Kansas appeals court to hear cases at WSU on Constitution Day

09/10/2013 9:26 AM

09/10/2013 9:26 AM

A three-judge panel of the Kansas Court of Appeals will hear seven cases, including four that originated in Sedgwick County, at Wichita State University on Tuesday as part of Constitution Day activities.

Each year on Constitution Day, the appeals court tries to conduct its work at colleges around the state to give people a chance to see the process, said court spokesman Ron Keefover. The sessions are normally held in Topeka.

The hearings are open to the public, but the effort is specifically directed to students. WSU was also the site of appeals hearings in 2011.

“These are real cases being heard,” Keefover said.

Oral arguments in the cases will be conducted in the CAC Theater, starting at 9:30 a.m. and again at 2 p.m.

Most appeals involve issues about rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, appeals court Judge G. Gordon Atcheson said in a news release.

“These cases were chosen because we thought they would present interesting constitutional issues for the students,” he added. “The constitutional rights we all share are tested daily in cases like these.”

Karen Arnold-Burger and John Bukaty will join Atcheson in hearing the cases.

Attorneys for each side will have an opportunity to present arguments to the judges, which will be followed by questions from the judges. The court will issue a written decision at a later date, usually within 60 days.

Besides the four appeals from Sedgwick County, the court will hear two from Seward County and one from Cowley County.

Oral arguments starting at 9:30 a.m.:

• State v. Andrey L. Wheeler, No. 108,311 (Sedgwick County). Wheeler challenges the constitutionality of a police search of him after he was stopped for jaywalking and arrested for allegedly resisting the officers because he failed to remove his hand from his pocket. Police found cocaine in the pocket.
• State v. Kyndall Orange, No. 108,806 (Cowley County). An SUV that Orange was driving rolled over, resulting in the death of a passenger. Orange was convicted of involuntary manslaughter. He contends the police improperly obtained a confession from him when they interrogated him without his lawyer present and after he invoked his Miranda rights.

Oral arguments starting at 11 a.m.:

• State v. Mical Barlow, No. 108,830 (Seward County). The state appeals the district court’s ruling vacating a jury verdict convicting Barlow of attempted murder on the grounds that he was immune from prosecution under Kansas’ self-defense law.
• State v. Jesse W. LeGrand, No. 108,389 (Sedgwick County). A jury convicted LeGrand of aggravated burglary for breaking into a woman’s home but found him not guilty of kidnapping. Among other errors, LeGrand contends the prosecutor’s closing argument was improper and deprived him of a fair trial.

Oral arguments starting at 2 p.m.:

• State v. Junior Sanchez, No. 108,362 (Seward County). Sanchez pleaded guilty to aggravated battery and argues the judge improperly sentenced him to prison instead of granting him probation based on testimony admitted in the trial of his co-defendant, at which neither Sanchez nor his lawyer was present, indicating the crime was gang related.

Sanchez contends that violated his constitutional rights to due process and to confront witnesses against him.

• State v. Allen Thompson, No. 108,598 (Sedgwick County). A jury convicted Thompson of various sex offenses involving children and production of child pornography.

As suggested in a recent Kansas Supreme Court case, he contends the presence of the investigating detective near the prosecutor’s table throughout the trial tainted the trial and the verdict.

• State v. Timothy Sumpter, No. 108,364 (Sedgwick County). A jury convicted Sumpter of kidnapping, attempted rape and sexual battery. He contends presenting three separate cases against him in a single jury trial rendered the proceeding unduly prejudicial.

He also contends the prosecutor gave an improper closing argument and other trial errors deprived him of a fair hearing.

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