WICHITA — Authorities arrested a Wichita man for crimes related to the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S Capitol. 37-year-old Michael Eckerman is charged with multiple federal offenses in connection to the breach.

Those federal charges include assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers, obstructing an official proceeding and disorderly conduct in the Capitol building.

KWCH spoke with local attorney Dan Monnat about the possible charges Eckerman faces and the process of a federal prosecution.

Michael Eckerman, a Wichita man, is now one of more than 600 people arrested for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 of this year.

“The three felonies carry maximum federal penalties of five, eight or 20 years in prison, plus fines,” said Dan Monnat. “Of the five misdemeanors: Three of them carry prison sentences not to exceed six months in prison; two of them carry sentences of not to exceed one year in prison, plus fines for all of them.”

An affidavit supporting the arrest claims that this surveillance footages captures the incident. Prosecutors say that during the Capitol breach, Eckerman pushed a Capitol police officer with aggressive force, causing the cop to fall down the stairs and allowing rioters to move farther inside the Capitol.

Wichita attorney Dan Monnat explains what happens after his arrest.

“Once there is either a waiver or an indictment, then he would be arraigned on the charges,” Monnat said. “Next there follows in the procedure the filing and litigation of motions. Ultimately, within 70 days, excluding continuances requested by the defendant, the case will go to a jury trial.”

If found guilty, Eckerman could be convicted of three or more charges, but Monnat emphasizes Eckerman is innocent until proven guilty.

“It’s important to remember that he is still entitled to the full benefits of due process of law,” Monnat said.

Erckerman made his first court appearance yesterday and was released on a $10,000 bond. Tipsters helped prosecutors identify him. The family has no comment at this time.

See full video at KWCH.com

WICHITA — The IRS wants to increase funding by $80 billion to go after tax cheats, but some say it could open your account and transactions to the IRS if you have as little as $600 in any account.

“We don’t know what all is going to happen with the pending legislation and what has been proposed. We are a little bit fearful of it,” said Travis Carr, president of Community Bank in Wichita. “You know many times we’re asked to be the eyes and ears for the government.”

Carr says reporting is nothing new. And he is clear, he is not getting into the politics of the proposal from the IRS and the government.

Republican lawmakers have been firmly against the idea. KSN News reached out to lawmakers on the plan.

U.S. Rep. Ron Estes, R-Kan., got back to KSN News on Monday. He is co-sponsoring a bill to be introduced into Congress to curb the idea.

“Prying open the bank statements and Venmo accounts of Kansas families and small businesses is another example of gross overreach of the Biden administration,” said Rep. Estes.

Estes also said it would be a reporting nightmare for smaller banks.

“We just don’t know yet, what it all means,” said Carr. “Obviously, we take privacy in our customers very seriously, and it’s concerning to us that we may have to, in some form or fashion, report back on some of these transactions.”

The plan passed the U.S. Senate. It is in Congress right now.

Legal analysts say we have seen plans like the current proposal before.

“These are the problems that lie before the gate to our brave, new digital world,” said KSN legal analyst Dan Monnat. “For 45 years, Americans have not had much right of privacy in their banking records. Because in 1976, the United States Supreme Court held that you can’t have a right of constitutional privacy in transactions and records that you willingly place in the hands of a third party like a bank.”

Monnat says that case may not hold in the future. In 2018, there was a U.S. Supreme Court case that had a different take.

“Under the analysis of the United States Supreme Court in 2018 in the Carpenter case, a cell site location information case, the court held that in this pervasive, digitized world of the cloud, you no longer necessarily lose your right to constitutional privacy by placing your records in the hands of a third party,” said Monnat. “Now, it remains to be seen whether that ruling in the Carpenter case will apply to banking records. But it certainly might.”

The overall infrastructure bill passed the Senate last month. Both Kansas senators voted against it. Representatives are back in Washington next week, and they will get a look.

See the full video at KSN.com.

President Biden’s federal vaccine mandate is getting both backlash and praise.

