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Kansas Supreme Court Decisions, May 7, 2021

07 May 2021 10:16 AM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

Appeal Nos. 120,620 and 120,622: State of Kansas v. Stephen M. Bodine

Archived oral argument videoOn direct appeal, the Kansas Supreme Court affirmed Bodine’s convictions for first-degree felony murder, aggravated kidnapping, abuse of a child, aggravated endangering a child, aggravated assault, and criminal damage to property. In a unanimous opinion written by Justice Melissa Standridge, the court held Bodine lacked standing to challenge the constitutionality of the kidnapping statute. The Supreme Court also approved Sedgwick County District Court’s jury instructions on aggravated kidnapping and aiding and abetting and found the aiding and abetting statute is not unconstitutional. Further, the Supreme Court determined Bodine’s convictions for felony murder and aggravated child endangerment are not logically impossible and a single instance of prosecutorial error during the State’s closing argument was harmless. Finally, the Supreme Court held K.S.A. 2020 Supp. 22-2302(c), the statute allowing public access to affidavits or sworn testimony filed in support of a warrant or summons, does not violate a defendant’s constitutional right to an impartial jury.

Appeal No. 121,516: State of Kansas v. Jonathan D. Blevins

Archived oral argument video
The Kansas Supreme Court affirmed the decision of Jefferson County District Court after Blevins appealed his conviction for first-degree premeditated murder. The Supreme Court determined while the prosecutor committed several errors during the closing arguments of Blevins' jury trial, those errors were both individually and cumulatively harmless. The Supreme Court also concluded: the district court did not err in telling the venire, in response to a question by a prospective juror, the case did not involve capital punishment; the district court did not err in issuing a jury instruction on aiding and abetting; the prosecutor did not err at Blevins' sentencing hearing; and the district court did not err in refusing to depart from the presumptive hard-50 sentence.

Case No. 123,203: In the Matter of Mark G. Ayesh, Respondent

Archived oral argument video
 
The Kansas Supreme Court suspended Ayesh, a Wichita lawyer, from the practice of law for three years with the possibility of probation after six months. Ayesh admitted to multiple violations of the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct while representing clients in a lengthy dispute surrounding a Wichita condominium development and while representing clients in a tax matter involving the transfer of real estate. Ayesh was admitted to practice law in Kansas in 1979.


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