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Upcoming events

  • 24 Apr 2017 1:10 PM | Tiffany Fisher (Administrator)

    May Membership Luncheon & 2017 CLE Updates

    When: 05 May 2017 12:00 PM, CDT

    Where: Topeka Shawnee County Public Library - 1515 SW 10th Ave

    EVENT DETAILS:

    Celebrate Law Day 2017 at the May TBA Membership Luncheon

    The 2017 Liberty Bell Award recipient will be recognized as well as the Law Day Coloring Contest winners.

    CLE Commissioner Shelley Sutton will round out the luncheon with an update on new CLE Requirements beginning July 1, 2017. 

    11:30 a.m. –12:00 p.m.:  Registration

    12:00–12:20 p.m.:  TBA Membership Luncheon Welcome and Introductions, presentations of the 2017 Liberty Bell Award and  Law Day Coloring Contest award winners.

    12:20–12:50 p.m.:  2017 CLE Updates CLE Program

    12:50–1:00 p.m.:   Q&A Session

    Approved for a Half Hour of CLE Credit

    REGISTRATION DEADLINE:  FRIDAY, APRIL 28

    Sponsored by:

    FISHER, PATTERSON, SAYLER & SMITH


  • 24 Apr 2017 9:24 AM | Tiffany Fisher (Administrator)

    Kansas Courts News Release

    Contact: 

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

    Supreme Court accepting comment on proposed new and amended rules for specialty courts

    TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court is accepting public comment on a proposed new rule and a proposed amended rule that address how specialty courts are defined and what standards judicial districts follow when creating a specialty court.

    Comment on the proposed new rule and proposed amended rule may be made by email to publiccomments@kscourts.org until 5 p.m. Monday, May 22, 2017. The subject line must read Specialty Court.

    A specialty court is one that uses therapeutic or problem-solving procedures to address underlying factors that contribute to a person's involvement in the criminal justice system, whether those underlying factors are mental illness or addiction.

    • Proposed Amended Supreme Court Rule 109A allows a judicial district to create a specialty court to address specific needs within its district. The proposed amendment to this rule simplifies the terminology used to describe these courts. 
    • Proposed Supreme Court Rule 109B is new and adopts general standards for judicial districts creating a specialty court. These new standards include having measurable goals and objectives, using evidence-based practices, and having trained, knowledgeable judges overseeing the specialty court.
    The proposed rules are available for review on the Kansas judicial branch website at www.kscourts.org under the heading What's New. 
  • 21 Apr 2017 10:23 AM | Tiffany Fisher (Administrator)

    Kansas Courts News Release

    April 21, 2017

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


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

    Appeal No. 111,235: FV-I, Inc., In Trust for Morgan Stanley Mortgage Capital Holdings, LLC v. Constance M. Kallevig, et. al., and Bank of the Prairie 
     
    The Kansas Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the Court of Appeals opinion affirming the Miami County District Court's decision in a mortgage foreclosure proceeding between FV-I and junior mortgage holder Bank of the Prairie. The district court initially granted summary judgment in the Bank of Prairie's favor, and the Court of Appeals reversed and remanded for trial. The district court ruled that FV-I lacked standing to file the foreclosure petition, failed to establish enforcement rights in the note at trial, and the Bank of Prairie's mortgages had priority. The Court of Appeals affirmed on appeal, and the Supreme Court granted FV-I's petition for review.
     
    Writing for a unanimous court, Justice Eric Rosen held that standing in a foreclosure action is predicated on the plaintiff's ability to demonstrate that it was in possession of the note with enforcement rights at the time it filed the foreclosure action, and possession of the mortgage alone is insufficient to establish standing. The court held that remand was necessary because the district court erroneously excluded two endorsements on the note that may have been able to establish standing. The court vacated the Court of Appeals' priority determination in the Bank of Prairie's counterclaim noting that an unenforceable mortgage remains in existence.     

    Appeal No. 111,046: State of Kansas v. David Darrel Williams
     
    An Ellis County jury convicted David Darrel William of distribution of methamphetamine. On appeal, Williams challenged a district court judge's decision to allow the jury to consider an audio recording of an informant who participated in the drug buy underlying the prosecution but did not testify against Williams at his trial.
     
