The Kansas Supreme Court released the following published decisions today:
Appeal No. 119,012: In the Matter of Jeffery A. Mason
Archived oral argument video
The Supreme Court ordered the indefinite suspension of Mason, a Goodland attorney admitted in 1983 to practice law in Kansas. The suspension resulted from admitted violations of the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct. Mason agreed he violated rules prohibiting dishonesty or misrepresentation, lack of diligence in representing a client, and failure in client communication, while representing the Goodland Medical Foundation, a nonprofit organization. The Foundation learned in 2016 that its Internal Revenue Code tax exempt status was revoked because of Mason's failure to file required documentation. When asked about this, a disciplinary hearing panel concluded, Mason "repeatedly provided false information to members of the Foundation's board," misled Foundation board members that he was working on the IRS documentation problem, and was motivated by dishonesty. The court's order noted Mason was previously suspended in 2016 for another matter, and was recently informally admonished for violating competence rules in a water rights case. The court said in ordering the indefinite suspension it considered "the serious nature of the violations detailed in the panel's report; the violations' similarity to the misconduct in the previous disciplinary case; and the respondent's affirmative statement at his earlier hearing before this court that there were no additional problems in his practice, even though he knew then he had engaged in the misconduct at issue in this case."
Appeal No. 115,451: State of Kansas v. Stephanie R. Lamone
Summary calendar; no oral argument
The Supreme Court vacated Lamone's sentence for driving under the influence based on two prior convictions for DUI and remanded the case for resentencing. Lamone's criminal history score was based on two previous DUI convictions under Wichita's Municipal Code. The court held that those convictions could not be used to enhance the sentence for her current DUI. The statute defining "conviction" for purposes of counting previous DUI convictions requires that convictions from municipalities or other states prohibit the same or a narrower range of conduct as the Kansas DUI statute. The Wichita ordinance prohibited a broader range of conduct than the state statute and therefore could not be used for sentence enhancement.
Appeal No. 112,500: State of Kansas v. Alfred Van Lehman Jr.
Archived oral argument
The Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals' decision affirming the Sedgwick County District Court's decision to increase the term of Lehman's postrelease supervision. The court held that after Lehman had completely served his originally imposed postrelease supervision term, the double jeopardy provisions of the federal and state constitutions precluded the district court from imposing a longer postrelease supervision term.
Kansas Court of Appeals decisions released today