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Age, Jessica's Law, and Harmless Error

Kansas Supreme Court Blog has this post asking "Has the Kansas Supreme Court quietly hobbled Jessica's Law?" In three cases, that court overturned judgments and remanded for a lower "grid" sentence because the jury was not instructed to find that the defendant was over 18, an element of the greater degree of offense. The first of the cases is State v. Bello, No. 99225, July 2, 2009.

What strikes me as odd about Bello is the absence of any harmless error discussion. Cf. Neder v. United States, 527 U.S. 1 (1999); Washington v. Recuenco, 548 U.S. 140 (2006). KSC Blog indicates that one of the defendants was 25. That would seem to be the quintessentially harmless Apprendi error, where the truth of the element was indisputable, and nothing but naked jury nullification could have prevent the finding if the jury had been properly instructed.

Does Kansas have a stricter rule on harmless error? Anyone knowledgeable on this point is cordially invited to comment.

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