    The Kansas Supreme Court agreed with Williams that the audio recording included testimonial statements by the informant – one identifying Williams and one identifying the methamphetamine. Admission of the recording violated Williams' right to confront the witnesses against him, but the error was harmless and did not require reversal of Williams' conviction.

    Appeal No. 114,721: State of Kansas v. Patrick Angelo

    In a unanimous decision written by Justice Marla Luckert, the Kansas Supreme Court rejected Patrick Angelo's appeal from his consecutive life sentences. Angelo was convicted in Wyandotte County District Court of two counts of premeditated murder and, on his first habeas corpus motion, the Court of Appeals concluded the district court had mistakenly only pronounced sentence on count one — an error that required resentencing. A different district court judge then pronounced what he believed the first district court intended: two terms of life imprisonment with parole eligibility after 25 years, to run consecutive to one another. Angelo appealed from the resentencing order, and the Supreme Court affirmed Angelo's sentences after concluding his arguments against them depended on an inapplicable statute. 

    Kansas Court of Appeals decisions released today 


  • 20 Apr 2017 10:34 PM | Tiffany Fisher (Administrator)

    The TBA Young Lawyer's Division is accepting applications for its Annual Scholarship.

    To be considered for the TBA Young Lawyers Division Scholarship, an applicant must: 

    • Be a law student at an accredited school of law within the State of Kansas graduating within the current academic year (2016-2017).
    • Anticipate applying to sit for the Kansas Bar Examination in 2017.
    • Demonstrate a desire to practice law in Topeka, Kansas
    • Display excellence in academic merit, community service, and moral character.
    • Be a student member of the Topeka Bar Association (No membership fees!  An application can be obtained at here.)
    • Complete and timely submit the attached application.

    Applications are due to Tiffany Fisher at the Topeka Bar Association - 534 S. Kansas Ave., Suite 1130, Topeka, Kansas  66603, no later than Friday, May 26.

  • 17 Apr 2017 9:48 AM | Tiffany Fisher (Administrator)

    Kansas Courts News Release

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

     

    Judge David Bruns
    Judge David Bruns
    Court of Appeals

     

    Judge Stephen Hill
    Judge Stephen Hill
    Court of Appeals

     

    Judge Kim Schroeder
    Judge Kim Schroeder
    Court of Appeals

    Kansas Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments April 18 at Washburn University School of Law

    TOPEKA—A three-judge panel of the Kansas Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments April 18 in Robinson Courtroom of Washburn University School of Law in Topeka.
     
    Judge David Bruns will be joined by Judges Stephen Hill and Kim Schroeder to hear oral arguments in six cases. Three will be heard starting at 9:30 a.m. and the remaining three starting at 1:30 p.m.
     
    After each docket session, the judges will be available to answer questions from the public about the court and court procedures.
     
    Bruns, the presiding judge for the panel, said that the Court of Appeals regularly hears cases throughout the state.
     
    "Nearly every month, panels of Court of Appeals judges hear cases in its courtroom in Topeka, and at locations in Wichita and Kansas City," Bruns said. "On occasion, panels will visit other locations, such as Washburn University School of Law, to make the court accessible to more people."

    Oral Arguments

    Attorneys for each side will have an opportunity to present arguments to the judges, and the judges will have a chance to ask questions. The court will then take each case under consideration and will issue a written decision at a later date, usually within 60 days.
     
    The appeals to be heard arose in Clay, Geary, Riley and Shawnee counties. In addition to the Court of Appeals panel hearing cases this week in Topeka, other three-judge panels of the Court of Appeals will be hearing cases in Overland Park, Wichita and Lawrence. All hearings are open to the public.
     
    There are 14 judges on the Court of Appeals, and the judges sit in three-judge panels to decide cases. In fiscal year 2016, the Court of Appeals resolved appeals in 1,932 cases, including 1,304 in which the court issued a formal written opinion.
     
    The six cases to be heard Tuesday, April 18, at Washburn University are summarized below. 

    9:30 a.m.
    Tuesday, April 18, 2017

     
    Case No 115,609: State of Kansas v. Anthony Stephen Nichols

    A Riley County jury convicted Nichols of attempted first-degree murder. Prior to his conviction, Nichols filed two motions to suppress that the district court denied. The first motion sought to suppress statements made during an interrogation by law enforcement officers. The second motion sought to suppress evidence found during a search of his cell phone. Nichols appeals the district court's denial of the motions. Nichols argues that the statements he made to law enforcement officers were involuntary because he did not waive his Miranda rights and he invoked his right to remain silent. Moreover, Nichols argues that the search of his cell phone was invalid under the United States Supreme Court cases of Riley v. California and United States v. Wurie.
     
