Articles Posted in Civil Rights

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's convictions of first-degree murder under theories of premeditation and felony murder, attempted first-degree murder, and other offenses, holding that the district court did not err in the proceedings below. Specifically, the Court held (1) the district court did not err in concluding that Defendant was not entitled to a change of venue under Kan. Stat. Ann. 22-2616; and (2) the district court did not violate Defendant's Fifth Amendment rights when it denied Defendant's motion to suppress his confession because Defendant knowingly and intelligently waived his previously invoked right to counsel and because the confession was voluntary. View "State v. Palacio" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the district court denying Defendant's motion to suppress evidence on the ground that incriminating evidence was obtained as the result of an unlawful seizure, holding that officers unlawfully detained Defendant and conducted an illegal search. Defendant was seated in a car lawfully parked in an apartment complex parking lot when two officers approached the car. Defendant's hands were clenched and held in front of him, and one officer commanded Defendant to open his hand. Defendant opened his hand and dropped a small bag of cocaine. Defendant moved to suppress the evidence, but the district court denied the motion, finding that the encounter was voluntary. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded for further proceedings, holding that the detention was unlawful because the officer lacked reasonable suspicion of criminal activity to detain Defendant, and therefore, the evidence obtained as a result must be suppressed because it was tainted by an unlawful seizure. View "State v. Andrade-Reyes" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the court of appeals majority's decisions to reverse the district judge's decision to suppress evidence and appropriate instructions for her further action on remand but altered the court's instructions to match those suggested in the dissent, holding that when a district judge's legal ruling in favor of the defense on a motion to suppress is infected with an obviously incorrect assessment of the State's evidence that is equivalent to an arbitrary disregard of a portion of the evidence, the district judge should have another change to review the record and explain himself or herself. Defendant was charged with drug related offenses. Defendant filed a motion to suppress the evidence, which the district court granted. A majority of the reviewing court of appeals panel reversed and remanded with instructions to deny the motion to suppress. Dissenting Judge Thomas E. Malone concurred in the reversal and remand but argued that the district judge should be permitted to reconsider the motion with a corrected understanding of the evidence before her. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district judge should not be directed to deny Defendant's motion but to reconsider it in light of a corrected understanding of the evidence before her. View "State v. Douglas" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court granted Petitioner's petition for a writ of habeas corpus challenging the State's authority to pursue a second trial against him on criminal charges, holding that the district judge's declaration of a mistrial in this case was error and that none of the circumstances allowing a second trial under Kan. Stat. Ann. 21-5110 applied. Petitioner was charged with rape, aggravated criminal sodomy, and four counts of intimidation of a witness or victim stemming from his alleged sexual abuse of his three-year-old granddaughter. Petitioner's first trial ended when the district judge declared a mistrial on the grounds that the alleged victim, who was then four years old, did not respond when asked to take the oath required of all witnesses. The judge allowed the case against Petitioner to be tried a second time. The Supreme Court granted Petitioner's petition for writ of habeas corpus, holding that Petitioner successfully established that the district judge improperly declared a mistrial and that no exception to the statutory bar to a second trial applied. View "In re Petition for Habeas Corpus by Bowman" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that section 1 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights protects a woman's right to an abortion, thus affirming the trial court's injunction temporarily enjoining the enforcement of S.B. 95, which bans dilation and evacuation abortions. Plaintiffs, two abortion providers, challenged S.B. 95, which is now codified at Kan. Stat. Ann. 65-6741 through 65-6749, arguing that the law's restrictions violate sections 1 and 2 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights because they infringe on the right to liberty. The district court granted Plaintiffs a temporary injunction, ruling that the "ban on the most common method of second-trimester abortion" is unconstitutional. The Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's decision to impose the temporary injunction, holding (1) section 1 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights protects a woman's right to determine whether to continue a pregnancy, and therefore, the State is prohibited from restricting that right unless it can show that it is doing so to further a compelling government interest and in a way that is narrowly tailored to that