When Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay thinks about the kinds of men and women he’d like to see working for him one day, he doesn’t envision classes filled with cadets who have spotless pasts.

He hopes to see candidates who know what it’s like to deal with hard times.

“I want people who have had adversity in their life and maybe had a bumpy road,” Ramsay said. “They have more life experience. They can relate to someone better than maybe people that have never struggled with how they’re going to pay for their next meal or their next rent payment.

“I would like to hire more people that have struggled in life and understand those hardships.”

That could include recruits who have crimes in their past, he said.

Neither the Wichita Police Department nor the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office currently accepts job applications from anyone with criminal convictions, including minor cases such as shoplifting.

A driving force behind the policies is preventing credibility issues from arising should that officer be called to testify in court.

Various court cases have ruled that prosecutors have to disclose to defense attorneys any information that would challenge the credibility of the state’s witnesses. That has led to the creation by authorities of what’s called the Brady/Giglio list, which often includes – but is not exclusive to – law enforcement personnel.

WHAT A 30-YEAR-OLD POLICE OFFICER DID WHEN HE WAS 13, SHOULD THAT COUNT AGAINST HIM? IN MY OPINION, ABSOLUTELY NOT
Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay

Any law enforcement officer with credibility issues is not allowed to provide an affidavit used as a basis to bring criminal charges, Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett said.

Being on the Brady/Giglio list “doesn’t mean they can’t testify,” Bennett said last week. “It doesn’t mean they can’t do the job.”

But it does mean, he said, that inclusion on the list “has to be disclosed.”

When it comes to an officer’s credibility becoming an issue in court because of a past indiscretion, “I can sit here and brainstorm a half-dozen scenarios where it would be immaterial,” Bennett said. “And on some cases, it’d be really, really important – if, say, they claim the evidence was planted.”

Attorneys praise proposal

Local defense attorneys praised Ramsay’s intent.

“It’s encouraging to see the top brass of the Wichita Police Department recognize that people deserve second chances,” said Dan Monnat, of Monnat & Spurrier. “Each of us is better than the worst thing we have ever done.”

Charlie O’Hara, of O’Hara and O’Hara, called it “an interesting concept.”

“I think there’s some real value to having people who have been through some hard times” working for a law enforcement agency, he said. Otherwise, you could end up with officers who “have never done anything in their lives, and it’s a little hard to relate to people.”

O’Hara and Monnat both said having the different standards for recruit eligibility could lead to more credibility challenges in court cases, depending on the circumstances of the cases.

“We can’t overlook the fact that every person on trial is entitled to know about that witness’ past that sheds light on his or her present credibility,” Monnat said. “I don’t think it’s anything new. We ask the jury to do that now with every witness.

“The truth is, we don’t have a lily white law enforcement now,” he said. “They do things that create doubts about their credibility. They might begin now with things in their past that cast doubt on their credibility. Whether it means no one believes them, that’s for the jury to decide – as always.”

There’s a lot of public misunderstanding about the Brady/Giglio laws, O’Hara said. The relevance of an officer’s criminal history “depends on the crime,” he said.

“If it’s a crime of dishonesty, it goes to the credibility of the witness.

“If the crime is they smoked marijuana when they were 19, I don’t know how that related to whether they’re telling the truth when they’re 35.”

Desire for change

Wichita isn’t the only police department in the country considering changes in the eligibility requirements for potential law enforcement cadets.

“It’s a question that a lot of law enforcement agencies and a lot of states are wrestling with, honestly,” Bennett said. “You have departments that want to diversify racially and ethnically.”

When he was at a symposium earlier this year sponsored by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Bennett said, he heard people talk about “a lot of guys who got in trouble and straightened themselves out and they’d be great cops,” but criminal offenses when they were young have derailed those aspirations.
He has heard similar accounts in the Hispanic community, Bennett said.

The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office won’t accept any candidates who have a crime of “deceit, untruthfulness or dishonesty” in their past, even if it’s shoplifting or misdemeanor theft, Lt. Lin Dehning said in an e-mail response to questions.