    Case No. 116,322: Diana Sabatino v. Kansas Employment Security Board of Review

    The Kansas State Fire Marshall's Office terminated Sabatino as an investigator for alleged insubordination related to following agency directives in conducting inspections and preparing reports. Sabatino's application for unemployment benefits was denied and she filed an administrative appeal. While the appeal was pending, the fire marshall modified the alleged reason for Sabatino's termination from insubordination to inefficiency and incompetency. Ultimately, the Board of Review denied Sabatino's appeal. Sabatino then sought judicial review in the Shawnee County District Court. The district court reversed the board's decision. In this appeal, the board raises two issues. First, whether the district court erred by disregarding the appropriate standard of review. Second, whether the modified reason for termination was sufficient to support the board's decision.

    Case No. 113,869: State of Kansas v. Stephen Alan Macomber

    Stephen Macomber was charged in Shawnee County with intentional second-degree murder in the death of Ryan Lofton. After a jury trial convicted him of involuntary manslaughter, Macomber appealed. On appeal, Macomber claims the trial court erred by: 1) giving an instruction on the lesser included offense of involuntary manslaughter; 2) refusing to give instructions regarding his theory of the defense; and 3) denying his claim for immunity based on justification. Macomber also claims there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction for involuntary manslaughter.

    1:30 p.m.
    Tuesday, April 18, 2017

    Case No. 115,599: State of Kansas v. Ulysses Clark
     
    In Geary County, Clark pled no contest to solicitation to commit first-degree murder, sale of methadone, sale of oxycodone, and perjury. In a previous appeal, a panel of the Kansas Court of Appeals remanded the case to the district court for resentencing. At the resentencing hearing, Clark moved to withdraw his plea. Clark alleged that, had he known the correct maximum sentence possible, he would not have agreed to the plea. The district court denied his motion to withdraw his plea, and Clark appealed. On appeal, Clark raises one issue, and it is whether the district court erred in denying the motion to withdraw his plea.
     
    Case No. 116,307: Corvias Military Living, LLC, et al. v. Ventamatic, LTD, et al.
     
    Corvias, LLC, built family housing units in Fort Riley, Kansas. During construction of the residences, Corvias, LLC, purchased bathroom ceiling exhaust fans from subcontractors who installed them in the residences. Subsequently, two of the housing units caught fire resulting in property damage Shortly after the second fire, Corvias, LLC, replaced the vent fans from the housing units with a different brand of vent fan Corvias, LLC, then filed a petition in Geary County District Court alleging that the fires were caused by a defect in vent fans manufactured by Ventamatic, LTD, and containing motors made by Jakel, Inc. Ultimately, the district court granted summary judgment motions in favor of Ventamatic, LTD, and Jakel, Inc. On appeal, Corvias, LLC contends that the district court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of Ventamatic, LTD, and Jakel, Inc. Corvias, LLC, argues that the economic loss doctrine involves a mixed question of fact and law. In addition, Corvias, LLC, alleges that it should be allowed to proceed under an implied warranty theory because the vent fans were inherently dangerous.
     
    Case No. 115,956: State of Kansas v. Rebecca A. Blackburn
     
    A police officer stopped a car for an alleged traffic violation. While performing a driver's license check, the officer requested a drug canine be brought to the scene. On arrival, the dog was led around the car and indicated the possible presence drugs. Two items with white residue on them were found in the car — a cut straw and a mirror-like object. Blackburn, who had been driving the car, was arrested along with the other occupants. The officer searched Blackburn and found methamphetamine in her shoe. As a result, Blackburn was charged with possession of methamphetamine in Clay County District Court. Prior to trial, Blackburn filed a motion to suppress the evidence claiming that the officer did not have reasonable suspicion to initiate a traffic stop and did not have probable cause to arrest her The district court denied the motion to suppress and Blackburn was convicted after a bench trial on stipulated facts. On appeal, Blackburn contends that the district court erred in denying her motion to suppress.

