• 31 Oct 2022 11:29 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    Appeal No. 124,493: State of Kansas v. Robert Lee Verge

    Summary calendar; no oral argument

     In 1998, Verge was convicted of capital murder and other crimes committed in Dickinson County. The Supreme Court affirmed the convictions in 2001. In 2021, he filed a motion challenging the jurisdiction of Kansas courts to try him because he was a resident of Missouri at the time of the crimes. He also alleged he is a “natural living soul, Indigenous Native Moorish-American National,” and not a citizen of the United States. The Dickinson County District Court denied his motion to set aside the convictions, and the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court. Writing for a unanimous Supreme Court, Justice Eric Rosen held that a defendant’s state of residence has no bearing on a Kansas court’s jurisdiction to try, convict, and sentence that defendant. Regardless of citizenship, place of birth, or place of residence, any individual who commits a crime in Kansas is subject to the jurisdiction of Kansas courts. Furthermore, under the U.S. Constitution, any person born in the United States is considered a citizen of the United States unless the person formally renounces that citizenship, and, because he never followed the proper procedures for surrendering his United States citizenship, Verge was and remains a citizen of the United States.

  • 21 Oct 2022 2:23 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    Case No. 124,956:  In the Matter of Jack R.T. Jordan

    Case No. 124,956 archived oral argument

    The Supreme Court ordered the disbarment of Jordan, a North Kansas City, Missouri, attorney admitted to practice law in Kansas in 2019.

    The Court agreed with a recommendation from a Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys panel and the Disciplinary Administrator's Office that Jordan should be disbarred for misconduct during federal court proceedings initiated to obtain a document known as the "Powers email" under the federal Freedom of Information Act. Across various pleadings, Jordan persistently accused multiple federal judges of lying about that email's contents, lying about the law, and committing crimes, which included conspiring with others to conceal the document.

    The Court found that Jordan engaged in serious misconduct that included making frivolous claims, disobeying obligations under tribunal rules, making false or reckless statements regarding the qualifications or integrity of judges, and committing conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice and conduct adversely reflecting on a lawyer's fitness to practice law. Jordan denied the allegations, arguing discipline could not be imposed because the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protected his statements. He also claimed his assertions have not been proven false.

     In a unanimous decision, the Court set out the panel's detailed factual findings and conclusions and Jordan's challenges to them. The Court determined clear and convincing evidence established Jordan's multiple violations of the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct and held that disbarment is appropriate.

  • 14 Oct 2022 11:10 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    Appeal No. 124,319: State of Kansas v. William D. Albright

    Summary calendar; no oral argument

    The Kingman County District Court denied a motion by Albright to modify his sentence of life with no possibility of parole for 40 years, a hard-40 sentence, which the district court had imposed for a premeditated first-degree murder that Albright committed in 1999. Writing for a unanimous court, Justice K.J. Wall affirmed the district court's denial of the motion under the court's recent precedent holding that K.S.A. 21‑6628(c) does not provide a statutory vehicle for a sentence modification based on a defendant's claim that a hard-40 sentence violates the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court in Alleyne v. United States, 570 U.S. 99 (2013).

    Case No. 125,292: In the Matter of Terrence J. Malone

    Case No. 125,292 archived oral argument

    In an original proceeding in attorney discipline, the court suspended Malone, of Dodge City, from the practice of law for 90 days for violations of the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct regarding conflicts of interest with current clients, duties to former clients, safekeeping property, and candor to tribunals. A minority of the court would have imposed a shorter suspension period.
  • 30 Sep 2022 2:10 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    Appeal No. 124,071: State of Kansas v. Patrick Angelo Jr.

    Appeal No. 124,071 archived oral argument

    The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the Wyandotte County District Court's summary denial of Angelo's petition for post-conviction DNA testing. Angelo was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder in 2005. He later petitioned for DNA testing of several items of evidence, including the victims' clothing, under K.S.A. 21-2512. That statute requires a district court to order DNA testing of biological material when the biological material meets threshold requirements for testing and DNA test results may produce noncumulative, exculpatory evidence.

    In an opinion written by Justice K.J. Wall, the court affirmed the district court's summary denial of Angelo's petition as to the items of evidence he sought to have tested other than the victims' clothing because any potential biological material on those items did not meet the threshold requirements for testing required by statute. The court reversed the district court's holding that DNA testing of any presumed biological material on the clothing could not produce exculpatory evidence.

