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Kansas Supreme Court Selected Opinion Summaries - April 16, 1999

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 has filed 45 opinions today. The full text of the opinions are posted at the court website: http://www.kscourts.org. Among today's decisions are:

Appeal No. 81,640: State v. Thomas A. Berberich

The court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Bob Abbott, reverses an Osage County decision suppressing statements Berberich made to a counselor in connection with the 1979 murder of 12-year-old John "Jack" Hanrahan, Topeka. Today's decision holds that the privilege extends only to licensed counselors, and remands the case for further proceedings on kidnapping and first-degree murder charges. (See accompanying release.)

Appeal No. 80,362: Yolanda Huet-Vaughn, M.D. v. Kansas State Board of Healing Arts

Saying that Huet-Vaughn acquiesced in the judgment imposed against her by the Board of Healing Arts by voluntarily paying a $5,000 administrative fine, the court in a 5-2 decision dismisses her appeal of the fine and reprimand which were imposed as a result of her court martial for desertion during the Persian Gulf War. Writing for the majority was Justice Bob Abbott. Justice Fred N. Six in a dissent that is joined by Justice Tyler C. Lockett agrees that she acquiesced in the fine; however, they believe the court should address the reprimand as a separate sanction to which she has not acquiesced.

Appeal No. 79,051: State v. John M. Manard

The court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Fred N. Six, affirms the defendant's Johnson County convictions of first-degree felony murder and aggravated robbery, which arose from an Overland Park car-jacking.

Appeal No. 79,186: State v. Michael P. Yardley

The court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Fred N. Six, affirms the defendant's Johnson County convictions of first-degree felony murder and aggravated robbery, which arose from the same Overland Park car-jacking as in State v. Manard, immediately preceding.

Appeal No. 79,199: State v. Larry Humphery

The court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Bob Abbott, affirms the defendant's Wyandotte County convictions of first-degree felony murder, aggravated burglary, and criminal possession of a firearm, which arose from the murder of Ronald Sedore, a Canadian over-the-road truck driver.

Appeal No. 81,289: State v. Cuong Dang

The court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Donald L. Allegrucci, reinstates the defendant's second- and first-degree murder charges, holding the trial court erred in suppressing statements Dang made to detectives and in dismissing the charges that were filed against him as a result of the July 1997 discovery of the bodies of Hong Anh Bui and her son, Hector Bui, in a rural field. (Unanimous, reversing Lyon County District Court and remanding for further proceedings.)

Appeal No. 80,265: State v. Rah-Maan Saleem

The court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Edward Larson, affirms the defendant's Shawnee County conviction of premeditated first-degree murder, which arose from the shooting death of Richard Todd Schmidt. (Justice Donald L. Allegrucci concurs in the result but disagrees with the definition of premeditation used in the opinion.)

Appeal No. 80,320: State v. Jason M. Wakefield

The court, in a 6-1 decision, affirms the defendant's Sedgwick County convictions of two counts of first-degree murder, aggravated burglary, and felony theft, which arose from the shooting deaths of Doug and Beth Brittain, who were found shot in their bed in a rural Wichita area. Majority opinion by Justice Tyler C. Lockett. Justice Donald Allegrucci, dissents, citing a faulty instruction on premeditated and felony murder. He would have reversed the premeditated murder conviction.

Appeal Nos. 81,173 and 81,174: State v. Lillian K. Snodgrass and State v. Torre Conway and Healthcare Organization Promoting Excellence Inc.

Saying a Norton County grand jury was not shown to be improperly impaneled, the court, in a decision authored by Justice Donald L. Allegrucci, orders indictments alleging making false informations and criminal defamation reinstated. (Unanimous, reversing Norton County District Court.)

Appeal No. 80,015: In RE: Order to Summon Grand Jury

Saying contempt proceedings held in secret as part of grand jury proceedings constitute a denial of due process in violation of the 14th Amendment, the court reverses a Norton County judge's finding of contempt of court against Torre Conway. (Unanimous, authored by Justice Donald L. Allegrucci, reversing Norton County District Court in a companion case to State v. Snodgrass et al, digested immediately above.

Appeal No. 82,402: Clinton L. Thomason v. Merlin Stout

The court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Edward Larson, affirms a Morton County District Court decision holding that despite several irregularities, the election contestant failed to prove that the irregularities shown would have changed the result of the election for district one county commissioner.

Docket No. 82,313: In Re: Antonio L. Ortega

The court disbars a Wichita attorney based on numerous violations of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct when he abandoned his clientele.

Docket No. 82,404: In Re: Mitchell B. Christians

The court imposes 18 months supervision of a Salina attorney's law practice based on his actions in a bankruptcy matter.

Being held over for decision later are:

Appeal No. 79,281: State v. McCray
Appeal No. 80,116: Miller v. Sloan, Listrom
Appeal No. 79,966: State v. Sperry
Appeal Nos. 80,337/8/9: Battrick v. State
Appeal No. 78,476: State v. McCorkendale
Appeal No. 79,018: State v. Cravatt
Appeal No. 79,509: State v. Wilson
Appeal No. 78,905: Glassman v. Costello
Appeal No. 79,143: State v. Sampsel
Appeal No. 79,283: State v. Minor
Appeal No. 80,805: Regency Park v. Topeka

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