Appeal No. 120,481: State of Kansas v. Donnell Stafford
Summary calendar; no oral argument
On direct appeal, the Kansas Supreme Court affirmed Stafford's first-degree murder and two cruelty to animals convictions. In an opinion written by Justice Caleb Stegall, the Supreme Court held additional language in the premeditation jury instruction was legally and factually appropriate under State v. Bernhardt, 304 Kan. 460, 372 P.3d 1161 (2016). Moreover, the Supreme Court held a heat of passion voluntary manslaughter instruction would not have been factually appropriate, so Sedgwick County District Court did not err in refusing to give one. The Supreme Court also held a nurse's testimony did not violate the Confrontation Clause because the statements were for a medical purpose. Finally, finding no error, the Supreme Court held the cumulative error doctrine did not apply.