    The court also recognized the parties apparently disputed whether biological material was actually present on the clothing and that factual dispute had not been resolved because of a lack of clarity regarding the proper procedures under K.S.A. 21-2512. The court thus interpreted K.S.A. 21-2512 to clarify the statute creates a three-step process leading up to a district court's decision whether to order testing. First, the inmate's petition must allege that biological material exists and satisfies the threshold statutory requirements for testing. Second, once the State has notice of the petition, it must preserve any remaining biological material that it previously secured in connection with the case and identify such biological material in its response. Finally, if the parties agree biological material meeting the threshold requirements exists, then they can proceed to argue whether testing of the biological material will produce noncumulative, exculpatory evidence. If the parties dispute the existence of such biological material, then they can present evidence to the district court for appropriate fact-finding. In the latter situation, the petitioner bears the burden to prove the existence of such biological material. The court then remanded the case to the district court for further proceedings consistent with the three-step process identified in the opinion. Justice Biles concurred in the result. 

  • 19 Sep 2022 10:37 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    Appeal No. 122,626: State of Kansas v. Johnathan Eli Carter

    Appeal No. 122,626 archived oral argument

    The Supreme Court affirms the Sedgwick County District Court after Carter appealed his convictions, arguing that the district court erred by giving felony-murder jury instructions that were not legally appropriate. Upon review, the Court finds no error with the district court's jury instructions and affirms Carter's convictions. 
  • 09 Sep 2022 4:02 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    Appeal No. 123,599: In the Interest of N.E., a Minor Child

    Appeal No. 123,599 archived oral argument

    The N.E., a child, was the subject of proceedings under the Revised Code for the Care of Children in Reno County District Court. After the district court terminated the parental rights of N.E.'s parents, the child's grandmother, I.E., appealed to a panel of the Court of Appeals, which dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. In a majority opinion written by Justice K.J. Wall, the Court held that the Revised Code's appellate jurisdiction statute, K.S.A. 38-2273(a), as construed under the Court's precedent, barred appellate review of each of the district court orders from which the grandmother had appealed. The Court determined that the doctrine of stare decisis warranted its continued adherence to its precedent, and, as a result, the Court affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeals and dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Justice Melissa Standridge filed a dissenting opinion in which she asserted that the Court should depart from its precedent construing K.S.A. 38-2273(a). In Justice Standridge's view, the Court had jurisdiction to address two of the orders from which the grandmother had appealed.
  • 02 Sep 2022 9:35 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    Case No. 124,955: In the Matter of Jason M. Janoski

    Case No. 124,955 archived oral argument

     The Supreme Court suspends Janoski from the practice of law for one year for violations of Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct 3.1 (meritorious claims), 3.4 (fairness to opposing party and counsel), 4.2 (communication with a represented person), 8.3 (reporting professional misconduct), 8.4(c) (engaging in professional misconduct that involves dishonesty), 8.4(d) (engaging in professional misconduct prejudicial to the administration of justice), 8.4(g) (engaging in professional misconduct that adversely reflects on the lawyer's fitness as a lawyer), and Supreme Court Rule 219 (reporting a criminal charge). This suspension is effective September 2.

  • 26 Aug 2022 9:50 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    Appeal No. 122,682: State of Kansas v. Ty R. Zeiner

    Appeal No. 122,682 archived oral argument

    The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeals and Marion County District Court and remanded for a new trial. Zeiner was convicted of driving while intoxicated after he was found in his SUV, which was parked and not running, while he was intoxicated and asleep inside the vehicle at approximately 3:30 in the morning. Justice Stegall, writing for a unanimous court, held that the jury instruction error failing to define "operate" as "drive" under K.S.A. 8-1567(a)(3) was not harmless given the confusing testimony offered by the Sherriff's office in the trial record.

    Appeal No. 122,758: State of Kansas v. Corey A. Eubanks

    Appeal No. 122,758 archived oral argument 

    After the State charged Eubanks with burglary and two counts of felony theft, he pled no contest to an amended charge of attempted theft. The Douglas County District Court imposed a 10-month prison sentence and ordered Eubanks to pay restitution to the two victims of the burglary and theft as a condition of his postrelease supervision. On direct appeal, a Court of Appeals panel affirmed the district court's award of restitution but remanded for the district court to issue a new journal entry clarifying the payment of restitution was a condition of postrelease supervision. On review, the Court affirmed in part and reversed in part. In a unanimous opinion written by Justice Melissa Standridge, the Court affirmed the panel's decision concluding the district court's restitution order did not result in an illegal sentence. The Court also affirmed the panel's decision concluding the terms orally stated on the record at the plea hearing included an agreement to pay restitution to both victims. Finally, the Court reversed the panel's remand order directing the district court to issue a new journal entry, holding that K.S.A. 2020 Supp. 22-3717(n) does not require the journal entry to specify that restitution be paid as a condition of postrelease supervision.

  • 19 Aug 2022 11:23 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    Appeal No. 122,252: State of Kansas v. Carrody M. Buchhorn

    Appeal No. 122,252 archived oral argument

    Buchhorn was convicted of second-degree murder after a child died unexpectedly at the home daycare where she worked. A Court of Appeals panel reversed Buchhorn's conviction and remanded for a new trial because her trial counsel's constitutionally deficient performance prejudiced her right to a fair trial. On review to the Kansas Supreme Court, the six justices who heard the case were equally divided on how the issues on appeal should be decided. As a result, the Court of Appeals judgment reversing the Douglas County District Court and remanding with directions stands. The Supreme Court dismissed as moot Buchhorn's cross-petition for review.

