Appeal No. 117,436: State of Kansas vs. Dale M. Willis
Archived oral argument
On direct appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed Willis' convictions for first-degree murder and battery in Johnson County. In an opinion written by Justice Caleb Stegall, the court held Willis' jury instruction error claims were barred by the invited error doctrine because Willis requested and agreed to the wording of those jury instructions. Additionally, the Supreme Court examined several statements made by the State and held none constituted prosecutorial error. Further, the Supreme Court held the district court properly admitted testimony from an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and evidence from his brother James Willis' smartphone. Finding no trial-phase errors, the Supreme Court held no cumulative error occurred. Moreover, the Supreme Court held no sentencing errors existed. The district court did not impermissibly weigh aggravating and mitigating circumstances because it did not find any mitigating factors existed. Finally, the Supreme Court deemed abandoned Willis' claim the district court violated his Fifth Amendment rights because Willis failed to properly brief the issue.