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Kansas Supreme Court Selected Opinion Summaries - July 11, 1997

Summaries and press releases are prepared by Ron Keefover, Office of Judicial Administration, Kansas Judicial Center, 301 West 10th, Topeka, KS 66612-1507 (785-296-2256), e-mail: keefoverr@kscourts.org.

The Supreme Court today filed 27 opinions. Today's filings include:

Appeal No. 76,097: Board of County Commissioners of Leavenworth County v. McGraw Fertilizer Service Inc.

The court, on rehearing, modifies its opinion delivered in March holding that the property valuation standard "retail cost when new" contained in the Kansas Constitution never includes sales tax and does not always include the addition of freight and installation charges to the purchase price of an item. The original opinion is adhered to in all respects except that it is modified to control the parties to this case and the rights of all taxpayers who have as of March 7, 1997, an appeal or protest pending challenging the validity of ad valorem tax imposed on either sales tax, freight, or installation charges added to the purchase price of an item of personal property. In all other cases, the opinion is to be applied prospectively, from March 7, 1997, the date of the filing of the original opinion.

Appeal No. 76,462: State v. Anthony D. Stallings

The court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Bob Abbott, affirms the defendant's Wyandotte County convictions of first-degree murder, unlawful possession of a firearm and two counts of aggravated assault. The charges arose from the shooting June 21, 1993, of Reginald Jefferson, which occurred outside an after-hours club in Kansas City, KS.

Appeal No. 76,037: State v. Larry J. Griffin

The court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Robert E. Davis, affirms the defendant's Shawnee County convictions of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, and unlawful possession of a firearm. The charges arose from the shooting death of Shawn Davis, which occurred outside an east Topeka apartment complex following a dispute between two groups.

Appeal No. 76,734: State v. Vincent D. Altum

The court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Donald L. Allegrucci, affirms the defendant's Sedgwick County conviction of one count of felony murder, which arose from the death of 14-month-old Dylan Cox, who was beaten from head to toe.

Appeal No. 75,781: State v. Michael J. Mitchell

The court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Fred N. Six, affirms the defendant's Wyandotte County conviction of felony murder, which arose from the death of Donald Beebe, a cocaine buyer of Mitchell's, who was killed early in the morning of December 15, 1994.

Appeal No. 77,733: State v. Bobbie L. Heironimus

The court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Fred N. Six, upholds the constitutionality of the state's Habitual Violator Statute, which makes driving a vehicle after being declared an habitual violator a felony. The court, in today's decision rejects a Hutchinson County District Court determination that the statute is an unconstitutional violation of due process rights.

Appeal No. 77,670: State v. Wilie Jason Wilson

The court affirms a Montgomery County District Court decision denying his motion to modify his controlling sentence of 45 years to life, which arose from the 1985 homicides of the defendant's mother, stepfather, and brother.

Appeal No. 76,459: Barbara V. Sowers and James W. Sowers v. Peter Tsamolias and Toulas Tsamolias

Whether the natural grandparents can continue contact with a grandchild who has been adopted and is no longer the child of the natural parents is left solely to the discretion of the adoptive parents, under a unanimous decision authored by Justice Fred N. Six. Kansas statutes create a new legal status of parent and child upon the adoptive parents and adopted child and the child no longer remained the child of its natural parents. The child has new parents and new grandparents as well. (Affirming Atchison County District Court.)

Appeal No. 78,641: In Re: Gerald N. Capps Jr.

The court orders one-year probation of a Wichita attorney's law license based on his handling of an Environmental Regulatory Act proceeding.

Appeal No. 78,616: In Re: Carl S. Black

The court indefinitely suspends the law license of a Shawnee Mission attorney for his actions in a divorce proceeding.

Being held over for decision later are:

Appeal No. 77,150: Heiman v. Parrish
Appeal No. 75,258: State v. Thompkins
Appeal No. 77,560: Earle v. Progressive Northern Ins.
Appeal No. 73,410: In re Wendell Betts
Appeal No. 77,181: State v. Mathenia
Appeal No. 77,142/561: Injured Workers v. Franklin
Appeal No. 76,183: Reiter v. Beloit
Appeal No. 76,184: In Re: Cherokee County Healthcare Bond
Appeal No. 77,629: Brown v. Ks. Parole