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  • 26 Jun 2017 1:45 PM | Tiffany Fisher (Administrator)

    The Kansas Supreme Court released the following published decisions today: 

    Appeal No. 114,554: State of Kansas v. Daniel Perez 

    In a unanimous decision written by Justice Eric Rosen, the Supreme Court affirmed Perez's convictions in Sedgwick County District Court for first-degree premeditated murder; sexual exploitation of a child; eight counts of rape; seven counts of aggravated criminal sodomy; three counts of aggravated assault; and eight counts of making false information. The charges stem from the State's allegations that Perez had convinced a group of people to live and work with him and then murdered a group member for her life insurance benefit; falsified a number of documents; and raped, sexually assaulted, and sexually exploited a number of the group members' children. The unanimous court concluded that any error in the admission of certain testimony was harmless; that the facts of the case did not support an assisting suicide instruction; that the district court did not abuse its discretion when it concluded the probative value of prior crime evidence outweighed any potential prejudice; and that challenged limiting instructions were not clearly erroneous.

    Case No. 114,052, State of Kansas v. Bruce Julius Ashley Jr.

    Ashley was convicted of one count of first-degree felony murder and one count of attempted aggravated robbery, based on the 2010 shooting death of the owner of a liquor store in Johnson County. On appeal, Ashley challenged instructions given to the jury. He also challenged the trial court's refusal to grant a new trial when, after the conviction, two inmate-witnesses came forward to impeach testimony provided by witnesses for the State. Writing for a unanimous court, Justice Eric Rosen held that an informant jury instruction was not appropriate in this case because a witness for the State was not acting as an agent for the State at the time that he learned the information serving as the basis for his testimony. The court further held that the court properly gave the jury a limiting instruction relating to evidence of other crimes, even though Ashley had objected to the instruction. Finally, the court determined that the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it discounted the credibility of Ashley's after-the-fact impeachment witnesses and refused to order a new trial. The convictions were affirmed.

    Kansas Court of Appeals decisions released today 

    State of Kansas
    Office of Judicial Administration
    Kansas Judicial Center
    301 SW 10th
    Topeka, Kansas 66612-1507
    785-296-2256
    www.kscourts.org


  • 22 Jun 2017 9:57 PM | Tiffany Fisher (Administrator)

    UPDATE: Appeal No. 113,267: Luke Gannon, by his next friends and guardians, et al. v. State of Kansas

    The Kansas Supreme Court notified lawyers in the above-captioned case to appear by phone for a scheduling conference at 8:30 a.m. Monday to discuss deadlines and identify at least the major issues arising out of the signing yesterday afternoon of Senate Bill 19, the school finance bill. The court will issue a scheduling order later Monday. Counsel were notified early today of the scheduling conference Monday so they have ample time to review and prepare for the call.
     
    Documents in this case are available online at http://www.kscourts.org/kansas-courts/supreme-court/Cases_of_interest/Cases/113267/defaultasp   

    State of Kansas
    Office of Judicial Administration
    Kansas Judicial Center
    301 SW 10th
    Topeka, Kansas 66612-1507
    785-296-2256
    www.kscourts.org


  • 22 Jun 2017 9:56 PM | Tiffany Fisher (Administrator)

    The Kansas Supreme Court released the following published decision today: 

    Appeal No. 112,260: State of Kansas v. Jason Hachmeister.

    The Supreme Court affirmed the conviction of Jason Hachmeister on 105 counts of sexual exploitation of a child. The conviction was based on police discovery of child pornography on his computer, which was seized as part of a murder investigation. Hachmeister was convicted in a separate criminal proceeding for the 2011 first-degree murder of his mother, Shelia. That conviction remains under appeal.

    In today's decision, the court rejected Hachmeister's argument that the search warrant used to discover the photos on his computer was not properly supported by a law enforcement affidavit. In an opinion written by Justice Dan Biles, the court held the facts outlined in the affidavit provided "a fair probability evidence related to Shelia's murder might have been found on a computer within the possession of Hachmeister."

    On a separate issue, the court divided 4-3 on whether Hachmeister would be required to register as a sex offender under Kansas law if he were released from imprisonment. The question turned on whether a court or a jury was required to make a factual finding that some of the pornographic images depicted children under 14 years of age. The court majority held it was appropriate for the Shawnee County District Court to make that factual finding, so registration was appropriate under state law. Three justices dissented and said a jury was required to make that determination.

