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Archive for Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Lawsuit claims woman unfairly convicted in highway workers’ deaths

August 29, 2012

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An attorney argued Wednesday that a 53-year-old woman convicted of striking and killing two highway workers with her truck south of Lawrence in 2007 did not receive a fair trial.

Carl Folsom is representing Ramona I. Morgan in her civil case against the state alleging she is wrongfully imprisoned. He said several factors, including the jury instructions, created a prejudice against Morgan during her 2008 trial in Douglas County.

Jurors convicted Morgan on two counts of reckless second-degree murder and one count of aggravated battery, and she is serving a 26-year prison sentence.

Prosecutors accused Morgan of driving recklessly around a flagger on Sept. 11, 2007, through a construction zone on U.S. Highway 59 and accelerating to 51 mph before hitting the two workers, Tyrone Korte, 30, and Rolland Griffith, 24. But Morgan has claimed she became scared that morning because she thought people has been chasing her for two days across Missouri and Kansas, shooting at her truck and trying to rob her.

One of Folsom arguments Wednesday was that jurors should have had the option to convict Morgan under a definition of involuntary manslaughter stating that the deaths occurred “during the commission of a lawful act in an unlawful manner.” He said this would have presented an alternative to second-degree murder, which is a more serious crime.

But Eve Kemple, an assistant Douglas County district attorney, said jurors did have the option of convicting Morgan under a different definition of involuntary manslaughter and vehicular homicide, which is a misdemeanor. Yet, they still reached a verdict of second-degree murder, she said.

District Judge Paula Martin will hearing arguments in the civil case at 3:30 p.m. Friday.

Comments

Flap Doodle 2 years, 3 months ago

I would venture to say that Ramona's own actions got her into her current circumstances.

patkindle 2 years, 3 months ago

it is obvious, she needs a higher priced lawyer thats all it takes

jhawkinsf 2 years, 3 months ago

Losers in civil cases should be required to pay the expenses of the winner. That would cut down on a lot of the frivolous lawsuits we currently see.

Fatty_McButterpants 2 years, 3 months ago

Would it kill this reporter to do a little editing before submitting the article? The number of grammatical and spelling errors is very distracting.

ksjayhawk74 2 years, 3 months ago

"...she thought people HAS been chasing her for two days..."

It's understandable, but it has mistakes.

jafs 2 years, 3 months ago

How exactly does one commit a "lawful" act in an "unlawful" manner?

ebyrdstarr 2 years, 3 months ago

Here's one definition: "the offense is defined as the commission of a lawful act without proper caution or requisite skill, in which one unguardedly or undesignedly kills another." Shooting a gun into a crowd of people would be an unlawful act. Driving your car is not. Off the top of my head, I can't cite to any examples in Kansas of how this statute has been used.

somebodynew 2 years, 3 months ago

ebyrdstarr Can you point me to a link, or somewhere I can do reading on this law.? I know it has changed to allow civil suits in some of these criminal cases, but I don't know enough about it. This seems to me to have been settled in appeals, but then Tom Murray has also filed a civil suit. I would just like to read more about it.

Thanks, will check back later.

ebyrdstarr 2 years, 3 months ago

CIvil cases like this happen all the time. They are filed under K.S.A 60-1507. It is the civil suit a criminal defendant files after the direct appeal is final. In the suit, the defendant alleges s/he is being held in violation of rights. The most common right asserted in the civil case is effective assistance of counsel. This issue can't be raised on direct appeal, so the defendant has to file this civil case to present any claim about the attorney's deficient performance. There are some other types of issues that can also be raised here that weren't available on the direct appeal because new evidence needed to be heard by the trial court. The appellate courts can't hear new evidence.

It's a good bet that anyone who was convicted at trial and whose conviction was affirmed on appeal will file one of these civil cases. As for researching, I would start by finding the text of the statute. Then maybe you could either go to the Kansas Supreme Court's website or google scholar to search through cases.

jafs 2 years, 3 months ago

Thanks.

Driving too fast is speeding, though, right, so it's against the law? As is "distracted driving".

So, people who do that aren't committing "lawful" acts, they're committing "illegal" ones, I would think.

ebyrdstarr 2 years, 3 months ago

There is also a line of cases about self-defense (the lawful act) being committed recklessly or unreasonably, etc.

Keep in mind that there is overlap in criminal statutes, so often a person's actions might fit under a couple of different statutes. The argument then is that it should be up to the jury to decide which statute is the best fit.

ironhead80 2 years, 3 months ago

This woman does not believe she did nothing wrong and shows no true remorse for these people. It seems sometimes these women get behind the wheel of these truck's and they feel powerful and the road is there domain. LIGHT HER UP!

Thomas Bryce 2 years, 3 months ago

Not only does she show no remorse for killing two people, She contends that SHE is the victim here. Truly Pathetic.

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