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  • 18 Oct 2021 10:29 AM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    The 3rd Judicial District Nominating Commission will convene via telephone conference at 9 a.m. Tuesday, October 19, to discuss the nomination process to fill a district judge vacancy. 

    The vacancy will be created when Chief Judge Richard Anderson retires December 11. 

    The 3rd Judicial District is composed of Shawnee County.

    Public access

    The meeting is open to the public. To listen:

    call 1-877-400-9499; and

    enter conference code 2199381974

    Accommodation
    Any person with disability who requires accommodation to access the nominating commission meeting should notify the judicial branch ADA coordinator as early as possible:

    ADA Coordinator

    ADA@kscourts.org
    785-296-2256
    TTY at 711

    Eligibility requirements
    A nominee for district judge must be:

    • at least 30 years old;
    • a lawyer admitted to practice in Kansas and engaged in the practice of law for at least five years, whether as a lawyer, judge, or full-time teacher at an accredited law school; and
    • a resident of the judicial district at the time of taking office and while holding office.

    The nominating commission seeks nominations and then meets to interview nominees. Interviews are open to the public.  

    Nominees to governor
    The nominating commission will select from three to five people whose names will be submitted to the governor to fill the position according to statutory qualification and residency requirements. The governor has 60 days after receiving the names to decide whom to appoint.
    If there are not three nominees
     who reside in the judicial district who are deemed qualified by the commission, the commission may consider nominees who reside outside the district.

    Term of office
    After serving one year in office, a new judge must stand for a retention vote in the next general election to remain in the position. If retained, the incumbent will serve a four-year term.

    Nominating commission
    The 3rd Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Justice Caleb Stegall as the nonvoting chair; Toby McCullough, Rossville; Daniel Crow, Thomas Lemon, Randall Phillips, Rebecca Sanders, and Eric Stafford, all of Topeka.


  • 18 Oct 2021 10:27 AM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    Appeal No. 112,572: State v. Taylor Arnett

    Summary calendar; no oral argument

    The Supreme Court affirms the judgment of the Court of Appeals and the Wyandotte County District Court, finding that Arnett's ordered restitution does not violate her right to a jury under the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution and, upon severance of certain criminal restitution statutes, it does not violate section 5 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights.

    Appeal No. 120,753: State v. Owens

    Archived oral argument
    A jury convicted Owens of first-degree felony murder and aggravated burglary in connection with the shooting death of his ex-girlfriend in Sedgwick County. In an opinion written by Justice KJ Wall, the Supreme Court unanimously affirmed Owens' convictions and a majority affirmed the district court's order for Owens to pay restitution.

    On appeal, Owens argued that the district court erred by admitting text messages and other hearsay testimony describing comments attributed to Owens. The Court, however, found that the district court judge analyzed the evidence under the correct legal framework and did not abuse his discretion in admitting the evidence at trial.

    Owens also claimed the district court judge should have granted a mistrial based on the State's failure to disclose testing a detective performed before trial and the State's failure to redact an audio recording of a conversation with Owens' mother. The Court concluded that these events either did not constitute a fundamental failure in the proceedings or that they did not make it impossible to continue the trial without injustice to Owens.

    Owens also claimed that he was entitled to a new trial due to prosecutorial error. And while the prosecutor did err by referring to facts not in evidence during closing argument, the Court confirmed that this error was harmless and did not affect the verdict at trial. The Court rejected Owens' other claims of trial error, including claims that the district court gave an erroneous jury instruction and that cumulative error deprived him of a fair trial.

    Finally, Owens argued that the statutory scheme governing criminal restitution violated section 5 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights. The Court agreed that the statutory provisions that converted judicially determined criminal restitution into civil judgments implicated section 5 but, based on State v. Arnett, a majority held that the proper remedy was to sever the problematic statutory provisions rather than vacate Owens' restitution order. Justice Eric Rosen dissented from this part of the opinion and would have vacated Owens' restitution order.