    Kansas Court of Appeals decisions released today 

    State of Kansas
    Office of Judicial Administration
    Kansas Judicial Center
    301 SW 10th
    Topeka, Kansas 66612-1507
    785-296-2256
    www.kscourts.org


  • 12 Jun 2017 12:03 PM | Tiffany Fisher (Administrator)

    The National Association of Women Judges, Informed Voter Project is hosting an upcoming webinar for Constitutional Day educational events. The Webinar will be held on 6/21/17 @ 2 pm Eastern time.

    Questions related to this can be addressed to:

    Annette Boyd Pitts

    Executive Director

    The Florida Law Related Education Association, Inc

    P. O. Box 13674

    Tallahassee, Florida 32317

    www.flrea.org

    staff@flrea.org 

  • 09 Jun 2017 3:16 PM | Tiffany Fisher (Administrator)

    The Kansas Supreme Court released the following published decisions today: 

    Appeal No. 111,299: Shannon Bogguess v. State of Kansas
    Justice Caleb Stegall wrote the opinion in which the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Sedgwick County District Court. In a prior criminal case, Bogguess was convicted of first-degree murder and several other crimes. After the Supreme Court affirmed his convictions and sentence, Bogguess filed a collateral action, alleging that his trial counsel was ineffective in several respects. The district court dismissed Bogguess' motion, and the Court of Appeals affirmed. The Court of Appeals held that Bogguess was barred by res judicata from relitigating his claims. It also held that his ineffective assistance of counsel claims failed on the merits. The Supreme Court unanimously held that Bogguess' ineffective assistance of counsel claim was not barred by res judicata because this court has previously explained that such claims are not typically addressed on direct appeal; because this court treated Bogguess' claims under a motion for substitute counsel rubric in his direct appeal; and because Bogguess raised a new factual basis for his claim in the collateral action. The Supreme Court nonetheless agreed with the Court of Appeals that Bogguess' claim failed on the merits.

    Appeal No. 111,915: State of Kansas v. Casey M. Baker
    Justice Caleb Stegall wrote the opinion in which the Supreme Court unanimously reversed the denial of Baker's motion to suppress, reversed his resulting convictions, and remanded the case to Douglas County District Court. At the time of Baker's arrest, police conducted a warrantless search of Baker's backpack and discovered needles inside a Nintendo game case and methamphetamine inside a cell phone carrier. The state conceded police lacked probable cause to search the backpack but claimed the contraband would have been inevitably discovered through a valid inventory search. The court held standardized criteria or an established routine must regulate the opening of containers found during inventory searches. Therefore, the search of Baker's backpack violated the Fourth Amendment because the state presented no evidence of an established inventory routine that would have inevitably led to the opening of the containers in which the evidence was found.

    Appeal No. 110,483: Mahnaz Consolver v. Chris Hotze, et al
    Justice Caleb Stegall wrote the opinion in which the Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals and affirmed the decision of the Sedgwick County District Court. Consolver hired Bradley A. Pistotnik to represent her in a personal injury lawsuit through a standard contingency agreement. Pistotnik and defense counsel concluded mediation by agreeing that the defendant would offer Consolver $300,000 once Consolver provided proof that she would need an additional surgery. A few days before Pistotnik's contingency fee percentage increased and before the formal offer could be made, Consolver terminated Pistotnik and hired Stephen Brave. Brave later settled the case for $360,000. The district court found that Pistotnik had completed 90 percent of the case and calculated the award as 90 percent of one-third of $300,000. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the district court erred when it considered the terms of the contingency fee agreement when calculating the appropriate fee. Reversing the Court of Appeals decision, the Supreme Court unanimously held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by considering all of the factors in K.S.A. 2016 Supp 7-121b(a) and KRPC 1.5(a), including whether the fee agreement is fixed or contingent.

    Appeal No. 114,008:  State of Kansas v. Essex Sims
    Justice Dan Biles wrote the opinion in which the Supreme Court rejected an effort by Essex T. Sims to be resentenced for a 1995 Sedgwick County aggravated battery conviction. The court noted his challenge was based on overruled case law. A jury convicted Sims of felony murder, two counts of aggravated battery, one count of criminal discharge of a firearm at an occupied dwelling, and one count of criminal possession of a firearm. At the time of his original sentencing, Sims had a 1992 juvenile adjudication for theft and a 1992 juvenile adjudication for aggravated assault. In 2015, Sims filed a motion to correct the aggravated battery sentence, arguing the sentencing court misclassified the 1992 aggravated assault as a "person felony," which resulted in a more severe sentence than he would have received under Kansas' sentencing guidelines if the crime was not so classified. The court observed that while his sentencing challenge was pending on appeal, the case he relied on for his argument had been overruled and the new case law would be applicable to his case.