interest; and (2) Plaintiffs established that they were substantially likely to show that S.B. 95 impairs natural rights. View "Hodes & Nauser, MDs, P.A. v. Schmidt" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction and sentence for one count of aggravated indecent liberties with a child, holding that no error occurred in the conduct of Defendant's trial that required reversal. The State charged Defendant with one count of aggravated indecent liberties with a child who was fourteen or more years of age but less than sixteen years of age. The State filed a motion seeking admission of evidence under Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-455(d) that Defendant had been convicted of two sex crimes in Missouri. The court granted the motion, finding that the evidence was material and had probative value. The jury found Defendant guilty. The court of appeals affirmed. Defendant appealed, arguing that the district court abused its discretion by allowing the State to introduce the fact of his prior Missouri convictions for sex crimes. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the evidence; (2) section 60-455(d) does not violate the Bill of Rights contained in the Kansas Constitution; and (3) the record did not support Defendant's speedy trial claims. View "State v. Razzaq" on Justia Law

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In this appeal to the Supreme Court after a remand to the district court for a hearing to determine whether Defendant was denied his Sixth Amendment right to counsel, the Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions for sex crimes, holding that Defendant received effective assistance of counsel and that cumulative errors did not require reversal. The Supreme Court remanded the case for a hearing under State v. Van Cleave, 716 P.2d 580 (1986), to determine whether Defendant was denied effective assistance of counsel either because his trial counsel was not constitutionally conflict-free or was not constitutionally competent. The district court found that Defendant was not prejudiced by defense counsel’s actions relating to a potential exculpatory witness. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Defendant failed to establish that any conflict adversely affected his attorney’s performance; and (2) Defendant failed to meet his burden of establishing that his attorney’s performance with regard to the potential exculpatory witness was deficient. View "State v. Moyer" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court denying Defendant’s motion to correct an illegal sentence, holding that the motion was not the appropriate procedural vehicle to raise the constitutional claim. Defendant was convicted of aggravated kidnapping and sentenced to life with the possibility of parole. Defendant later filed his motion to correct an illegal sentence, arguing that his sentence violated the Eighth Amendment because he was only sixteen years old when he committed the crimes. The district court summarily denied the motion, reasoning that it had not jurisdiction to consider the claim in a motion to correct illegal sentence under Kan. Stat. Ann. 22-3504(1). The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Defendant’s constitutional claims did not implicate the sentencing court’s jurisdiction. View "State v. Donahue" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the district court’s denial of Defendant’s motion to suppress the fruits of a vehicle search, holding that the general search of Defendant’s vehicle was an unconstitutional warrantless search. The vehicle Defendant was driving was stopped by a law enforcement officer to investigate whether the vehicle had any connection to a recent bank robbery. After seizing a digital scale from the back seat, the officer searched the vehicle. After a second trial, Defendant was convicted of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the matter for a new trial, holding (1) the search of the box that contained the digital scale retrieved from the vehicle’s back seat was unlawful, and the district court erred in refusing to suppress the evidence of the digital scale; and (2) the district court erred in finding that the automobile exception to the warrant requirement applied to the search of the entire vehicle in this case. View "State v. Doelz" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeals holding that the trial court abused its discretion in not granting Defendant a new trial because of the State’s exercise of a peremptory strike that removed an individual with a Spanish surname from the jury panel, holding that Defendant failed to establish that the trial court abused its discretion in denying Defendant’s motion for new trial. The district court determined that the state had a race-neutral reason for striking the potential juror. Because one of the State’s reasons was race-neutral, the district court denied Defendant’s objection to the State’s peremptory strike. After Defendant was convicted, the Court of Appeals determined that the circumstances showed the peremptory strike was not race-neutral. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court properly found that the State honestly believed the factual basis it first offered as the reason for its strike and that the reason was not a pretext. Therefore, Defendant failed to meet his burden of establishing that the State exercised its peremptory strikes based on purposeful racial discrimination. View "State v. Gonzalez-Sandoval" on Justia Law