courts

File Photo / Kansas News Service

A jury in Topeka said Thursday that Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office did not discriminate when firing an employee. Courtney Canfield argued in the lawsuit that she was fired in part for not attending church, and she said that amounted to religious discrimination.

After the unanimous verdict from the eight-person jury, Kobach said he was “very pleased.”

A hearing to determine whether a Kansas City man is being unlawfully held in prison by the state is now on hold.

The Missouri Supreme Court on Thursday issued an order staying the hearing of Ricky Kidd, who was found guilty in 1997 of two murders and sentenced to life in prison.

If you're charged with a crime and can't afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you, guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Because in our judicial system, we're supposed to be presumed innocent. But in Missouri, critics say the state's public defender system isn't doing it's job. One Kansas City man believes that system's failures lead to his life sentence. So what's going on in Missouri?

Guests:

The interior of a prison
Bigstock

Ricky Kidd has been in prison for nearly half his 42 years. And for all of that time, he has maintained he is innocent of the crimes for which he was convicted: the murders of two men in broad daylight at a house on Kansas City’s east side.

Ged Carroll / Flickr--CC

What would Elliot, dear friend of E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, say?

When Elliot scattered a trail of Reese’s Pieces for his alien friend in Stephen Spielberg’s classic movie, he probably wasn’t thinking about the candy’s packaging.

But Columbia, Missouri, resident Robert Bratton was.

Bratton bought several boxes of Reese’s Pieces and Whoppers malted milk balls at a Gerbes grocery story in Columbia for $1 apiece.

Patrick McKay / Flickr -- CC

Kansas lawmakers seeking to keep university campuses, hospitals and government buildings off limits to firearms are facing a familiar argument from opponents.

Namely, that such restrictions infringe on the right to keep and bear arms protected by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

“It’s a Second Amendment issue,” says Rep. John Whitmer, a Wichita Republican. “It’s a right to bear arms issue.”

Courtesy - Johnson County

Thursday's vote by the Johnson County Commission authorizes the spending of revenues from a quarter-cent sales tax voters approved last November.

The money will be used to demolish the old courthouse in downtown Olathe and replace it with a new nine story building across the street.  It will also subsidize a $20 million coroner's facility at 119th and Ridgeview for autopsies and toxicology exams.

The project is not to exceed $245 million.

Chief Counsel Don Jarrett says construction won't start until the existing courthouse is completely torn down.

Employers throughout the nation will soon need to ensure all salaried workers are making at least $47,476 annually, or will need to make them eligible for overtime pay by changing their status to hourly. The new rules about who is and isn't eligible for overtime are set to go into effect on December 1, 2016, but 21 states have joined in a lawsuit to have the higher standards declared invalid.

Guest:

Nokdie / Flickr - CC

At the beginning of most marriages, divorce is likely the last thing on the bride and groom's minds. Unfortunately, with divorce rates hovering around 40 percent, a separation is something a lot of couples will have to navigate at one point or another.

Wikipedia -- Creative Commons

Kansas’ first Veterans Treatment Court went into session in the Johnson County Courthouse on January 13, making the state the 41st in the nation to start such a program. 

The court provides veteran offenders a diversion track through the Johnson County District Attorney’s office and a probation track offered through Johnson County District Court Services. They also link veterans with programs, benefits and services for which they are eligible.

A bill being heard this week by a Missouri legislative committee promotes shared parenting – a flexible arrangement in which children spend as close to equal time as possible with each parent after separation or divorce.

The legislation proposes adding language to the state’s child custody law to emphasize that the best interest of the child is equal access to both parents – a change that would encourage judges to pay more attention to research on the best interest of children.

In the last half of the Kansas City Chiefs season, everything seemed to go right — an 11-game winning streak to end the regular season and their first playoff win since 1994. But in the courtroom, an age discrimination case against the Chiefs was turning problematic.

