Friday, August 29, 2014

Sam Brownback predictably picks his right-hand man in Caleb Stegall for the Kansas Supreme Court

Posted By on Fri, Aug 29, 2014 at 2:05 PM

Gov. Sam Brownback didn't have to look far to fill a vacancy on the Kansas Supreme Court. Caleb Stegall less than a year ago was Brownback's lawyer.

Stegall finds himself on the Kansas Supreme Court with less than a year's time as a judge on the Kansas Court of Appeals. Brownback thought Stegall would make a better pick than either Karen Arnold-Burger (a Kansas Court of Appeals judge since 2011) and Merlin Wheeler (chief judge in the Kansas 5th Judicial District since 1997).

Brownback perhaps sees some of himself in Stegall.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bishop Finn sued again (updated)

Posted By on Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 11:44 AM

A former pastoral associate at St. Francis Xavier Church sued the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and its bishop, Robert Finn, on Thursday, alleging that she was fired after The Kansas City Star published an article that referenced her same-sex marriage.

Colleen Simon says priests at St. Francis Xavier knew about her 2012 marriage in Iowa to the Rev. Donna Simon, of St. Mark Hope and Peace Lutheran Church, when she was hired there, only to then use the relationship later as a justification for firing her.

A lawsuit filed in Jackson County Circuit Court asks to get her job back and receive back pay and other damages. Simon ran the church's food pantry located near Rockhurst University, a role that seemed to fit a larger Catholic scripture that calls on members to assist the needy.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

John Middleton, scheduled for execution on Wednesday in Missouri, says he's innocent

Posted By on Mon, Jul 14, 2014 at 2:50 PM

Missouri is about to execute its sixth prisoner this year, but John Middleton's date with the executioner may not be like all the others.

Preceding executions in the state's increasingly busy death chamber have involved inmates whose guilt for their crimes was in little or no doubt. The controversy over those executions centered mainly on the shadowy means through which the state carried out its capital punishment.

Middleton's lawyers, however, contend they've found evidence that suggests their client was in jail in Iowa the day his supposed victim, Alfred Pinegar, was murdered.

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Friday, January 31, 2014

High-fives might soon be the official state greeting of Missouri

Posted By on Fri, Jan 31, 2014 at 9:09 AM

Up high!
  • Up high!
In Missouri and Kansas, at least, this is the time of year for politically aware citizens to get upset about the idiotic bills our elected representatives file in the state legislatures. So it's a nice change of pace when state politicians introduce bills that are still idiotic but that don't fill us with blind rage.

Courtney Allen Curtis, a freshman House rep from the St. Louis area, recently filed HB 1624, which would designate the high-five as the official state greeting.

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Friday, January 10, 2014

Kansas Supreme Court reverses convictions, life sentences of ex-Kansas police chief Mike Akins Jr.

Posted By on Fri, Jan 10, 2014 at 4:54 PM

Mike Akins Jr. faces a new trial.
  • Mike Akins Jr. faces a new trial.
Citing prosecutorial misconduct, the Kansas Supreme Court has reversed 15 convictions and two consecutive life sentences of ex-Inman, Kansas, police chief Mike Akins Jr.

In 2009, Akins was accused of molesting, inappropriately touching and soliciting his stepchildren. Akins was convicted and sentenced in February 2011. The court remanded the case for a new trial. Read the court's opinion here.

Akins' attorney, Dan Monnat, issued a response to the court's ruling, noting that the court reversed the convictions due to Assistant Attorney General Christine Ladner committing "multiple acts of misconduct at trial. Specifically, the prosecutor posed as her own unsworn psuedo-psychological expert at trial, she misstated the law, and she expressed her personal opinion about the case, both praising the children who testified and calling Mr. Akins a liar."

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Royals Fountain Lady tells Iowa judge she didn't offer sexual favor to KCPD officer, police report says otherwise

Posted By on Wed, Nov 6, 2013 at 10:06 AM

Jessica McCoy returns to KC for a January 8 court hearing.
  • Jessica McCoy returns to KC for a January 8 court hearing.
Jessica McCoy made headlines again this week, three months after she earned the moniker "Royals Fountain Lady" by getting arrested for dancing in the outfield fountains at Kauffman Stadium.

