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  • 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.


  • 12 May 2017 10:45 AM | Tiffany Fisher (Administrator)

    Kansas Courts News Release



    The Kansas Supreme Court released the following published decisions today: 

    Appeal No. 114,465: Bryon J. Kirtdoll v. State of Kansas 
    A unanimous Supreme Court affirmed the Shawnee County District Court's denial of Kirtdoll's pro se motion to correct an illegal sentence In addition to rejecting the illegality-of-sentence challenge, the justices also analyzed the issue under K.S.A. 60-1507 and found that the new rule of law established by the United States Supreme Court in Alleyne v. United States, 570 U.S. ___, 133 S. Ct. 2151, 186 L. Ed. 2d 314 (2013), in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that factors that increase a sentence beyond the statutory mandatory minimum must be decided by a jury instead of a judge was not retroactive and could not be applied to sentences in cases that were final when Alleyne was decided.

    Appeal No. 114,350: State of Kansas v. Michael A. Brown 
    A unanimous Supreme Court affirmed the Wyandotte County District Court's denial of Brown's challenge to his life sentence. The justices rejected Brown's argument that K.S.A. 2013 Supp. 21-6620 mandates retroactive application of the new rule of law established by the United States Supreme Court in Alleyne v. United States, 570 U.S. ___, 133 S. Ct 2151, 186 L. Ed. 2d 314 (2013), in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that factors that increase a sentence beyond the statutory mandatory minimum must be decided by a jury instead of a judge. The justices found that the rule in Alleyne was not retroactive and could not be applied to sentences in cases that were final when it was decided.

    Kansas Court of Appeals decisions released today 

  • 08 May 2017 9:54 AM | Tiffany Fisher (Administrator)

    Chief Judge of the Kansas Third Judicial District, Hon. Evelyn Z. Wilson, signed Administrative Order 2017-102 E-filing Civil on May 4, 2017 regarding Mandatory E-Filing Civil Cases, including domestic.  Click here for a copy of the order.

  • 08 May 2017 9:51 AM | Tiffany Fisher (Administrator)

    Kansas Courts News Release

     

    May 5, 2017

    Contact: 

    Lisa Taylor
    Public Information Director 
    785-296-4872
    taylorl@kscourts.org
     

     

    The Kansas Supreme Court released the following published decisions today: 

    Appeal No. 113,362: State of Kansas v. Jeramy A. Zwickl

    The Kansas Supreme Court ruled that a Reno County District Court judge was wrong to order suppression of drug evidence discovered in an automobile while executing a search warrant issued by another judge. The court held the drug evidence could be used in Zwickl's the criminal prosecution because officers were acting in objectively reasonable reliance on the search warrant.
     
    The case resulted from a criminal investigation by the Reno County Sheriff's Office into Zwickl's suspected sale of marijuana over a period of time. The investigation included the use of confidential informants and surveillance both using a GPS device on Zwickl's automobile and physical tailing of Zwickl to Colorado, where it was suspected he would periodically purchase marijuana for resale. Three pounds of marijuana were discovered in the vehicle during the execution of the search warrant after the Colorado surveillance.
     
    Reno County District Judge Trish Rose ordered that the drug evidence be suppressed because she determined the search warrant, approved by another judge, was not properly supported by probable cause and the officers should have known the warrant was defective. A Kansas Court of Appeals panel reversed Rose, and the Supreme Court took the case to resolve the conflict between the two lower courts.
     
    In a unanimous opinion written by Justice Dan Biles, the court agreed with the Court of Appeals.
     
    "This case is not one of those unusual circumstances in which there was so little indicia of probable cause in the affidavit that a reasonable law enforcement officer would override the probable cause determination found by the magistrate and refuse to execute the warrant," Biles wrote. The case will now return to Reno County District Court for further proceedings.

    Appeal No. 115,978: Cherokee County Commissioners v. Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission 

    In an opinion written by Justice Caleb Stegall, the Supreme Court affirmed the district court's dismissal of petitions for judicial review filed by the Commissioners of Cherokee County and Castle Rock Casino Resort, LLC, in Shawnee County District Court. After conducting a competitive bidding process involving Castle Rock Casino, Kansas Crossing Casino, L.C., and one other casino, a board formed by statute selected Kansas Crossing to manage the state-owned and operated casino in southeast Kansas. Kansas Crossing proposed to operate a casino in Crawford County, while Castle Rock's proposed site was in Cherokee County. The Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission approved the board's selection, and Castle Rock and Cherokee County filed petitions for judicial review, which were eventually dismissed by the district court. Castle Rock and Cherokee County asked this court to review the district court's decision. The Supreme Court unanimously held that under the circumstances of this case, the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying their several requests to investigate claims of impropriety during the selection process through traditional means of discovery. The court further found that substantial evidence supports the board's selection of Kansas Crossing and that the board did not err as a matter of law when interpreting the standard by which it was to select a casino.

