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Supreme Court release for January 11, 2019

11 Jan 2019 11:39 AM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

The Kansas Supreme Court released the following published decisions today:

Appeal No. 117,654: State of Kansas v. Curtis R. Ayers

Archived oral argument video

The Supreme Court affirmed Ayers' Wyandotte County District Court convictions and sentence for felonies relating to the murder of Detective Brad Lancaster. However, the court vacated the district court's assessment of Board of Indigents' Defense Services fees and remanded the case for reconsideration of the fees. After conviction, Ayers was sentenced to life without parole for capital murder and 560 months for other crimes. All of Ayers' sentences were ordered to run consecutive to each other, except for aggravated burglary sentences. At sentencing, the district court judge failed to consider—on the record—Ayers' ability to pay the Board of Indigents' Defense Services fees as required under Kansas law. On appeal, Ayers argued that the district court did not follow the proper procedure when it assessed the Board of Indigents' Defense Services fees against him, and abused its discretion when it ordered most of his sentences be served consecutive to each other. The court agreed with Ayers on the issue of Board of Indigents' Defense Services fees and held that the district court did not follow the proper procedure. However, the court rejected Ayers' argument about his sentence because it could not say the district court abused its discretion.

Appeal No. 114,271: Charles Nauheim d/b/a/ Kanas Fire and Safety Equipment, and Hal G. Richardson d/b/a/ Bueno Food Brand, Topeka Vinyl Top and Minuteman Solar Film v. City of Topeka

Archived oral agrument video

The Supreme Court reinstated a lawsuit seeking relocation benefits from the City of Topeka for tenants who lost business leases to accommodate a public works project. The court held facts were in dispute, so the Shawnee County District Court improperly granted the city judgment without a trial. The City argued the law only required it to pay for relocation if it threatened or took some affirmative action to condemn the property. In this case, the city bought the property from the owner in a negotiated purchase. In a unanimous decision written by Justice Dan Biles, the court held the matter as to whether a condemnation action would have occurred if the City had not been able to buy the land was a factual question, and the evidential record regarding that matter was not undisputed. In returning the case to district court, the court also rejected the tenants' argument they were automatically entitled to compensation anytime a condemning authority acquires property for a public project. "The statute is not that generous," the court concluded.  

Appeal No. 116,423: State of Kansas v. Roy Eugene Samuel

Archived oral agrument video

The Supreme Court rejected Samuel's attempt to have his life sentence declared illegal. Samuel pled guilty in Wyandotte County District Court to second-degree murder for the 1996 killing of Patrick Brunner. Samuel was 16 years old when he was sentenced to life imprisonment with a mandatory 10-year term. He claimed his life sentence was cruel and unusual punishment due to his young age. In a unanimous decision, the court noted it had repeatedly rejected other cases trying to raise constitutional challenges under a state statute that limits challenges to sentences to arguments over jurisdiction, vagueness, or the failure to follow applicable statutes.

Case No. 119,254: In the Matter of John M Knox

Archived oral agrument video

The Supreme Court disbarred Knox from the practice of law for violating the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct regarding competence, diligence, communication, fees, expediting litigation, truthfulness, conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, conduct adversely reflecting on his fitness to practice law, and failure to cooperate in the disciplinary action.

Appeal No. 116,650: State of Kansas v. Elgin R. Robinson Jr.

Archived oral agrument video

In a decision written by Justice Eric Rosen, the Supreme Court affirmed the Sedgwick County District Court's order denying Robinson's postconviction motion to compel discovery under K.S.A. 60-237. The court held that the statute did not permit such relief.

Appeal No. 113,165: State of Kansas v. Robert William Doelz

Archived oral agrument video

The Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals decision affirming Doelz's drug conviction and remanded for a new trial in Leavenworth County District Court because police conducted an unconstitutional warrantless search of Doelz's vehicle.

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