News

News

Proposed Supreme Court Rules 20 through 24 and Amended Supreme Court Rule 111

The Kansas Supreme Court announced on April 22, 2019, that it is accepting public comment on rules that address the Kansas eCourt project to develop a centralized case management system for Kansas courts.
 
Five new rules are proposed and they are referred to collectively as the Kansas eCourt Rules:

  • Rule 20 is a Prefatory Rule explaining the purpose for developing a centralized case management system;

  • Rule 21 defines terms used in the eCourt Rules;

  • Rule 22 establishes the framework for providing public access to electronic case records;

  • Rule 23 discusses requirements for efiling documents in Kansas district courts;

  • Rule 24 describes protections afforded personally identifiable information. 

The Supreme Court is also accepting comment on amendments Rule 111, which governs the physical characteristics of pleadings and other documents. Because Rule 111 is an existing rule, changes are shown by underlining new content and using strikethrough to show deleted content.  
 
Comments may be made by email to publiccomments@kscourts.org until 5 p.m. Monday, May 13, 2019. The subject line must read "eCourt Rules."

Mary Shultz
Board of Trustee Election Results

The election for the attorney member positions on the Michael J. Malone Douglas County Law Library Board of Trustees has been held.  Congratulations to the 5 attorneys elected to the Board:  Kathryn Barker, Curtis Barnhill, Karen Ebmeier, Mike Jilka and Josh Seiden.

The attorney members of the Board will assume office on May 1, 2019, and the first meeting will be on July 16, 2019.  The Board meets quarterly in January, April, July, and October, at noon on the third Tuesday of the month.

Mary Shultz
Drug Take Back Event

Bring your unused or expired prescription and over-the-counter medications to the DEA-sponsored Drug Take Back event on Saturday, April 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

There will be two collection sites where we will dispose of your unused medications at no cost to you. Needles or sharps will not be accepted. (Epipens are the exception. We will take unused/expired Epipens.):

1: East side of the Law Enforcement Center near the 11th/Rhode Island intersection rain or shine.

2. Inside Hy-Vee near the pharmacy, 4000 W 6th St., Lawrence.

Mary Shultz
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

In honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month, Douglas County Child Abuse Prevention Task Force planted blue pinwheels at the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center on April 1, 2019, to increase awareness and community engagement in this important issue. The pinwheel serves as the national symbol for child abuse prevention, serving as a reminder that children should be raised in safe, stable and nurturing environments free from abuse and neglect.

Mary Shultz
Douglas County CASA volunteer honored with statewide award

Karen Warner, a Douglas County Court Appointed Special Advocate, or CASA, was presented with the Outstanding Community-Based Victim Advocate Award. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt bestowed the honor during the state’s annual Kansas Crime Victims’ Rights Conference in Wichita.

Since becoming a CASA volunteer in 2011, Warner has advocated for eight abused or neglected children during their court journeys to be placed in a safe, permanent home, according to a news release from Schmidt’s office. She’s volunteered more than 1,300 hours and driven more than 6,200 miles in the process.

Mary Shultz
Longtime Douglas County District Attorney’s Office employee Cindy Riling honored

On April 11, at the 22nd Annual Crime Victims’ Rights Conference , Cindy Riling was honored with the state’s 2019 Crime Victims Service Award in the System-Based Advocate category. The award was presented at a luncheon by Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt.

 During her 14 years of service to victims, Cindy has demonstrated dedication to her profession, both to the victims she serves and to her peers across the state.  Outside of her direct work in Douglas County, Cindy has taken an active role in advancing her profession across Kansas as a committee member “subject matter expert” on the Improving Criminal Justice Response (ICJR) System Based Victim Assistance Staff (SBVAS) Subcommittee, she is approved as a System Based Victim Assistance Staff (SBVSA) curricula trainer, and Cindy assisted in providing training at 21st Annual Crime Victims’ Rights Conference in April 2018.

Mary Shultz
Nominations now being accepted for the Liberty Bell Award

Purpose:
The Liberty Bell Award acknowledges outstanding community service from local individuals. 

