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
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