WICHITA — Following the death of George Floyd in 2020, Gabrielle Griffie organized a protest in Wichita. She was arrested on two counts of unlawful assembly for “noisy conduct.”

Now, the ACLU is questioning the constitutionality of the city ordinance that led to Griffie’s arrest. The ACLU is arguing that her First Amendment rights were violated and the Kansas Supreme Court is preparing to hear arguments in the case.

Griffie said she wants the municipal ordinance, for which she was arrested for violating, struck down. The ordinance in question deals with unlawful assembly and classifies “engaging in noisy conduct tending reasonably to arouse alarm, anger or resentment in others,” as a misdemeanor crime.

Criminal defense attorney Dan Monnat argues the ordinance is too vague.

“With a vague term like this ‘noisy conduct’ that’s in the municipal ordinance, doesn’t that vague term threaten, even chill your right of expression and free speech?’” Monnat questioned.

ACLU of Kansas Legal Director Sharon Brett said the organization got involved to support Griffie. She said the ordinance for which Griffie was arrested could be used to stop free speech.

“We have serious concerns that law enforcement would use this statute to crack down on dissent, to essentially target people who are speaking a message that law enforcement doesn’t agree with,” Brett said.

That’s what Griffie said happened to her.

“The number one thing that they want to control is their image. When you’re out here protesting the police displaying their actions in a negative light, they don’t want that. Of course, they don’t want that, and they have the power to take you out of that position.”

The Kansas Supreme Court will hear arguments on this case at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. As of Monday, the City of Wichita declined to comment.

See full interview at KWCH.com

WICHITA, Kan. — An Oklahoma sheriff says he believes Dennis Rader is connected to a missing person case but Rader is denying involvement. This is leaving some people wondering why he’s not confessing to these violent crimes if he was involved when he confessed to 10 murders in 2005.

Dan Monnat, a criminal defense attorney, said this may have something to do with Oklahoma law. The state reinstated the death penalty in 1973 which means if Rader were to confess to killing an Oklahoma teen he could be sentenced to death.
“Death is the ultimate penalty. Every human being convicted of a capital case has to have his or her case evaluated,” says Monnat when talking about the death penalty and the process it follows.

He also explains that each case is evaluated by multiple people and appellate courts. This is so every executions occurs in what Monnat describes to be a constitutionally perfect way.

Monnat says whenever Rader confessed to the 10 murders in 2005 Kansas did not have a death penalty so the killer is currently at the El Dorado Correctional Facility for life. 

Oklahoma however has an active death penalty and according to the Death Penalty Information Center, it is one of the states with the highest executions, second only to Texas.

Monnat says another reason Rader may be denying involvement is because he doesn’t think the law enforcements investigating him have actual cases.

“Every government prosecutor ought to be able to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt without the words of the accused,” explains Monnat.

However Osage County Sheriff Eddie Virden says he believes he has a strong case. He tells KAKE news in his opinion he is 100% certain Rader is involved in the disappearance of Cynthia Kinney and calls the serial killer the number one suspect.

He says he is going to continue his investigation and won’t stop until he runs out of leads or closes the almost 50-year-old cold case.

Virden tells KAKE news Oklahoma investigators were in Kansas again on Thursday for a meeting involving the investigation.

Virden and other Oklahoma authorities were in Park City on Tuesday digging on Rader’s former property. He says they found some items of interest but couldn’t go into much detail about what they were because this is an ongoing investigation.

See full video at KAKE.com

WICHITA, Kan. — Four Monnat & Spurrier, Chartered, attorneys have been honored by Best Lawyers in America® 2024, including firm President Dan Monnat, who was named to the list of legal luminaries for the 36th consecutive year.

Dan Monnat has practiced throughout Kansas and the United States for more than 47 years, defending individuals and companies in high-stakes jury trials, federal and state appellate courts, regulatory proceedings, grand jury, and other governmental investigations. Having first been named to the Best Lawyers in America list in 1989, Monnat makes his 36th consecutive appearance on the list, this year recognized for his work in: Criminal Defense-General Practice; Criminal Defense-White Collar; Bet-the-Company Litigation; and Appellate Practice.

A prolific author and lecturer on criminal defense topics, Monnat is a graduate of California State University, with a J.D. from Creighton University School of Law. He is a graduate of Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyer’s College.

Sal Intagliata makes his ninth consecutive appearance on Best Lawyers list, in the areas of Criminal Defense: General Practice; Criminal Defense: White-Collar, and DUI / DWI Defense. A shareholder at Monnat & Spurrier, his career includes 24 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.

An alumni of the University of Kansas, Intagliata earned his 1992 bachelor’s degree, with distinction, in Spanish and political science. He earned his J.D. from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1995.

Stan Spurrier, a noted 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.

Eli O’Brien is an associate attorney whose primary practice includes defense of serious felony accusations, as well as DUI / DWI cases. He was honored by Best Lawyers this year in three separate practice areas: Criminal Defense: General Practice; Criminal Defense: White-Collar; and DUI / DWI Defense.

