Kansas Supreme Court Decisions, June 17, 2022

17 Jun 2022 10:20 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)

Appeal No. 121,411: State of Kansas v. Darnell Lee Huey

Appeal No. 121,411 archived oral argument

In a decision written by Chief Justice Marla Luckert, a majority of the Supreme Court affirmed Huey’s conviction for failing to register in Shawnee County as required under the Kansas Offender Registration Act. Huey was required to register as a violent offender due to his use of a firearm during a robbery. He argued there was not sufficient evidence to support his conviction because the State only presented evidence that he lived in Shawnee County two months before the date he was required to register but did not present any evidence of where he lived at the time he was required to register. The Supreme Court held that it was a reasonable inference that the defendant lived in Shawnee County at the time he was required to register, and the jury could have found beyond a reasonable doubt all elements of the offense of failing to register as required by the Kansas Offender Registration Act. The dissenting justice would have reversed the conviction because they did not believe that the evidence supported a reasonable inference that the defendant was still living in that same residence two months later.

Appeal No. 122,897: State of Kansas v. Melvin Lavon Shields

Appeal No. 122,897 archived oral argument

In a direct appeal from Wyandotte County District Court, the Supreme Court affirmed Shields’ convictions for two counts of first-degree premeditated murder. In an opinion written by Justice K.J. Wall, the Court agreed with Shields that the district court should have provided a cautionary instruction to the jury on the reliability of eyewitness testimony. But the Court held that reversal was unwarranted because other procedural safeguards mitigated the error and Shields had not shown that the jury would have reached a different verdict if given the instruction. A majority of the Court rejected the other errors that Shields had alleged. In a concurring opinion, Justice Eric Rosen indicated that he agreed with the outcome of the case but would have concluded that the prosecutor erred during closing arguments.

Case No. 124,812: In the Matter of Gary W. Long

Case No. 124,812 archived oral argument

In an attorney disciplinary proceeding, the Supreme Court indefinitely suspended Long’s law license for violations arising from the representation of two clients in criminal matters as well as a case involving a property title, and mishandling of client funds. The Court found the attorney’s conduct violated Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct and Kansas Supreme Court Rules regarding diligence, communication, safekeeping property, cooperation, and professional misconduct. The attorney had previously been subject to disciplinary sanctions in 1992, 1994, and 1998, and had been disbarred in 1998, but later successfully sought reinstatement of his law license. In part because of this previous conduct, the Court imposed a greater sanction than requested by the Disciplinary Administrator and ordered indefinite suspension of the attorney’s law license. A minority of the Court would have imposed a longer period of definite suspension.

Case No. 124,869: In the Matter of Bruce W. Beye

Case No. 124,869 archived oral argument

In an original proceeding in attorney discipline, the Supreme Court publicly censured Beye for violations of Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3 (2022 Kan. S. Ct. R. 331) (diligence), 1.4 (2022 Kan. S. Ct. R. 332) (communication), and 1.5(a) and (b) (2022 Kan. S. Ct. R. 372) (safekeeping property).

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