Qualifications:
Citizens of Douglas County who promote a better understanding of the rule of law, encourage a greater respect for law, stimulate a sense of civic responsibility, and contribute to good government in the community.

Historically, the Award is generally given to non-lawyers.

Who can nominate:
Nominations are accepted from members of the local bar, and the Board of Officers then vote on the qualified nominations.  

What to include:
Please provide us with a few paragraphs about how your nominee meets the qualifications.  There is no specific format, but this helps the Board vote  on the nominees.

Deadline:
Nominations due by 5:00 PM Thursday April 18.

NOTE: The Award will be presented at our annual Law Day luncheon being held on May 1, 2019 at Macelli's.  (more info on that later)

Please send the name of your nominee and description to Andy Bauch:    abauch@douglascountyks.org    or you can drop off a hardcopy to Andy at the District Attorney's Office.

Mary Shultz
Kansas Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park

A three-judge panel of the Kansas Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments Tuesday, April 16, in the Hudson Auditorium at Johnson County Community College. Hudson Auditorium is located on the second floor of the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art at the college, 12345 College Blvd., Overland Park.

Chief Judge Karen Arnold-Burger will be joined by Judges Thomas Malone and G. Joseph Pierron Jr. to hear oral arguments in three cases starting at 9:30 a.m.

The three cases to be heard at Johnson County Community College are summarized below. They originate from Johnson and Wyandotte counties.

9:30 a.m. ♦ Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Appeal No. 117,826: State of Kansas v. Scottie E. Lindsay Lindsay became angry when he could not find his cocaine after a house party. He allegedly shot one person and killed another. A jury convicted him of second-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, and criminal possession of a firearm. He was sentenced to 57 years in prison on all charges. On appeal, Lindsay argues he was denied a fair trial because: 1) the judge interrupted his attorney’s cross examination of a witness—when there was no objection by the State—and would not let his attorney ask the witness her opinion of Lindsay’s guilt; and 2) his attorney had a conflict of interest and was ineffective in his representation. Lindsay asks the appellate court to reverse his conviction and send his case back to the district court for a new trial.

Appeal No. 119,116: Nathan A. Jarvis v. Kansas Department of Revenue The State suspended Jarvis' driver's license because he refused to submit to a breath test as part of a driving under the influence investigation. He challenged the suspension. The district court judge concluded the officer did not have a reasonable suspicion to stop Jarvis for swerving within his lane of traffic, therefore any evidence the police obtained after the traffic stop could not be used against him. The judge reversed the suspension. The Kansas Department of Revenue appeals, arguing the exclusionary rule—which does not allow evidence to be considered that was obtained as the result of illegal police action—does not apply in administrative license suspension proceedings. It contends the rule only applies in criminal cases. This case will involve interpretation of recent amendments to state law and whether those amendments allow application of the exclusionary rule in noncriminal driver’s license suspension hearings.

Appeal No. 119,956: State of Kansas v. Ralph Weaver A passerby called 911 and reported a man—later identified as Weaver—was slumped over the steering wheel of his car, which was stopped on the road. The passerby attempted to wake Weaver. As the sound of sirens approached, Weaver woke up, said he was fine, and began to drive away. A sheriff’s deputy arrived and stopped Weaver. While waiting for medics, the deputy questioned Weaver and learned he had taken medication that day, which the deputy believed could have made Weaver pass out. The deputy was unsure whether Weaver had a medical issue or was intoxicated. Medics arrived, and while they were assessing Weaver, another deputy spoke with Weaver and administered in-car sobriety tests. After Weaver was medically cleared, he was asked to perform additional field sobriety tests. Following the tests, police arrested Weaver for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Prior to trial, the district judge found the officers impermissibly transformed a welfare check into a DUI investigation. The judge suppressed all evidence obtained after the deputy started investigating Weaver for DUI. The prosecution appeals that decision, arguing the deputies had reasonable suspicion Weaver was impaired and were properly conducting tests to ensure it was safe for Weaver to drive. The prosecution is asking the appellate court to find the judge was wrong to suppress the evidence and asks the court send his case back to the district court for trial.

