Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Topeka High to Host Supreme Court ; Court: Devices Not Allowed

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Topeka High to Host Supreme Court ; Court: Devices Not Allowed

Article excerpt

A push to bring the Kansas Supreme Court and its work to communities across the state has drawn crowds in other cities, and on Wednesday will continue with oral arguments in the evening at Topeka High School.

Last year, an evening session on the Fort Hays State University campus drew nearly 700 people to watch the Supreme Court in action.

"A lot of people come to the Supreme Court expecting it to be like a trial, and it's not," said Lisa Taylor, a spokeswoman for the court.

There is no witness box, Taylor said, no court reporter, and it is rare for the parties of each case to be present. Instead, the Supreme Court reviews legal points of the cases. Attorneys representing the parties speak, making their best cases to the seven justices, who also ask questions.

On Wednesday, the public will have a chance to observe oral arguments in two cases:

- Ron Keiswetter v. Kansas

A minimum-security inmate in Norton County walked away from his work detail in 2008 and assaulted an 83-year-old woman in her home.

She died eight months later. Her son argues the correctional facility's negligence contributed to her death.

District court and Court of Appeals: Found the state is immune from liability.

On review: The justices will consider matters related to prisoner escape cases, liability protection and adequacy of the evidence of negligence.

- Kansas v. Spencer Gifts

In 2010, Kansas charged Spencer Gifts with 10 criminal counts related to promotion of obscenity harmful to minors. In 2014, Spencer Gifts asked that the case be dropped, arguing the state had violated the company's right to a speedy trial. The state argues the speedy trial right doesn't apply to a limited liability company.

District Court and Court of Appeals: Agreed the right to a speedy trial had been violated. …

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