TOPEKA — The Kansas Supreme Court Monday will hear an appeal filed by a former Great Bend man related to his 2007 conviction on sex crimes in Barton County District Court, said Lisa Taylor, KSC public information director.
The case is on the docket to be heard in the high court’s courtroom on the third floor of the Kansas Judicial Center in Topeka between April 29–May 1. Proceedings begin at 9 a.m.
The appeal centers around the “care and treatment” of Robert J. Sigler.
In 2007, Sigler was convicted of multiple sex crimes against a minor and he was sentenced to seven years (84 months) in prison. Information from the Kansas Department of Corrections notes charges included one count each of criminal sodomy with a child less than 16 years old, furnishing alcohol to a minor for illicit purposes and indecent solicitation of a child. According to Taylor, just before he was scheduled to be released from prison, the state filed an action to have Sigler committed as a sexually violent predator. In July 2015, the Barton County District Court found the evidence was insufficient to prove Sigler was likely to act out on his mental abnormality or personality disorder or had serious difficulty controlling his dangerous behavior.
The district court released Sigler on parole.
In November 2015, the state arrested Sigler after he violated his parole by opening Facebook accounts, giving a car ride to a minor and having pornography on his computer. Before he was released from a 90-day prison sanction, the state re-filed commitment proceedings.
A jury found Sigler was a sexually violent predator, and he was involuntarily committed for care and treatment. The Court of Appeals affirmed Sigler’s commitment on appeal.
Issues on review for the appeal are whether:
• The Court of Appeals erred in concluding the state, as a matter of law, carried its burden of establishing Sigler’s mental status and risk assessment materially changed between the 2013 and 2016 proceedings.
• The Court of Appeals erred when it concluded Sigler’s right to due process was not violated when the district court failed to declare a mistrial sua sponte (that is, at the judge’s discretion) after a witness incorrectly testified Sigler’s previous civil commitment had been overturned on appeal.
• Sigler’s viewing of child pornography constitutes a material change in circumstances to justify a new involuntary commitment proceeding.
All Supreme Court oral arguments are broadcast live over the internet. To watch proceedings live online, follow the Watch Supreme Court Live! link from the court’s website at www.kscourts.org.