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Supreme Court releases for July 19, 2019

29 Jul 2019 5:02 PM | Tiffany Fisher (Administrator)

The Kansas Supreme Court released the following published decisions July 19:

Appeal No. 117,850: State of Kansas v. Michael Ross

Archived oral argument video 

In a decision written by Justice Eric Rosen, the Supreme Court affirmed Ross' convictions for felony murder, second-degree intentional murder as a lesser included offense, and abuse of a child in Sedgwick County District Court. The court held that the prosecutor's misstatement of the law did not prejudice Ross, that the absence of a jury instruction on reckless second-degree murder was harmless, that the district court did not abuse its discretion when it admitted two recorded jail calls, and that cumulative error did not deprive Ross of a fair trial.

Appeal No 115,776: In re Paternity of S.M.J.

Archived oral argument video

The Supreme Court vacated a Douglas County District Court decision holding Ogle in contempt, and his case has been remanded to the district court for reconsideration. Ogle was held in contempt because he violated an order not to slander Whitney D. Jacobs. On appeal, a Court of Appeals panel vacated the district court's contempt order, in part, because the statute governing contempt required Ogle's presence at the contempt hearing before it could proceed. Neither Ogle nor his attorney had been present at the hearing.  

Jacobs filed a petition for review with the Supreme Court, arguing that the statute did not require Ogle's presence. The Supreme Court disagreed with Jacobs. The contempt statute allows a district judge to proceed with a contempt hearing only once the person accused of contemptuous conduct is present, not before

Appeal Nos. 114,897 and 114,898: State v. David G. Lundberg and Michael L. Elzufon

Archived oral argument video

The State charged Minnesota residents David Lundberg and Michael Elzufon with selling or offering to sell unregistered securities and committing fraud in selling or offering to sell securities. The sales at issue were made through intermediaries who resided in California and resulted in sales to non-Kansas residents. The Supreme Court affirmed Sedgwick County District Judge Benjamin Burgess' order dismissing criminal charges against Lundberg and Elzufon. The Kansas Uniform Securities Act (KUSA) authorizes criminal prosecution of a defendant for acts related to the sale of a security when the offer to sell or the sale was made in Kansas. But Kansas' jurisdiction is statutorily limited to situations in which the offer originates within the territorial boundaries of Kansas. The parties' stipulated facts showed no step of the sales or offer of sales process occurred within Kansas' territorial jurisdiction. Justice Marla Luckert dissented. She was joined by Justices Carol Beier and Eric Rosen.

Appeal No. 115,036: State of Kansas v. Yamuna Rizal

Archived oral argument video

In a decision written by Justice Caleb Stegall, the Supreme Court affirmed Rizal's conviction for possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute it a gas station she owned in Johnson County. On appeal, Rizal claimed her conviction should be reversed because she believed the product she sold contained lawful incense, not a controlled substance, and the State failed to prove that she knew the nature of the substance she sold. The Supreme Court ruled that to convict a defendant of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, the State must prove the defendant had knowledge of the nature of the controlled substance. This knowledge requirement can be established by proving the defendant either knew the identity of the substance or knew that the substance was controlled. But the court upheld Rizal's conviction because the State proved that Rizal knew she was selling a controlled substance.

Appeal No. 114,635: State of Kansas v. Ronald Cottrell 

Summary calendar; no oral argument

In a decision written by Justice Caleb Stegall, the Supreme Court affirmed Cottrell's convictions for distribution of a controlled substance and conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. Cottrell illegally sold prescription narcotics to an undercover detective at a QuikTrip in Sedgwick County. On appeal, he challenged jury instructions for both crimes and argued the district court erred when it denied his motion for acquittal. The Supreme Court upheld Cottrell's convictions, ruling the conspiracy instruction was not erroneous, Cottrell invited any error in the distribution of a controlled substance instruction, and the evidence was sufficient to deny his motion for acquittal.

Kansas Court of Appeals decisions released.

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