, if such case was tried before a jury. In the hearing the jury will determine the punishment to be imposed within the range provided elsewhere by law. The jury shall recommend whether the sentences shall be served concurrently or consecutively. KRS (2) 11

12 Upon conclusion of the proof, the court shall instruct the jury on the range of punishment and counsel for the defendant may present arguments followed by the counsel for the Commonwealth. The jury shall then retire and recommend a sentence for the defendant. KRS (2)(b) 12

13  Minimum parole eligibility  Prior convictions (both felony and misdemeanor)  Nature of prior offenses  Date of commission, sentencing and date of release from confinement or supervision from all prior offenses  Maximum expiration of sentences for all current and prior offenses 13

14  Defendant’s status on probation, parole, postincarceration supervision, conditional discharge, or any other form of legal release  Juvenile felony adjudications of guilt  Victim impact evidence, including physical, psychological, or financial harm 14

15  The defendant may introduce evidence in mitigation or in support of leniency. 15

16  Parole violations ◦ Garrison v. Com., 338 S.W.3d 257 (Ky. 2011)  Statutory good time ◦ Com. v. Higgs, 59 S.W.3d 886 (Ky.2001)  Credit time served ◦ Cornelison v. Com., 990 S.W.2d 609 (Ky. 1999)  On the horizon ◦ Probation violations ◦ Educational Credits ◦ Street credit 16

17  Parole statistics ◦ Young v. Com., 129 S.W.3d 343 (Ky. 2004) 17

18 Persistent Felony Offender Statute 18

19  Kentucky’s recidivist statute  PFO proceeding combined with TIS hearing  PFO is a status, not an offense  Each element must be proven by CW beyond a reasonable doubt  PFO status affects ◦ Length of sentence ◦ Probation eligibility ◦ Parole eligibility 19

20 Parole Eligibility Statutes 20

21  These statutes establish baseline parole eligibilities  Range from 15% for Class D felons to 85% for Violent Offenders  20% parole eligibility is via regulation, not in statute  Multiple exceptions throughout 21

22 Particular Issues 22

23 The Defense Case: Mitigation 23

24 “The defendant may introduce evidence in mitigation or in support of leniency.” 24

25 Defense counsel should conduct a prompt investigation of the circumstances of the case and explore all avenues leading to facts relevant to the merits of the case and the penalty in the event of conviction. ABA Criminal Justice Standards: Defense Function

26  Background issues – Challenges in Defendant’s life ◦ Retarded/learning disabled ◦ Mental illness ◦ Raised in poverty; neglect ◦ Abusive upbringing ◦ Single parent household ◦ Substance abuse history for defendant or in family ◦ Lack of education 26

27  Background issues – Strengths in Defendant’s life ◦ Lack of prior record ◦ Did well in school, athletics, etc. ◦ Family, community support ◦ Good employment history ◦ Supports family, dependents ◦ Loving parent ◦ Military service ◦ Particular good deeds ◦ Good institutional record 27

28  Short  Simple  Evocative  Emotional 28

29  Prison conditions  Lack of programs  Classification into county jail for entirety of sentence  Get a witness 29

30  Are potential rewards ◦ Humanizing ◦ Expression of remorse  Potential risks ◦ Cross examination ◦ Opening door  Did your client testify before? Anything new to add? 30

31 Convictions 31

32  Judgment must be final ◦ Not pending on appeal ◦ Time to perfect appeal must have run  Collateral attack will not render conviction inadmissible unless discretionary review has been granted ◦ Pending RCr ◦ Pending CR  Melson v. Com. 772 S.W.2d 631 (Ky. 1989). 32

33  Judgment not final  Dismissed or merged charges – ◦ Robinson v. Com., 926 S.W.2d 853 (Ky.1996)  Original charges subsequently amended ◦ Blane v. Com., 364 S.W.3d 140 (Ky. 2012) ◦ Chavies v. Com., 354 S.W.3d 103 (Ky.2011)  Diverted sentences  EPO’s  DVO’s  CPS reports/findings 33

34 Q – Is the conviction “prior” if it did not occur until after commission of the present offense? A - Can be used for TIS if both offense and prior conviction in question occurred prior to trial of present crime. Logan v. Com., 785 S.W. 2d 497 (Ky.App. 1989). 34

