Articles Posted in Constitutional Law

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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 held that through Senate Bill 16's (S.B. 16) additional funding of the State's "Montoy safe harbor plan," the State substantially complied with this Court's mandate from Gannon v. State, 420 P.3d 477 (Kan. 2018) (Gannon VI). In Gannon VI, the Supreme Court held that the State had resolved nearly all of the issues in this school finance appeal but that the State had not met Kan. Const. Art. 6, 6(b)'s adequacy requirement. The Supreme Court retained jurisdiction and stayed the issuance of its mandate in order to give the State ample opportunity to make the necessary financial adjustments and reach constitutional compliance. The State subsequently passed S.B. 16, which the Governor signed into law on April 6, 2019. The Supreme Court held that the State substantially complied with the Court's Gannon VI mandate through S.B. 16's financial adjustments to the safe harbor plan. The Court retained jurisdiction to ensure continued implementation of the scheduled funding. View "Gannon v. State" 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, holding that the noneconomic damages cap under Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-19a02 violated Plaintiff's right under section 5 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights because it intrudes upon the jury's determination of the compensation owed her to redress her injury. In this auto-truck accident case, Plaintiff received a jury award of $335,000. The district court applied section 60-19a02 to reduce Plaintiff's jury award to a judgment of $283,490.86. The district court acknowledged that Plaintiff's case was distinguishable from Miller v. Johnson, 289 P.3d 1098 (Kan. 2012), in which a majority of the Court upheld the application of the noneconomic damages cap to a medical malpractice plaintiff's jury award, but ultimately ruled that section 60-19a02 was constitutional. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded for entry of judgment in Plaintiff's favor on the jury's full award, holding that the cap on damages imposed by section 60-19a02 is facially unconstitutional because it violates section 5 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights. View "Hilburn v. Enerpipe Ltd." 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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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant's conviction and sentence for one count of aggravated indecent liberties with a child, holding that there was no error in the conduct of the trial and that Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-455, the statute allowing the introduction of evidence of propensity to commit sex crimes, is not unconstitutional. Defendant was charged with one count of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. The trial court granted in part the State's motion to admit evidence of prior conduct under Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-455 in order to show Defendant's propensity to commit the offense, allowing the State to introduce evidence of Defendant's Nebraska conviction of sexual assault on a nine-year-old neighbor girl. Defendant was subsequently convicted as charged. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) section 60-455(d) does not violate federal constitutional protections; (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the challenged evidence; and (3) Defendant's challenges to his sentence were unavailing. View "State v. Boysaw" 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