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.