    Appeal No. 123,323: State of Kansas v. Rachael C. Hilyard

    Appeal No. 123,323 archived oral argument 

    The Supreme Court heard this case on a special evening docket April 6 in Great Bend.

    The Supreme Court affirms the first-degree premeditated murder conviction and hard 50 prison sentence of Hilyard after she appealed on theories of insufficient evidence, jury instruction error, prosecutorial error, ineffective assistance of counsel, and abuse of discretion by the Sedgwick County District Court. Finding no error, the Supreme Court affirms her conviction and sentence.

  • 16 Aug 2022 10:23 AM | Executive Director (Administrator)

    Appeal No. 121,447: Catherine Roll, a disabled person, by and through her co-guardians Teresa Roll Kerwick and Mary Ann Burns v. Laura Howard, Secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, and Mike Dixon, Superintendent of the Parsons State Hospital and Training Center

    Appeal No. 121,447 archived oral argument

    Roll has had significant mental and physical disabilities since childhood. She has resided at the Parsons State Hospital since 1970. Her parents died in the late 1990s and her sisters became her legal guardians in 2002. In spring 2016, the hospital faced major budget reductions and decided to transfer Roll to either a community care institution or home care. The guardians filed a petition in Sedgwick County District Court seeking to enjoin the hospital from transferring her out of the facility where she had lived for 46 years. The guardians asserted that Roll was protected from the transfer by both the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Medicaid provisions of the Social Security Act.

    The district court granted an ex parte temporary restraining order preventing the transfer. Following an evidentiary hearing, the district court ruled in favor of the defendants and denied Roll’s request for an injunction. The court stayed the transfer, however, pending appeal. The Court of Appeals affirmed the district court, and the Supreme Court granted Roll’s petition for review. Following briefing and oral argument, but before the Supreme Court issued an opinion, the defendants filed a notice informing the Court that Roll had recently experienced a significant decline in her physical and mental health and the defendants no longer considered transfer to community-based treatment to be a viable option. Considering these changed circumstances, the defendants requested that the Supreme Court dismiss the appeal as moot and vacate both the district court and Court of Appeals judgments. Roll contested dismissal and, contending she had prevailed in the litigation, filed motions for attorney fees and costs totaling over $165,000.

    In a per curium decision, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal as moot. The Court determined that, because of Roll’s declining capacity, the defendants were no longer seeking to remove her from the hospital and were voluntarily providing the relief she had been seeking. Because the Court could not provide a decision on the merits that would have any bearing on the rights of the parties, the case had become moot and the Court would not give an advisory opinion. As a correlate to finding the litigation moot, the Court declined to order the defendants to pay Roll’s requested costs and attorney fees. The Court held that, because she had not prevailed at any stage of the litigation, Roll was not the “prevailing party” as required for an award of attorney fees under federal civil rights statutes. The Court cautioned against relying on the Court of Appeals decision for precedential value.

    Justice Eric Rosen, joined by Justice Dan Biles, filed a dissenting opinion. The dissent argued the district court and the Court of Appeals erred in finding Roll had no active treatment needs and in denying her petition for relief under the Medicaid Act and related regulations. The dissent then argued the appeal was not moot and Roll had prevailed for attorney-fee purposes because her persistent attempt to protect her rights through litigation allowed her to remain in the hospital. For that reason, the dissent contended, the defendants should not be rewarded for withdrawing at the last minute their resistance to her continued treatment at the hospital, shortly before the Supreme Court would have ruled on the merits of the appeal.

    Appeal No. 122,007: City of Wichita v. Arlando Trotter

    Appeal No. 122,007 archived oral argument 

    The Supreme Court affirms in part and reverses in part the Court of Appeals decision reversing the Sedgwick District Court's dismissal of two criminal charges against Trotter under Wichita Municipal Ordinances 3.06.030.A. and 3.30.030.A. After the Wichita Municipal Court convicted Trotter of both offenses, the district court vacated the convictions on appeal and then dismissed the charges, finding that W.M.O. 3.06.030.A was unconstitutionally overbroad in violation of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Court of Appeals reversed the dismissal of both charges, finding that the ordinance was not overbroad and further concluding, sua sponte, that the district court had erred in dismissing a second charge under a separate statute. The Supreme Court unanimously reversed the Court of Appeals on both grounds, concluding that the ordinance was unconstitutionally overbroad and that the panel erred by sua sponte raising the propriety of the second dismissal because the city had waived the issue in its briefing. The Supreme Court thus affirmed the district court's dismissal of Trotter's charges. Finally, the Supreme Court also affirmed the Court of Appeals rejection of a Fourth Amendment related claim Trotter raised under the overbreadth analysis.

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