Such crimes are a “permanent disqualifier,” he said.
A DUI only disqualifies a candidate if it’s within the past two years or if multiple DUIs have occurred within the past five years, he said.

Whether a disorderly conduct charge or a school suspension for fighting would disqualify a candidate “depends on the circumstances,” Dehning said.

Ramsay, the Wichita chief, wants to find a way to accept at least some candidates who are being turned away today.
“What a 30-year-old police officer did when he was 13, should that count against him?” Ramsay asked. “In my opinion, absolutely not.

“All kids make mistakes and do things wrong and sometimes it boils down to who got caught and who didn’t.”

See full article and video at Kansas.com

BY STAN FINGER

sfinger@wichitaeagle.com

WICHITA, Kan. On Wednesday, Travis Hubin was arrested and booked on a felony charge of promoting prostitution or promoting the sale of sexual relations.

According to Kansas statute, promoting prostitution includes inducing another to become a prostitute.

“In this matter, the doctor is not accused of purchasing or producing pornography. Instead, he is, in essence, accused of paying two otherwise consenting adults for engaging in an act of sex,” said Trevor Riddle, criminal defense attorney at Monnat & Spurrier in Wichita.

Detectives with the Exploited and Missing Child Unit were investigating a separate case when they stumbled across another crime, in which Hubin was later arrested.

“They had learned that this 45-year-old male was providing money to individuals to videotape sexual acts and provide those videos to him,” said Sgt. Nikki Woodrow, Wichita Police.

In Kansas, it is illegal to sell or pay for others to sell sex.

“Kansas has made it unlawful to engage in an act known as promoting prostitution or, in the words of the statute, promoting the sale of sexual relations. Like it is unlawful to sell sex, it is unlawful to pay other people to sell sex,” said Riddle.

But it is not illegal to view pornography.

“There are well-established First Amendment rights, as it relates to a person’s ability in the privacy of their own home, to view particular material. In essence, no, it is not unlawful to purchase or possess pornography,” said Riddle.

Riddle wants to remind people that Hubin is accused of the crime but has not been found guilty.

“The doctor in this matter, as all American citizens accused of crimes, is entitled to the presumption of innocence,” said Riddle. “We always ask the people to respect that presumption and understand that at this time, this is nothing more than an accusation.”

Hubin bonded out of jail on Thursday afternoon. His bond was set at $50,000.
Detectives will present their case to the district attorney’s office and prosecutors will make a decision if any charges are filed against Hubin.

Hubin’s employer, Via Christi Clinic, issued this statement on Thursday:
“We are fully cooperating with law enforcement authorities, and this individual is on administrative leave pending the investigation.”

According to the Kansas Board of Healing Arts, licensed professionals are held to the Healing Arts Act (specifically 65-2836 and 65-2837).

KAKE News spoke with the executive director, Kathleen Selzler Lippert, on the phone.

Selzler Lippert said the Board collaborates and cooperates with other state agencies such as law enforcement and the district attorney’s office when a licensed professional is arrested. The Board will look into the matter and any disciplinary actions will be based on evidence. Selzler Lippert cannot speak specifically about any complaints, as those are confidential.

See full video at KAKE.com

WICHITA, Kan. – Matthew Gorney has joined Monnat & Spurrier, Chartered as an associate attorney.

A Wichita native, Gorney is admitted to practice before the federal and state courts in Kansas. He graduated from the University of Kansas School of Law in 2013 where he earned certificates in both Advocacy Skills and Media, Law and Technology. Gorney simultaneously earned a Master of Science Degree in Journalism from the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications after successfully defending his thesis: Social Media and Kansas Courtrooms: Assessing Kansas Supreme Court Rule 1001 and Exploring Possible Improvements. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University majoring in journalism with a minor in leadership studies.

While in law school, he served a year as an officer for the American Bar Association’s Law Student Division. Gorney also worked as a graduate teaching assistant and later adjunct instructor for KU’s journalism school. He began practicing law in Wichita in 2014.

