Darrin Hirsh has already served the time required on a one-year Kansas Department of Corrections sentence and he’s completed 12 months of post-release supervision and paid the court-ordered fees, but he heard the sentence again Wednesday in Barton County District Court. His status did not change, and District Judge Steve Johnson said Hirsh must continue to be listed on the Kansas Bureau of Investigation’s online Public Offender Registry for 15 years.
At the conclusion of a jury trial in 2015, Hirsh, a former Kansas Highway Patrol trooper from Great Bend, was convicted of aggravated assault and two counts of criminal threat, all felonies, and one count of domestic battery, a misdemeanor. Hirsh’s ex-wife Candice Hirsh claimed that in March of 2013 he put a gun to her head, attempted to suffocate her with a pillow and threatened her and their children.
But last year the Kansas Supreme Court affirmed a 2017 decision by the Court of Appeals that overturned the most serious conviction of aggravated assault. Jurors had asked whether the pillow could be considered a deadly weapon, apparently uncertain if Candice had actually seen the gun. However, the State had specifically charged Hirsh with aggravated assault committed with a handgun.
The State chose not to retry the case, so the aggravated assault charge has been dropped. That is why Hirsh needed to hear the new sentence.
He served 299 days in custody and after 12 months of post-release supervision he was discharged from the Kansas Department of Corrections last May. The time served fulfilled the sentence of 12 months with 20% credit for good behavior. He also paid $658 in fees imposed the first time he was sentenced.
None of that changed Wednesday as Johnson read a new sentence, sans the conviction for aggravated assault.
Representing himself in court Thursday, Hirsh also sought to be removed from the violent offender registry.
Assistant Attorney General Jessica Domme filed additional motions prior to the sentencing, including one as late as Friday, Feb. 7. In light of that, Hirsh told the judge at Thursday’s hearing, “I would like to have a court-appointed attorney for the new motions.” He filled out the application in the courtroom.
The KBI website shows Hirsh now lives in Larned and he told the judge that he works for his father at Hirsh Construction. Judge Johnson said that based on the combined incomes of Hirsh and his spouse he did not qualify for an appointed attorney. Hirsh said he would continue to appear pro se – that is, on behalf of himself – and the hearing continued.
Domme asked the court to take notice of three victim impact statements from Hirsh’s first pre-sentencing evaluation, which were referenced but not included in the new one.
Candice Hirsh had planned to attend the hearing but was unable to, Domme said. “Mrs. Hirsh wants to ask the court to consider the oral statement she gave.” All of the victim impact statements are confidential.
Darrin Hirsh did not object.
Domme’s Feb. 7 motion asked the court to find Hirsh had used a deadly weapon in committing the two felonies of which he now stands convicted. Even though the aggravated assault conviction was reversed, she said the judge could rule that a deadly weapon was used in committing the criminal threats. “The state law is very clear that a deadly weapon is not limited to a firearm,” she said. The judge is allowed to “follow facts found at trial.”
Hirsh responded that the State had also provided evidence for other charges, but he was found “not guilty” of two counts of violation of a protective order and two counts of intimidation of a witness. The finding Domme requested presumed to know the jurors’ thoughts, he argued.
In this case, the judge can weigh the facts and rule on the preponderance of evidence.
“The registration requirement will continue,” Johnson said. “It will be based on the level 9 felony, not the aggravated assault.”
Johnson noted that in three years Hirsh can file to have the charges expunged. Meanwhile, he is prohibited from possessing a firearm.