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Supreme Court releases for May 10, 2019

22 May 2019 12:21 PM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

The Kansas Supreme Court released the following published decisions May 10:

Appeal No. 119,726: In the Matter of David E. Herron II

Archived oral argument video 

Herron II, of Overland Park, was suspended from the practice of law for 60 days for violating the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct on confidentiality, candor to the tribunal, professional misconduct involving dishonesty, and professional misconduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.

Appeal No. 115,869: Jeffrey D. Kudlacik v. Johnny's Shawnee, Inc. and Barley's Ltd.

Archived oral argument video

The Supreme Court refused to reconsider the state's longstanding Kansas caselaw that prevents a person injured by someone who is intoxicated from suing those who furnished the alcohol. The case arose when Kudlacik suffered serious injuries in a two-vehicle collision with a drunk driver. He sued two Johnson County restaurants alleging they continued to serve alcoholic beverages to the driver after it was obvious the driver was intoxicated.

Michael Smith ran a red light at high speed through a Johnson County intersection and collided with Kudlacik's vehicle. Smith's blood alcohol content was 0.179. Kudlacik suffered extensive injuries. Before the collision, Smith consumed alcoholic beverages at Johnny's Shawnee and Barley's Bar.

In declining to overrule caselaw that has been effective in Kansas since 1985, the court noted it was not clearly convinced the caselaw was wrong when first determined and also noted, "The Legislature remains free to chart the public policy course that abrogates the common-law rule. And for many years, it has elected not to do so."

Appeal No. 115,657: State of Kansas v. Skyler Lee Brook

Summary calendar; no oral argument 

The Supreme Court affirmed correcting Brook's postrelease supervision term from two years to lifetime.

Brook had pleaded no contest in Nemaha County District Court to sexual exploitation of a child. Imposition of his original prison sentence was initially suspended, and Brook was ordered to serve 36 months of probation. After he violated probation by committing another crime, the district judge revoked the probation and ordered Brook to serve the original underlying prison sentence and two years of postrelease supervision. The judge later learned that Brook should have originally received a lifetime postrelease supervision term because of his plea to a sexually violent crime. The judge then ordered the term corrected.

On appeal, Brook raised two statutory challenges to the correction. The Supreme Court rejected both. The court also declined Brook's invitation to reconsider its previous holding that lifetime postrelease supervision for a first-time offender such as Brook―one older than 18 who is convicted of sexual exploitation of a child for crimes involving possession of pornographic images of children―is not categorically disproportionate and unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment

Appeal No. 117,275: State of Kansas v. Dominic J. Moore

Summary calendar; no oral argument 

The Supreme Courtvacated in part and remanded for resentencing by the Wyandotte County District Court. Moore challenged the district court's modification of his two nonvacated sentences in length and sequence when it resentenced his previously vacated hard-50 life sentence to a hard-25 life sentence. The Supreme Court unanimously held the district court erred by resentencing Moore's two nonvacated, on-grid sentences in length and by changing them from concurrent to consecutive to each other and the hard-25. Accordingly, the Supreme Court vacated his sentences in part and remanded for the district court to reinstate the original sentences for the on-grid convictions and for those sentences to run concurrent with each other and the new hard-25 sentence.

Appeal No. 116,648: State of Kansas v. Alejandro Arturo Garcia-Garcia

Archived oral argument video 

The Supreme Court upheld Garcia-Garcia's convictions in Montgomery County District Court for attempted capital murder, kidnapping, burglary, and interference with law enforcement. His Kansas crimes arose from a high-speed car chase that began in Oklahoma. In affirming his convictions, the court rejected claims that the district court erred by admitting the evidence regarding his criminal acts in Oklahoma, permitting prosecutorial error, and failing to provide a jury with a lesser-included-offense instruction. But the court did find the district court made an error in assessing an attorney fee reimbursement for the Board of Indigents' Defense Services and returned the case to reconsider that question.

Appeal No. 120,518: In the Matter of Kevin T. Cure 

Archived oral argument video

The Supreme Court imposed an 18-month suspension from the practice of law on Cure, of Galena, for violating the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct regarding the commission of a criminal act reflecting adversely on his honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer; misconduct prejudicial to the administration of justice; misconduct that adversely reflects on the his fitness to practice law; and the failure to report a felony charge.

Appeal No. 117,305: State of Kansas v. Steven Wade Edwards

Archived oral argument video 

The Supreme Court affirmed the Sedgwick County District Court's denial of Edwards' motion to withdraw his guilty pleas and vacated the district court's order of lifetime postrelease supervision. Edwards pleaded guilty to two counts of felony murder, one count of aggravated burglary, and one count of aggravated robbery. As a result, he was sentenced to two concurrent life sentences for the killings and 141 additional months of incarceration for the lesser crimes. From the bench, the judge also ordered lifetime postrelease supervision and waived a Board of Indigents' Defense Services administrative fee.

In an opinion written by Justice Caleb Stegall, the Supreme Court held that a sentencing court has no authority to order a term of postrelease supervision in conjunction with an off-grid, indeterminate life sentence. Thus, the Supreme Court vacated Edwards' lifetime postrelease supervision portion of his sentence and remanded with instructions to impose lifetime parole. The court also instructed the district court to correct the journal entry to properly reflect the judge's waiver of the BIDS administrative fee. Because a judge's oral pronouncement is controlling, the journal entry imposing a BIDS administration fee was a clerical error that could be corrected at any time. Lastly, the Supreme Court affirmed the district court's denial of Edwards' motion to withdraw his guilty pleas because the district court did not abuse its discretion. 

Kansas Court of Appeals decisions released

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