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
WICHITA — A teenager accused of killing another teen at Towne East Square last year will be tried as an adult.
Te’Bryis Robinson, 17, is charged with first-degree murder and unlawful use of a weapon in killing 14-year-old TrenJ’vious Hutton at the east Wichita mall on March 18. The shooting happened on a Friday inside the mall located at 7700 East Kellogg.
Wichita police said Hutton was involved in a fight involving several people when a suspect pulled out a handgun and fired multiple shots before fleeing.
Hutton, a student at Heights High School, died at the scene. The then-16-year-old Robinson was arrested for second-degree murder. Police said the crime was gang-related.
Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett said the week after the shooting that he would seek to charge the suspect as an adult. A motion for an adult prosecution hearing was originally set for July 11, 2022. It continued until September 6, then to January 24, and again until today, March 14.
The change is significant for Robinson’s charges. Wichita defense attorney Dan Monnat says “this juvenile is 17 years old, so he could be treated in a juvenile detention facility until he’s 23, so it’s a maximum six-year sentence. On the other hand, if this juvenile is instead treated as an adult, he is exposed to a possible sentence of life in prison.”
Monnat says it’s uncommon for a teen to be tried as an adult, and even rare for a defense attorney to waive the right to an evidential hearing and accept the state’s request.
He says that could mean Robinson’s lawyer is talking with the DA’s office. “It could be that there has been some thorough, caring attorney who has counseled with the juvenile and hatched some kind of plea agreement of which this is one component.”
Robinson’s first appearance is scheduled for March 28.
See full video at KAKE.com
WICHITA — Multitalented. It’s just one word to describe criminal defense attorney and musician Dan Monnat.
Monnat, 71, is the lead singer and drummer of The House Band, a trio known for its bootleg rhythm and blues.
“The House Band is made up of musicians who have been playing since they were teenagers,” said Monnat.
Those teenagers are now in their seventies. During the pandemic, they found themselves “rocking out” in guitarist Doug Webb’s basement.
The House Band performs at Jerry’s Bar and Grille in west Wichita.
“It just kind of formulated from musicians wanting to express themselves, not necessarily play gigs, but just to get together and make music,” said bass player Phil Snow.
“The pandemic gave us time to woodshed while social distancing, and we got in a lot more rehearsals than we might of otherwise, and it clicked,” Monnat explained.
Webb, 76, Monnat, and Snow have more than 180 years of musical experience. Individually, the band members have been long-time fixtures in the Wichita music scene, having performed in separate bands at numerous bars and taverns.
“I have been doing it since I was a kid. The first gig, I got free ice cream at Joyland, and I have been doing it ever since,” Webb laughed.
Dan Monnat, bottom right, poses for a picture with the musical group Lion’s Mane.
“I started singing with my mother, and I started playing drums when I was about 11 or 12 years old,” Monnat said.
Monnat would go on to star in the local group The Lion’s Mane while Webb and Snow played in competing bands.
Decades later, they found one another, looking for an escape of sorts during the pandemic. They never imagined they would perform in front of a live audience. However, after several practice sessions, the men quickly realized the music they were creating was special, so special it needed to be shared.
“It feels like you are flying a jet with the Blue Angels. You are in perfect formation, and it’s almost an out-of-body experience when that happens. I wish I could say it happens a lot, but it does with this band, and so for me, it is just the sheer joy of making music and making it with some of my best friends,” Snow said.
“If you do it in the basement practicing, there comes the point where you think, ‘man, I want to share this with people. I want other people to hear it and see what they think,’” Webb said.
“I hope people are inspired. I hope people realize what we are celebrating is all of the important emotions of life,” Monnat said.
Monnat’s life as a lawyer
Monnat’s love for music never died per se. However, it did take a backseat to his career in law.
“I quit for about 22 years after I graduated from law school,” Monnat explained.
He co-founded Monnat & Spurrier, Chartered, in 1985, becoming a well-known criminal defense attorney. He’s been listed in Best Lawyers in America for 35 years and has defended individuals and companies in high-stakes federal and state jury trials, appeals courts, regulatory proceedings, and other investigations.
