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Supreme Court releases for August 2, 2019

05 Aug 2019 2:43 PM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

Appeal No. 117,299: State of Kansas v. Gerardo G. Saucedo

Summary calendar; no oral argument

The Supreme Court vacated Saucedo's prison sentence for his two drug-related felony convictions and ordered Reno County District Court to resentence him with a criminal history score characterizing his prior Washington residential burglary conviction as a nonperson felony. The court held the Kansas criminal code does not have a comparable offense because the Washington crime's mental state element is, in some aspects, broader than the Kansas burglary statute.

Appeal Nos. 116,641, 116,642, and 116,643: State of Kansas v. Joshua Ewing

Summary Calendar; no oral argument 

The Supreme Court ordered the Sedgwick County District Court to reconsider how it calculated the prison terms for Ewing, who was convicted in three separate cases of a total of three counts of felony theft and one count of aggravated burglary. The court held the district court should not have scored a prior Arkansas misdemeanor conviction for false imprisonment as a person offense under the Kansas sentencing guidelines. The court also held further proceedings are necessary to decide whether a prior Arkansas third-degree domestic battery conviction could be scored as a person offense.

Appeal No. 116,333: In the matter of the estate of Ray V. Oroke, deceased 

Archived oral argument video

A testator filed his original will and codicil with the clerk of the probate court of his home county, as allowed by the statutes in place at the time. Years later he died, and heirs attempted to locate the will, but the district court clerk was unable to find it. After further searching failed to produce the will, the testator's daughter filed an intestate probate proceeding. While that proceeding was pending, the limitation period for probating a will passed. Shortly afterward, the clerk located the will and codicil, and the testator's stepdaughter filed a separate petition to probate the will. The Jefferson County District Court admitted the will to probate, and the daughter appealed to the Court of Appeals, which reversed.

On review by the Kansas Supreme Court, Senior Judge Michael J. Malone, sitting in for Justice Marla Luckert, wrote for a unanimous court, reversing the Court of Appeals, affirming the district court, and remanding to the district court The Supreme Court held that the misplacing of the will by the court clerk, who was the legal custodian of the will and a judicial employee, was a unique circumstance that operated to toll the statute of limitations and give effect to the testator's intentions. The court also awarded appellate attorney fees to the prevailing heirs.

Appeal No. 116,356: State of Kansas v. Darrin D. Hirsh

Archived oral argument video 

The Supreme Court has affirmed in part, reversed in part, and vacated in part Hirsh's convictions and remanded his case for further proceedings.

Hirsh assaulted his wife and threatened her and their children with violence. During the ensuing trial, one of the witnesses—an undersheriff called on Hirsh's behalf—produced a report with evidence inconsistent with the testimony of a witness. After he was convicted, Hirsh filed a motion for a new trial based in part on the late disclosure of the report, which was denied by a Barton County District Court.

On appeal, Hirsh argued that his due process rights were violated by the late disclosure of exculpatory evidence in the possession of the State under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Supreme Court disagreed with Hirsh. Even assuming the information in the report could have been used by Hirsh had it been disclosed earlier in the trial, the court was confident that the outcome was not undermined because the information was not material.

Kansas Court of Appeals decisions released.

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