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Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

A more fair court system

The killing of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014 triggered weeks of  sometimes-violent protests. It became yet another polarizing incident over force used by law enforcement on young black men. (This week the country is watching a similar case play out in the dashcam-captured fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald. A cop charged in that case is on trial now.)

Nomin Ujiyediin / Kansas News Service

A committee of Kansas judges and attorneys says cities need to reduce the costs of appearing in municipal court.

The Kansas Supreme Court appointed the ad hoc committee last September to assess whether the state’s municipal courts impose an unreasonable financial burden on low-income people. 

A report released Wednesday lists more than a dozen suggestions to reduce or simplify fees, bail and monetary fines that come with being arrested and charged with a crime.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3 file photo

The woman accused of starting a blaze that killed two Kansas City firefighters in 2015 was found guilty of murder, arson and assault in Jackson County Circuit Court on Monday morning.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3 file photo

On the second day of a murder and arson trial in Kansas City, prosecutors sparred with defense attorneys over how the blaze that led to the deaths of  two firefighters began.

Johnson County Sheriff's Office / KCUR

The Kansas City, Missouri, man accused of fatally shooting a coworker and injuring another outside of an Overland Park elementary school made his first appearance in court on Thursday.

Suspect Anthony David Grable, 32, was charged with one count of premeditated murder, one count of attempted premeditated murder, three counts of aggravated assault, two counts of aggravated robbery and one count of burglary in Johnson County District Court.

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

The state Public Defender’s Office in Kansas City, the largest in Missouri, will have another chance to argue that its caseloads have become unmanageable.

On Tuesday, the Missouri Court of Appeals ruled that the presiding judge of Jackson County wrongly refused to hold a formal hearing on the issue. It sent the matter back to the judge and directed him to create a record that can be reviewed on appeal.

Updated at 8:00 p.m. May 10 with more information from the first day — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens was in a St. Louis courtroom Thursday watching jury selection for his upcoming invasion of privacy trial slowly unfold.

Wearing a business suit and a purple tie, Greitens spent most of the day quietly conferring with his attorneys. He’s accused of taking a photograph of a woman with whom he had an affair without her consent — and placing it in a position to be accessed by a computer.

Editor's note: This is the second in a series of three stories profiling the main legal figures involved in the trial of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens. A profile of the prosecution ran Tuesday. A profile of the judge will run Thursday.

The felony trial of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, which starts Thursday with jury selection, has the makings of an epic courtroom skirmish.

As one attorney put it, the case is an All-Star Game for the legal community, and a sizable amount of talent is batting for the governor.

Overland Park municipal court
Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

A judge found a Kansas City Fire Department paramedic not guilty on all charges Wednesday after he was accused of spitting on a black toddler at an Overland Park, Kansas, restaurant.

Terrence Skeen, 42, was charged with assault, battery and disorderly conduct after a confrontation at Hooters in February.

Editor's note: This is the first in a series of three stories profiling the main legal figures involved in the trial of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens. A profile of the defense attorneys will run Wednesday and the judge on Thursday.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner made history in February when she charged Gov. Eric Greitens with felony invasion of privacy. It was the first time a Missouri governor had been indicted.

In the indictment made public Feb. 22, Gardner said that in 2015, Greitens took a photo of the woman with whom he was having an affair, while she was semi-nude, and then transmitted it so that it could be viewed on a computer.

file photo / Kansas News Service

Kansas lawmakers on Tuesday dropped an effort to require Secretary of State Kris Kobach to pay a contempt of court fine with his own money, rather than state dollars.

file photo / Kansas Public Radio

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach got a Statehouse rebuke Friday from lawmakers even as they avoided mentioning the combative candidate for governor by name.

During a lengthy debate on a budget bill, state Rep. Russ Jennings offered what at first appeared to be just another in a series of amendments.

The Missouri House committee investigating Governor Eric Greitens has beefed up its staff.

A spokesman for committee chairman Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, said former State Supreme Court Chief Justice Edward “Chip” Robertson, Jr., and Sedalia attorney Mark Kempton will serve as special counsel to the committee as it continues its investigation.

Kansas Judicial Branch

The Kansas Court of Appeals is sort of like the middle sibling of the justice system. They don't enjoy the same level of prestige as the state Supreme Court, and they're not as familiar to everyday folks as municipal or district courts. Today, we asked three appeals court judges about their place in Kansas' justice system, and discussed how single-issue advocacy groups and judicial selection rules affect public perception of this often overlooked court.

Claire Verbeck / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Why global warming may be our military’s biggest threat.

While climate change may harm food production and lead to more intense wildfires, it also poses a hazard to our military. How can our armed forces respond? Today, we asked former Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff, who was director of the Marine Corps War College, to shed light on how our nation's military leadership is changing its approach to environmental issues.

Johnson County Sheriff

The man accused of a hate crime killing at an Olathe bar last year may be headed for a possible plea deal.

Adam Purinton, 52, is charged with killing Srinivas Kuchibhotla in Austin’s Bar and Grill last February.