Founded in 1985 by litigator Dan Monnat and legal scholar Stan Spurrier, Monnat & Spurrier has built an international reputation for criminal defense and appellate defense. In addition to Monnat, Spurrier and Gorney, the firm includes two former prosecutors, Trevor Riddle and Sal Intagliata, and a legal research and writing specialist, Kathryn Stevenson.

WICHITA, Kan. – Who’s Who Legal: Business Crime Defense 2016 has named Dan Monnat, of Monnat & Spurrier, Chartered, one of the world’s leading practitioners in the sectors of Business Crime Defense and Investigations. The publication is a strategic research partner of the American Bar Association’s Section of International Law. Monnat is one of only two attorneys in Kansas to be selected.

Monnat has practiced in Wichita for more than 40 years, handling criminal and white-collar criminal cases that have attracted worldwide attention. He is a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, the American College of Trial Lawyers, the American Board of Criminal Lawyers and the Litigation Counsel of America.

“I’m truly honored to be recognized among this worldwide group of exemplary attorneys,” Monnat said. “I believe this recognition is also a tribute to the quality of our criminal justice system in Kansas and in the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Rulings in the Heartland sometimes resonate globally, and can have a potential impact on white-collar criminal defense strategies worldwide.”

A graduate of California State University, Monnat received his J.D. from Creighton University School of Law and is a graduate of Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyer’s College.

A frequent national lecturer and editorial contributor on criminal defense topics, Monnat is the author of “Sentencing, Probation, and Collateral Consequences,” a chapter of the Kansas Bar Association’s Kansas Criminal Law Handbook, 4th edition.  From 2007 – 2011, Monnat served on the Kansas Sentencing Commission as a Governor’s appointee. He currently sits on the Kansas Association of Justice’ Board of Editors.

Monnat served as a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Board of Directors from 1996 – 2004, and is a two-term past president of the Kansas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Monnat & Spurrier, Chartered, celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.

WICHITA, Kan. – Dan Monnat, of Monnat & Spurrier, Chartered, has been named by Chambers USA 2016 as one of Kansas’ top litigators in White-Collar Crime and Government Investigations. The publication, which conducts independent surveys of both lawyers and their clients, writes that Monnat is a “highly regarded criminal defense lawyer with significant trial and appellate expertise. Peers laud him as a ‘very impressive, intelligent and experienced’ attorney.”

Monnat has practiced criminal law, white-collar criminal law and appellate law in Wichita for 40 years. A graduate of California State University, Monnat received his J.D. from Creighton University School of Law.  He also is a graduate of Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyer’s College.

A frequent national lecturer and editorial contributor on criminal defense topics, Monnat is the author of “Sentencing, Probation, and Collateral Consequences,” a chapter of the Kansas Bar Association’s Kansas Criminal Law Handbook, 4th edition.  He was the Governor’s appointee to the Kansas Sentencing Commission from 2007 – 2011.

Monnat has earned distinction as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, the American Board of Criminal Lawyers, the Litigation Counsel of America and the Kansas Bar Foundation.  He currently sits on the Kansas Association of Justice’s Board of Editors.

Monnat is a member of the National Trial Lawyers and served as a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Board of Directors from 1996 – 2004.  He is a two-term past president of the Kansas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and a member of the Nebraska Criminal Defense Attorneys Association.

Monnat & Spurrier, Chartered, celebrates its 30th anniversary as a firm this year.


WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A woman accused of giving her former boyfriend guns used in a shooting at a Kansas lawn equipment factory plans to mount a battered woman’s syndrome defense at her August trial.

The attorney for Sarah Jo Hopkins filed notice Wednesday saying he plans to introduce expert evidence related to her mental state. The defense is also seeking to suppress her statements.

Court documents state,

“Defendant’s mental state is relevant to the crimes charged, and expert testimony would assist the jury in determining her state of mind and whether she acted as she did because Cedric Ford [the shooter] threatened and abused her…”

The motion also states that Hopkins was evaluated by a doctor in March 2016 and that doctor concluded,

“… [The] Defendant suffered from PTSD and battered woman’s syndrome at the time of the alleged criminal offenses.”