    State of Kansas
    Office of Judicial Administration
    Kansas Judicial Center
    301 SW 10th
    Topeka, Kansas 66612-1507
    785-296-2256
    www.kscourts.org

  • 14 Apr 2017 12:27 PM | Tiffany Fisher (Administrator)

    Kansas Courts News Release

    April 14, 2017

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

    Appeal No. 114,351: State of Kansas v. Louis Cotton
     
    Twenty-six years after he was convicted in Wyandotte County District Court of multiple crimes including first-degree murder, Cotton filed a motion on his own behalf alleging several trial errors. The Supreme Court held that the district court judge correctly denied the motion. Cotton argued that the motion was permitted despite the delay because he was challenging an illegal sentence. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding Cotton's arguments challenged his conviction, not the sentence, so a motion to correct an illegal sentence is the wrong vehicle for his claims. This was not Cotton's first appeal. The Supreme Court previously affirmed his convictions on direct appeal in 1990.

    Appeal No. 114,397: State of Kansas v. Steven A. Clark 

    Almost 20 years after Clark was convicted of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder in Sedgwick County District Court, he filed a motion to correct illegal sentence arguing he was wrongly sentenced to a hard-25 life sentence, which requires that he serve 25 years in prison before becoming eligible for parole. The Supreme Court held that he was correctly sentenced and affirmed the district court judge's decision denying Clark's motion.

    Appeal No. 116,544: In the Matter of Terri L. Fahrenholtz
    Fahrenholtz, of Fargo, North Dakota, was disbarred from the practice of law in Kansas for multiple violations of the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct governing competence, diligence, communication, safekeeping property, termination of representation, expediting litigation, and failure to file an answer in a disciplinary proceedings.

    Appeal Nos. 112,509 and 112,510: State of Kansas v. Tracey Jerome Toliver
    Toliver was detained in a police car during a warrant-based search of a residence. During the detention, he shouted profanities and derogatory statements at the police officer in the car and then spat on the officer's hand. After placing him under arrest, the officer drove Toliver to the county jail. While trying to help jail staff persuade him to get out of the car in a holding area, Toliver again spat on the officer. He later made threatening remarks about the officer. Toliver was convicted in Riley County District Court of two counts of criminal threat, one count of battery against a police officer, and one count of felony battery. He focused his appeal on the last count. The Court of Appeals reversed that conviction based on the statutory language defining various categories of battery, and the state sought review from the Supreme Court. Writing for a unanimous court, Judge Michael J. Malone, senior judge, assigned, affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court held that the syntax of the statute in question, K.S.A. 2013 Supp. 21-5413(c)(3)(D), required the state to prove that the police officer was a correctional officer or a correctional employee when Toliver spat on him in the holding cell. The state did not attempt to present such proof, and the conviction of felony battery could not be sustained.

    Appeal No. 111,987: Juan A. Apodaca v. Mark Willmore and Matthew Willmore, and Oak River Insurance Company
    Plaintiff Juan Apodaca, a police officer for the Riley County Police Department, sued Matthew Willmore and Mark Willmore to recover for injuries Apodaca sustained in a car accident.
    In the middle of an October night in 2009, Matthew Willmore rolled the pickup he was driving across the median of K-177 in Riley County. The pickup came to a stop on its wheels, blocking the southbound lanes of the highway. Officer Apodaca was on patrol and responded to the accident at a high rate of speed with his emergency lights and sirens activated. Apodaca did not realize he was at the accident scene and did not see the disabled pickup in the middle of the road when his police car struck the pickup while traveling at 104 mph. As a result of the collision, Apodaca and Officer Jonathan Dulaney, who was riding with Apodaca, suffered serious injuries.
    Apodaca asserted a claim of negligence against Matthew Willmore and a claim of negligent entrustment against Mark Willmore, Matthew's father
    In Shawnee County District Court, the Willmores were granted summary judgment. The district court judge concluded that the firefighter's rule — a rule that prohibits an injured firefighter from recovering when his or her injury was caused by the wrong that initially required his or her presence at the scene — should be extended to police officers. On appeal a Court of Appeals panel agreed and affirmed the district court.
    The Supreme Court granted Apodaca's petition for review and affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeals and the judgment of the district court. The court held that the firefighter's rule should be extended to include law enforcements officers. On the facts of the case before it, none of three recognized exceptions to the application of the firefighter's rule applied, and the plaintiff was procedurally barred from pursing adoption of a fourth, a willful and wanton conduct exception.   

    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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