Supreme Court to hear Shawnee Co. case of minor’s confession of sexual assault

FILE - Kansas Supreme Court
FILE - Kansas Supreme Court(MGN)
Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 8:47 AM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas Supreme Court will hear a case out of Shawnee County that involves a minor’s confession to sexually assaulting his stepsister.

The Kansas Supreme Court says that for its Jan. 30 - Feb. 3 docket, it will hear the case of Appeal No. 124,676: State of Kansas v. G.O. out of Shawnee Co. The case involves the state’s interlocutory appeal. It challenges the district court’s decision to suppress the juvenile’s confession to having sexually abused his stepsister.

Court records indicate that the district court found G.O.’s mental condition, lack of experience with police and understanding that the interview would be used only to help his stepsister warranted suppression.

In a split decision, records show a majority of the Court of Appeals reversed the decision and found that the State met its burden to show the statements were most likely the product of free and independent will and the statements should not have been suppressed.

The dissent would hold the suppression was sound and the Court should not engage in reweighing the credibility of the evidence.

On issue with the Supreme Court will be whether the Court of Appeals made a mistake when it found the minor’s prior struggles in school could render the confessional involuntary and since Miranda rights were read, does that undermine any claim of coercion?

The case is scheduled to be heard on Jan. 31.