TOPEKA (KSNT) – It’s a long shot, only about 1%, but Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt will ask the United States Supreme Court to review three recent lower court decisions that overturned state criminal convictions or sentences. The announcement came in a news release from his office today.
The State of Kansas will ask the nation’s highest court to review the recent decision by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals that overturned the murder conviction of Kimberly. Sharp was convicted in connection with the 2006 murder of homeless advocate David Owens in Topeka. Initially, her conviction was upheld by the Kansas Supreme Court on direct review but set aside earlier this month by the federal appeals court on habeas corpus review.
Two other recent Kansas Supreme Court decisions are being submitted for review as well. One overturned a conviction, and the other partially vacated a sentence.
The capital murder conviction of Luis Aguirre was overturned. He had been convicted in connection with the 2009 murders of Tanya Maldonado and their young son Juan Maldonado in Riley County. The state’s high court also vacated the post-release portion of the sentence of Bryce Dull, who was convicted in Sedgwick County. Dull was convicted of aggravated indecent liberties with a child, burglary and misdemeanor theft. His sentence had included a requirement of lifetime post-release supervision upon release from prison.
“In each of these cases, we are unsure the correct legal conclusion was reached under the applicable principles of federal law, so we are requesting review by the U.S. Supreme Court,” Attorney General Schmidt said.
According to a news release from the state attorney general’s office, the U.S. Supreme Court grants only about one percent of the requests to review lower-court decisions. Kansas currently has three cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Schmidt’s office says they are briefing arguments and preparing for oral arguments in October. Those cases are Kansas v. Jonathan Carr (Sedgwick County), Kansas v. Reginald Carr (Sedgwick County), and Kansas v. Sidney Gleason (Barton County).
The Kansas Supreme Court hasn’t upheld a death sentence since the state enacted a new capital punishment law in 1994.
The Carr brothers were sentenced to death for four murders in Wichita in 2000. That followed dozens of other crimes, including robbery and rape. As for former Topekan Sidney Gleason, he convicted of the 2004 shooting deaths of Great Bend couple Darren Wornkey and Mikiala Martinez.