Professor Hodgkinson and Alice Walker, '10, Responsible for Kansas Supreme Court Ruling Impacting Sentencing Under a 25-year Kansas Drug Stamp Law

Photograph: Randall HodgkinsonAlice Walker's work in her Criminal Appeal Advocacy Class at Washburn University School of Law and Visiting Assistant Professor of Law Randall Hodgkinson's efforts resulted in a Kansas Supreme Court ruling that impacted sentencing under a 25-year Kansas Drug Tax-Stamp Law. Hodgkinson and Walker, '10, a legal intern who worked with him on the brief for Mr. Hensley, successfully advanced the claim before the Court.

In State v. Hensley, the Court concluded that Hensley's convictions for possession of marijuana and possession of marijuana with no tax stamp met both prongs of the double jeopardy test—i.e., they arose from the same conduct, and by statutory definition they constituted a single crime in that they violated K.S.A. 21-3107(2)(b)'s prohibition against a person being convicted of both a greater and lesser crime. "Accordingly, we reverse Hensley's conviction and sentence for possession of marijuana," stated the Court.

The ruling also stated that, in considering a double jeopardy challenge under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution and § 10 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights, this Court applies a two-step analysis. First, the Court determines whether the convictions arose from the same conduct. Second, the Court considers whether by statutory definition there are two crimes or only one. Under United States Supreme Court precedent, this question is answered by using the same-elements test. Under that test, if each statute contains an element not found in the other statute, the legislature presumably intended punishment for both crimes.

Recalling her experience, Walker said, "Working on appeals through the appellate defender class was very rewarding. With great guidance and oversight, I was able to hone my research and writing skills, as well as learn the process of appellate work. Now, working as an assistant district attorney, the lessons I learned through this experience have been invaluable."

Professor Hodgkinson is appointed in a combined endeavor between Washburn Law and the Kansas Appellate Defender Office (KADO), teaching Criminal Appellate Advocacy, where law students work, under his supervision, on felony appeals assigned to KADO.

** The decision is available at: