WICHITA, Kan. – The Wichita Business Journal has named Monnat & Spurrier, Chartered attorney Jon McConnell among its 40 Under 40 honorees for 2013. Roughly 300 individuals were nominated for this year’s honor, according to Wichita Business Journal Publisher John Ek. The selection committee reviews professional achievements as well as community involvement.

“We are extremely proud of Jon and applaud his dedication to our clients and his devotion to making our community a better place to live and work,” said firm president Dan Monnat.

Besides working full-time as a criminal defense attorney to protect the rights of those accused, McConnell volunteered countless hours to community causes, including:

  • Campaign Manager for Austin Henry’s 2013 American Diabetes Association – Father of the Year Campaign, which has raised more than $20,000 for the local chapter of the American Diabetes Association.
  • 2013 Bachelor for the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Annual “Bid for Bachelors’ Charity Auction.”
  • 2013 Law Day Speaker for Curtis Middle School – Juvenile Law and the Constitution.
  • First Runner-Up for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man of the Year 2012, raising more than $21,000 for the cause.  McConnell organized six large events and a benefit “Rock The Cure” concert to raise money for the organization.
  • Actively involved with the Midian Shrine Temple in raising funds for the 22 non-profit Shriners Hospitals for Children, through the Annual Shrine Circus and other fundraising events.
  • Volunteer for Hillside Christian Church, working with the High School Youth and the Property Committee.

McConnell has both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in criminal justice from Wichita State University, where he took several opportunities to study abroad.  Through a cooperative program between WSU and the New Scotland Yard, he studied international law in the United Kingdom.  He also studied Spanish and Mexican culture through the WSU Summer Program in Puebla, Mexico.

A graduate of St. Thomas University School of Law in Miami, Fla., McConnell is a former law clerk for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida in Fort Lauderdale.

McConnell is licensed to practice before the federal and state courts in Kansas.  He is a member of the Wichita Bar Association, Kansas Bar Association and American Bar Association, as well as the Kansas Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys and the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys.

Monnat & Spurrier, Chartered, was founded 28 years ago by Monnat and legal scholar Stan Spurrier.  The firm has six attorneys and focuses on criminal defense, white-collar criminal defense, and appellate defense in municipal, state and federal courts.

Authorities say it’s still unclear whether charges will be filed against a teen who discarded her newborn in the trash earlier this year.

Wichita Police Lt. Randy Reynolds said the case remains under investigation, more than four months after the infant girl’s body was found by officers Jan. 16 in a dumpster at Eastgate Shopping Center, 8125 E. Kellogg.

Whether the full-term, 6-pound, 10-ounce girl was born alive and what caused her death could not be determined by the coroner, according to an autopsy report filed late last month in Sedgwick County District Court. The examination “revealed no evidence of trauma or natural disease” and no conclusive sign the infant had drawn a breath.

The teen told authorities the infant was stillborn, police said in January.

Reynolds said the agency is awaiting analysis of “additional pieces of information” before presenting the case to District Attorney Marc Bennett’s office. He would not discuss what the information was but said the agency hoped to turn the facts of the case over to prosecutors, who will decide whether to file charges, sometime during the next few weeks. Authorities continue to investigate the case as a “suspicious death,” he said.

Speaking broadly of death investigations, Reynolds said a coroner’s report is “just a piece of the pie” used to present a case to the district attorney’s office for review and possible charging — “but it’s not the end all.”

“We have cases that are undetermined in the cause (of death) and we develop additional information” and file charges later, he said.

Police in January discovered the baby’s body after her mother, a 17-year-old, was taken to Wesley Medical Center with severe hemorrhaging. After being questioned by hospital staff, the teen revealed she had given birth six days earlier at her south Wichita home and placed the baby in a trash bag. The bag was then thrown in the mall dumpster by a family member who didn’t know of its contents, police have said.

A plastic bag holding a placenta accompanied the infant’s body to the Sedgwick County Regional Forensic Science Center, where autopsies are performed, according to the coroner’s report. A light blue, twin-sized blanket spotted with small yellow stains on one side arrived later, tucked in a brown paper bag.

Police have said they think the teen’s parents were unaware of the pregnancy. Police also think her boyfriend, then 18, is the infant’s father.

The teen is not being named by The Eagle because charges have not been filed.

Local criminal defense lawyer Dan Monnat said while it’s possible charges could be filed against the teen mother or others, “any would suffer from the autopsy’s failure to determine whether the infant was born alive.”

“When you have an autopsy report that comes back that fails to attribute the death to criminal means, it’s kind of hard to charge anyone with any kind of homicide crime,” said Monnat, who practices throughout the Midwest.

“The death of a baby or child is always a shocking a tragic event and it’s natural to want to point fingers and assign blame. But babies and children are fragile and might just as easily be the victims of freak accidents as intentional wrongdoing.”

See full article at Kansas.com

The Wichita Eagle – By Amy Renee Leiker

It’s been nearly four months since the arrest of a former Wichita Police Sergeant accused of child sex crimes, but there has yet to be a case filed against him.

It was big news back in January when Alex Robinson was arrested. First, he has been a career law enforcement officer, retiring as a Sergeant on the Wichita Police force in 2006. He then took a job as a security supervisor with Wichita Public Schools, a position he remains on paid leave from.

Detectives were called in over a holiday weekend to begin investigating, after a 24 year-old man said he had been abused by Robinson 12 years ago.

At his downtown Wichita law office, criminal defense attorney Dan Monnat said a number of things are likely hindering the case.

“The accusation was not made until almost 12 years after it supposedly happened,” Monnat said. “That will seriously hinder law enforcement officers in tracking down and interviewing other possible witnesses to the alleged event.”

Monnat also says it’s not uncommon for months to go by in cases like this before charges are filed.

“Memories fade, particularly with children,” Monnat said. “And now we’re trying to interview adults who may have witnessed things, or not witnessed things, 10-12 years ago when they were much younger children.”

Robinson was a board member with the mentoring group “Real Men, Real Heroes,” a position he was relieved of when the accusation surfaced.

After the allegations, Robinson was arrested and booked into jail for two counts of aggravated criminal sodomy and four counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. He bonded out and currently remains free pending this investigation.

The Wichita Police Department and Sedgwick County District Attorney’s office declined to comment for this story, saying it’s an open investigation.

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KAKE News by Jared Cerullo