Lawrence courts

Plaintiffs seek to block new Kansas school funding plan
01:31 p.m., March 26, 2015 Updated 10:52 p.m.
Plaintiffs in an ongoing school finance case asked a three-judge panel in Topeka on Thursday to block implementation of a new school funding plan that Gov. Sam Brownback signed into law Wednesday. By Peter Hancock
Jurors find McLinn eligible for ‘Hard 50’ sentencing
10:40 a.m., March 23, 2015 Updated 10:51 p.m.
Jurors on Friday found Sarah Gonzales McLinn, 20, of Lawrence, guilty of the premeditated, first-degree murder of Harold “Hal” Sasko. On Monday, they decided the killing was committed in an “especially heinous, atrocious or cruel manner,” allowing a judge to sentence McLinn to a mandatory minimum of 50 years in prison without eligibility for parole. By Caitlin Doornbos
Jury finds McLinn guilty of first-degree murder
09:15 a.m., March 20, 2015 Updated 05:01 p.m.
Jurors found Sarah Gonzales McLinn guilty of first-degree murder in the January 2014 killing of Harold “Hal” Sasko, Friday in Douglas County court. The jury deliberated for nearly five hours before determining that McLinn, 20, of Lawrence, was able to form intent when she used a long, black knife to slice the neck of Sasko, 52, of Lawrence, on Jan. 14, 2014. By Caitlin Doornbos
Psychologist: McLinn has multiple personalities, compares herself to Jeffrey Dahmer
09:24 a.m., March 19, 2015 Updated 10:28 p.m.
One of Sarah Gonzales McLinn’s multiple personalities killed Harold “Hal” Sasko, of Lawrence, “as an act of love” toward another of her personalities, psychologist Marilyn Hutchinson said in the third day of testimony in McLinn’s first-degree murder trial. By Caitlin Doornbos
One of five defendants in Lawrence home invasion pleads guilty
March 18, 2015
Driskell Alan Johnson, a defendant accused with four men in a home invasion in Lawrence in November, pleaded guilty Wednesday to two counts of aggravated robbery.
Murder trial: McLinn describes killing Sasko in police interview
09:37 a.m., March 18, 2015 Updated 08:43 p.m.
Sarah Gonzales McLinn, 20, of Lawrence, appears emotionless while confessing to the brutal slaying of 52-year-old Harold “Hal” Sasko in a video of her police interview following her arrest in Florida last year. McLinn is charged with intentional, premeditated murder in the Jan. 14, 2014, death of Sasko, a Lawrence resident. McLinn lived with Sasko at the time of his death and had previously worked for him at Sasko’s CiCi’s Pizza restaurant. By Caitlin Doornbos
McLinn trial: Jury selection begins in CiCi’s Pizza owner slaying case
11:30 a.m., March 16, 2015 Updated 10:23 p.m.
Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson and defense attorney Carl Cornwell began jury selection Monday morning in the first-degree murder trial of Sarah Gonzales McLinn, 20, of Lawrence. By Caitlin Doornbos
Court threatens to block new school funding plan
01:29 p.m., March 13, 2015 Updated 08:52 p.m.
A three-judge panel in Topeka issued an order Friday suggesting it might block any new school funding plan from taking effect while the ongoing school finance lawsuit is pending. By Peter Hancock
Woman testifies defendant admitted involvement in homicide
06:05 p.m., March 11, 2015 Updated 10:40 p.m.
The mother of defendant Archie Robinson’s children testified at his first-degree murder trial Wednesday that Robinson told her he was involved in 39-year-old Patrick Roberts’ shooting death because he was “being greedy.”
A full docket: three first-degree murder jury trials set for March
March 8, 2015
Over the next five weeks, Douglas County District Judge Paula Martin will preside over three nearly back-to-back first-degree murder jury trials. Here’s a look at the upcoming cases set for trial beginning Monday. By Caitlin Doornbos
Man convicted of 1999 rape and robbery at shoe store challenges 54-year sentence
03:32 p.m., March 4, 2015 Updated 10:39 p.m.
A 54-year-old man convicted of a 1999 rape and robbery at Payless ShoeSource, 3231 Iowa St., is challenging the 54-year prison sentence Douglas County District Judge Paula Martin handed down in 2001.
Bond amounts set on case-by-case basis
March 1, 2015
When reviewing bond amounts set for defendants in Douglas County, it can be a bit confusing. While one defendant charged with a DUI may receive a $250 bond, another may get a $500 bond. That’s because according to Kansas statute, the decision is left entirely up to the judge. Judges must base their decision on a number of factors, balancing the defendant’s needs with the safety of the community, but there are no official guidelines of which crimes come with what bond amounts. By Caitlin Doornbos
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