The 28-year-old Newton woman has pleaded not guilty to transferring weapons to a prohibited person.

Prosecutors say she gave Cedric Ford an AK-47-type semi-automatic rifle and a .40-caliber handgun that he used in the Feb. 25 attack at Excel Industries in Hesston. Four people, including Ford, were killed and 14 others were injured.

Hopkins has told investigators that she gave him the guns because he had threatened her.

Dan Monnat talks to KSN about a battered woman’s syndrome defense

Dan Monnat talks to KSN about a battered woman’s syndrome defense

KSN spoke with legal analyst and defense attorney, Dan Monnat, about the defense.

“Battered woman’s syndrome typically refers to the psychological state of a woman who has suffered repeated, vicious, physical or psychological abuse,” said Monnat. “It is one aspect of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.”

Monnat says the defense is most often introduced in a criminal case to “help the jury understand why an accused person might not be able to act as freely and voluntarily as the rest of us.”

Monnat also told KSN that, in general, for anyone to be convicted of a crime, the law requires a “guilty mental state.”

“If a person is coerced or compelled to commit a crime by physical threats or force, or psychological conditions, then by definition, they didn’t commit a crime because they had no guilty mind.”

Hopkins’ trial is scheduled for August 9.

KSN TV – By Brittany Glas

WICHITA, Kan. — The Sedgwick County Coroner’s Office released the autopsy and toxicology reports on Jhornee Bland Friday.

In a report from the Sedgwick County Regional Forensic Science Center, Deputy Coroner Dr. T. Gorrill reported that the cause and manner of Jhornee Bland’s death is “undetermined.”

The autopsy, performed May 10th, also reported that there was no evidence of injury or natural disease.

“It’s unusual to find an autopsy report like this,” stated KSN Legal Expert, Dan Monnat. “”At this stage, no one knows why the child died. A prosecutor’s first question is, can I prove without a reasonable doubt that a crime has been committed. Number two, that this particular suspect committed it.”

The toxicology report also showed negative for any toxic chemicals or drugs.

Tested drugs and chemicals included: Ethanol, AcetoneAcetaminophen, Amitriptyline, Amphetamine, Barbiturates, Benzoylecgonine, Carisoprodol, Carboxytetrahydrocannabinol [THCA], Chlordiazepoxide, Cocaine, Codeine, Despiramine, Diazepam, Diphenhydramine, Doxepin, Fentanyl, Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone, Imipramine, Ketamine, Meperidine, Meprobamate, Methadone, Methamphetamine, Methylenedioxymethamphetamine [MDMA], Morphine, Nordiazepam, Nortriptyline, Oxycodone, Phencyclidine [PCP], Phentermine, Propoxyphene, Salicylates, Sertralinc, Strychnine, Tramadol, Trazodone, Verapamil and Zolpidem.

District Attorney Marc Bennett issued the following statement Friday afternoon:

“In light of the release of the final Autopsy report issued by the Sedgwick County Coroner, the Wichita Police Department will continue to investigate the death of Jhornee Bland. When the investigation is complete, WPD investigators will present their findings to the Office of the District Attorney for a final charging determination.”

KSNW TV

WICHITA, Kan. — Wichita Police say a 9-year-old boy was accidentally shot in the leg Tuesday night. It happened around 9:15 p.m. at a home in the 700 block of South Fountain.

Police say a friend of the boy’s father accidentally shot the boy in the leg. WPD reports that the suspect, a 36-year-old, was showing the child the gun when it accidentally discharged.

“The suspect admitted to accidentally discharging his firearm inside of a residence,” said Sgt. Nikki Woodrow, with the Wichita Police Department. “The victim is expected to make a full recovery, and the suspect was arrested and booked for aggravated battery.”

The boy was taken to the hospital by a private vehicle and at last report Wednesday, was in fair condition.