    Appeal No. 112,513:  State of Kansas v. Matthew R. McDaniel
    Justice Dan Biles wrote the opinion in which the Supreme Court affirmed Matthew R. McDaniel's felony-murder and aggravated robbery convictions. The convictions stemmed from the 2012 killing of Ronald Wilson during a planned robbery of Wilson in Wichita. A Sedgwick County jury convicted McDaniel of the crimes, and he was sentenced to consecutive terms of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for 20 years for the felony murder and 102 months' imprisonment for the aggravated robbery. On appeal, McDaniel claimed a Sedgwick County District Court judge erred by refusing McDaniel's initial request for a new attorney without any inquiry into the alleged problem and was wrong to make on-the-record observations about McDaniel's interactions with that attorney at a time when McDaniel was not present. In a unanimous ruling, the court agreed the judge did not handle the proceedings correctly but said both mistakes were harmless and did not require reversal of the convictions. McDaniel also claimed there was a mistake in the jury instructions, but the court rejected this and noted the instructions fairly and accurately stated the applicable law.   

    Appeal No. 114,336:  State of Kansas v. Undra Lee
    Justice Dan Biles wrote the opinion in which the Supreme Court rejected a request by Undra D. Lee to convert his criminal sentences to reflect sentencing guidelines enacted after his crimes. The court reasoned that Lee relied on case law that had been overruled and misread the applicable statute. Lee was convicted in 1995 for four crimes that occurred in January 1993: first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping, kidnapping, and aggravated assault. In July 1993, the state enacted the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines Act, under which Lee claimed he would have received more lenient sentences. But the district court sentenced Lee according to the sentencing laws applicable at the time of his crimes, sententing Lee to life imprisonment for first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping, 15 years to life for kidnapping, and 3 to 10 years for aggravated assault. The court ordered Lee to serve these sentences consecutively. In 2014, Lee filed a motion to correct his sentences, citing case law that was overturned in 1995. In its unanimous ruling, the court held the more recent case law made clear Lee was not entitled to have his sentences converted to what they would have been under the sentencing guidelines. The court further noted the sentencing guidelines act did not permit the conversion of Lee's sentence.

    Kansas Court of Appeals decisions released today 

    State of Kansas
    Office of Judicial Administration
    Kansas Judicial Center
    301 SW 10th
    Topeka, Kansas 66612-1507
    785-296-2256
    www.kscourts.org


  • 02 Jun 2017 11:04 AM | Tiffany Fisher (Administrator)

    The Kansas Supreme Court released the following published decisions today: 

    Appeal No. 114,304: State of Kansas v. Jeffrey Scott Collier
     
    The Supreme Court rejected Collier's efforts to change his sentence for a 1993 aggravated robbery. Collier claimed the Sedgwick County District Court miscalculated his criminal history score during the original proceedings.
     
    Collier was convicted of first-degree premeditated murder and aggravated robbery for crimes occurring in October 1993. At the time, his criminal history reflected eight prior convictions, including a 1988 conviction for aggravated burglary and two juvenile adjudications in 1987 and 1988. Collier ultimately received a life sentence for the murder conviction and a consecutive, 97-month sentence for the aggravated robbery conviction.
     
    In 2014, Collier claimed his aggravated robbery sentence should be reduced because the 1980s crimes should have been considered nonperson crimes under the Kansas sentencing guidelines. A unanimous Supreme Court noted its recent case law rejected similar claims.  

    Appeal No. 114,032: State of Kansas v. Erick Donaldson
     
    The Supreme Court ordered the Sedgwick County District Court to resentence Donaldson for his 2002 conviction for sale of cocaine because his criminal history was not properly calculated under Kansas sentencing guidelines.
     
    The court noted that under present Kansas case law the district court was required to treat Donaldson's 1990 juvenile adjudication for burglary as a nonperson felony for the purpose of determining the applicable guidelines sentence for the sale of cocaine conviction. When he was originally sentenced, the district court treated the juvenile burglary as a person felony, which resulted in Donaldson receiving a more severe sentence than the guidelines permitted.
     
    Donaldson was convicted in the same trial of first-degree felony murder. His hard-20 life sentence for that offense is unaffected by the court's decision on the burglary adjudication.  