Mary Shultz
Kansas Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments at Washburn University in Topeka

A three-judge panel of the Kansas Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments Tuesday, April 16, in the Robinson Courtroom at Washburn University School of Law. The law school building on the Washburn University campus is at 17th and MacVicar in Topeka.

Judges Kim R. Schroeder, G. Gordon Atcheson, and Michael Buser will hear oral arguments in three cases starting at 9:30 a.m. and an additional two cases starting at 1:30 p.m.

The five cases to be heard at Washburn are summarized below.

They originate from Douglas, Miami, Pottawatomie, and Shawnee counties.

9:30 a.m. ♦ Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Appeal No. 119,721: State of Kansas v. Christopher M. Payton Pottawatomie County: A law enforcement officer stopped Payton's vehicle. After Payton left the scene, the officer led his drug dog around the vehicle to sniff for narcotics. The officer believed the dog alerted to the presence of narcotics in the trunk and rear passenger door areas. Upon searching the vehicle, the officer found methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, OxyContin, and Alprazolam. Payton filed a motion to suppress the evidence, arguing the officer did not have probable cause to search the vehicle because the dog did not give a reliable alert. The officer testified the dog's change in behavior—which is only recognizable to him as he is the dog's only handler—constituted a reliable alert. The district court suppressed the evidence. On appeal, the State argues there was sufficient evidence to support a reliable alert and that the court erred in excluding the evidence.

Appeal No. 119,208: CoreFirst Bank & Trust v. Timothy Degginger, et al. Shawnee County: Degginger executed a mortgage and a promissory note with the bank. He defaulted on the note, and the bank sought to foreclose. In lengthy litigation in Shawnee County District Court, Degginger challenged the bank's ability to enforce the mortgage. The district court ultimately granted summary judgment in favor of the bank on its foreclosure petition and on Degginger's counterclaims for fraud and awarded the bank attorney fees. Degginger appeals the court's summary judgment rulings and award of attorney fees.

Appeal No. 120,015: Teresa Wilke, v. Ronald Ash Douglas County: Wilke suffered a compound, open fracture near her ankle when Ash's 100- pound dog struck her from behind at a dog park in Douglas County. Wilke sued, alleging Ash was negligent because he knew the breed of his dog had herding tendencies, and he failed to train his dog to stop on command. The district court granted summary judgment against Wilke because she agreed she had no facts showing Ash’s dog was vicious. On appeal, Wilke argues the district court erred as a matter of law because viciousness is not a necessary element of her negligence claims against Ash.

1:30 p.m. ♦ Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Appeal No. 119,489: In the Matter of the Marriage of Jaime L. Whildin and Thomas M. Whildin Miami County: The main issues in this case involve the enforceability of contractual provisions in the parties' separation agreement. At the time of their divorce, the parties had trouble calculating the father's income from his self-employment as an electrician when determining the parties' child support obligations. To prevent future disputes of his income, the parties stipulated in their separation agreement that: 1) the father would maintain proper business records and employ a certified public accountant; and 2) his annual income would be calculated at a minimum of $75,000 when considering child support modifications. When he moved to modify child support, a hearing officer and the district court found both of these provisions were unenforceable. The mother appeals.

Appeal No 118,837: State of Kansas v. Hanbit J. Chang Douglas County: A jury convicted Chang of sexual battery following a dorm party at the University of Kansas. Immediately before trial, the district court excluded evidence of text and social media messages between Chang and the victim. The texts allegedly contained discussion of sexual activity, and Chang asserts these were relevant to the victim's consent. Chang raises four issues on appeal: 1) the district court erred in excluding the text messages because this denied him the ability to present his chosen theory of defense: the victim implied nonverbal consent then withdrew her consent; 2) the district court erred in limiting his cross-examination of the victim using the texts for impeachment; 3) the prosecutor committed error during closing arguments; and 4) these errors amount to cumulative error.

Mary Shultz