Shawnee Co. District Judge to sit with Kansas Supreme Court

TOPEKA—Shawnee County District Court Judge Evelyn Z. Wilson has been appointed to sit with the Supreme Court Monday, May 4, to hear oral arguments in the first case on the court’s 9 a.m. docket.

After hearing oral arguments, Wilson will join Supreme Court justices in their deliberations and opinion drafting.

“I’m pleased that Judge Wilson is taking time from her duties in Shawnee County District Court to sit with the Supreme Court,” said Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss. “I have known her professionally for more than 25 years, and I look forward to her contributions.”

Wilson, who currently serves as chief judge of the Third Judicial District, has been a district court judge since 2004. She said she is eager to sit with the state’s highest court.

“I am honored by the opportunity to sit with the Kansas Supreme Court,” Wilson said. “I look forward to the excitement of oral arguments, the challenge of researching the case, and interesting deliberations with the other justices.”

Before taking the bench in 2004, Wilson practiced law for 19 years, first in northwest Kansas, then in Topeka. She is a published author and former adjunct professor of law at Washburn University.

All Supreme Court oral arguments are webcast live through the Watch Supreme Court Live! link in the right-hand column of the Kansas Judicial Branch website at www.kscourts.org.

The case Wilson will hear is scheduled at 9 a.m. Monday, May 4:

Appeal No. 110,835: State of Kansas v. David Scott Morrison

Johnson County: (Petition for Review) David Scott Morrison was ousted from his position on the Prairie Village City Council after a full trial. The ouster was based on his allowing Kelley Mallone to sleep at City Hall over a four-day period. The district judge found that Morrison had violated K.S.A. 60-1205(1) and (2)—specifically that Morrison willfully engaged in misconduct while in office and willfully neglected to perform a duty enjoined upon an official by law.

Morrison appealed to the Kansas Court of Appeals. On appeal, Morrison asserted three claims of error: (1) The district court misapplied K.S.A. 60-1205 when it found that the undisputed facts of this case justified Morrison’s ouster; (2) jury instruction and verdict form errors; and (3) that ouster requires a violation of state law, which was not found in this case. The court found in Morrison’s favor on the first claim of error and did not reach Morrison’s final two claims. Specifically, the Court of Appeals found that the undisputed facts of this case did not, as a matter of law, satisfy the criteria for judicial ouster contained in K.S.A. 60-1205 and reversed the lower court’s decision and remand with directions that judgment be entered in Morrison’s favor, thus reinstating him to his public office. The Supreme Court granted the state’s petition for review.

Issues on review are whether the Court of Appeals panel’s definition of misconduct or neglect was based on the plain language of K.S.A. 60-1205, and whether violations of the city’s ethics code can result in ouster, and whether the panel disregarded the standard of review in ouster cases and used an incorrect standard in determining the sufficiency of evidence.

 

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