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.

MARION COUNTY, Kan. — The feud between the Marion County Record newspaper and the Marion County Police continues as a letter from the paper’s attorney demands police not touch any of the electronic equipment or other records officers confiscated.

In a letter sent to Chief of Marion Police Gideon Cody, attorney Bernard Rhodes writes that the raid “violated state law, federal law and the publisher’s first, fourth, fifth, and fourteenth amendment rights.”

Rhodes continues saying the Chief of Police personally requested the search warrant, saying he had probable cause to believe the newspaper employees were committing identity theft and using electronic equipment to do it.

The letter ends, “Your personal decision to treat the local newspaper as a drug cartel or a street gang offends the constitutional protections the founding fathers gave the free press.”

With accusations flying in both directions in this case, KAKE senior reporter Pilar Pedraza spoke with legal experts to find answers to questions many viewers had about what the law says.

“Probable cause is much less than proof beyond a reasonable doubt, much less than clear and convincing evidence,” defense attorney Dan Monnat said.

Monnat says the bar for how much probable cause is needed to get a search warrant is very low, less than a 50/50 chance of finding something incriminating.

Attorney Max Kautsch, who specializes in media law for the Kansas Press Association, says it’s what the officers were searching for that he believes makes this search a violation of federal law; identity theft and using a computer to do it.

“The federal law provides that a search warrant would only be permissible if some very serious personal crime, you know, a murder or something like that is taking place,” Kautsch said.

Monnat says there are several laws, starting with the constitution, that require search warrants be very specific.

“In the digital age, when you say something like ‘go to this place and search every communication device in the place, every phone, every computer, every iPad,’ again, you get closer to a general warrant,” Monnat said.

The affidavit has been officially requested by KAKE, but our attorney says whether or not we get it is completely up to the district court judge, and there is no provision for an appeal under Kansas law.

See full interview at KAKE.com

WICHITA – The August/September issue of the ABA Journal – flagship magazine of the American Bar Association and read by half of the nation’s 1 million lawyers – features a behind-the-scenes look at local criminal defense lawyer Dan Monnat, of Monnat & Spurrier, Chartered, and how his lifelong passion for music has inspired his 47-year law career. The multi-page feature retraces Dan’s early roots as a Kapaun high-school musician playing in a local band, The Lion’s Mane, to his college days as a drummer in San Francisco, including gigs at the infamous Condor Club (which introduced America to topless go-go dancing). Read the full article here: Rock of Ages: This septuagenarian lawyer can beat both his clients’ criminal charges and a drum set

“The road to a legal career is sometimes circuitous,” says Monnat, who founded Monnat & Spurrier with fellow Lion’s Mane band member Stan Spurrier in 1985. “That’s not necessarily a bad thing. In each issue, the ABA Journal seeks to explore members of the legal profession who not only nurture their passions for activities outside the practice of law, but also utilize those passions to better serve the law, or their clients, or their communities. There are a million lawyers in this country, all making tremendous contributions to this profession. I’m incredibly honored that the ABA Journal chose to feature me and my journey in this issue, and I hope that young lawyers find inspiration from that.”

In Monnat’s case, he says his passion for music inspired in him the confidence to take risks and the discipline to follow every possible legal avenue in defending his clients. Well known for his work in criminal defense, white collar criminal defense and bet-the-company litigation, Monnat’s high-profile clients have included the defense and acquittal of late-term abortion provider Dr. George Tiller, the defense of an innocent man wrongly accused of being the notorious BTK, and acquittals and exonerations of his clients in shaken baby murder and other murder, sex and white-collar prosecutions. More importantly, he says, his passion for music gave him “an invaluable education in how to relate to and persuade an audience – whether it was in a nightclub or a jury box.”

Today, when he’s not defending clients in courtrooms across the state, Dan and fellow Wichita musicians Doug Webb and Phil Snow of The House Band can be found playing gigs at the Wichita Riverfest, Wichita Blues Society and area restaurants and clubs including YaYa’s Eurobistro. The House Band performs live at YaYa’s Eurobistro this Saturday, Aug. 5, from 8 – 11 p.m.

Rock of Ages: This septuagenarian lawyer can beat both his clients’ criminal charges and a drum set. ©2023 by the American Bar Association. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association.

WICHITA, Kan. — A federal judge ordered the Kansas Highway Patrol to stop using a procedure called the “Kansas Two-Step,” on the grounds that it was a violation of the fourth amendment.

When a traffic stop is over, the KHP has a responsibility to let drivers go, according to Wichita-based criminal defense lawyer Dan Monnat.

“The trooper is required to issue a traffic citation, a warning, and return the driver’s license and allow the motorist to be on his way,” Monnat said.

Using the two-step maneuver, a trooper would return documents to a driver and then walk “two steps” away, ending the traffic stop.

Then, the trooper would go back to the driver’s window to question them. The trooper would assume the driver knew they did not have to answer questions since the stop was technically over.

“Their argument is, ‘Hey, these people know they’re free when I give them back the ticket and I give them their driver’s license,’” Monnat said.

