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The Kansas Supreme Court issued the following published decisions September 11, 2020

11 Sep 2020 9:43 AM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

The Kansas Supreme Court issued the following published decisions September 11, 2020

Appeal No. 115,184: Ziad K. Khalil-Alsalaami v. State of Kansas

Archived oral argument

The Supreme Court granted Khalil-Alsalaami's motion for post-conviction relief following his Riley County convictions for two counts of aggravated criminal sodomy. Khalil-Alsalaami argued his convictions must be reversed because his trial counsel was ineffective and therefore violated his rights under the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Specifically, Khalil-Alsalaami argued his trial attorneys were ineffective because they stipulated that a confession made by Khalil-Alsalaami during police interrogation was voluntary. During a hearing on Khalil-Alsalaami's ineffective assistance claims before the district court, his trial counsel acknowledged that three of the five recognized voluntariness factors weighed in favor of suppression, but contended they nevertheless did not challenge the admissibility as a matter of trial strategy. The Supreme Court held such a strategy constituted ineffective assistance of counsel because it required them to cede, perhaps unnecessarily, one of the major pillars of the State's case against Khalil-Alsalaami. Finally, the Supreme Court held there was a reasonable probability that, but for counsel's stipulation to the confession, Khalil-Alsalaami may have been acquitted. Accordingly, the Supreme Court reversed Khalil-Alsalaami's convictions and remanded the case to Riley County District Court. Justice Carol Beier, joined by Senior Judge Patrick McAnany, concurred. They would have held there was a second error of constitutional magnitude, because trial counsel did not protect Khalil-Alsalaami's statutory right to have an interpreter to assist him. Justice Dan Biles, joined by Justice Caleb Stegall, dissented.

Appeal No. 118,712: Fairfax Portfolio LLC v. Carojoto LLC et al.

Summary calendar; no oral argument

The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeals reversing Wyandotte County District Court's decision regarding the enforceability of a mortgage clause that grants mortgagee or lender the right to immediate and exclusive possession of the mortgaged property upon the event of the mortgagor or borrower's future default. The Supreme Court held there is no support in the law to rely on such a provision, and absent either express or implied consent after default, the mortgagor of real property may retain possession.

Appeal No. 118,894: State of Kansas v. Michael Alan Keyes

Archived oral argument

Keyes was convicted of first-degree premeditated murder in Grant County. On direct appeal to the Supreme Court, Keyes challenged his conviction, claiming the district court erred in refusing to give his requested jury instructions of self-defense and involuntary manslaughter. In an opinion written by Justice Caleb Stegall, the Supreme Court held the district court erred in failing to give a self-defense instruction. Because the Supreme Court was not convinced there was no reasonable probability the error affected the outcome of the trial, it reversed Keyes' conviction and remanded his case to Grant County District Court. Judge Steve Leben wrote a concurring opinion, where he questioned whether the constitutional harmless-error test should apply in cases where the trial court refused to give a jury instruction central to the defense case instead of the nonconstitutional harmless error test. But because the State did not show the error was harmless here and neither parties briefed this issue, Leben joined the court's opinion in full.

Appeal No. 120,246: State of Kansas v. Curtis L. Coleman Jr.

Summary calendar; no oral argument

The Supreme Court affirmed Wyandotte County District Court's decision summarily denying Coleman's postsentence motion to modify sentence. He filed a motion seeking to modify his hard-40 life sentence originally imposed in 1999. In a unanimous opinion written by Senior Judge Mike Ward, the court rejected Coleman's contention that his sentence violated his Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial because the trial judge—not a jury—made the factual findings necessary for sentence enhancement. The Supreme Court reasoned no legal avenue exists for the relief requested by Coleman.

Kansas Court of Appeals decisions released today


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