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Constitution Observance Day includes Kansas Court of Appeals cases on campus

Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016


MANHATTAN — Court is back in session Tuesday, Sept. 20, as Kansas State University celebrates U.S. Constitution Observance Day with a series of real court cases argued by Kansas attorneys on campus.

Court hearings begin at 9:30 a.m. in Forum Hall at the K-State Student Union and are open to the public.

The day gives students and the public a chance to see how the court system and the appeals process work, according to Daralyn Gordon Arata, pre-law adviser.

"This is a pretty rare opportunity for students to see real attorneys arguing real cases in front of a real court," Arata said. "This is right in their backyard where they can come in the time frame that works for them and see the court in action."

A three-judge panel from the Kansas Court of Appeals — Henry W. Green Jr., Patrick D. McAnany and Melissa Taylor Standridge — will hear the cases and rule on them.

The schedule of cases:

• Case No. 1 — State of Kansas v. Brian A. Murrin, from 9:30-10:15 a.m. The case looks at whether the district court erred by not instructing the jury on voluntary intoxication as a defense to Murrin's crimes of criminal trespass and interference with law enforcement, as well as whether the district court erred by failing to give a unanimity instruction on Murrin's interference with law enforcement charge.

• Case No. 2 — Mark S. Sellens v. Farmers Insurance Co. Inc., from 10:15-11 a.m. The case examines whether the district court correctly found that Jason Klotz, who drove a vehicle that collided with Sellens' vehicle, was responsible for operating the vehicle rather than his employer, Kansas Fire & Safety Equipment Inc. It also considers whether Sellens' insurance company, Farmers Insurance, complied with minimum coverage requirements; whether Sellens is entitled to underinsured motorist benefits and attorney fees; and if another insurance company's payment to Sellens precludes his underinsured motorist coverage claim.

• Case No. 3 — The Estate of Lillian L. Leppke v. Marilyn K. Heier, from 11-11:45 a.m. The case will discuss whether the trial court denied Heier the chance to present evidence rebutting Leppke's allegation that Heier obtained her signature through undue influence, and whether the ruling was supported by sufficient evidence.

• Case No. 4 — State of Kansas v. Debra Lea Davenport, from 2-2:45 p.m. The case focuses on whether the district court erred in suppressing drug-related evidence firefighters obtained from Davenport's purse when searching for identification and medications.

• Case No. 5 — State of Kansas v. James Dean Miller, from 2:45-3:30 p.m. The case looks at whether the state violated Miller's due process rights by alleging that Miller breached his plea agreement without presenting evidence of that breach and by not asking him if the state's explanation of the new sentencing agreement matched his understanding of the terms of the new sentencing agreement.

More information about the cases is available at k-state.edu/prelaw/.

"Students at this age are coming into their maturity by having the right to vote, and they need to understand those rights and responsibilities and their position and their power within our constitutional structure in America," Arata said. "Because of the upcoming election year, we need an informed electorate. I think that's important to serve the collective well-being not only of our state, but of our country."


Daralyn Gordon Arata


Office of Pre-Law Advising

Written by

Tiffany Roney

At a glance

U.S. Constitution Observance Day — Tuesday, Sept. 20 — at Kansas State University includes a series of Kansas Court of Appeals cases being heard on campus.