Purinton is also accused of shooting two others, Alok Madasani, a co-worker of Kuchibhotla at Garmin and Ian Grillot, who chased Purinton after he fled the bar.

According to online court records, a plea hearing has been set for March 6 at 1:30 p.m..

Purinton has already pleaded not guilty so a new hearing could mean he is changing his plea to guilty.

file photo / Kansas News Service

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee say Kansans wrongly convicted of crimes deserve to be compensated by the state. The panel amended and advanced a bill Monday that would do that using more than just cash.

Right now, Kansas pays nothing automatically to people imprisoned on botched convictions. People in that situation can use lawsuits to seek payments, but the bill in the legislature would create a system for compensation without a legal fight.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

If you’re released from prison in some states after a wrongful conviction, you could be owed millions of dollars or a promise of a college education.

In Kansas and 17 other states, you get nothing.

On Wednesday, lawmakers heard from men who’d lost decades behind bars on bogus convictions. They emerged middle-aged and broke, with no work history or credit rating.

Arlington National Cemetery / Flickr - CC

Mark Phariss and Vic Holmes, a gay couple living in Texas, strove to keep a low profile and their sexual orientation private. However, as the movement for marriage equality expanded, they finally agreed to be plaintiffs in the lawsuit that would overturn their state's ban on same-sex marriage. Author David Collins recounts their journey in Accidental Activists.

A person sits by a microphone in the KCUR talk show studio.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Today, a look at how a new initiative is gearing up to combat youth violence in Kansas City, Kansas. Then, we get some insight into the Kansas City Municipal Domestic Violence Court. The U.S. Department of Justice's  STOP Violence Against Women initiative recently awarded the court "mentor" status — the first municipal court to earn such a distinction.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

After spending 23 years incarcerated for a crime he didn't commit, Lamonte McIntyre has spent the last week getting used to being a free man. Today, we ask McIntyre, his mother Rosie McIntyre, and one of his attorneys, Cheryl Pilate, about the crime he was wrongly convicted of, the court fight that finally liberated him, and how he moved through the anger and frustration he initially developed behind bars.

File Photo / KCUR

A Jackson County judge on Wednesday took under advisement Planned Parenthood’s request to block a Missouri law requiring that abortion physicians meet with their patients three days before they undergo the procedure.

There was another twist Monday in the roller-coaster case brought by Planned Parenthood seeking to block two Missouri abortion restrictions.

After a federal appeals court last month decided to lift an injunction blocking the restrictions from taking effect, the same court has now had a change of heart.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

A jury in Topeka said Thursday that Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office did not discriminate when firing an employee. Courtney Canfield argued in the lawsuit that she was fired in part for not attending church, and she said that amounted to religious discrimination.

After the unanimous verdict from the eight-person jury, Kobach said he was “very pleased.”

Missouri Supreme Court Delays Hearing In Ricky Kidd Case

Jul 13, 2017

A hearing to determine whether a Kansas City man is being unlawfully held in prison by the state is now on hold.

The Missouri Supreme Court on Thursday issued an order staying the hearing of Ricky Kidd, who was found guilty in 1997 of two murders and sentenced to life in prison.

If you're charged with a crime and can't afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you, guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Because in our judicial system, we're supposed to be presumed innocent. But in Missouri, critics say the state's public defender system isn't doing it's job. One Kansas City man believes that system's failures lead to his life sentence. So what's going on in Missouri?

Guests:

Bigstock

Ricky Kidd has been in prison for nearly half his 42 years. And for all of that time, he has maintained he is innocent of the crimes for which he was convicted: the murders of two men in broad daylight at a house on Kansas City’s east side.

Ged Carroll / Flickr--CC

What would Elliot, dear friend of E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, say?

When Elliot scattered a trail of Reese’s Pieces for his alien friend in Stephen Spielberg’s classic movie, he probably wasn’t thinking about the candy’s packaging.

But Columbia, Missouri, resident Robert Bratton was.

Bratton bought several boxes of Reese’s Pieces and Whoppers malted milk balls at a Gerbes grocery story in Columbia for $1 apiece.

Patrick McKay / Flickr -- CC

Kansas lawmakers seeking to keep university campuses, hospitals and government buildings off limits to firearms are facing a familiar argument from opponents.

Namely, that such restrictions infringe on the right to keep and bear arms protected by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

“It’s a Second Amendment issue,” says Rep. John Whitmer, a Wichita Republican. “It’s a right to bear arms issue.”

Courtesy - Johnson County

Thursday's vote by the Johnson County Commission authorizes the spending of revenues from a quarter-cent sales tax voters approved last November.

The money will be used to demolish the old courthouse in downtown Olathe and replace it with a new nine story building across the street.  It will also subsidize a $20 million coroner's facility at 119th and Ridgeview for autopsies and toxicology exams.

The project is not to exceed $245 million.

Chief Counsel Don Jarrett says construction won't start until the existing courthouse is completely torn down.

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