Court documents filed this week indicate the Chiefs have now settled the case out of court. Neither the plaintiff, former Chiefs maintenance manager Steve Cox, nor his attorney would comment on the settlement. The Chiefs did not respond to a request for comment.

Kansas courts are staying open. At least, that’s what it looks like now that Kansas lawmakers have sent a bill to Governor Brownback to repeal the portion of a statute de-funding the judiciary. On another front, lawmakers failed to pass a bill that would change how Supreme Court judges are picked.

Guests:

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

Becky Bieker admits it's bittersweet. 

She's about to achieve what she and her husband Jon Bieker had been working towards for years — a dream, a lifetime goal.

And in its own way, she says, a small "win" in an ongoing battle. 

A battle she's been fighting since January, when Jon was gunned down in a robbery attempt at the old She's A Pistol location in Shawnee, Kansas.

"It's about not letting four people who committed a heinous crime to hold us down, run us out of business," she said.

Funding For Kansas Court System Threatened

Sep 3, 2015

Funding for the entire Kansas judicial system is now in legal limbo. A Shawnee County judge has struck down a law that changes the way chief judges are selected. But that law was tied to other legislation that said all funding for the judicial branch of government would be stripped away if the first law was struck down.

Courtesy photo / Johnson County, Kansas, Sheriff's Office

A Johnson County judge agreed Thursday to let accused Jewish Community Center shooter Frazier Glenn Cross Jr. represent himself in court, a decision that could have far-reaching implications as the state pursues its capital case.

Cross, a known anti-Semite who has bragged to the media about killing three people last spring at two Overland Park Jewish sites, has repeatedly told Judge Thomas Kelly Ryan he doesn't trust his lawyers and wants them fired.

Courtesy photo / Johnson County, Kansas, Sheriff's Office

Update, 11:16 a.m.:

After a weighty silence, a Johnson County District Court judge agreed to let accused Jewish Community Center shooter Frazier Glenn Cross Jr. defend himself. 

His attorneys - Martin Warhurst, Mark Manna and Jeffrey Dazey - will stay on as "standby counsel" in what may be the first capital case in Kansas where the defendant represents himself. 

"Do you understand, sir, at trial, you're going to be held to the same standard as an attorney?" Judge Thomas Kelly Ryan asked Cross. 

A Kansas Senate committee will hold a hearing Wednesday to study the governor’s choice to fill a vacancy on the Kansas Court of Appeals. Gov. Sam Brownback has picked Topeka attorney Kathryn Gardner to fill the open seat.

During the hearing, senators will hear from any supporters and opponents of Gardner’s nomination. Then, senators will have a chance to pepper Gardner with questions about her experience and qualifications.

When Brownback announced that Gardner would be his pick, he said she meets the standards Kansans set for judges.

Messy Battles Of Family Law

Oct 9, 2013

Family law can be a messy profession. Between acrimonious divorces and bitter custody battles, the terrain is often rocky and difficult to navigate.

In the first part of  Thursday's Up to Date, we talk with a lawyer who’s spent nearly 30 years balancing these types of battles. We’ll discuss how family lawyers stay detached from the raw emotions of their cases, why she sometimes feels like she’s a therapist for her clients, and why personal grievances should stay out of court—even in a divorce case.

The Kansas court system is facing a multi-million dollar deficit next fiscal year. An advisory group formed to help bridge that gap is meeting for the first time Monday in Topeka.

Gov. Sam Brownback's nominee for a seat on the Kansas Court of Appeals is headed for the job. The state Senate confirmed Caleb Stegall Wednesday in a party-line 32-8 vote.

Brownback chose Stegall, his administration's top attorney, for the job on the state's second-highest court. It's the first selection under a new process where the governor chooses nominees for the Court of Appeals, who then must be confirmed by the Senate.

Gag Order Charge Stirs Priestly Abuse Case

Jan 3, 2012

The quest for discovery of evidence in an alleged priestly abuse case in Kansas City is turning more complicated. A Jackson County Circuit Judge has ordered a third party to turn over records. And its executive director says he will not.