With his decades of experience, Monnat is sought after to teach other lawyers at national legal conferences. He has also been asked to provide news commentary for local and national broadcasts, appearing on NBC’s The Today Show, CNN, CBS Morning News, 48 Hours, and FOX News.
He credits his wife, Grace Wu Monnat, for reintroducing him to the music scene.
“One day, she asked me to go down on Valentine’s Day to the basement and bring up the laundry. When I got down there, I found this shining set of drums that you see on the stage right now,” explained Monnat.
The rest is history. Monnat started playing music again, eventually finding and forming The House Band.
When asked how he juggles his career and music, Monnat simply smiled.
“There’s really not that much difference between what I do as a criminal defense trial lawyer and being a musician. They both involve a tremendous amount of preparation in order to deliver an outstanding performance. In both situations, we are trying to persuade or speak to people about the epic experiences of life, love, peace, war, sorrow, enthusiasm, celebration, and mourning,” Monnat said.
The House Band has played a number of live gigs in recent months. To find booking information, music videos, and more. click here.
WICHITA – Monnat & Spurrier, Chartered, attorneys Sal Intagliata and Eli O’Brien have been named to the esteemed list of 2022 Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers. Intagliata was honored by Super Lawyers for the ninth consecutive year, while O’Brien earned recognition as one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars” for the second straight year.
Only 5 percent of eligible attorneys are selected for the exclusive Super Lawyers list. Super Lawyers Rising Stars include only 2.5 percent of eligible attorneys who are under 40.
Sal Intagliata is a shareholder in the firm and has practiced law for more than 27 years. His career includes 23 years as a distinguished criminal defense attorney in private practice and four years as a Sedgwick County Assistant District Attorney prosecuting cases in the Gangs/Violent Crimes Division.
Intagliata serves on the Kansas Judicial Council Criminal Law Advisory Committee and the Kansas Supreme Court Pretrial Justice Task Force. He is a past member of the Board of Governors of the Kansas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. A past vice president of the Wichita Bar Association, he is also a past member of its Board of Governors and past chair of its Criminal Practice Division.
Intagliata earned his bachelor’s degree, with distinction, from the University of Kansas, graduating with dual majors in political science and Spanish. He earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Kansas School of Law. He is also a graduate of the National Criminal Defense College.
Eli O’Brien has been an associate with the firm since 2017, defending serious felony accusations and DUI/DWI cases.
Prior to joining the firm, O’Brien was a trial attorney with the Sedgwick County Public Defender’s Office. Over the years as a public defender and private practice defense attorney, his jury trials have resulted in multiple acquittals.
A graduate of Washburn University School of Law and the National Criminal Defense College Trial Practice Institute, O’Brien also holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Emporia State University.
WICHITA – For the fifth consecutive year, distinguished criminal defense attorney Dan Monnat, of Monnat & Spurrier, Chartered, has been recognized on the Top 10 List of Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers. He has been among the overall Top 100 of Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers for 17 years.
Practicing in Kansas and Nebraska for more than 45 years, Monnat has focused on high-profile criminal defense, white-collar criminal defense, appellate defense and bet-the-company litigation. His cases have attracted international attention, including 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.
“In today’s divisive and politically charged environment, defending the Constitutional rights of the accused is more critical than ever,” Monnat said. “Every year, the Super Lawyers Top 10 List includes tremendously accomplished attorneys and litigators. I’m honored to stand among them and privileged to count them as friends and peers.”
A graduate of California State University, Monnat earned a Juris Doctorate from Creighton University School of Law and is a graduate of Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyer’s College.
Monnat is 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 is a Life Member and past Board Member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, as well as a two-term past president of the Kansas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Monnat also currently sits on the Kansas Trial Lawyers Association’s Board of Editors and is the Criminal Law Chair.
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.
Monnat & Spurrier was founded in 1985 by Monnat and legal scholar Stan Spurrier. Today the firm has six lawyers and has earned a reputation for its work in all sectors of criminal defense, white collar criminal defense, and criminal appeals.