    Appeal No. 120,903: State v. Robert James Robison III

    Archived oral argument

    The Supreme Court affirms the judgment of the Court of Appeals and the Lyon County District Court, finding that Robison's ordered restitution does not violate his right to a jury under the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution and, upon severance of certain criminal restitution statutes, it does not violate section 5 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights.

    Appeal No. 123,145: State v. Andrew Wallace Ellington

    Summary calendar; no oral argument
    The Supreme Court affirms Sedgwick County District Court’s denial of defendant Ellington's untimely motion to withdraw his guilty plea for first-degree murder. The Court found that Ellington failed to plead facts amounting to the required "excusable neglect" in order to extend the one-year state statute of limitations for plea withdrawals. The Court found that all of Ellington's pled reasons for filing late—including his lack of criminal history and experience with the criminal justice system—amounted to only "ignorance of the law," which cannot establish excusable neglect.




  • 18 Oct 2021 9:56 AM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    The Kansas Supreme Court announced today it has selected Gayle Larkin to serve as disciplinary administrator and lead the office responsible for investigating attorney misconduct complaints.   

    Larkin’s appointment takes effect October 3. She will succeed Stan Hazlett, who retired September 3 after 24 years in the position.

    “Gayle is well-versed in the attorney discipline process, and she has practical experience managing the Disciplinary Administrator’s Office,” said Chief Justice Marla Luckert. “She’s also a skilled leader who has worked with countless attorneys who volunteer their time in support of the attorney discipline function. We appreciate she is willing to take on this new role, and we look forward to a smooth transition for this office.” 

    Larkin has served as counsel to the Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys since 1999. In that role she drafted more than 500 final hearing reports in attorney discipline cases. She also helped the disciplinary administrator carry out administrative duties related to managing the office, including personnel matters, budgeting, and contracts.

    Larkin has also overseen character and fitness investigations of bar applicants and she has presented more than 60 cases before the Kansas Board of Law Examiners. 

    “I am thrilled for the opportunity to serve the Supreme Court, the people of Kansas, and my profession in this new capacity,” Larkin said. “I have dedicated my career to the Kansas attorney discipline system. As disciplinary administrator, my goals are to be part of the solution, to provide guidance to attorneys, and to protect members of the public.”

    In her years with the attorney discipline office, Larkin wrote the 2009, 2017, and 2020 editions of the Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys Disciplinary Investigator’s Handbook. She also wrote Attorney Discipline: Rules, Standards and Cases in 2000. She co-wrote chapters on attorney discipline in the 2009 and 2015 editions of the Kansas Ethics Handbook published by the Kansas Bar Association.

    Before joining the Disciplinary Administrator’s Office in 1999, Larkin had a private law practice in Lawrence, served as an assistant attorney general, and served as an assistant district attorney in Douglas County. She has been an adjunct professor at Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas, since 1998, teaching courses on business, media, and criminal law, criminal investigations, critical thinking, and negotiations.   

    Justice Eric Rosen, who is liaison between the Disciplinary Administrator’s Office and the Supreme Court, said Larkin appreciates the nuanced behaviors that get attorneys into trouble.

    “Gayle understands the distinction between willful indifference to the rules that govern ethical attorney behavior and the distress signal brought about by medical or psychological problems, or substance abuse, which is oftentimes a critical factor in lawyer discipline matters,” Rosen said. “She will be firm but fair, a necessary combination for a successful disciplinary administrator.”

    The Kansas Disciplinary Administrator's Office works under the direction of the Supreme Court. The disciplinary administrator: 

    • reviews and investigates complaints of misconduct against attorneys;
    • ​holds public hearings when appropriate and recommends discipline to the Supreme Court in serious matters; and
    • ​provides education and resources for Kansas attorneys to prevent the occurrence of misconduct.

    An attorney involved in a disciplinary matter can be referred to the Kansas Lawyers Assistance Program, which is a source of confidential help for lawyers with alcohol, drug abuse, or mental health issues.

    Larkin has an undergraduate degree from Baker University, and a law degree from the University of Kansas School of Law. She currently serves as a director of the National Council of Lawyer Disciplinary Boards and she is a member of the National Organization of Bar Counsel and the National Client Protection Organization. She has been a faculty senator at Baker University since April 2021. She lives in Lawrence.


