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Kansas Supreme Court issued the following published decisions on June 10, 2020

10 Jul 2020 1:57 PM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

The Kansas Supreme Court issued the following published decisions June 10, 2020:

Appeal No. 116,649: State of Kansas v. Anthony Michael Brazzle

Archived oral argument 

The Supreme Court affirmed Brazzle's drug-related convictions, including possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and possession of oxycodone. The Supreme Court held Riley County District Court did not err by allowing the State to present evidence Brazzle sold methamphetamine to undercover detectives about a week before the car stop leading to the convictions at issue. The evidence was material to the disputed question of whether Brazzle intended to personally use or distribute the drugs found in the car. And the risk of undue prejudice to Brazzle did not substantially outweigh the evidence's probative value. The Supreme Court also affirmed the Court of Appeals' holding that because Brazzle advocated for the version of the possession of oxycodone jury instruction the district court provided to the jury, he could not claim error on appeal. And finally, the Supreme Court held sufficient evidence supported Brazzle's possession of oxycodone conviction. 

Appeal No. 119,228: In the Matter of the Equalization Appeals of Target Corporation et al.

Summary calendar; no oral argument

The Supreme Court revived Johnson County's appeal from a Kansas Board of Tax Appeals proceeding adjusting taxpayers' property values. The Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal at the taxpayers' request. The taxpayers argued there was no jurisdiction to review the proceedings, since the Kansas Board of Tax Appeals had not issued a final decision—generally a requirement for taxing authorities to obtain judicial review of board actions. In a unanimous opinion written by Justice Dan Biles, the Supreme Court concluded there was jurisdiction to consider the county's argument the Kansas Board of Tax Appeals wrongly refused to issue a final decision. The court remanded the case to the Court of Appeals.

Appeal No. 119,315: State of Kansas v. Brent J. Carter

Summary calendar; no oral argument

A Sedgwick County jury convicted Carter of two counts of first-degree felony murder, two counts of criminal discharge of a firearm, one count of aggravated battery, and one count of criminal threat. The battery and threat charges arose from an incident in which Carter hit and threatened to kill Tatyana Crowe. The murder and firearm charges arose from a later shooting at a house in Wichita, resulting in the deaths of Betty Ann Holloman and Brenton Oliver. In an opinion written by Justice Eric Rosen, the Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the convictions. The Supreme Court held any error in the district court's refusal to instruct the jury that presence alone does not make the defendant an aider or abettor was harmless because there was ample evidence of Carter's direct involvement in the crimes. The Supreme Court also held the district court made no error when it found the battery precipitated the shooting and then consolidated the charges into one case.

Appeal No. 121,051: In the Matter of the Adoption of Baby Girl G

Summary calendar; no oral argument

This is an appeal from a termination of paternal rights pursuant to an adoption proceeding under K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 59-2136(h). Sedgwick County District Court granted the proposed adoptive parents' petitions seeking termination of the biological father's rights, finding the father failed to provide the mother with adequate support during her pregnancy. On the father's appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the termination order but remanded the case to the district court for reconsideration of the attorney fees award. The Supreme Court granted the father's petition for review of that portion of the Court of Appeals opinion relating to the termination order. The father sought review of the factual findings made by the district court. In addition, for the first time in the litigation of the case, the father raised arguments asserting the Kansas termination statute is unconstitutional because it denies biological fathers equal protection of the law and infringes on constitutionally protected liberty and due process interests. Writing for the Supreme Court, Justice Eric Rosen issued an opinion holding the father failed to preserve the constitutional arguments and the arguments did not fall within recognized exceptions to the preservation requirement. The Supreme Court therefore declined to address the constitutional issues on the merits. The Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals holding on the inadequacy of the father's support. The case was remanded to the district court to carry out the judgment of the Court of Appeals relating to attorney fees. In a dissenting opinion, Justice Caleb Stegall argued the constitutional issue fell within the exceptions to the preservation requirement and the court should have ruled on the merits of the father's various arguments. He contended the evolving direction of constitutional law tends to support broader inherent rights of biological fathers than courts and legislatures have traditionally recognized.

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