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Kansas Supreme Court Selected Opinion Summaries - October 25, 2002

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 39 opinions. The full text of these decisions may be found at www.kscourts.org.

Appeal No. 85,442: State v. Romel Metteh Abu-Fakher

The court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Bob Abbott, affirms the defendant's Johnson County first-degree murder conviction and resulting life sentence with an earliest parole eligibility of 25 years. The conviction arose from the murder of his wife, Carol Abu-Fakher, which occurred at their Olathe residence.

Appeal No. 85,222: State v. Arlando Tolson

The court, in a unanimous decision authored for the court by Justice Donald L. Allegrucci, affirms the defendant's Johnson County felony murder conviction, arising from the shooting death of Austin Garza during a drug transaction (rejecting his contentions that prior criminal acts should not have been admitted and that evidence seized during a search of his residence should have been suppressed).

Appeal No. 87,558: State v. Ahmon Mann

The court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Tyler C. Lockett, affirms the defendant's Wyandotte County first-degree murder conviction and resulting sentence of life with an earliest parole eligibility of 25 years. The conviction arose from the April 2000 shooting of Robert Diaz, who was found shot to death while sitting in his car at 40th and Minnie in Kansas City.

Appeal No. 86,231: State v. Richard T. Powell

The court, in a case of first impression authored by Justice Edward Larson, upholds a Wyandotte County judge's decision ordering the defendant to stand trial while restrained by a stun belt, affirming Powell's conviction of capital murder and criminal possession of a firearm, which arose from the deaths of Mark and Melvin Mims.

Appeal No. 88,182: Gary T. Richards v. Connie J. Schmidt

The court in a unanimous decision authored for the court by Justice Edward Larson reverses a Johnson County decision that affirmed the county election commissioner's determination that a recall petition against a City of Merriam councilman was invalid due to an insufficient number of signatures on the recall petition. Today's Supreme Court decision, in a case of first impression, holds that the state statute specifying the number of signatures required on a recall petition refers to the number of votes cast in the last election for the position and not at an election that intervenes between the time the recall petition is filed and when the signatures are collected for it.

Appeal No. 87,863: Vaughn Lower and Sharon Lower v. Board of Directors of the Haskell County Cemetery District et al.

The court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Bob Abbott, affirms a Haskell County decision that the cemetery board of directors had the authority to order a monument to unborn babies erected on a cemetery lot be removed as a violation of state statutes governing the use of cemeteries and of the cemetery's policy.

Docket No. 88,875: In Re: Jeffrey P. Johnson

The court indefinitely suspends the law license of a Kansas City, MO, attorney who is licensed in Kansas based on his disbarment in Missouri and based on his representation of a client in an action for fraudulent sale of a wrecked automobile and in failing to respond to the complaint.

Docket No. 88,876: In Re: David L. Matson

The court imposes a six-month suspension of a Topeka attorney's law license based on findings of lack of competent representation, diligence, and client communication, which arose from his representation of a client in a criminal case and a second client in a post-divorce proceeding.

Docket No. 88,340: In Re: Kris Lynn Arnold

The court orders published censure for a Prairie Village attorney based upon his representation of a business enterprise he owned while registered as a disabled inactive attorney.

Docket No. 88,874: In Re: Steven S. Griswold

The court disbars a Kansas City, MO, attorney licensed to practice in Kansas based on multiple violations of the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct, including his disbarment in the state of Missouri.

Being held over for decision later are:

Appeal No. 86,791: Wherrell v. Wherrell
Appeal No. 88,371: Pipe v. Hamilton
Appeal No. 88,874: In Re: Griswold
Appeal No. 86,523: Wendt v. KU Med. Center
Appeal No. 87,279/87,981: Natl. Insp. v. Valley Forge
Appeal No. 87,935: Kluin v. Am. Suzuki
Appeal No. 87,418: Mynatt v Collis
Appeal No. 85,953: In Re: City of Wichita
Appeal No. 86,782: State v. Boldridge
Appeal No. 87,001: In Re: W.H.
Appeal No. 87,583: Waterview Res. v. Allen
Appeal No. 87,875: Lacy v. KS Dental Bd.

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