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Kansas Supreme Court Selected Opinion Summaries - January 28, 2000

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 35 opinions. Today's filings include:

Appeal No. 78,284: State v. David G. Gill

The court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Donald L. Allegrucci, reinstates the defendant's Sedgwick County convictions of intentional second-degree murder and criminal possession of a firearm, reversing a Court of Appeals decision holding that the trial court improperly admitted a journal entry as evidence that Gill was a convicted felon, a necessary element to the charge of criminal possession of a firearm.

Appeal No. 81,538: State v. David J. Alejos

The court affirms a Shawnee County District Court decision denying the defendant's motion to set aside his guilty plea to felony murder in the 1978 death of Mary Damron, Topeka, who was found slumped over the steering wheel of her car near downtown Topeka. She had been shot.

Appeal No. 79,143: State v. Omar J. Sampsel

The court, in a 6-1 decision, affirms the defendant's Lyon County conviction of furnishing alcohol to a minor, as well as the trial judge's downward departure from 60 to 40 months imprisonment in his sentence for a second count of aggravated indecent liberties with a minor. The defendant did not challenge the indecent liberties conviction, but unsuccessfully contended the misdemeanor conviction was invalid because he also was a minor at the time he furnished the alcohol. Chief Justice Kay McFarland in a separate dissent agreed that he should be convicted of the misdemeanor count, but contends the downward departure on the felony should not have been granted based on the facts and criminal history of the defendant. Writing for the majority was Justice Edward Larson.

Appeal No. 79,283: State v. Kelly L. Minor

The court, in a 6-1 decision, affirms the defendant's Lyon County conviction of aggravated criminal sodomy, as well as the trial judge's downward departure from the Sentencing Guidelines Act provision for 256 months to 72 months. Chief Justice Kay McFarland, in a strongly worded dissent, agrees that the conviction should be affirmed, but believes the case should be remanded for resentencing before "an impartial judge who will conduct the proceeding with judicial decorum, hear all relevant evidence, and make such findings as he or she may deem appropriate concerning whether a legally factual basis exists which compels a downward departure.

Appeal No. 81,620: Link Inc. et al v. City of Hays

The court, in a unanimous decision authored for the court by Justice Fred N. Six, affirms an Ellis County decision directing the city of Hays to enforce provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act in the design and construction of all new and all additions to and alterations of both public and private facilities. The court also approved the award of attorney fees incurred by plaintiffs in the case.

Appeal No. 81,992: NEA-Coffeyville et al. v. USD No. 445, Coffeyville, Montgomery County

The court, in a 6-1 decision, affirms a Montgomery County decision awarding $138,775 to teachers in USD 445 as a refund for group health insurance policies in which teachers paid higher premiums than was necessary to fund their insurance program during the contract years between 1991 and 1994. Writing for the majority was Justice Robert E. Davis. Justice Fred N. Six, in a separate dissent, would award the surplus premiums to the school district.

Appeal No. 82,488: In the Interest of L.A.M. and R.K.M.

The court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Bob Abbott, affirms a Sedgwick County decision granting of two children whose mother was allegedly murdered by their father before he fled to Mexico to their father's Wichita cousin, Saul J. Miguel, and his wife, Janet F. Miguel. The custody decision was challenged by Elsa Pardian Aguilar, the maternal aunt of the minors, aged 8 and 5, who resides in Mexico, as well as the Consulate for Mexico. (See No. 82,777 immediately below.)

Appeal No. 82,777: In the Interest of L.A.M. and R.K.M.

The court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Bob Abbott, affirms a Sedgwick County decision rejecting a contention by the Consulate for Mexico that the Consulate did not receive insufficient notice of a custody proceeding for the minor children described above to satisfy notice requirements of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

Docket No. 83,263: In Re: Steven A. Kraushaar

The court suspends the law license of a Marysville attorney for one year based upon three disciplinary complaints filed against him.

Docket No. 83,685: In Re: Ronald D. Barta

The court orders a one-year probationary period for a Salina attorney based upon two disciplinary complaints filed against him.

See also the separate press release for Appeal No. 82,353: Cypress Media Inc. d/b/a The Kansas City Star, v. City of Overland Park

Being held over for decision later are:

Appeal No. 81,953: State v. Finley
Appeal No. 81,771: State v. Lamae
Appeal No. 81,603: State v. Campbell
Appeal No. 80,738: State v. Pabst
Appeal No. 81,149: State v. Miller
Appeal No. 81,251: Excel Corp. v. Jimenez
Appeal No. 81,491: In re: 18th Judicial District
Appeal No. 82,591: In re: B.M.W.
Appeal No. 83,004: In re Arabia
Appeal No. 81,779: In re: Presbyterian Manor
Appeal No. 78,601: Pouncil v. Grede Foundries
Appeal No. 82,630: Delaney v. Deere & Co.
Appeal No. 77,396: Reynolds-Rexwinkle v. Petex