Kyler Carriker, the man who was charged with and tried for first-degree felony murder by the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office for telling a person where to buy marijuana is once again fighting for his freedom. A jury found Carriker not guilty on the murder charge, but did convict him of the related drug offense associated with the case, which was attempted distribution of a controlled substance – marijuana.
On September 25, 2015, Kyler was sentenced by District Court Judge Terry Pullman to 62 months in prison, but the judge granted a downward departure from the sentencing guidelines and was placed on probation, after serving 60 days in jail. By all accounts, since that time, Carriker has complied with the terms of his probation, to the letter, and is doing quite well for himself, selling cars at a reputable dealership in Wichita. In fact, I, as the author of this post, actually purchased my vehicle from Carriker, just last month.
However, two days ago, when Carriker reported to his probation officer, as scheduled, the probation officer informed him that the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office was appealing his sentence, and that the DA’s intention is to force Kyler to serve the 62 month underlying sentence. Upon learning of this appeal for the first time, Kyler and his mother, former Gubernatorial candidate Jennifer Winn, released this video statement on Facebook.
While Carriker has only just learned that the State is appealing his sentence this week, the Notice of Appeal was actually filed on October 1, 2015, just six days after Carriker was sentenced. On that day, October 1, 2015, records show that the Notice of Appeal was mailed to Carriker’s trial attorney, Sarah Swain. However, at that time, Swain was no longer Carriker’s attorney, and Swain did not inform Carriker that his sentence was being appealed by the State.
Records also show that Swain informed Judge Pullman, the Criminal Clerk of the District Court, and Appellate Defender’s Office, via fax, on September 25, 2015, that she was no longer Carriker’s attorney, that she would not be defending Carriker in the appeals process, and that she was withdrawing as interested party. This same notice was also mailed to Judge Pullman, the Office of the Appellate Defender, and to the Office of the District Attorney of Sedgwick County Kansas.
These court records show that the District Attorney’s Office sent Notice of Appeal to an attorney, Swain, who had already withdrawn from Carriker’s case. While one can reasonably assume that this was an honest mistake, it does not change the fact that Carriker was not informed of the appeal against him until nearly five months after it was initially filed, which has greatly reduced his ability to effectively defend himself in this process.