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Supreme Court release for November 30, 2018

30 Nov 2018 1:19 PM | Tiffany Fisher (Administrator)

The Kansas Supreme Court released the following published decisions today:

Case No. 119,111: In the Matter of Brandon W. Deines

Archived oral argument video

The Supreme Court indefinitely suspended Deines' license to practice law for multiple violations of the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct, based on a series of complaints alleging lack of diligence and neglect of duties to clients. Deines, of Lawrence, did not contest the allegations.

Case No. 117,910: In the Matter of David P. Crandall

Archived oral argument video

In a per curiam opinion, the Supreme Court disciplined Crandall, of Leawood, by imposing a six-month suspension of his license to practice law. The court imposed this discipline for violations of Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct concerning competence, diligence, communication, unreasonable fees, concurrent conflicts of interest, and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.

Appeal No. 108,394: State of Kansas v. Isaac D. Williams Jr.

Archived oral argument video

The Supreme Court affirmed Williams' convictions in Sedgwick County for aggravated burglary, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, and domestic battery following a break-in and altercation at his girlfriend's home. He raised six issues before on appeal and the court rejected his arguments, holding: 1) sufficient evidence supported Williams' aggravated burglary conviction; 2) Williams' convictions for aggravated burglary and domestic battery were not mutually exclusive; 3) the district court did not improperly instruct the jury on aggravated assault; 4) the district court should have instructed the jury on assault as a lesser-included offense of aggravated assault and on battery as a lesser-included offense of aggravated battery, but neither error was clearly erroneous and, therefore, do not warrant reversal of Williams' convictions; 5) Kansas' aggravated battery statute, K.S.A. 21-5413(b)(1)(B), is not unconstitutionally vague; and 6) cumulative error did not deprive Williams of a fair trial.

Appeal No. 115,038: State of Kansas v. Sherrick A. Sims

Archived oral argument video

In an opinion written by Justice Caleb Stegall, the Supreme Court held that Sims' jury instructions were legally correct and affirmed his premeditation murder conviction. At trial, the Wyandotte County District Court instructed the jury on the lesser-included offenses of premeditated murder sequentially and in descending order of severity. On appeal, Sims claimed the instructions were legally erroneous because they did not permit the jury to consider imperfect self-defense voluntary manslaughter simultaneously with premeditated first-degree murder and intentional second-degree murder. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that a district court is not required to instruct a jury to consider a lesser-included homicide offense simultaneously with any greater homicide offense, overruling State v. Graham, 275 Kan. 831, 69 P.3d 563 (2003). Justice Beier, joined by Justices Luckert and Johnson, concurred in the result but disagreed with the overruling of Graham.

Appeal No. 111,444: State of Kansas v. Daron Ingham

Archived oral argument video 

The Supreme Court upheld the Ingham's Reno County conviction on one count of possession or use of a commercial explosive. Ingham raised several arguments asserting the State used prejudicial language in describing the explosive, that a witness for the State improperly testified about a legal conclusion, and that the instructions given to the jury were either insufficient or improperly directed the jury to a specific conclusion. The Court of Appeals affirmed, and, on discretionary review, the Supreme Court affirmed the district court and the Court of Appeals. In a divided opinion, Justice Eric Rosen, writing for the court, concluded that any errors were harmless. Justices Nuss, Biles, and Stegall concurred in separate opinions. Justice Stegall suggested possible constitutional concerns with the statute under which Ingham was convicted but noted that the issue was not argued by the parties. A minority of the court would have found cumulative prejudicial errors in the way the case was presented to the jury and in the way the jury was instructed.

Appeal No. 117,341: State of Kansas v. Terry Ray Hayes 

Summary calendar; no oral agument

Hayes' Johnson County murder case returned to the Supreme Court for a second time. Previously, a jury convicted Hayes of premeditated first-degree murder for the shooting death of his estranged wife, and the sentencing judge imposed the enhanced sentence of life without the possibility of parole for 50 years (hard-50 sentence). On direct appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed Hayes' murder conviction but remanded to the trial court for resentencing because Kansas' statutory scheme for imposing the hard-50 sentence violated Hayes' constitutional right to a jury trial. On remand, the district court applied intervening curative legislation to again impose a hard-50 sentence. In this appeal, the Supreme Court rejected Hayes' challenge to his new sentence, holding retroactive application of the new hard-50 sentencing scheme did not violate the constitutional prohibition on ex post facto laws.

Appeal No. 117,322: State of Kansas v. Jerry D. Rice 

Summary calendar; no oral agument

The Supreme Court reversed the Wyandotte County District Court and remanded Rice's case for consideration of possibly ordering probation on the record during resentencing in this pre-Kansas Sentencing Guidelines Act case. Rice argued the resentencing court should have ordered a new presentence investigation report and it mistakenly stated it did not have authority to grant him probation. The Supreme Court unanimously held that Rice was not prejudiced by denial of his request for a new presentence investigation report. But, the court found the sentencing court abused its discretion by not understanding its own authority to consider probation. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for the sentencing court to exercise its discretion regarding probation on the record. 

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