April 2019 | No. 118, 691 (Kan. Ct. App. 2019)

State v. Graham (Kansas 2019)

A parent who pleads guilty to criminal nonsupport cannot appeal the conviction without first filing a motion to withdraw the plea. In 2008, the father was charged with two counts of criminal nonsupport of a child. The father entered into a deferred prosecution agreement. In exchange for pleading guilty, the court stayed acceptance of the pleas as long as the father made child support payments. In 2010, the state moved to resume prosecution as the father had not made his payments. During the hearing, the defense counsel asked father why he hadn’t made payments. The state argued this was irrelevant and the only issue before the court was the father’s failure to comply with the agreement. The court convicted the father of the two counts. The father appealed, arguing that the court violated his right to equal protection by not hearing evidence as to his inability to make the payments. The court of appeals found that it didn’t have to address the merits of the case, as it had no jurisdiction to hear the appeal. The court of appeals explained that a defendant as no statutory right to appeal a guilty plea, only the sentence. A defendant must move to withdraw the guilty plea and can then appeal the denial of that order.

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