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36 Q - What if a prior conviction was pending on appeal and was erroneously introduced during TIS phase, but it was subsequently affirmed on appeal? A – Harmless error. Melson v. Com. 772 S.W.2d 631 (Ky. 1989). 36

37 Unlike PFO, no time limits as to either misdemeanors or felonies 37

38 Discovery Issues 38

39  Court documents are public records; as available to defense as to Commonwealth  Defendant is aware of his own criminal record 39

40 Pursuant to the trial court's order, Appellant was entitled to production of the theft by deception conviction before her trial began. We reject the Commonwealth's assertion that no error occurred because Appellant was aware of her prior conviction. We have stated that the premise underlying RCr 7.24 is not only to inform the defendant of her prior convictions (of which she should be aware), but to inform her that the Commonwealth has knowledge thereof. Baumia v. Com., 402 S.W.3d 530, (Ky. 2013) 40

41 That in the event that defendant is convicted of the charges alleged here, pursuant to KRS , defendant be entitled to inspect and copy all documents which would be used to establish any prior conviction to be introduced under KRS In addition, defendant is entitled to evidence which the Commonwealth intends to introduce regarding minimum parole eligibility, the nature of prior offenses for which defendant was convicted, the court, docket number and date of any prior conviction, the date of the commission, date of sentencing, and date of release from confinement or supervision from all prior offenses, the maximum expiration of sentence as determined by the Commonwealth for all such current and prior offenses, and defendant's statutes if on probation, parole, conditional discharge, or any other form of legal release. Because KRS gives the defendant the right to introduce evidence in mitigation, defendant also moves for any exculpatory evidence, including whether the charges for which the defendant has been previously convicted differ in any way from the crimes originally charged, all evidence of an exculpatory nature in relation to the original charges, all evidence of any specific treatment received by defendant during prior incarceration concerning mental or emotional problems, and any indication that any prior pleas of guilty were entered without counsel or full advisement of all constitutional rights. 8 Ky. Prac. Crim. Prac. & Proc. § 21:45 (5th ed.) 41

42  File Motion To Compel Discovery  File Motions In Limine  File Motions To Exclude 42

43 Introduction of Prior Court Records 43

44  The entire record  Indictment  Plea sheets  Probation revocation documents  Judgments 44

45  Courtnet not admissible ◦ Finnell v. Com., 295 S.W.3d 829 (Ky. 2009)  Uncertified records not admissible ◦ Robinson v. Com., 926 S.W.2d 853 (Ky. 1996) 45

46 “The records and judicial proceedings of any court of any state, attested by the clerk thereof in due form, with the seal of the court annexed if there be a seal, and certified by the judge, chief justice or presiding magistrate of the court, shall have the same faith and credit given to them in this state as they would at the place from which the records come….” KRS

47  Irrelevant  Prejudicial  Contain hearsay  Have potential to confuse jury 47

48 Exclude  Dismissed charges  Original charges prior to amendment  Plea sheets  Discovery  Motions Redact  Judgments  Shock probation orders  Revocation documents 48

49  The PFO Statute – KRS ; or  The TIS Statute – KRS

50  PFO ◦ Defendant’s age ◦ Length of prior terms ◦ Dates of prior convictions; release from prison, probation, etc. ◦ Status of defendant at time of commission of new offense  TIS ◦ Minimum parole eligibility ◦ Prior convictions (felony and misdemeanor) ◦ Nature of prior offenses (elements only) ◦ Date of commission of prior offenses ◦ Date of sentencing of prior offenses ◦ Date of release from confinement or supervision from prior offenses ◦ Maximum expiration of sentences (current and priors) ◦ Defendant’s status if on probation, parole, etc. ◦ Adjudications of guilt for felonies in juvenile court 50

51 A document (or testimony derived from it) is inadmissible unless it proves an statutory element on the checklist and only proves a statutory element on the checklist. 51

52 Nature of prior offenses 52

53 “The nature of prior offenses for which [defendant] was convicted” is admissible. See KRS (2)(a)(2) 53

54 “The nature of a prior conviction is closely akin, if not identical to, the definition of prior conviction.” “(E)vidence of prior convictions is limited to conveying to the jury the elements of the crimes previously committed.” Mullikan v. Commonwealth, 341 S.W.3d 99 (Ky.2011) 54