In the mandate, all employers with 100 or more employees must require vaccines or weekly testing.

All federal workers and contractors must be vaccinated.

And all healthcare workers at Medicare, Medicaid participating hospitals must be vaccinated.

So, is this federal vaccine mandate constitutional, and does it have legs to stand on in court? We took those questions to legal experts.

“Constitutionally it is uncontroversial. For instance, Biden’s federal plan requires all federal employees to be vaccinated. Nothing unconstitutional about that,” says Dan Monnat, attorney.

“We have the interplay of federal, state, and local authorities, so this is a hugely complex issue that is murky at best at this point,” says labor attorney Jon Newman.

“The federal government, as employer or contractor, has the same right as private businesses to impose non-invidiously discriminatory conditions upon its employees, particularly where they are designed to promote the public health,” Monnat said.

Governor Laura Kelly’s spokesperson shared this statement today about the White House’s COVID plan, saying in part:

“We are still waiting on additional guidance on what this plan means for our residents, and our administration needs to thoroughly review it further before we comment on specifics… Kansas families can rest assured that the Governor will continue to make any decisions relating to COVID-19 based on science, not politics.”

Attorney General Derek Schmidt said in part, “No president has the legal authority to decree a national vaccine mandate or to punish private businesses that refuse to discriminate against employees based on their health status. President Biden yesterday scolded ‘this is not about freedom,’ but the rule of law most certainly is. If the president’s overreaching rhetoric becomes federal action, then rest assured we will vigorously challenge it.”

Senator Roger Marshall tweeted out, “@POTUS’ vaccination decree is an all-out assault on private business, our civil liberties, and our entire constitutional system of limited government. This will likely get struck down in the courts – but is a terrifying glimpse of the new Marxist Dem Party.”

Senator Moran said in part, “I strongly oppose the Biden administration’s extreme government overreach in requiring vaccinations and urge them to focus on solutions that will empower patients to make educated decisions of their own choosing.”

See full video at KAKE.com

WICHITA — The 2021 edition of Who’s Who Legal: Business Crime Defense has named Dan Monnat, of Monnat & Spurrier, Chartered, one of the world’s leading business crime defense attorneys. He is the only attorney from Wichita and one of only two attorneys in Kansas selected to the list. Earlier this year, Monnat also was named a leading attorney on the Government Investigations list for Who’s Who Legal.

“Who’s Who focuses on an international list of lawyers with expertise in representing companies and individuals involved in criminal litigation arising from their business activities,” Monnat said. “While the Who’s Who research focuses on white-collar criminal trial practice, the majority of us selected to the Who’s Who list also have experience dealing with compliance, investigations, enforcement proceedings, and parallel or related civil litigation. It’s truly an honor to be counted among these esteemed colleagues from around the globe.”

Monnat has practiced in Kansas for nearly 45 years, handling criminal and white-collar criminal cases that have attracted international attention, including the defense of late-term abortion provider Dr. George Tiller.

Monnat is a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, the American College of Trial Lawyers, the American Board of Criminal Lawyers, the American Bar Foundation, and the Kansas Bar Foundation. He has been named one of the Top 10 Super Lawyers in Kansas and Missouri for the past three years, and has been included on the Super Lawyers Top 100 list for more than a decade.

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 co-author of “Sentencing, Probation, and Collateral Consequences,” a chapter of the Kansas Bar Association’s Kansas Criminal Law Handbook, 5th edition.  He currently sits on the Kansas Trial Lawyers Association’s 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, proudly announces that all five of the firm’s attorneys have been honored by Best Lawyers in America® 2022, with one also receiving top honors as Wichita “Lawyer of the Year”.

Sal Intagliata – Wichita Lawyer of the Year for DUI/DWI Defense, earned his seventh consecutive listing by Best Lawyers along with his third Lawyer of the Year award. He was also honored this year in the areas of Criminal Defense: General Practice and Criminal Defense: White-Collar. A shareholder at Monnat & Spurrier, his career includes 22 years as a distinguished criminal defense attorney in private practice, as well as four years as a Sedgwick County Assistant District Attorney, where he prosecuted cases in the Gangs/Violent Crimes Division.

Intagliata earned his bachelor’s degree, with distinction, from the University of Kansas. He earned his J.D. from the University of Kansas School of Law in May 1995.

Dan Monnatwho has been honored by Best Lawyers for 34 consecutive years, was recognized this year in four distinct areas: Criminal Defense-General Practice; Criminal Defense-White Collar; Bet-the-Company Litigation; and Appellate Practice.

Monnat has practiced in Wichita for 45 years. A graduate of California State University, Monnat holds a J.D. from Creighton University School of Law and is a graduate of Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyer’s College.

Stan Spurrier, a legal scholar who co-founded the firm with Monnat in 1985, was recognized in the areas of: Appellate Practice; Criminal Defense: General Practice; and Criminal Defense: White-Collar.

Spurrier earned his bachelor’s degree from Wichita State University and his J.D., magna cum laude, from Washburn University School of Law.

Matthew Gorney is an associate with the firm whose practice includes criminal defense, DUI defense and appellate work. He was selected to the Best Lawyers list for the second consecutive year for Criminal Defense: General Practice.

A former journalist, Gorney graduated from the University of Kansas School of Law in 2013 where he earned certificates in both Advocacy Skills and Media, Law and Technology. He simultaneously earned a master’s degree in journalism from KU’s William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University majoring in journalism with a minor in Leadership Studies.

Eli O’Brien is an associate attorney whose primary practice includes defense of serious felony accusations, as well as DUI and DWI cases. He was honored by Best Lawyers for the second year in Criminal Defense: White-Collar.

Before joining Monnat & Spurrier in 2015, O’Brien was a trial attorney with the Sedgwick County Public Defender’s Office. A graduate of Washburn University School of Law, O’Brien also holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Emporia State University.

“Selection to Best Lawyers in America is designed to elicit substantive evaluations of each attorney, rated by peers who are in the best position to evaluate the professional conduct and capabilities of their colleagues,” said Monnat. “Those lawyers with the highest overall peer-feedback in a specific practice area and geographic region earn the additional distinction of Lawyer of the Year, and I’m immensely proud of Sal Intagliata for receiving this well-deserved recognition. It is particularly gratifying to know that our fellow members of the bar hold us in such high esteem.”

Monnat & Spurrier was founded in 1985 by Dan Monnat and Stan Spurrier. The firm has earned an international reputation for its work in criminal defense, white-collar criminal defense, computer crimes defense, bet-the-company litigation, and criminal appeals.

HUTCHINSON, Kansas — Facebook took down USD 308’s Board of Education meeting from Monday, where the board voted to mandate masks for all schools in the district.

The school district says because they have no control over the social media platform, there isn’t much they can do. So now, USD 308 is just hoping they will get access to the video again so the public can rewatch the meeting.

“I can tell you that it’s disappointing because we pride ourselves on being transparent,” said USD 308 Superintendent Michael Folks.

“We believe in our community’s right to share their opinions, and we think the conversations that happened last night were needed,” explained Marissa Meis, USD 308’s communication director.

Meis says the district is trying to learn how to prevent it in the future.

“What platforms they used, kind of how they stream it, and when they post the videos and things like that.”

Aside from learning prevention, legally, the school district doesn’t have many options.

“So far, the United States Supreme Court has not held that Facebook has come to carry on such a public function that censorship becomes denied to it,” said Dan Monnat, a criminal defense attorney in Wichita.

On Tuesday, the district has reached out to other school districts in the area, and they learned they are not alone when it comes to being censored by social media platforms.

“Whether they were using the Facebook live stream or the YouTube live stream,” added Folks. “I did hear a couple of board meetings were cut off in mid-stream.”

This is the first time one of their live streams has been taken down by Facebook or any other live streaming platform.

See the full story at KSN.com

WICHITA – Kansas City is starting a mask mandate and a couple of bars there are now requiring proof of vaccination at the door. Could that idea catch on here in Wichita?

“Generally, businesses may require their customers to demonstrate proof of vaccination,” said KSN Legal Analyst Dan Monnat. “And no one should worry that these requirements somehow constitute a violation of HIPPA.”

KSN News asked local bars and other businesses about possible vaccination proof at the door.

“I think it would be very uncomfortable with political attitudes about the vaccination,” said Phil Haase with Club Billiards in Delano.

Other businesses say many are in the process of still figuring out the pandemic and what customers will and will not tolerate.

“I think it’s an interesting idea. I feel like it would freak people out,” said Katie Rob with Leslie Coffee Company in Delano. “Obviously, they will be like their freedoms are being taken away.”

Leslie Coffee Company was one of the last Wichita businesses to remove its own mask requirement.

“We made our decision to not require masks once the CDC said it was no longer required,” said Rob. “But to require proof of vaccination? I don’t know if we would ever do anything like that. I don’t think that we probably would.”

See full story at KSN.com

WICHITA — The Wichita Police Department announced Tuesday that they arrested 57-year-old Ed Harrington of Sedgwick on suspicion of stalking, auto burglary, theft, and violation of a protection order. The charges stem from an investigation into alleged stalking.

According to Wichita police, on May 26, a woman reported that Harrington, a person known to her, had placed a GPS tracking device on her vehicle. She had taken it to a local automotive shop, where they were able to locate and remove it.

On July 6, Harrington was brought to City Hall and interviewed regarding the case and a prior burglary in which the victim’s car was broken into, and numerous items were stolen.

After interviews, Harrington was booked into the Sedgwick County Jail.

The arrest was made through work done by the Wichita Police Department (WPD) Domestic Violence Intervention and Reduction Team (DVIRT), and partnerships with community domestic violence advocates.

“The DVIRT team gives the victims the reassurance that we’re going to act swiftly on these cases, and we’re going to hold people accountable,” said Sgt. Roderick Miller, Wichita Police Department.

“There are very unique ways for abusers to track and locate you,” said Keri McGregor, Harbor House program director.

At Harbor House, they regularly work with victims of both stalking and abuse, where stalkers have been getting creative for years.

“It’s important that you have this information, information is power to keep yourself safe,” McGregor said.

Attorneys say there are tough laws in play in Kansas.

“The Kansas statute on stalking specifically includes in that course of conduct, the placement of a device on a targeted person’s property,” says KSN legal analyst Dan Monnat.

See full video at KSN.com

WICHITA, Kan. – Chambers USA 2021 has ranked Dan Monnat, of Monnat & Spurrier, Chartered, among the top Kansas litigators in White-Collar Crime and Government Investigations. Chambers USA describes Monnat as “a widely venerated litigator, respected in the market for his expert representation in trial and appellate white-collar criminal proceedings,” and further notes his work in healthcare and financial investigations.

“I truly appreciate Chambers’ recognition and am gratified they found our work in healthcare and financial investigations particularly worthy of mention,” Monnat said. “Regardless of the individual or business sector, our goal is to provide every client the most solid legal research and expertise possible.”

Monnat has practiced criminal law, white-collar criminal law and appellate law in Wichita for 45 years and was named one of Super Lawyers’ Top 10 Lawyers in Missouri and Kansas for 2018, 2019 and 2020. 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 editorial contributor on criminal defense topics, Monnat is co-author of “Sentencing, Probation, and Collateral Consequences,” a chapter of the Kansas Bar Association’s Kansas Criminal Law Handbook, 5th edition.

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 American Bar Foundation, and the Kansas Bar Foundation.  He currently sits on the Kansas Association of Trial Lawyers’ Board of Editors.

Monnat is a member of the National Trial Lawyers Association. He is a past member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and lectures frequently at NACDL conferences and at other legal seminars nationwide.

