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Kansas Supreme Court docket for September 14-18, 2020 (part 2 of 3)

09 Sep 2020 9:34 AM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

9 a.m. • Wednesday, September 16

Appeal No. 119,529: State of Kansas v. Luis Antonio Aguirre

Riley County: (Criminal Appeal) In October 2009, the bodies of T.M. and J.M. were found buried together near Odgen. J.M. was the son of T.M. and Aguirre. Once the bodies were identified, the investigation turned to Aguirre, who had lived in Odgen from February until October 2009.In June 2012, a Riley County jury found Aguirre guilty of capital murder but declined to impose the death sentence. On appeal, the Supreme Court found Aguirre's confessions were obtained in violation of his Miranda rights and reversed his conviction. This appeal stems from Aguirre's retrial, which lead to Aguirre's convictions of voluntary manslaughter of T.M. and premeditated first-degree murder of J.M. Issues on appeal are whether: 1) Aguirre's statements to police were made in violation of Miranda and also involuntary; 2) the district court erred in allowing the State's expert witness on botany to testify to his "expert" opinion on the length of time the grave was left open, in violation of the requirements of K.S.A. 60-456(b); 3) the district court erred in finding the stipulation to the authenticity of emails was binding for the second trial; 4) there was sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to find Aguirre killed J.M. intentionally and with premeditation; 5) the district court erred in denying Aguirre's requested cautionary instruction against inference stacking; 6) the prosecutor's closing argument lowered the burden of proof and led jurors to believe they need not be unanimous; and 7) the district court had jurisdiction to convict Aguirre of voluntary manslaughter.

11 a.m. • Wednesday, September 16

Case No. 122,036: In the Matter of Mark David Murphy, Respondent

Original Proceeding Related to Attorney Discipline: (One-year suspension) The Supreme Court admitted Murphy to the practice of law in April 1987. Murphy's ethical issues involve his representation of the parties to the sale of a limousine service, conflicts of interest, and whose interest Murphy was representing. The hearing panel unanimously recommends Murphy be suspended from practicing law for one year. The disciplinary administrator recommends Murphy be disbarred. Murphy seeks a reprimand.

1:30 p.m. • Wednesday, September 16

Appeal No. 117,439: Alysia R. Tillman and Storm Fleetwood v. Katherine A. Goodpasture, D.O., et al.

Riley County: (Petition for Review) Tillman and Fleetwood challenge the denial of their cause of action, first recognized by the Kansas Supreme Court in Arche v. United States of America, 247 Kan. 276, 798 P.2d 477 (1990). In 2013, the Kansas Legislature passed K.S.A. 60-1906, stating no cause of action exists in Kansas for wrongful birth of a child. The district court granted Goodpasture's motion for judgment on the pleadings. The district court found K.S.A. 2013 Supp. 60-1906 was constitutional, stating Sections 5 and 18 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights did not protect this cause of action since wrongful birth was not a cause of action recognized in 1859 when the Constitution was adopted. The Court of Appeals agreed, stating K.S.A. 2013 Supp. 60-1906 is constitutional because a cause of action for wrongful birth was unavailable when the Constitution was adopted and thus does not implicate Sections 5 or 18 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights. Issues on review are whether K.S.A. 60-1906 violates Sections 5 and 18 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights and the right to remedy by due course of law because the statute bars common law medical negligence wrongful birth causes of action without providing a substitute remedy.

9 a.m. • Thursday, September 17

Appeal No. 117,034: Mark T. Schreiner v. Chad S. Hodge and Danny Smith

Johnson County: (Petition for Review) This is a lawsuit for damages filed by Schreiner involving the actions of two Mission police officers: Hodge, who was investigating a resident's complaint about a strange truck parked near her home, and Smith, a supervising sergeant called to the scene at Schreiner's request. The district court granted summary judgment to the two officers, essentially ruling the officers had good reason to investigate and the 25-minute encounter was reasonable under the circumstances. The district court also held the officers were immune from Schreiner's claims for damages. The Court of Appeals affirmed. Issues on review are whether the district court erred: 1) in granting summary judgment and finding the officers had reasonable suspicion to stop and temporarily detain Schreiner; and 2) in finding the officers were immune from Schreiner's claims for damages.

11 a.m. • Thursday, September 17

Appeal No. 117,725: Howard Johnson III v. U.S. Food Service et al.

Workers Compensation: U.S. Food Service seeks review of the Court of Appeals, finding the Kansas Legislature's adoption of the Sixth Edition of the American Medical Association Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment to replace the Fourth Edition of the same violates Section 18 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights and the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Court of Appeals struck down various Kansas statutes referencing the Sixth Edition because the adoption of such provisions has "emasculated" the workers compensation scheme to the point it no longer constitutes an adequate substitute remedy for an injured worker's right to bring a common-law action. Both U.S. Food and the Kansas Attorney General filed petitions for review. Issues on review are whether: 1) the change in K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 44-501e, which requires the use of the Sixth Edition, violates Section 18 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights and the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; and 2) the reduction in the workers compensation awards diminishes or abrogates a remedy protected by due process without promoting the general welfare and without providing an adequate substitute remedy.

9 a.m. • Friday, September 18

Appeal No. 118,307: In the Matter of the Estate of Lanny Lentz

Shawnee County: (Petition for Review) Lentz' three adult daughters were heirs to his estate, which included several real properties, four of which are at issue. The district court distributed two of the properties to Diann Wyatt and the other two properties to Lana Kennedy and Marilyn Lentz as joint tenants in common. Wyatt appealed the district court's valuation of the four properties. The Court of Appeals concluded Wyatt's appeal was not filed in a timely fashion and dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction. The Court of Appeals also held even if it reached the merits of Wyatt's issues on appeal, the court found she did not properly raise them before the district court and they were not property preserved for appellate review. Issues on review are whether: 1) Wyatt timely appealed the district court's decision on valuation; 2) Wyatt properly preserved the issues for appellate review; and 3) the district court made a proper determination of the valuation of the properties.

11 a.m. • Friday, September 18

Appeal No. 121,536: In the Interest of F.C., a Minor Child

Leavenworth County: (Petition for Review) The natural mother appealed a decision of the district court that F.C., her 13-year-old daughter, was a child in need of care. She argued an abuse of discretion occurred in the district court's determination and a lack of evidence existed at the time of the adjudication to support a finding of child in need of care. The natural mother also argued she was not offered a feasible reintegration plan at the time of disposition. The Court of Appeals agreed with the natural mother and held upon review of the evidence in the light most favorable to the State, the district court's adjudication of F.C. as a child in need of care under K.S.A. 38-2202(d)(2) and (d)(3) was not supported by clear and convincing evidence. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded with directions to dismiss the proceeding and restore legal custody to the natural mother and give her physical custody of F.C. The State filed a petition for review. Issues on review are whether: 1) there is sufficient evidence to support the district court's finding of a child in need of care; and 2) the Court of Appeals erred in overturning the district court's decision.

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