Kansas Supreme Court merges charges for man convicted of eluding police

Dominic Vargas
Dominic Vargas(KDOC)
Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 3:10 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas Supreme Court has merged two charges into one for a man convicted of eluding police in 2014.

The Kansas Supreme Court says in the case of Appeal No. 119,741: State of Kansas v. Dominic Vargas, it has affirmed in part and reversed in part the Court of Appeals decision on the sole subject under review and reversed the judgment of the Sedgwick Co. District Court following an appeal from Vargas. It said the appeal arose after a jury’s verdicts of guilty on two alternatively charged counts of fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer.

According to the Supreme Court, after accepting both verdicts and entering convictions on both, the district court sentenced Vargas on only one conviction and held the second “in abeyance,” which means it was being temporarily held.

On appeal, the Court of Appeals ruled that the district court lacked the authority to enter both convictions and reversed one, but otherwise affirmed the district court.

After granting review on only the issue of abeyance, the Court said it concluded that the district court did not have the jurisdiction to hold a conviction “in abeyance.” But, it said it also ruled that both verdicts on the alternative charges, which required proof of the same elements and would have resulted in various convictions, should be merged by operation of law into a single conviction.

The Court said it remanded the case back to the district court with directions to enter an amended journal entry documenting a single conviction for fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer but reflecting that the second verdict had merged with the first.

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