Lawrence courts

McLinn rejects plea offer; jury trial to begin March 16
04:45 p.m., February 27, 2015 Updated 10:40 p.m.
Sarah Gonzalez McLinn, charged with first-degree murder in the death of her roommate last year, rejected two versions of a plea deal this week, saying she’d rather try her case before a jury. The case is set for trial in two weeks.
Homicide defendant rejects plea offer, will stand trial March 9
03:52 p.m., February 27, 2015 Updated 10:41 p.m.
Charged with first-degree murder during the commission of an aggravated burglary, Archie Lamont Robinson, 30, of Lawrence, will face his jury March 9, after rejecting Assistant Douglas County District Attorney Amy McGowan’s plea deal Friday.
Kansas legislators take up measures targeting Kansas Judiciary
February 21, 2015
As the mid-point of the legislative session approaches, Kansas lawmakers will turn their focus to measures that could bring big changes to the Kansas court system. Two constitutional amendments have already advanced that would change the way Supreme Court justices are chosen. Another would lower the mandatory retirement age for judges, automatically removing several sitting judges from the bench. By Peter Hancock
Appeals court upholds Lawrence man’s murder conviction
01:47 p.m., February 20, 2015 Updated 10:21 p.m.
Christopher Belone, of Lawrence, was convicted of beating his girlfriend Linda Begay to death in 2006. His first conviction was overturned by the Kansas Supreme Court, but after a new trial he was convicted a second time of unintentional second degree murder. The Kansas Court of Appeals on Friday upheld the second conviction. By Peter Hancock
Kansas judge files suit challenging 2014 judiciary changes
04:59 p.m., February 18, 2015 Updated 10:04 p.m.
Judge Larry T. Solomon of Kingman County filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging a law that changes the way chief judges in the district courts are selected. The suit, which is backed by the New York-based Brennan Center for Justice, alleges lawmakers were retaliating against the Kansas Supreme Court for its decision in a school finance case. By Peter Hancock
Kansas commune leader found guilty of drowning woman in pool
February 18, 2015
A man who led a Kansas commune that collected millions of dollars in life insurance payouts from dead members was convicted of premeditated murder Wednesday in the 2003 drowning death of a female member.
Judge to decide whether evidence of Martin Miller’s pornography, mistress can be presented
05:51 p.m., February 17, 2015 Updated 10:11 p.m.
The attorney of Martin K. Miller, convicted of killing his wife 10 years ago, argued Tuesday that evidence of Miller’s extramarital affair, use of pornography and siphoning of his children’s college savings accounts should not be admissible in his client’s March retrial.
Kobach says Texas federal court ruling on immigration vindicates his efforts
01:45 p.m., February 17, 2015 Updated 10:04 p.m.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach says that a federal court ruling that blocks an executive order on immigration vindicates his efforts.
Lawrence murder trial jurors yet to reach decision
February 13, 2015
After more than nine hours of deliberations Friday, jurors deciding the case against Dustin D. Walker, 30, of Lawrence, could not reach a decision, taking a recess for the weekend.
KU grad’s work helps women in Indian Country through changes in law
February 12, 2015
At age 8, Sarah Deer read in a children’s history magazine that women in America didn’t have the right to vote until 1920. “I was sure it was a typo,” she said. Upon verifying that it, in fact, was not, Deer said her thoughts turned to, “that’s not right.” And thus began Deer’s lifetime of work advocating for women, which recently landed the Kansas University graduate on the prestigious list of 2014 national MacArthur Fellows. By Sara Shepherd
Defendant in murder case takes stand, says death was accidental result of drug deal gone wrong
February 12, 2015
Charged with first-degree murder, Dustin D. Walker told jurors Thursday that he was buying marijuana with his cousin from Patrick Roberts on March 8, 2014, when Roberts’ brother tackled Walker’s cousin, a struggle broke out and Roberts was fatally shot by accident.
Witnesses testify about Cedarwood shooting death
February 10, 2015
On the first day of testimony in the first-degree murder trial of Lawrence resident Dustin D. Walker, the victim’s family recounted the violent morning, and the defense challenged law enforcement on why witnesses’ or Walker’s co-defendant’s hands were not swabbed for gunshot residue.
Opening statements given in first-degree murder trial of man charged in Cedarwood shooting death
06:38 p.m., February 9, 2015 Updated 10:02 p.m.
Prosecutors told jurors in the first-degree murder trial of Dustin D. Walker Monday that the Lawrence resident shot Patrick Roberts while trying to rob him, while the defense questioned the credibility of witnesses in the case.
Suspect in alleged sexual battery during music lesson no longer a KU student
11:02 a.m., February 9, 2015 Updated 09:57 p.m.
A 22-year-old Lawrence man accused of handcuffing a vocal lesson student, kissing and fondling her against her will has withdrawn from Kansas University, KU spokeswoman Erinn Barcomb-Peterson said Monday.
Kansas judiciary shows little racial diversity
February 7, 2015
While the population in Kansas is growing more diverse with each census, that has not been reflected in the Kansas judiciary, where people of color make up 3 percent of all the judges on the state bench. Next week, Kansas lawmakers will begin debating possible changes in the way Supreme Court justices are selected, but legal experts say there is little chance those changes will affect the all-white face of the state’s highest court. By Peter Hancock