However, the American Civil Liberties Union argued in court that drivers did not know they were free to go when the tactic was used, and the judge agreed.

“Drivers are not in a position to say no to the officer’s requests for additional information, and they can’t safely drive off,” said Sharon Brett, ACLU of Kansas’ Legal Director.

The tactic was used to find a reason to search cars with plates from states that have fewer restrictions on marijuana, according to the ACLU.

“Which today means literally every state that surrounds the state of Kansas,” Brett said. Part of the judge’s order requires troopers to tell drivers they are free to go at the end of a stop.

The KHP has until August 14th to respond to the judge’s order in court.

KSN reached out to the KHP, who did not provide comment.

See full video at KSN.com

WICHITA – Chambers USA 2023 has ranked Dan Monnat, co-founder of Monnat & Spurrier, Chartered, among Kansas’ top litigators in the areas of White-Collar Crime and Government Investigations. His practice was cited particularly for work in healthcare and financial investigations. Chambers USA has placed Monnat among the state’s top-tier attorneys in this sector for 13 consecutive years.

“I’m deeply honored that our clients and fellow lawyers surveyed by Chambers continue to recognize the thought, action, courage and care that is at the core of this firm,” Monnat said. “I’ve been fortunate to be highly ranked by Chambers for more than a dozen years, and it is a true privilege each and every year.”

Monnat has practiced criminal law, white-collar criminal law and appellate law in Wichita and across Kansas for 47 years. Highly regarded by peers and clients alike, Monnat has been named one of Super Lawyers’ Top 10 Lawyers in Missouri and Kansas every year since 2018. A graduate of California State University, he 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 and contributes legal articles annually.

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 seminars nationwide.

WICHITA — “I therefore have no other choice but to declare a mistrial in this matter, as frustrating as that is for everyone involved,” those were the words of district court judge Tyler Roush back on April 26th during Javan Ervin’s first trial.

Due to a juror talking about facts of the case they learned from outside of the courtroom, Roush had to declare a mistrial, postponing the hearing.

On Monday, jury selection began for the retrial.

Wichita defense attorney Dan Monnat says with the case starting back up, he doesn’t expect jury selection to be any different than normal. A mistrial, like what happened in Ervin’s case, highlights just how important an impartial jury is.

“I don’t see what they can give to this case. A higher level of scrutiny than they already did? Because they ferreted out misconduct last time,” Monnat said. “Jury selection is extremely important in a criminal case. It is the vanguard of your sixth amendment Constitutional right to be tried only by an impartial jury. All here want to emphasize that much more the independent duty of each juror to police themselves, and make sure that they are not listening to any outside sources about the accusations here.”

Monnat says that because this is a higher profile case, it is imperative of the judge, prosecution and defense to hammer home the rules when it comes to looking up the case and he thinks they will.

A mistrial, like what happened in Ervin’s case, highlights just how important an impartial jury is. Ervin is on trial for first degree murder in the death of Samantha Russel. He is accused of hitting her car in a west Wichita intersection, killing her.

See full story at KAKE.com

WICHITA – A northwest Wichita apartment complex told its tenants they could get $20 off their rent if they leave a five-star review. Friday, we heard from the complex. Also, we spoke to an attorney on whether this crosses the line from a legal standpoint.

Residents weren’t happy when they say they didn’t get $20 off their rent right away. The complex says the $20 credit has to go through its corporate office. And a Wichita lawyer weighs in on whether the apartment complex can even do this.

“Is an influenced… or incentivized… or paid-for… or bribed-for online review in a consumer transaction a fair review?” said criminal defense attorney Dan Monnat.

One of the many questions asked when it comes to whether apartment complexes can legally tell tenants to leave a 5-star review for $20 off rent. Residents of Magnolia Woods Apartments at 13th and West St. say that’s what management asked them to do in an email.

KAKE spoke to two residents Thursday who put in their review, but say they didn’t receive their discount as of Thursday. Magnolia Woods responded to us on Friday and tells us in a statement in part: “The company who owns the properties offered a $20 credit to any tenants who were willing to share their positive experience about living at Magnolia Woods, as well as at other properties. There is a process in place to ask for the credit once the review was posted and that credit is handled through the corporate office.”

But is asking tenants to leave a positive experience at magnolia woods for a discount on rent crossing the line?

“If it’s a biased, exaggerated, or untrue review, then it may qualify as a deceptive practice or act made illegal by either the Kansas Consumer Protection Act or the Federal Trade Commission Act,” said Monnat.

The Federal Trade Commission’s website on soliciting and paying for online reviews says in part: “If you offer an incentive for a review, don’t condition it, explicitly or implicitly, on the review being positive. Even without that condition, the review should disclose the incentive, because its offer may introduce bias or change the weight and credibility that readers give the review.” The apartment management says the $20 credits have been applied to the residents who left a review, and they were not charged any type of fee regarding this promotion. A spokesperson also apologized for the misunderstanding.

See the full interview at KAKE.com