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Supreme Court releases for March 29, 2019

01 Apr 2019 6:10 PM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

The Kansas Supreme Court released the following published decisions today:

Appeal No. 117,933: In the Matter of the Care and Treatment of Thomas Easterberg

Archived oral argument video

In Easterberg's original proceeding in habeas corpus to the Supreme Court, he argued that he was ineligible for involuntary commitment under the Kansas Sexually Violent Predator Act (KSVPA) because in his criminal case, the sentencing court found his criminal convictions for kidnapping and aggravated battery were not sexually motivated. The Supreme Court held that if a crime's sexual motivation is litigated in a person's criminal case and the crime is determined not to be sexually motivated, the State is estopped from re-litigating that point in a KSVPA proceeding to prove that a crime is a sexually motivated offense for purposes of involuntary commitment under the KSVPA. The Supreme Court remanded Easterberg's case to the Riley County District Court to determine the factual question of whether sexual motivation was actually litigated during Easterberg's criminal case.

Appeal No. 115,431: State of Kansas v. Michael E. Phillips

Summary calendar; no oral argument

The Supreme Court affirmed the Sedgwick County District Court's denial of Phillips' motion for new trial as untimely. Phillips previously challenged his conviction on felony murder, two counts of attempted aggravated robbery, and one count of criminal possession of a firearm. The Supreme Court upheld his conviction on all four counts while vacating lifetime postrelease supervision in a mandate issued February 11, 2013. Phillips subsequently filed a motion for new trial based on newly discovered evidence. The district court correctly determined the original judgment was final when the Supreme Court's mandate was issued and denied the new trial motion because it was filed more than two years later.

Appeal No. 116,406: State of Kansas v. Mark T. Salary

Summary calendar; no oral argument

The Supreme Court affirmed the Wyandotte County District Court. Salary's life sentence was previously vacated and remanded for resentencing. In this second direct appeal, Salary challenged the district court's decision to deny his motions to dismiss and for exculpatory evidence. He also raised ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsels for the first time on appeal and argued that the district court engaged in misconduct to deny him his right to allocution at resentencing. The Supreme Court unanimously held that the district court did not err by denying Salary's motions, the allegations of ineffective assistance were not properly before the court, and the district court did not engage in misconduct to deny him his right to allocution.  Accordingly, the Supreme Court affirmed his convictions and sentence.

Appeal No. 113,563: Douglas R. Peters v. Deseret Cattle Feeders, Inc. 

Archived oral argument video

The Supreme Court reversed the Haskell County District Court's order granting summary judgment and remanding for further proceedings. In this employment case arising out of the sale of a cattle feedlot, Douglas Peters, who moved his employment from the old owner to the new, challenged his termination claiming breach of an implied-in-fact employment contract and promissory estoppel. The district court granted summary judgment to the employer, Deseret Cattle Feeders, concluding Peters' employment was at will. The Court of Appeals reversed and held that whether Peters' employment was at will or protected by an implied-in-fact contract was a disputed question of fact. The Supreme Court unanimously held that whether a meeting of minds existed between Peters and Deseret was a genuine issue of material fact preventing summary judgment under the circumstances of this particular case where Peters' implied-in-fact employment contract claim was supported by more than his own subjective understanding or expectation. Accordingly, the Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals' decision reversing summary judgment and remanded to the district court for further proceedings.

Kansas Court of Appeals decisions released today

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