  • 13 Oct 2021 8:40 AM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)
    Appeal No. 118,792: State of Kansas v. Cameron Michael Taylor

    Appeal No. 118,792 archived oral argument

    The Supreme Court reversed a Court of Appeals decision that upheld Taylor's convictions of battery against a law enforcement officer and intentional criminal threat. In an opinion written by Justice Dan Biles, the Supreme Court stated the Court of Appeals failed to aggregate all trial errors it identified and failed to apply a proper test in conducting its harmless error analysis when assessing the cumulative effect of the errors. The Court further noted the Court of Appeals failed to question whether the errors' cumulative effect savaged Taylor's credibility when the trial evidence supporting the battery and threat charges was not overwhelming. The Court remanded the case to the Finney County District Court with directions to grant him a new trial.


    Appeal No. 123,211: State of Kansas v. Robert Lewis Jackson


    Summary calendar; no oral argument

    The Supreme Court upheld a sentence of life without the possibility of parole for 40 years originally imposed on Jackson for a Topeka murder committed in 1994. Jackson filed a motion arguing the 40-year wait for parole eligibility was illegal because the State did not notify him of its intent to seek that punishment at the time of his arraignment, as required by the then-applicable statute. The State instead provided its notice before the arraignment. In an opinion written by Justice Dan Biles, the Supreme Court ruled that the early notice satisfied the statute's requirements.

  • 27 Sep 2021 9:42 AM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    Appeal No. 113,705: State of Kansas v. Brooke Danielle Dinkel

    Dinkel was charged with 10 counts of rape of a child under 14 and 10 counts of criminal sodomy in Saline County District Court. In defense, Dinkel argued the alleged victim had physically forced the first act of sexual intercourse and blackmailed Dinkel into continuing the sexual contact and that she had a mental disease or defect. The jury convicted Dinkel of two counts of rape of a child under 14. Dinkel appealed, alleging many errors, and the Court of Appeals remanded the case for a hearing on whether her trial counsel had been ineffective. The district court concluded counsel had not been ineffective and the Court of Appeals agreed. The Court of Appeals also rejected Dinkel's additional claims of error, largely based on its conclusion that her intent was irrelevant because there is no mental culpability requirement for rape of a child. On review, the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals conclusion that Dinkel's intent was irrelevant. It ruled that evidence the sexual intercourse was physically forced was relevant to the voluntary act requirement. It remanded the case to the district court for a hearing on whether counsel had been ineffective for failing to argue the voluntary act requirement. The district court concluded counsel had not been ineffective. In an opinion written by Justice Eric Rosen, a majority of the Supreme Court disagreed. It held that counsel had been ineffective when it failed to craft a defense that rendered Dinkel's claims of forced intercourse legally relevant. But it affirmed the Court of Appeals conclusion there is no mental culpability requirement for rape of a child. The court vacated Dinkel's convictions and remanded the case for a new trial. Justice Evelyn Wilson concurred and dissented. She agreed there is no mental culpability requirement but would have concluded counsel had not been ineffective.

  • 17 Sep 2021 11:05 AM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    Appeal No. 119,759: State of Kansas v. Lonnie A. Davidson
    Summary calendar; no oral argument
    A Supreme Court majority rejected Davidson's challenge to the Kansas Offender Registration Act (KORA), K.S.A. 22-4901 et seq. Reaffirming its holding in State v. Petersen-Beard, 304 Kan. 192, 377 P.3d 1127 (2016), that KORA is nonpunitive, the court held that mandatory lifetime postrelease registration under KORA does not constitute punishment for purposes of applying provisions of the ex post facto clause of the United States Constitution. Justice Melissa Standridge concurred in the result based on principles of stare decisis, noting the only change that had occurred since Petersen-Beard was decided was the composition of the court. Justice Eric Rosen dissented from the majority's decision, reiterating his longstanding opinion that KORA's registration requirements are punitive and concluding that retroactive application of the registration requirements to Davidson violated the ex post facto clause.

