Friday, December 17, 2010

Kentucky Supreme Court December opinions

December 16 Supreme Court Minutes

Click above link to view complete minutes and links to full opinions

Criminal Law related "Questions Presented" in this month's published opinions include

Reaffirmation of the court’s longstanding position that, under KRE 201, a trial judge is prohibited from relying on personal experience to support the taking of judicial notice.

Search and Seizure. Co-tenant Consent. At issue is warrantless police search of home during Cabinet for Families and Children's investigation based upon co-tenant's alleged consent.

First-degree complicity to trafficking in a controlled substance and second-degree persistent felony offender-20 years. Impeachment by criminal conviction is governed solely by KRE 609. KRE 608(b) permits impeachment only by specific instances of conduct that have not resulted in a conviction. No palpable error in witness’ impermissible interpretation of what was on a drug buy tape.

Wanton murder and first-degree criminal abuse-20 years. Trial court did not err in refusing to strike a potential juror who had been subjected to sexual abuse as a child nor in admitting evidence of a social worker’s video-recorded out-of-court experiment involving the victim’s brother. Evidence of defendant’s mild retardation did not preclude the jury’s finding that he acted wantonly.

First-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, first-degree PFO-25 years. Trial court properly refused to give instructions on second-degree robbery and second-degree burglary. A second evidentiary hearing was not required on defendant’s motion to suppress DNA evidence where he belatedly alleged that his DNA profile was illegally entered into CODIS.

First-degree robbery, possession of a handgun by a felon, possession of a defaced firearm, and first-degree PFO. Trial court erred in imposing court costs and fines on indigents. Combination instructions used herein did not deprive defendants of unanimous verdicts on robbery and PFO charges.

Sentencing. Finality of Sentences. Double Jeopardy. At issue is plea agreement in which defendant agreed to increasing sentence if probation terms were violated

Sentencing. At issue is whether sentencing error may be corrected, implicating whether nature of error was judicial or clerical, and whether the error involved an illegal sentence.

Trial court erred in denying defendant’s motion to suppress his confession, where the facts showed that defendant had unequivocally invoked his right to counsel and the police had improperly continued questioning.