Kansas Supreme Court suspends attorney license, among other decisions

Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 7:15 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas Supreme Court issued the suspension of an attorney’s license for two years, among other decisions published.

The Kansas Supreme Court says it issued the suspension of an attorney’s license for two years, affirmed an aggravated robbery conviction and reversed a decision on Friday, Oct. 16.

The Kansas Supreme Court said in Appeal No. 117,162: State of Kansas v. Christopher M. Dale, this is Dale’s second appeal from Johnson County convictions. It said Dale took the property of three individuals in one incident. It said the State charged him with two counts of aggravated robbery and one count of theft. It said each count related to a different victim.

According to the Court, in Dale’s initial appeal, the Court of Appeals held jury instruction error required a new trial on the aggravated robbery counts but affirmed the theft count. It said the State retried Dale on the aggravated robbery counts. It said in his second appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed his theft conviction as a lesser included offense of his aggravated robbery convictions but affirmed his aggravated robbery convictions.

The Supreme Court said on petition for review, Dale argued the lesser included offense of theft could stand because all three counts amounted to one criminal offense in violation of double jeopardy. It said it affirmed Dale’s aggravated robber convictions and held if continued prosecution follows a defendant’s appeal and a defendant is found guilty of the greater offense a court may generally vacate the sentence for the lesser included offense and impose a new sentence for the greater offense.

The Court said it also held Dale’s two aggravated robbery convictions did not violate double jeopardy even though they arose from one transaction because Dale and his companion took the property in the possession or control of two individuals by force directed at both with BB guns.

According to the Court, in Appeal No. 118,648: State of Kansas v. Christopher Lee Herring, it reversed the Court of Appeals' decision affirming the Sedgwick County District Court’s denial of Herring’s withdrawal of his plea. It said in a unanimous opinion written by Justice Dan Biles, the Supreme Court agreed with Herring that when the district court erred by employing an incorrect legal standard in deciding to allow Herring to withdraw his plea, the proper disposition is not affirming the district court’s denial under a harmless analysis, but reversing the denial and remanding the case to the district court with directions to ensure correct legal standards are applied.

The Court said in Case No. 122,036: In the Matter of Mark D. Murphy, Respondent, it ordered a two-year suspension of Murphy, allowing him to apply for probation after the first year. It said it found Murphy engaged in serious misconduct when representing both parties in a business transaction. It said he denied most of the allegations. It said in a 47-page unanimous decision, it set out the hearing panel’s detailed factual findings and conclusions of law, as well as Murphy’s challenges. It said it concluded clear and convincing evidence supported multiple cases of attorney misconduct and adopted the panel’s findings and conclusions. It said Murphy was admitted to practice law in Kansas in September of 1987.

For Kansas Court of Appeals' decisions released, click here.

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