55 We suggest this be done either by a reading of the instruction of such crime from an acceptable form book or directly from the Kentucky Revised Statute itself.” Mullikan v. Commonwealth, 341 S.W.3d 107 (Ky.2011) 55

56 “[R]ecitation [of the elements] for the jury’s benefit... is best left to the judge. The description of the elements of the prior offense may need to be customized to fit the particulars of the crime, i.e., the burglary was of a building as opposed to a dwelling. The trial court should avoid identifiers, such as naming of victims, which might trigger memories of jurors who may – especially in rural areas – have prior knowledge about the crimes.” Mullikan v. Commonwealth, 341 S.W.3d 109 (Ky.2011) 56

57 “[T]he first and preferred method of introducing this evidence is for the judge to recite the elements of the prior crimes to the jury. The concern in allowing the prosecutor to read the judgments into the record is that the roles of advocate and witness become blurred.” Webb v. Com., 387 S.W.3d 319 (Ky. 2012). 57

58  No details of prior crimes ◦ Name of victim ◦ Status of victim ◦ Type of weapon  Be particularly sensitive to this issue where prior conviction had sympathetic victims, salacious, etc.  May be greatest danger on misdemeanors where charging document is arrest slip 58

59 Under Mullikan and Webb, insist that the Court read the elements of the offense to the jury, not the prosecutor. 59

60  Prior conviction where judgment is otherwise final is admissible  Hot issues for collateral attack ◦ Farreta issues ◦ Collateral consequences 60

61 61

62 “The impact of a crime upon the victim or victims, as defined in KRS , including a description of the nature and extent of any physical, psychological, or financial harm suffered by the victim or victims” may be offered by the Commonwealth relative to sentencing. KRS (2)(a)(7) 62

63 “[V]ictim” means an individual who suffers direct or threatened physical, financial, or emotional harm as a result of the commission of a crime classified as stalking, unlawful imprisonment, use of a minor in a sexual performance, unlawful transaction with a minor in the first degree, terroristic threatening, menacing, harassing communications, intimidating a witness, criminal homicide, robbery, rape, assault, sodomy, kidnapping, burglary in the first or second degree, sexual abuse, wanton endangerment, criminal abuse, human trafficking, or incest. If the victim is a minor or legally incapacitated, “victim” means a parent, guardian, custodian or court- appointed special advocate. 63

64  Theft  CPFI  Receiving Stolen Property  Arson  Burglary Third  Sexual Misconduct  Witness Tampering  Bribery  Perjury 64

65  In Brand v. Com., 939 S.W.2d 358 (Ky. App. 1997) Ct of App. held that victim impact testimony from Burg. 3 rd was admissible  BUT, Brand not a TIS case; it involved judge sentencing upon a guilty plea not even mentioned. 65

66  Spouse  Adult child  Parent  Sibling  Grandparent 66

67  Girlfriends/boyfriends  Fiancées  Roommates  Friends  Aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.  Teachers  Coaches  McGuire v. Com., 368 S.W.3d 100 (Ky. 2012) 67

68  Harm must be “direct”  File appropriate Motions In Limine 68

69  Not cumulative  No opinions/recommendations regarding punishment  No description as to effects of crime on others  No description of indirect effects of crime  Cannot directly address the defendant 69

70 Cross Examination 70

71  Documentary – Judgments, ages, dates of conviction, etc. Usually court clerk, CW paralegal  Based in statute/regulation – Parole eligibility, credits, etc. Usually Probation and Parole Officer  Victim impact 71

72  Maximize penalties client facing  Reduce discretion of court or parole board  Reduce likelihood of parole  Any credits, reductions, etc. contingent on defendant working for them 72

73  Parole eligibility  Credit  Concurrent/consecutive  Cross on their mistakes, BUT ONLY IF THE MISTAKES HURT YOU 73

74  Was not a crime(s) of violence  Defendant young when occurred  Offenses arose out of one transaction  Priors show underlying substance abuse issue  Extended periods between offenses  If on probation/parole: ◦ Successfully completed supervision ◦ Violations were technical/not for new crimes 74

75  Eligibility does not mean release  85% means 85%  Poor institutional record hurts chances for release  If released, will be on supervision  New conviction will have to run consecutive to prior sentences  Prior sentences have been/in process of being revoked  Defendant not eligible for probation, shock probation, etc. 75

76 Default Position: No cross 76

77  Discuss importance of how he needs to look to jury 77


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