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Supreme Court releases for January 10, 2020

13 Jan 2020 11:30 AM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

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

Appeal No. 114,312: State of Kansas v. Christopher Lyman

Archived oral argument video

The Supreme Court affirmed Lyman's Geary County jury trial convictions for felony murder based on abuse of a child, abuse of a child by shaking, and aggravated battery. The victim was Lyman's 8-month-old nephew J.S. who was temporarily living with Lyman and his family. The Supreme Court held: 1) the district court did not err in denying Lyman's motion for a new trial based on newly discovered evidence concerning the prosecutor because the evidence was not credibly exculpatory nor impeaching and was not of such materiality to establish prejudice to Lyman; 2) the district court did not abuse its discretion in excluding testimony from Lyman's proposed expert when the witness failed to satisfy the statutory test for admissibility of expert testimony; 3) the district court did not err by allowing the State to introduce photographs documenting Lyman's prior assault of the victim because the evidence showed Lyman's modus operandi—a disputed material fact—and because it contradicted Lyman's claim the child's previous health issues, and not Lyman, caused the death; 4) Lyman did not establish the district judge committed judicial misconduct by allegedly sleeping during the trial; and 5) the district court did not abuse its discretion by prohibiting Lyman from introducing medical records subject to a written stipulation after the court excluded Lyman's proposed expert from testifying.

Appeal No. 118,120: State of Kansas v. Sherman Norman Jenkins

Archived oral argument video

The Supreme Court affirmed Jenkins' Shawnee County convictions for first-degree felony murder, two counts of aggravated battery, two counts of felony fleeing and eluding police, one count of theft, one count of driving without tail lamps, and one count of driving while suspended. At trial, the district court judge admitted into evidence recordings of jail calls made using Jenkins' unique personal identification number. On appeal, Jenkins argued this was a reversible error because the recordings were not properly authenticated. The Court held admission of the calls was not error and announced a seven-factor test for authenticating an audio recording outlined in State v. Williams, 235 Kan. 485, 681 P.2d 660 (1984), is no longer controlling in Kansas. Instead, the Court held audio recordings are 'writings' under the Kansas Rules of Evidence and can be authenticated by any evidence sufficient to support a finding the writing is what its proponent claims. Jenkins also argued one of the means of the felony fleeing and eluding statute, which renders fleeing and eluding a felony if the defendant commits five or more moving violations while fleeing, was unconstitutionally vague. He argued that a typical person would not understand the conduct made illegal and that the statute would permit arbitrary enforcement. The Court rejected these assertions, holding administrative regulations defining "moving violations" provide fair notice of what conduct is illegal. 

Appeal No. 118,180: State of Kansas v. Londro Emanuel Patterson III

Archived oral argument video

The Supreme Court affirmed Patterson's convictions and sentencing arising from the 2015 armed robbery of a Shawnee gun shop during which a store owner was killed. Patterson and three accomplices tried to rob She's A Pistol, jointly owned by Jon and Rebecca Bieker. Jon was killed by one of Patterson's accomplices when gunfire erupted. A jury convicted Patterson of felony murder, conspiracy to commit robbery, attempted aggravated robbery, and aggravated battery. The district court sentenced him to a hard-25 life sentence for the murder conviction and consecutive 47-, 34-, and 13-month prison terms for the remaining three convictions. On appeal, Patterson argued the felony murder statute, which defines a killing occurring during commission of a dangerous felony as first-degree murder, denied him due process because the jury did not have to determine whether he had a specific intent to kill. He also argued there were problems with the jury instructions and comments by the prosecutor, and that his hard-25 life sentence was too severe for his crime because he was 19 years old at the time of the crime. The court rejected each claim. 

Kansas Court of Appeals decisions released

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