Johnson County green-lights gay marriage in Kansas; Douglas County to continue denying applicants

"The chief judge of the Johnson County District Court issued an order Wednesday clearing the way for same-sex couples to get married in that county. But a constitutional law professor at Kansas University said it's still not clear that such marriages would be valid under Kansas law.

. . . 

But because the Supreme Court did not directly rule on the issue — it declined to hear the appeals of five similar cases from various judicial circuits — some experts say courts in other states have not been given clear direction on how to proceed.

In strip-club case, typically closed records were released, GOP tipped off

Karen Dillon wrote:

"The Legislature closed those records to the public more than 30 years ago, and if members of the public want incident reports and investigative files, they typically have to sue to get them. The cases can be expensive: Some have cost $25,000 or more.

So media law experts found it 'amazing' when they learned that Montgomery County Sheriff Robert “Bobby” Dierks released investigative files from 1998 last month with just a records request.

Professor with extensive Supreme Court experience to share highlights from career serving KU and Kansas

Wednesday, October 01, 2014
 
LAWRENCE – Kansas Solicitor General Stephen McAllister will share his experiences arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court and other career highlights during his inaugural lecture as the E.S. & Tom Hampton Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Kansas.

McAllister is set to deliver “The Supreme Court and Kansas: A (Solicitor) General Talk about Studying, Teaching and Serving the Law” at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 6, at Alderson Auditorium in the Kansas Union. The lecture is free and open to the public.

A Kansas native, McAllister earned degrees from KU and its law school before clerking first for Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and then for Supreme Court Justices Byron R. White and Clarence Thomas. He worked for Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in Washington, D.C., before returning to KU to join the law faculty in 1993.

McAllister served as dean of the law school from 2000-2005, and he currently teaches constitutional law, civil rights actions, state constitutional law and torts. He has written on a wide variety of constitutional topics, including affirmative action, capital punishment, federalism, freedom of speech, the powers of Congress, sex offender laws and Supreme Court history.

During his years at KU, McAllister has served a number of Kansas Attorneys General and the Kansas Legislature as a legal adviser and litigator, beginning with his work on the sex offender civil commitment case (Kansas v. Hendricks) that went to the Supreme Court in 1996, and continuing through today as he prepares for Oct. 14 arguments at the Supreme Court in the case of Kansas v. Nebraska and Colorado, a dispute over water in the Republican River Basin. In between, he has worked on cases involving a variety of constitutional issues, including the death penalty, the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, school finance and freedom of speech.

McAllister’s Supreme Court advocacy has resulted in two Best Brief awards presented by the National Association of Attorneys General. In November 2010, the Supreme Court appointed McAllister to brief and argue in defense of the judgment in a case called Bond v. United States after the United States decided it would not defend the lower court’s ruling. 

McAllister has played a role in bringing several Supreme Court justices to KU and Kansas, and he persuaded two justices to teach in the law school’s summer program in Turkey. In 2013, McAllister and his family spent two weeks with Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife in Innsbruck, Austria, where Thomas and McAllister co-taught a course.

McAllister assumed the Hampton professorship in September 2013. The E.S. & Tom W. Hampton Professorship was established in 1985 by the family, law firm and friends of Salina lawyers E.S. and Tom W. Hampton. E.S. Hampton was a 1929 graduate of the law school and senior partner at Salina firm Burch, Litowich and Royce. His son Tom graduated from KU Law in 1959 and joined his father’s practice. The professorship honors the Hamptons’ legacy and aims to attract and retain quality faculty at KU Law.

New partnership for KU program to help prisoners who otherwise might not receive legal representation

"According to national statistics 2 to 5 percent of innocent people can be incarcerated. This week a University of Kansas program announced a partnership with the Midwest Innocence Project, to help those people in jail and shouldn't be, get out.

Former University of Kansas Law Professor Paul E. Wilson founded the Defender Project in 1965, bringing students and staff together to help prisoners who otherwise might not receive legal representation.

Cargill suit highlights weight of foreign rules

Reuters reported: 

Cargill’s lawsuit against Syngenta over losses stemming from China’s rejection of genetically modified corn demonstrates how U.S. markets are becoming increasingly subject to foreign rules, say legal experts.

Cargill sued Syngenta Sept. 12 in Louisiana state court for “negligence” in selling U.S. farmers a GM variety that had not yet been approved for import in China.

Law students taking on more cases through new partnership with Midwest Innocence Project

Monday, September 22, 2014

LAWRENCE – Since 1965, the Paul E. Wilson Project for Innocence and Post-Conviction Remedies at the University of Kansas School of Law has worked to obtain new trials for convicted individuals whose constitutional rights were violated. In the last five years, 38 Project clients have been granted new trials. But a lack of access to funding for forensic testing and expert testimony has hampered the Project’s ability to prove actual innocence, where the ultimate goal is exoneration. 

A new partnership with the Midwest Innocence Project aims to change that.

The Midwest Innocence Project, a member of the national Innocence Network, is dedicated to the investigation, litigation and exoneration of wrongfully convicted men and women in Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa and Nebraska.