    Appeal No. 110,021: State of Kansas v. Jason A. Reese

    The Supreme Court unanimously held that a defendant could not use a motion to correct illegal sentence to argue the 2011 amendments to the Kansas Offender Registration Act violate the ex post facto clause of the United States Constitution. After Reese committed the crime, but shortly before he pled no contest to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in Sedgwick County District Court, the Kansas Legislature amended the act to require offenders such as Reese to register. The district court imposed the registration requirement and, after the time for direct appeal had passed, Reese filed a motion to correct illegal sentence challenging the constitutionality of the 2011 amendments. The district court denied the motion, and a Court of Appeals panel affirmed. The Supreme Court reaffirmed the longstanding rule that an illegal sentence does not include a claim that the sentence violates a constitutional provision.

    Appeal No. 111,243: State of Kansas v. Matthew A. Wood

    The Supreme Court unanimously held that a defendant could not use a motion to correct illegal sentence to argue the 2011 amendments to the Kansas Offender Registration Act violate the ex post facto clause of the United States Constitution. Several years after Wood pled guilty to one count of attempted indecent liberties with a child in Sedgwick County District Court, the Kansas Legislature amended the act lengthening from 10 years to 25 years the amount of time Wood was required to register. In 2012, Reese filed a motion to correct illegal sentence challenging the constitutionality of the 2011 amendments. The district court denied the motion, and a Court of Appeals panel affirmed. The Supreme Court reaffirmed the longstanding rule that an illegal sentence does not include a claim that the sentence violates a constitutional provision.

    Kansas Court of Appeals decisions released today 


  • 01 May 2017 1:13 PM | Tiffany Fisher (Administrator)

    Kansas Courts News Release


    The Kansas Supreme Court released published decisions today in the following cases: 

    Appeal No. 113,962: State of Kansas v. Jeffrey Wade Chapman. The Supreme Court upheld Chapman's first-degree premeditated murder conviction for the 2011 killing of Damon Galyardt, whose body was found along a rural road in Barton County. Chapman admitted the killing but claimed it was in self-defense. A jury rejected that argument and convicted him. On appeal, Chapman argued that pretrial publicity denied him a fair trial. His case generated notoriety when he asked permission to have a prominent tattoo on his neck removed that read "REDRUM" ("murder" spelled backward).

    In a unanimous decision written by Justice Dan Biles, the Supreme Court reviewed the questioning leading up to the final jury selection and noted, "The record shows the jury was selected with relative ease, with Chapman passing the panel for cause with no challenges during general voir dire." The court further observed the district court went to special efforts to avoid empaneling jurors tainted by publicity.

    The court also rejected Chapman's argument that the district court erred by admitting into evidence the substance of a text message, in which one of Chapman's friends purportedly asked Chapman before Galyardt's murder if Chapman wanted to go "shoot a dog." Chapman claimed this was hearsay and its probative value was outweighed by its prejudicial effect. But the court ruled that even assuming error, there was no prejudice to Chapman.  

    Appeal No. 111,995; State of Kansas v. Maurice Orlando Stewart: The Supreme Court unanimously affirmed Stewart's convictions for felony murder, aggravated robbery, burglary, and theft, emanating from incidents in an Olathe motel in 2010. The Supreme Court held that the Johnson County District Court's jury instruction on the alternative theories of first-degree murder was legally appropriate and that any error of omission in the jury instruction on the force element of aggravated robbery was invited error. The Supreme Court further opined that, while Stewart's low intelligence quotient (IQ) score placed his competency to stand trial in issue, a preponderance of the evidence supported the district court's finding that Stewart was able to understand the nature and purpose of the criminal proceedings and that he could assist in making his defense. With respect to the defense challenge to the reliability of the expert testimony on blood spatter evidence, the Supreme Court related that any procedural error created by the trial court's failure to re-visit the merits of the evidentiary challenge was, at most, harmless error. Finally, the Supreme Court determined that the cumulative effect of trial errors did not rise to the level of denying the defendant a fair trial.

    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



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