McCoy was on vacation in the City of Fountains in August when she showed up to a Kansas City Royals game, had a few too many drinks, and hopped a barrier intended to keep fans out of the fountains beyond the outfield wall at the stadium. Kansas City, Missouri, police officers arrested her for trespassing, but then tagged her with a prostitution charge when she allegedly offered one of them a sexual favor (more on that in a bit).

The 25-year-old Des Moines, Iowa, resident was the subject of a November 5 article in the Des Moines Register, detailing how she lost her job at a bank when video of her antics at Kauffman Stadium became a national news story. First American Bank in Beaverdale, Iowa, fired McCoy for violating a workplace policy that says employees shouldn't embarrass the company during their own time.

So McCoy applied for jobless benefits, leading to an October 22 appearance before an administrative law judge in Iowa to determine whether she was fit for unemployment, given how she lost her job. 

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Friday, May 3, 2013

Sam Brownback responds to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on new Kansas gun law

Posted By on Fri, May 3, 2013 at 10:41 AM

Good things didnt come in the mail for Brownback on April 26.
  • File
  • Sam Brownback is Eric Holder's pen pal.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder have become grudging pen pals in the last week. Brownback lately has been championing a new Kansas law that attempts to shield firearms in the state from federal regulation. It also makes it a felony for federal employees to come to the state to enforce regulations and treaties regarding the weapons.

Holder sent Brownback a letter that basically said the state can't do that. "Kansas may not prevent federal employees and officials from carrying out their official responsibilities. And a state certainly may not criminalize the exercise of federal responsibilities," he scolded the governor.

Brownback didn't care for Holder's stern missive.

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Friday, March 15, 2013

St. Patrick's Day DUI crackdown planned all weekend

Posted By on Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 11:17 AM

DUI patrols can smell green beer on your breath.
  • DUI patrols can smell green beer on your breath.
It's going to be 80 degrees this afternoon. The Big 12 tournament is bringing hoops fans downtown. And St. Patrick's Day, America's drunkest 24-hour period of the year, is Sunday. So, yeah, people are going to be driving drunk around town this weekend. And the KCPD is going to try to get those drivers off the street. The police are running DUI checkpoints through Sunday, so you'd be wise to call a cab. Yes, waiting an hour and a half for a taxi isn't fun, but it beats the hell out of getting arrested or worse.

Fox 4 reminds us that last St. Patrick's Day, the KCPD set up at Southwest Trafficway and 39th Street, and made 31 DUI arrests. And if you're on Twitter, be sure to keep an eye on @KCPolice tonight because they'll be doing one of their amazing "Tweet Alongs." With rival college basketball fans mingling and drinking throughout the city, tonight's tweets should be pretty solid.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ron Partee, wannabe Saul Goodman, pleads guilty to money laundering in drug case

Posted By on Wed, Jan 30, 2013 at 4:27 PM

Its too late to call Saul, Ronald.
  • Partee's website
  • It's too late to call Saul, Ronald.
Better call Saul! That has a better ring than "better call Ronald."

Prominent criminal defense lawyer Ronald Partee found himself in a moment straight out of the law offices of Saul Goodman, Walter White's shady attorney on Breaking Bad.

Wednesday, though, Partee did something that Saul probably wouldn't: He pleaded guilty to laundering money, which he believed had come from the sale of marijuana.

Ah, but there was no pot. And the guy in need of having his money laundered, "Maxwell Gannon"? Uh, he was an undercover agent.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Man accused of ax attack after Pitch reporter asks about homeless-camp killing

Posted By on Wed, Sep 19, 2012 at 6:18 PM

Michael Gullet is now charged with attacking a homeless man with an axe.
  • Michael Gullet is now charged with attacking a homeless man with an ax.
A dark update to one of our stories published this morning: Last week, The Pitch visited a homeless camp along the Missouri River near East Front Street and North Kansas Avenue where Joe Loehr was found dead on September 8.

A person of interest in Loehr's killing, 56-year-old Mike Gullett, was still living there. Two men were hanging out with him on Thursday and talked to The Pitch about the killing. The Pitch's story finished with 47-year-old Gregory Kump passing out drunk on the ground just feet from where Gullett told The Pitch that he thought Loehr might have died.

It turns out that the story didn't really end there.

That evening, a few hours after The Pitch left the camp, police say Gullett attacked a sleeping Kump with an ax.

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