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Kansas Supreme Court Selected Opinion Summaries - March 9, 2001

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 32 opinions. The full text of these decisions may be found at www.kscourts.org. Today's filings include:

Appeal No. 82,679: State v. Sakone Mel Donesay

The court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Donald L. Allegrucci, affirms the defendant's Sedgwick County convictions of premeditated murder, aggravated robbery, two counts of felony theft, felony criminal damage to property, and criminal possession of a firearm. The convictions and his ensuing hard 40 plus 119 months sentence arose from the January shooting death of a Sedgwick County sheriff's deputy.

Appeal No. 82,647: State v. Sanexay Sophophone

The court, in a 4-3 decision, holds that Sophophone may not be convicted of felony murder for the killing of his co-felon if the co-felon was killed by a law enforcement officer acting in self-defense while making an arrest. (In this case, Sophophone was handcuffed and sitting in a patrol car when co-felon Somphone Sysoumphone was killed after he fired at an officer and the officer returned fire following an Emporia residential burglary.) Writing for the majority is Justice Edward Larson. A dissent by Justice Bob Abbott is joined by Chief Justice Kay McFarland and Justice Robert E. Davis, reversing Lyon County District Court.

Appeal No. 83,452: State v. Maurice T. Murphy

Following the reasoning set forth in State v. Soxphophone immediately above, the court 4-3 denies an appeal by the state from a Douglas County decision dismissing Murphy's felony murder charge. The charge was filed on the basis of the death of Murphy's co-felon, Jimmy Johnson, who was shot and killed by one of the occupants of a Lawrence residence during a burglary being committed by Murphy, Johnson, and a Dustin Welch. Writing for the majority is Justice Edward Larson. Dissenting without a written opinion are Justices Bob Abbott and Robert E. Davis and Chief Justice Kay McFarland.

Appeal No. 83,208: State v. Arthur J. Caenen Jr.

The court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Fred N. Six, affirms the defendant's Sedgwick County first-degree murder conviction, which arose from the death of a 16-year-old boy who was run down on a Wichita street by the car Caenen was driving.

Appeal No. 83,084: State v. Marlon Jackson

The court, in a unanimous decision authored by Chief Justice Kay McFarland, affirms the defendant's Sedgwick County conviction of felony murder, which arose from the July 1998 shooting death of Donnell Harrell, who was killed by a Brian Tisdale, who Jackson and Harrell attempted to rob of a large quantity of cocaine at Tisdale's residence.

Appeal No. 82,920: State v. Malcolm T. Pink

The court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Edward Larson, affirms the defendant's Sedgwick County conviction of three counts of felony murder, which arose from the 1994 deaths of Erik Carter, Jimmy Fox, and Travis Wooten, who were found by Wichita police upon responding to a shooting call at a Wichita residence. The killings were unsolved for more than four years.

Appeal No. 82,447: State v. Fayvun Manning

The court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Bob Abbott, affirms the defendant's Wyandotte County convictions of first-degree murder and aggravated robbery, which arose from the December 1997 shooting of Beverly Chatmon, a clerk at a Kansas City, KS, liquor store.

Appeal No. 83,176, 177 and 178: State v. Cuchy, Gent, and White

The policy of the Pottawatomie County Sheriff's Department of automatically detaining persons arrested for DUI for 12 hours before allowing them to post bond is unconstitutional absent a case-by-case determination that the offenders pose a danger to themselves or others due to intoxication. However, the trial court's dismissal of charges against the defendants in this case is held invalid because the trial court's decision disapproving of the blanket policy was made after these defendants were arrested for DUI. Writing for the court is Justice Donald L. Allegrucci, reversing and remanding with directions to reinstate the charges against the defendants.

Appeal No. 84,665: Melissa R. Petty v. City of El Dorado and Michael G. Coash

El Dorado's municipal court diversionary agreement requiring defendants in DUI cases to serve between 42 and 78 hours in the county jail as a condition of diversion violates the statutorily stated public policy behind diversion agreements and, thus, is void and unenforceable. Unanimous decision authored for the court by Justice Tyler C. Lockett.

Docket No. 83,004: In Re: Paul Arabia

The court imposes published censure against a Wichita attorney based upon the court's finding that fees charged by the respondent in an employment dispute were unreasonable.

Docket No. 86,040: In Re: J. Kevin Lund

The court suspends the law license of a Kansas City, KS, for one year attorney based upon his actions in his own divorce case and subsequent court-ordered child support payments.

Docket No. 85,487: In Re: W. Fredrick Zimmerman

The court suspends the law license of a Kansas City, KS, attorney for one year based upon his handling of a personal injury case.

Being held over for decision later are:

#83,793: In re LA
#83,361: State v. Crume
#84,681: Fischer v. SRS
#83,168: Bigs v. Wichita
#82,641: State v. Gould
#83,161: Boyles v. Topeka
#85,021: Krantz v. KU
#79,948: State v. Garcia
#80,920: State v. Kleypas
#83,574: State v. Crum
#82,678: State v. Robbins
#83,714: Prager v. Dept. of Revenue
#85,352: Ward v. Ward