    Appeal No. 119,796: State of Kansas v. N.R.

    Appeal No. 119,796 archived oral argument

    In a majority opinion, the Supreme Court today held that the Kansas Offender Registration Act's (KORA) mandatory lifetime registration provisions as applied to a registered juvenile sex offender does not constitute punishment for the purposes of applying the ex post facto clause and the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution and section 9 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights. The majority further held that such provisions as applied to the juvenile offender do not infringe on his due process rights under the Kansas Constitution. In 2006, N.R. was 14 years old when he was adjudicated on a rape charge. At that time, the magistrate judge ordered that he only be required to register locally as an offender for five years. However, in 2011 the Kansas Legislature amended KORA in such a way that N.R. was then required to publicly register as an offender for life. The majority rejected N.R.'s arguments that such requirements violated ex post facto, constituted cruel and unusual punishment, and violated his state constitutional due process rights.

    Appeal No. 123,045: State of Kansas v. Meka Richardson

    Summary calendar; no oral argument
    The Supreme Court affirmed the Wyandotte County District Court's ruling denying a motion to correct illegal sentence. Richardson, who is currently serving a hard-40 sentence after she was convicted in 1992 of first-degree murder, argued that her sentence was illegal because it did not conform to K.S.A. 1992 Supp. 21-4624. Specifically, she asserted that the jury did not unanimously convict her on a premeditation theory, which is statutorily required before a district court judge can convene a separate trial to determine the hard-40 sentence. In an opinion written by Justice Standridge, the Court unanimously held that the jury instructions and the verdict form in this case conclusively show that the jury unanimously convicted Richardson of premeditated and felony first-degree murder. The court further determined that the district court correctly construed Richardson's motion as a motion to correct an illegal sentence and not as a motion for postconviction relief under K.S.A. 60-1507.



  • 13 Sep 2021 8:31 AM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    Court of Appeals Judge Henry Green will sit with the Kansas Supreme Court to hear and help decide one case on the court’s September 13 docket that will take place by videoconference.

    After hearing oral arguments, Judge Green will join Supreme Court justices in their deliberations and decision drafting.

    "The Supreme Court looks forward to Judge Green hearing a case with us,” said Chief Justice Marla Luckert. “He will read the case materials, prepare for oral argument, and deliberate with the court on its decision. We thank him for helping us, especially because we know he already has a significant case load to handle."

    Green was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 1993 by Gov. Joan Finney.

    “It is clearly an honor to be chosen to sit with our Supreme Court,” said Green. “As a Court of Appeals judge, this has to be one of the highlights of my career.”

    Judge Henry Green Jr. is a native of Leavenworth. He earned his bachelor’s degrees from Kansas State University and a law degree from the University of Kansas School of Law. After a career in private law practice and working for the federal bankruptcy court in Kansas, he was appointed to the Kansas Court of Appeals.

    All Supreme Court oral arguments are webcast live at YouTube.com/KansasSupremeCourt.

    Green will join justices by video conference at 9 a.m. Monday, September 13, to hear oral arguments in one case:

    Appeal No. 120,434: State of Kansas v. Dwayne Lynn Patton

    Reno County: (Petition for Review) Patton was convicted of one count of felony driving under the influence. At sentencing, the district court found this was Patton’s fourth or subsequent DUI conviction and sentenced him to 12 months in jail. The Court of Appeals affirmed Patton’s conviction and sentence. The Court of Appeals held that the 2018 Amendments to K.S.A 8-1567(i) and (j) apply to Patton’s DUI conviction even though the crime was committed in 2016. Issue on review is whether appellants precluded from bringing their claims based on res judicata and prior Kansas Supreme Court precedent.


  • 13 Sep 2021 8:30 AM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    Court of Appeals Judge Michael Buser will sit with the Kansas Supreme Court to hear and help decide one case on the court’s September 14 docket that will take place by videoconference.

    After hearing oral arguments, Judge Buserwill join Supreme Court justices in their deliberations and decision drafting.

