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Kansas Supreme Court Selected Opinion Summaries - June 3, 2005

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

Appeal No. 89,662: State v. Ethan M. Griffin

The Court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Donald L. Allegrucci, affirms the defendant's Lyon County convictions of two counts of felony murder and related charges arising from an explosion at an Emporia apartment building that resulted in the death of two persons and injured five others. (A new trial has been ordered for co-defendant Wallace L. Dixon immediately following.)

Appeal No. 89,164: State v. Wallace L. Dixon

The Court in a split decision orders a new trial for a Topeka man who was convicted of two counts of felony murder and related charges based on prosecutorial error in eliciting testimony and commenting on Dixon's contact with an attorney shortly after the crimes occurred and in closing the courtroom for announcement of the verdicts as a violation of the defendant's rights to a public trial. Writing for the majority was Justice Donald L. Allegrucci. Court of Appeals Chief Judge Gary W. Rulon, who was assigned to sit with the Supreme Court on the appeal, agreed there were errors but would have held they were harmless. Justice Carol A. Beier agreed with the result, but also would have reversed two burglary convictions.

Appeal No. 91,163: State v. Erick Donaldson

The Court, in a unanimous decision authored by Senior Judge Edward Larson, affirms the defendant's Sedgwick County convictions of first-degree murder and sale of cocaine, which arose from the shooting death of Benny Zeigler during a phony drug deal.

Appeal No. 91,641: State of Kansas ex rel. William Slusher and Ralph Soprrell v. City of Leavenworth et al.

The Kansas veterans' preference statute applies to internal job promotions, as well as to initial hiring, a unanimous Court ruled today in an appeal by two Leavenworth police officers. Authored by Justice Donald L. Allegrucci, reversing and remanding for further proceedings.

Appeal No. 88,897: State v. Earnest W. Overton

The Court affirms a former middle school teacher's Sedgwick County convictions of aggravated indecent liberties and rape, which arose from his assault of a 14-year-old girl.

Appeal No. 91,051: State v. Michael W. Kesselring

The Court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Marla Luckert, affirms the defendant's Douglas County convictions of aggravated kidnapping, conspiracy to commit aggravated kidnapping, and first-degree murder.

>Docket No. 94,086: In Re: Marlin E. Johanning

The Court orders 18 months supervised probation for an Atchison attorney based on his representation in two unrelated matters.

Docket No. 93,996: In Re: Marcus B. Potter Jr.

The Court indefinitely suspends the law license of a Kansas City, KS, attorney for his representation in four unrelated matters.

Docket No. 93,995: In Re: Steven L. Islas

The Court indefinitely suspends the law license of a Wichita attorney based on his convictions of two felony counts of making a false information, one felony count of making a false application for a driver's license, and one misdemeanor count of driving while suspended, and his representation in an unrelated matter.

Docket No. 93,933: In Re: Lisa Ann Nathanson, a/k/a Lisa Ann Tarlowe

The court disbars a former Kansas City, MO, attorney based on a pattern of misconduct in which she misrepresented numerous facts to a judge and others and for practicing law while her license was suspended for non-payment of her annual attorney registration fee.

Docket No. 93,665: In Re: Victor W. Miller

The Court orders published censure for a Topeka attorney in an uncontested disciplinary proceeding based on his representation in an estate proceeding.

Docket No. 93,131: In Re: Rebecca Arlene Ware

The Court imposes a one-year suspension of a Chicago attorney's law license based on her actions while employed as an attorney with the Sprint Corporation while she resided in Kansas.

Docket No. 93,550: In Re: James D. Wenger

The Court disbars a Clay Center attorney based on complaints arising from two matters and his suspension from the practice of law that was imposed by the Iowa Supreme Court.