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Kansas Supreme Court Selected Opinion Summaries - July 10, 1998

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 filed 46 decisions today. The full text of the decisions and the summaries may be found at the Judicial Branch web site. Among today's decisions are:

Appeal No. 81,074: State of Kansas ex rel Nick A. Tomasic, Wyandotte County District Attorney, v. The Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, KS

The court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Bob Abbott, rejects all challenges to the proposed construction of an auto super race track facility and related projects in Wyandotte County. In its ruling, the court upholds the constitutionality of the tax increment financing statutes being used for the track, and holds that the agreement between the track developers and the unified government does not violate the state's cash basis law. The court also ruled the government's actions in acquiring interests in real estate for the race track redevelopment project does not violate state statutes.

Appeal No. 79,731: In the Matter of the Marriage of Kathy Thurmond and Elliott Thurmond

In a question of first-impression in Kansas, the court, in a 5-2 decision, holds that the fact that a parent is incarcerated, standing alone, is not legal justification for suspending or modifying the parent's child support obligation previously determined under the Kansas Child Support Guidelines. Writing for the majority is Chief Justice Kay McFarland, reversing the Shawnee County District Court. Justice Donald L. Allegrucci, dissenting, would adopt a rule that modification of support amounts is justified by the incarceration. He is joined by Justice Fred N. Six.

Appeal Nos. 79,449 and 79,450: Amy J. Rupp, individually and as mother and next friend of Cody H. Grubb, and State of Kansas ex rel Secretary of Social and Rehabilitation Services v. Tom Grubb

The court, in a 5-2 decision authored by Chief Justice Kay McFarland, extends the decision announced in In Re: Thurmonds (summarized immediately above) that incarceration, in and of itself, does not legally justify child support modifications to cases involving paternity determinations, as well as divorces. Dissenting without a separate written decision are Justices Donald L. Allegrucci and Fred N. Six.

Appeal No. 77,951: State v. Sharon K. Carr

The court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Robert E. Davis, affirms the defendant's Sedgwick County first-degree murder conviction, which arose from the September 1995 death of her adopted daughter, 3-year-old Shayleen Carr.

Appeal No. 75,570: State v. Matthew Turk

The court remands Turk's Shawnee County involuntary manslaughter conviction to Shawnee County District Court for resentencing of his 62-month term of imprisonment, holding that the trial court erred in departing from the sentence specified in the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines Act.

Appeal No. 79,801: City of Wichita v. Otto Meyer and R.E.M. Properties et al.

The court affirms the award of $64,142 in attorney fees arising from a property owner's successful challenge of a Wichita condemnation proceeding involving land on which the city's new ice skating rink was constructed.

Appeal No. 78,721: State v. Phillip R. Parks

The court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Robert E. Davis, affirms the defendant's Reno County sentence of life imprisonment that was imposed based upon his no contest plea to the 1978 strangulation of his wife, Rachel Parks.

Appeal No. 79,085: First Financial Insurance Co. v. Verdell and Earlene Bugg, d/b/a Tewz Enuff, et al.

The court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Bob Abbott, reverses a Shawnee County decision holding the insurance company had a duty to defend a lawsuit brought against the owner-operators of a tavern that was the scene of a March 1994 shooting in which three patrons were struck by gunshots.

Docket No. 80,599: In Re: Salvatore A. Scimeca

The court orders indefinite suspension of a Wichita attorney's law license for numerous violations of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct surrounding his law practice.

Docket No. 80,672: In Re: Ronald D. Barta

The court suspends discipline of a Salina attorney for two years based on two violations of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct arising from his representation of an Oklahoma couple in connection with a Manhattan residential property.

Docket No. 80,391: In Re: Kerry J. Granger

The court imposes published censure against a Hutchinson attorney based on four violations of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct arising from his handling of a divorce proceeding.

Docket No. 80,883: In Re: Michael L. Lewis

The court orders indefinite suspension of a Topeka attorney's law license based upon numerous violations of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct arising from his handling of several different matters.

Being held over for decision later are:

Appeal No. 79,546: Long v. Turk
Appeal No. 76,921: State v. Canaan
Appeal No. 70,646: Kaul v. Department of Revenue
Appeal No. 78,553: Smith v. Welch
Docket No. 73,410: In Re: Wendell Betts
Appeal No. 78,944: Gonzales v. Associated Financial Services
Appeal No. 76,192: Brumley v. Lee
Appeal No. 78,715: Kelly v. Kelly

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