    "The Supreme Court looks forward to Judge Buser hearing a case with us,” said Chief Justice Marla Luckert. “He will read the case materials, prepare for oral argument, and deliberate with the court on its decision. We thank him for helping us, especially because we know he already has a significant caseload in to handle."

    Buser was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 2005 by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

    “I look forward to sitting with our Supreme Court as the justices decide important legal issues that affect all Kansans," said Buser.

    Buser grew up in Des Moines, Iowa, and Overland Park. After receiving undergraduate degrees from Georgetown University, he returned to Kansas to earn a law degree from the University of Kansas School of Law. He worked as a county prosecutor and corporate counsel and was in private practice before being named to the Court of Appeals in 2005.

    All Supreme Court oral arguments are webcast live at   http://www.YouTube.com/KansasSupremeCourt.

    Buser will join justices by videoconference at 9 a.m. Tuesday, September 14, to hear oral arguments in:

    Appeal No. 121,815: Ronell Williams v. State of Kansas

    Wyandotte County: (Petition for Review) At 14 years old, Williams was convicted of two counts of premeditated first-degree murder arising from the death of two victims. He is serving two concurrent hard life sentences. Williams brought an action under K.S.A 60-1507 challenging his hard 50 sentence as constitutionally disproportionate under the Eighth Amendment. The district court dismissed the motion as untimely and successive. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded to the district court with specific directions to resentence Williams on the premeditated fir-degree murder convictions based on the constitutional protections cited in Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460. Issues on review are whether: 1) the Court of Appeals erred in holding that Williams’ hard-50 sentence, which was imposed under a discretionary scheme and explicitly provided the opportunity for parole, ran afoul of Miller because it only held that life without parole for those under the age of 18 at the time of their crime violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on ‘cruel and unusual punishments,” and 2) this Court should affirm Williams’ sentence if it finds that the hard 50 is the “functional equivalent” of a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.


  • 13 Sep 2021 8:29 AM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    Court of Appeals Judge Thomas Malone will sit with the Kansas Supreme Court to hear and help decide one case on the court’s September 15 docket that will take place by videoconference.

    After hearing oral arguments, Malonewill join Supreme Court justices in their deliberations and decision drafting.

    "The Supreme Court looks forward to Judge Malone hearing a case with us,” said Chief Justice Marla Luckert. “He will read the case materials, prepare for oral argument, and deliberate with the court on its decision. We thank him for helping us, especially because we know he already has a significant caseload in to handle."

    Malone was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 2003 by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

    “It's always a rewarding experience to hear a case with the Supreme Court and be a part of the final decision-making process in the Kansas judicial branch," said Malone.

    Malone, a Wichita native, received a bachelor's degree from Newman University in Wichita and a law degree from Washburn University School of Law. After a 12-year career in private practice in Wichita, he was elected district judge in Sedgwick County in 1990. He was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 2003.

    All Supreme Court oral arguments are webcast live at YouTube.com/KansasSupremeCourt.

    Malone will join justices by video conference at 9 a.m. Wednesday, September 15, to hear oral arguments in: 

    Appeal No. 121,447: Catherine Roll, a disabled person, by and through her co-guardians Teresa Roll Kerwick and Mary Ann Burns v. Laura Howard, Secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, and Mike Dixon, Superintendent of the Parsons State Hospital and Training Center

    Sedgwick County: (Petition for Review) Roll is a patient at Parsons State Hospital, where she has been treated for decades for an intellectual disability and schizophrenia. In 2016, the Department of Aging and Disability Services, with Parsons, indicated the intent to transfer Roll to a more integrated community-based program. Roll’s guardians sought a permanent injunction to prevent the transfer, alleging the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Social Security Act prevented the Department from transferring her without her consent.

    The district court found that the Department had shown that the treatment available at a community-based program was appropriate to meet Roll’s needs. The court also found that the ADA nor SSA prevented transferring her to a different program. The district court and the Court of Appeals upheld the transfer. Issues on review are whether: 1) the Court of Appeals incorrectly applied rules of statutory interpretation concerning the ADA and the SSA; and 2) the record contradicted the Court of Appeals and the district court’s conclusions that Roll was not in “Active Treatment.”


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