    Appeal No. 114,468: State of Kansas v. Alan W. Kingsley
     
    The Supreme Court rejected Kingsley's claim that the Sedgwick County District Court illegally sentenced him to a hard-40 life sentence for a 1991 first-degree premeditated murder. The court held the sentence conformed to the applicable statute. The court also rejected Kingsley's attempt to use the limited-purpose statute for a broader constitutional claim that he was denied due process.

    Appeal No. 114,534: State of Kansas v. Artis Swafford
     
    A unanimous Supreme Court held that a sentence in a Saline County District Court case was not ambiguous when a judge ordered it to run consecutive to a sentence in a previous case, which the judge referred to by case number only, where the defendant only had one prior case with that case number. The court also clarified that a defendant has 30 days in which to appeal the denial of K.S.A. 22-3504 motion to correct an illegal sentence.

    Appeal No. 114,834: In the Matter of A.D.T.
     
    In an extended juvenile jurisdiction proceeding, the district court imposes a juvenile sentence and an adult sentence, but execution of the adult sentence is stayed pending the offender's compliance with provisions of the juvenile sentence. In this case, the court held that the statutory provisions in K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 38-2364(b) mandated termination of the juvenile court's jurisdiction and execution of the previously-stayed adult sentence, once the Wyandotte County District Court found that the juvenile had violated the terms of his conditional release. In a separate concurring opinion, Justice Rosen questioned whether the imposition of the adult sentence created an Eighth Amendment violation, while acknowledging that A.D.T. had not raised that constitutional argument in this appeal.  

    Kansas Court of Appeals decisions released today 

    State of Kansas
    Office of Judicial Administration
    Kansas Judicial Center
    301 SW 10th
    Topeka, Kansas 66612-1507
    785-296-2256
    www.kscourts.org


  • 31 May 2017 10:24 AM | Tiffany Fisher (Administrator)

    The Kansas Supreme Court released the following published decisions today: 

    Appeal No. 113,060: Dario Lozano v. Oscar Alvarez and Aracely Alvarez

    A unanimous Supreme Court held that the Kansas savings statute, K.S.A 60-518, could only be used to resurrect a case that has been dismissed for a reason other than upon the merits during the initial six-month window following the original dismissal. Lozano's civil case in Ford County District Court had been dismissed twice for failure to prosecute and was outside the applicable statute of limitations and more than six months after the first dismissal. The court held that the second dismissal did not trigger another grace period in which to invoke K.S.A. 60-518 to reinstate the case, and Lozano was time-barred from reinstating. 

    Appeal No. 113,684: State of Kansas v. Troy A Robinson

    In a 6-1 decision written by Justice Eric Rosen, the Supreme Court affirmed Robinson's convictions in Shawnee County District Court of first degree murder, aggravated burglary, and misdemeanor theft.

    The case stems from an incident in which Robinson, who earlier in the day had first contacted the victim on a website, claimed to have "snapped" and beaten and stabbed the victim after she scratched him while the two were engaged in sex at her home. Robinson also stole some of her belongings after the stabbing.

    The majority held that the district court did not err in excluding evidence that Robinson believed would show the sex was consensual or by denying Robinson's request to ask the jury about specific mitigating factors The majority further held that the prosecutor did not err by making references to Robinson strangling the victim, by telling the jury that the murder was premediated because Robinson thought about it before he killed the victim, or by distracting the jury with a reference to Santa Claus. Finally, the majority held that the evidence was sufficient to sustain the burglary conviction, that retroactive application of K.S.A. 21-6620 did not violate the ex post facto clause of the United States Constitution, and that the State of Kansas provided reasonable notice it would seek a hard-50 sentence.

    Justice Lee Johnson concurred and dissented, writing that the evidence was not sufficient to sustain the aggravated burglary conviction because the State of Kansas presented no evidence that the victim withdrew her consent for Robinson to enter her home and remain within her apartment. Also, while concurring in the result with regard to the adequacy of the hard-50 sentencing notice because the defense had ample time to prepare for sentencing, Justice Johnson commented that the State of Kansas acted contrary to the spirit of the noticing requirement when it claimed that it might not seek the hard-50 sentence as an argument to limit defense voir dire.

    Appeal No. 113,775: State of Kansas v. Gary A Ditges

    In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled in a Sedgwick County case that although courts must liberally construe pro se pleadings to give effect to the content, rather than the form, when a movant clearly asserts that his or her sentence is illegal under K.S.A. 22-3504, the pro se pleading cannot be construed as one under K.S.A. 60-1507. The court also ruled that the movant has the burden to show that a motion under K.S.A. 60-1507 that is untimely should be heard to prevent manifest injustice, and that the district court does not have an affirmative duty to eliminate any possibility of manifest injustice.

