JURY INSTRUCTIONS—NEW TRIAL
STATE V. ASHLEY
JOHNSON DISTRICT COURT—AFFIRMED
NO. 114,052—JUNE 23, 2017
FACTS: Investigation by law enforcement implicated Ashley in the murder of a business owner. After a jury trial, Ashley was convicted of first-degree murder and attempted aggravated robbery. Ashley appealed.
ISSUES: (1) Necessity of a cautionary jury instruction for testimony from a prison informant; (2) motion for new trial; (3) use of a limiting instruction
HELD: The prison witness was not acting as an agent of the State at the time Ashley's comments were made, meaning a limiting instruction was not required. Newly discovered evidence that tends merely to discredit a witness' testimony is not grounds for a new trial. And the evidence Ashley relied on was not credible and would not have resulted in a different verdict. The limiting instruction given by the district court was appropriate given the evidence that was introduced at trial.
STATUTE: K.S.A. 60-455
STATE V. PEREZ
SEDGWICK DISTRICT COURT—AFFIRMED
No. 114,554—JUNE 23, 2017
FACTS: Perez lived in a compound in Wichita with followers who were forced to follow his will. The group was financed primarily by life insurance proceeds following the death of group members. After a group member's boyfriend alerted authorities, Perez was charged with one count of first-degree murder and multiple counts of rape, aggravated criminal sodomy, and offering a false statement.
ISSUES: (1) Admission of out-of-court statements; (2) assisted suicide instruction; (3) admission of prior crime evidence; (4) appropriateness of requested limiting instructions
HELD: Testimony from an investigating detective was not offered for the truth of the matter asserted. And even if admission of any of the evidence was erroneous, that error was harmless. Most of the testimony was duplicative of other testimony that was not challenged. The facts of this case do not support a jury instruction for assisting suicide as there was no evidence that the victim attempted to take her own life. The prior crime evidence was more probative than prejudicial, and the district court gave an appropriate limiting instruction. The limiting instructions were clearly tailored to appropriately instruct the jury.
C.M. V. MCKEE
SEDGWICK DISTRICT COURT—AFFIRMED
NO. 115,001—JUNE 23, 2017
FACTS: McKee lived next door to A.M.'s family. At the time of this case, C.M. was 11 years old. A.M. alleged that, on three occasions, McKee acted in ways that made her fear for her safety. A.M.'s parents filed a protection from stalking action against McKee, and it was granted by the district court. McKee appealed.
ISSUES: (1) Mootness; (2) sufficiency of the evidence
HELD: The protection from stalking order expired before this appeal could be decided. But because there is an issue that persists— specifically, whether a child can provide testimony sufficient to sustain a protective order—this appeal is not moot. There was sufficient evidence to prove that a reasonable 11-year old girl would be scared by McKee's conduct. Because of that, the district court's decision is affirmed.
HABEAS CORPUS—MEDICAL TREATMENT
STOCKWELL V. STATE
PAWNEE DISTRICT COURT—REVERSED AND REMANDED
NO. 115,897—JUNE 23, 2017
FACTS: Stockwell is involuntarily committed to the state Sexual Predator Treatment Program. Stockwell sought to execute an advanced directive for health care decisions, but program staff told him that he did not have the right to enter a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order. Stockwell filed suit, and the facility allowed him to file both a DNR and a living will. But he was told those forms would be honored only if two medical professionals determined that Stockwell was terminally ill. Believing that the decision on the DNR violated his civil rights, Stockwell filed suit.
ISSUE: Does the hospital's policy on the DNR violate Stockwell's civil rights
HELD: Stockwell's right to refuse medical treatment is constitutional in nature. Because Stockwell is in State custody, the State must use reasonable efforts to accommodate his right to refuse treatment.
DISSENT: (Powell, J.) The State hospital reasonably accommodated Stockwell's wishes by requiring that his advance directive be honored under circumstances where it would be medically appropriate.
STATUTORY INTERPRETATION—WORKERS COMPENSATION
KNOLL V. OLATHE SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 233
WORKERS COMPENSATION APPEALS BOARD—REVERSED AND REMANDED
NO. 116,167—JUNE 23, 2017
FACTS: Knoll was an employee of the school district. She was injured after falling in a parking lot, and she received medical treatment for those injuries. Knoll's injury occurred contemporaneously with amendments to the workers compensation statutes, specifically, a change which reduced from five years to three the time in which a claim must be filed. Knoll filed an application for hearing in 2011, after the statutory amendments became effective. In 2015, the District moved to dismiss Knoll's claim for lack of prosecution, since more than three years had passed since the filing of her application for hearing. Both the ALJ and the Board agreed with Knoll's defense that the version of the statute in effect at the time of her injury controlled, meaning there was a five-year time limit. The district appealed.
ISSUE: Whether the amendment to K.S.A. 44-523(f) applies retroactively
HELD: The date that the application for hearing was filed had no bearing on which version of the statute applies. But the amendment to the statute changing the time limit from five years to three was procedural, not substantive. This required retrospective application of the amendment. Applying the three-year time limitation, Knoll's claim was subject to dismissal for lack of prosecution. Knoll's claim must be dismissed.