Monnat & Spurrier, Chartered, celebrates its 35th anniversary this year. In addition to Monnat and co-founder Stan Spurrier, the firm includes shareholders Trevor Riddle and Sal Intagliata, and associates Matthew Gorney and Eli O’Brien.

WICHITA – The case involving two brothers convicted in a crime spree in December 2000 in Wichita that left five people dead was the focus of arguments in the Kansas Supreme Court Monday.

Jonathan and Reginald Carr were convicted in 2002 on four counts of capital murder, one count of murder, one count of attempted murder, and multiple counts of rape, kidnapping, and robbery.

The week-long crime spree involved the robbery of an assistant baseball coach and the carjacking of Ann Walenta, a local cellist, who was injured and later died in the hospital. A few days later, the brothers broke into a home where they abused and terrorized the five friends present inside for hours. Finally, after being forced to take money out of ATMs, they were taken to a field, shot in the head, run over, and left for dead. Brad Heyka, Heather Muller, Aaron Sander and Jason Befort were killed.

One woman survived when a bullet hit a barrette in her hair. During the trial, she was referred to as H.G. Her testimony was key in the case.

Though the brothers’ convictions have been upheld, the sentencing phase of the capital murder charges is the focus of the appeal process.

The courts heard arguments on the sentencing phase, including errors that may have taken place during sentencing. The court will ultimately make a ruling again whether the death penalty should be upheld or overturned on other grounds.

“What we have argued is that the prejudice in not allowing him to present his defense in the guilt phase leached into the penalty phase,” said Debra Wilson, attorney for Reginal Carr to the Kansas Supreme Court on Monday.

Wilson argued Reginald Carr should have been able to testify that he was not responsible and that it may have been a case of mistaken identity.

The attorney for Jonathan Carr told the Kansas Supreme Court there were circumstances that mental health issues for Jonathan needed to be addressed in sentencing.

“What we have argued is that the prejudice in not allowing him to present his defense in the guilt phase leached into the penalty phase,” said Clayton Perkins, attorney for Jonathan Carr.

Both defense attorneys say the proceedings for the brothers should also have been separated in the penalty phase. They also claim there were issues with jury instructions. The defense for the State of Kansas argued none of that should impact the jury sentence of death.

“There was no error,” said David Lowden, attorney for the state. “To the extent that this court does find error, we submit that none of those errors raised to the level of being reversible error. That they were harmless error basically.”

KSN Legal Analyst Dan Monnat says the proceedings are not swift in death penalty phase arguments.

“When the government seeks the ultimate penalty,” said Dan Monnat, “the ultimate degree of care must be given to the human being involved.”

The case could be brought back to Sedgwick County eventually. If it does, the district attorney in Sedgwick County would make the call if there will be a new jury to repeat just the sentencing phase.

On Monday afternoon, Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett released the following statement:

“The Kansas Supreme Court heard arguments today in the cases of State v. Reginald Carr and State vs. Jonathan Carr. David Lowden, former Chief Attorney of the Appellate Division of the Office of the District Attorney, 18th Judicial District, argued the case for the State of Kansas while appellate attorneys, Debra Wilson and Clayton Perkins, presented arguments on behalf of the respective defendants.

In 2014, the Kansas Supreme Court upheld the guilty verdicts against both defendants but overturned the verdicts of death against each defendant. That decision was based on a finding that the United States Constitution had been violated by the penalty phase of the two cases having been tried together.  Other issues raised by the defendants on the grounds of Kansas law were not decided at that time.

The State of Kansas appealed this decision to the United State Supreme Court and in 2016, the US Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Kansas Supreme Court. The matter was back today for arguments on the remaining issues not decided by the Kansas Supreme Court in 2014.

At the close of the arguments today, the Kansas Supreme Court took the two cases “under advisement,” meaning the court will now review the case and issue final decisions at some future date.  The Court does not offer an estimated time frame as to when they will issue final opinions.”

See full story at KSN.com