    Appeal No. 113,799: State of Kansas v. King Phillip Amman Reu-El, formerly known as Phillip Cheatham

    In a unanimous decision written by Justice Marla Luckert, the Supreme Court affirmed the Shawnee County District Court's refusal to permit King Phillip Amman Reu-El, formerly known as Phillip Cheatham, to withdraw his no-contest plea to capital murder and attempted murder.

    Amman Reu-el had argued he should be permitted to withdraw his plea, even after sentencing, because he was misled and misinformed as to whether his plea would still permit him to pursue certain double jeopardy arguments on appeal. Amman Reu-el asserted he had been assured that his double jeopardy arguments would survive his plea, but, as he discovered later, Kansas law actually provides that by pleading guilty or no contest, a defendant waives all nonjurisdictional defects, including claims of double jeopardy.

    The Supreme Court ruled that neither the plea agreement, defense counsel, nor the district court affirmatively misled Amman Reu-El or misrepresented the law, and in fact the district court was careful to caution Amman Reu-El that a no contest plea could affect not only his current appeal but his habeas corpus action that was simultaneously pending with the Supreme Court. Accordingly, the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Amman Reu-El's motion to withdraw his plea.

    Appeal No. 117,201: In the Matter of Alvin R. Lundgren

    Attorney Alvin R. Lundgren of Veyo, Utah, was disbarred from the practice of law in Kansas for multiple violations of the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct governing safekeeping property; reporting professional misconduct; engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation; failure to report action; and failure to notify Clerk of the Appellate Courts of change of address.

    Appeal No. 117,357: In the Matter of Jeffery A. Sutton

    Attorney Jeffery A. Sutton of Basehor was publicly censured for violations of the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct governing communication and engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.

    Kansas Court of Appeals decisions released today 

    State of Kansas
    Office of Judicial Administration
    Kansas Judicial Center
    301 SW 10th
    Topeka, Kansas 66612-1507
    785-296-2256
    www.kscourts.org


  • 22 May 2017 11:01 AM | Tiffany Fisher (Administrator)

    The Kansas Supreme Court released the following published decision today: 

    Appeal No. 112,888: State of Kansas v. Brian C. Bailey

    A unanimous Supreme Court affirmed the summary denial of Bailey's motions to correct an illegal sentence and release restitution. In an opinion written by Justice Caleb Stegall, the court held Bailey's sentence is not illegal because his offenses were correctly classified as person felonies. However, the court determined that no enforceable restitution judgment exists against Bailey, and the wrongful collection of restitution likely arose from a clerical error. Therefore, the court remanded to Johnson County District Court for a hearing and correction of the clerical error.

    Appeal No. 113,537: State of Kansas v. Billy F. Davis Jr.
     
    A Shawnee County jury convicted Davis of 10 counts for the kidnapping and killing of 8-year-old A.I., among them two alternative counts of capital murder based on either the rape or kidnapping, an alternative count of premeditated first-degree murder, and rape. On appeal, Davis challenged the sufficiency of the evidence to prove premeditation, two alleged prosecutorial errors in closing argument, a district court judge's decision to allow the jury to consider the statement he made to police, an alleged jury instruction error, and the multiplicity of his rape conviction.  
     
    The Supreme Court agreed with Davis that the prosecutor committed error twice during closing argument, first by telling the jury that "you don’t spend the rest of your life in prison unless you've killed," and then by misstating the evidence about Davis' consumption of drugs, but the errors were harmless and did not require reversal of Davis' convictions. The court also agreed with Davis that his conviction for capital murder for the rape of A.I. and his separate conviction for the rape of A.I. were multiplicitous, because rape is an element of the capital murder conviction. The court otherwise rejected Davis' arguments and affirmed the district court's judgments, with the exception of the rape conviction, which the court reversed. Davis is, in effect, already being punished for the rape, because it is an element of the capital murder conviction.

    Kansas Court of Appeals decisions released today 

    State of Kansas
    Office of Judicial Administration
    Kansas Judicial Center
    301 SW 10th
    Topeka, Kansas 66612-1507
    785-296-2256
    www.kscourts.org

  • 18 May 2017 9:21 AM | Tiffany Fisher (Administrator)

    The American Bar Association is conducting a Survey on the Decline in Jury Trials.

    Click here for information regarding the survey.


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