Through the collaboration, KU’s Project for Innocence will take on Kansas innocence cases that originate with the Midwest Innocence Project. The KU clinic will receive financial support for investigation and litigation – including potential expert testimony and DNA and forensic testing costs – and will gain access to resources available through the Innocence Network.

“The partnership will benefit everyone involved,” said Jean Phillips, clinical professor and director of KU’s Project for Innocence.

“Despite generous private support from alumni, we don’t have the financial resources to pay for extensive testing,” she said. “A single DNA analysis runs $1,400, and one case frequently requires several tests for comparison purposes, which can add up quickly. This partnership will expand our capacity to serve clients who may be incarcerated unjustly and provide additional opportunities for our students to gain insight into the criminal justice system.”

According to the Midwest Innocence Project, recent independent studies conservatively estimate that between 2 percent and 5 percent of all inmates in America were falsely convicted. Some estimates reach as high as 7 percent, including up to 4 percent of inmates on death row. This equates to somewhere between 2,000 and 7,000 people in the MIP’s five-state region.

“After a conviction, the appeals process focuses more on finality over fairness. It is designed to be incredibly difficult and is very expensive,” said Tricia Bushnell, MIP legal director. “We are one of the few places indigent inmates can turn to regain their freedom when the legal system has failed. This partnership with the University of Kansas School of Law helps us expand our capacity to take cases and gives us a presence in the classroom to teach the next generation of lawyers, investigators and lawmakers how to identify and prevent these injustices.”

The partnership will have an immediate effect on the KU clinic’s work with clients like Floyd Bledsoe, who is serving a prison sentence for a first-degree murder conviction. Bledsoe has always maintained his innocence, but despite extensive efforts to establish he did not receive a fair trial, he remains incarcerated. With support from the Midwest Innocence Project, KU’s Project for Innocence will be able to continue to move forward with DNA testing in the Bledsoe case.

“The Midwest Innocence Project has many cases from Kansas waiting to be investigated,” said Alice Craig, supervising attorney for the KU clinic. “We have already begun to incorporate these cases into our caseload.”

Former KU law professor Paul E. Wilson founded what was then the Defender Project in 1965 to help prisoners who otherwise might not receive legal representation. Students in the clinic represent state and federal prisoners in appellate and post-conviction litigation in state and federal courts. Their work includes conducting fact investigations, drafting pleadings, filing motions, preparing for hearings and creating case strategy.

In addition to challenging convictions, in 2009 and 2011, a Project team won rare grants of executive clemency for three men convicted of robbery during a racially charged Civil Rghts-era trial in Wichita.

The Project receives more than 200 letters a year from inmates seeking assistance.

Pictured above, from left: Pete Smith, president of the Midwest Innocence Project board of directors; Tricia Bushnell, MIP legal director; Professor Jean Phillips, director of KU's Project for Innocence & Post-Conviction Remedies; and KU Law Dean Stephen Mazza

Gov. Brownback's Selection Of Stegall Stirs Debate Over Judge Selection Process

A recent change in Kansas law has re-ignited the debate on how judges are selected to the bench. In this edition of Up to Date, Steve Kraske examines the methods for seating judges, and who should hold the final say in how they are chosen.

Guests:

Stephen Ware is a Professor of Law at the University of Kansas.

Matthew Menendez is counsel for the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law.

Cargill case highlights foreign regulatory influence in U.S. : experts

Andrew Chung wrote:

"Major U.S. grain exporter Cargill Inc's lawsuit against Syngenta AG over losses stemming from China's rejection of genetically modified corn demonstrates how U.S. markets are becoming increasingly subject to foreign rules, legal experts said on Tuesday.

Cargill sued Syngenta on Friday in Louisiana state court for "negligence" in selling U.S. farmers a genetically modified seed that had not yet been approved for import in China.

Kansas Supreme Court hears Chad Taylor lawsuit Tuesday

The Kansas Supreme Court will decide whether or not Democrat Chad Taylor's name may be removed from the November ballot for U.S. Senate. Taylor withdrew from the race, drawing criticism from Republicans who claim that the move was an attempt to bolster Independent Craig Orman's campaign against the incumbent, Senator Pat Roberts. Kobach refused to remove Taylor's name from the ballot, asserting that Taylor's withdrawal letter did not include a declaration that he is incapable to serve. 

Bryan Lowry wrote:

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - faculty
Why KU
  • One-third of full-time faculty have written casebooks used at U.S. law schools
  • 2 KU law faculty were U.S. Supreme Court clerks
  • KU’s Project for Innocence: 33 conviction reversals since 2009
  • 7,300+ alumni live in all 50 states and 18 foreign countries
  • #18 “best value” law school in the nation — National Jurist Magazine
  • 12 interdisciplinary joint degrees
  • 27th nationwide for lowest debt at graduation. — U.S. News & World Report
  • 70 percent of upper-level law classes have 25 or fewer students
  • Nearly 800 employment interviews at law school, 2012-13
  • Top 25% for number of 2013 grads hired by the nation’s largest law firms
  • 20th: for number of law alumni promoted to partner at the 250 largest law firms