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  • The Kansas Supreme Court issued the following published decisions December 23, 2020

The Kansas Supreme Court issued the following published decisions December 23, 2020

23 Dec 2020 2:28 PM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

Appeal No. 120,310: State of Kansas v. Phillip Jermaine Stanley

Summary calendar; no oral argument

On direct appeal, the Kansas Supreme Court affirmed Stanley's first-degree murder conviction. In an opinion written by Justice Caleb Stegall, the Supreme Court held Stanley failed to preserve his claim a witness' "double memories" were a fundamental trial failure because Stanley objected on other grounds at trial. Further, the Supreme Court upheld Johnson County District Court's use of additional language in the premeditation jury instruction as both legally and factually appropriate under State v. Bernhardt, 304 Kan. 460, 372 P.3d 1161 (2016). Moreover, the Supreme Court held premeditated first-degree murder and intentional second-degree murder are not identical offenses and the Kansas premeditated first-degree murder statute is not unconstitutionally vague. Finding no error, the Supreme Court found Stanley's claim of cumulative error meritless.


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.


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