WICHITA, Kan. – Chambers USA 2018 – which annually conducts surveys of lawyers and their clients – has ranked Dan Monnat, of Monnat & Spurrier, Chartered, in the top tier of Kansas litigators practicing in the White-Collar Crime and Government Investigations sector. Based on its survey, Chambers USA describes Monnat as “…a highly respected practitioner who is routinely referred to by peers as a ‘top-notch’ attorney in the field of white-collar criminal defense. He offers huge experience of trial and appellate proceedings and is thought of by interviewees as ‘one of the go-to people in Kansas.'”

“It is truly gratifying to receive this review by Chambers USA,” Monnat said. “Our firm approaches every case with relentless thought, action, courage and care. Clearly, our clients and legal peers have appreciated our commitment and work ethic.”

Monnat has practiced criminal law, white-collar criminal law and appellate law in Wichita for more than 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, 5th 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 Trial Lawyers’ Board of Editors.

Monnat is a member of the National Trial Lawyers Association and served as a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Board of Directors from 1996 – 2004. He is a frequent lecturer at NACDL conferences and at other legal seminars around the country.

A former teacher and coach at Victoria Junior/Senior High School was sentenced Monday in Ellis County District Court to three years of probation for sexual battery of a 14-year-old student.

Jordan Ottley, 26, entered no-contest Alford pleas to charges of aggravated endangerment of a child, two counts of battery and one count of sexual battery.

“In an Alford plea, a person pleads to a crime the state cannot prove in order to avoid possible conviction for a more serious crime that the state might be able to prove,” said Ellis County Attorney Tom Drees said.

The incident allegedly occurred in January 2017, and Ottley was charged in October 2017.

The plea will mean Ottley will have to register as a sex offender for 15 years and likely no longer will be able to work as a teacher, because the offense is non-expungeable. Ottley no longer works for the Victoria school district.

Drees said the victim and her mother were aware of the plea agreement but did not wish to appear in court for the sentencing. The victim never reported the incident, Drees said, but it was the family seeking help for Ottley that led to treatment for bipolar disorder and, in doing so, it was brought to the authorities’ attention. Ottley has remained in counseling while the case was pending.

“Frankly, the student has received a great deal of verbal abuse at school because a popular teacher was charged in this matter,” Drees said.

Ottley said he wished to apologize to all parties involved. He said this incident did not reflect how he usually carries himself personally or professionally.

Prior to sentencing, Ottley’s attorney Sal Intagliata pointed out Ottley’s wife, other family members, friends and Ottley’s therapist were present in court to support Ottley.

Letters from supporters described Ottley as “highly respectful and a human being someone would want to emulate” and someone his “class and friends look up to” and an “all-around good guy.”

Intagliata said Ottley did not know he had bipolar disorder and had been given medication for anxiety. This led to him having a manic episode, during which the crime occurred. Intagliata called Ottley’s behavior as uncharacteristic.

Ottley’s wife, who he has a child with, said in a letter to the court, “This is not what Jordan wanted for our future, he deserves a chance to beat it,” referring to his bipolar disorder.

Ottley’s priest wrote Ottley was a hard worker and would be an asset to society. He said in his letter he was surprised by Ottley’s actions, which he said was inconsistent with his usual behavior.

If Ottley fails to meet his probation requirements, he will face up to two years in prison. If he successfully serves his first two years of probation, he will be eligible to serve his final year of probation unsupervised.

Ottley was ordered to pay court fees.

WICHITA, Kan. – Who’s Who Legal 2018 has named Dan Monnat, of Monnat & Spurrier, Chartered, one of the world’s leading practitioners in the Investigations sector. Who’s Who Legal collaborates annually with Global Investigations Review to identify the world’s leading lawyers, forensic accountants and digital forensics experts who assist companies and individuals under investigation by regulators and/or law enforcement.

“I’m truly honored to be recognized again among this group of lawyers renowned for their investigative and bet-the-company defense work,” said Monnat. “Whether monitoring dawn raids by regulators and enforcement officers, advising company personnel of their rights, overseeing investigations, or ensuring that regulatory and law enforcement authorities are held accountable throughout the investigation, our firm is dedicated to protecting clients’ Constitutional rights.”

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.

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, 5th edition.  From 2007 – 2011, Monnat served on the Kansas Sentencing Commission as a Governor’s appointee. He currently sits on the Kansas Association of Trial Lawyers’ 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.

LOS ANGELES – A 25-year-old Los Angeles man wanted in Kansas has waived extradition proceedings in California and will face a felony allegation that he made a hoax emergency call that led to the fatal police shooting of a Wichita resident.

Tyler Barriss appeared in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday and acknowledged he is the person wanted in Kansas.

A fugitive-from-justice warrant filed by Los Angeles County prosecutors says Barriss was charged in Kansas on Dec. 29 with the felony of making a false alarm.

Police have said 28-year-old Andrew Finch was shot after a prankster called 911 last week with a fake story about a shooting and kidnapping at Finch’s Wichita home.

Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett said Barriss would be picked up in the next two to three weeks, but authorities have until February 2.

Once Barriss makes his first appearance in Sedgwick County District Court, details of the charges filed will be made public, Bennett said.

In the meantime Barriss remains held without bail.

See Dan Monnat’s full interview at KAKE.com

BARBER COUNTY, Kan. – KSN has obtained body cam footage of the moments leading up to and after the night Steven Myers was shot and killed by a Barber County Sheriff’s Deputy.

Kristina Myers, Myers’ widow says she was not given any warning before the release of the video.

“You know I could have been in the living room watching TV and it could have just come on. No one notified us that they had released it,” says Myers.

It also comes as a shock to her and the family’s legal counsel.

Michael Kuckleman, counsel for the family, “We don’t know why it was released. Up until yesterday the sheriff had been arguing that it was protected under the exception for criminal investigation.”

Attorney Jeff Jordan, who is representing Sheriff Lonnie Small of the Barber County Sheriff’s Office, says they released the footage as part of Kansas Open Records Act. He says he cannot comment on the content of the video. Myers’s family are now pressing for more footage.

Kuckelman says, “We don’t know how many are available. What we do know is they have released a dash and a body cam for 3 of the four officers who were there that night. The 4th officer they haven’t released anything and the fourth officer just happens to be the shooter.”

Myers says, “We are trying to stay strong, trying to stick together and help the kids get through the Christmas holiday without too much of a hiccup.”

KSN sought legal counsel from defense attorney Dan Monnat to see if it is common in Kansas for a judge to order the release of the video, like what was done in this case, and what should be expected when the public requests body cam footage from police.

Monnat says, “Well, I don’t think it is common, but I think it ought to be common because transparency is exactly what we should have in a free country.”

A hearing will take place Friday at Barber County District Court. Both the sheriff and undersheriff have been subpoenaed to take the stand. Attorneys representing the family say the purpose of the hearing is to determine if there have been any violations of the Kansas Open Records Act.

See full video at KSN.com

Eli O’Brien has joined Monnat & Spurrier, Chartered as an associate attorney. His primary practice will focus on the defense of serious felony accusations.

O’Brien has been an attorney with the Sedgwick County Public Defender’s Office since 2015, providing counsel and trial advocacy for indigent persons accused of felony crimes.

“We’re delighted to have Eli join the firm as he will be a welcome addition to our ever-expanding criminal defense practice,” said Dan Monnat, President of the firm. “We are seeing a significant influx of criminal defense matters, at all levels of severity from misdemeanors to serious felony cases. Eli tried several difficult jury trials while at the Public Defender’s Office, and that broad experience will serve our client base particularly well.”

A graduate of Washburn University School of Law, O’Brien also holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Emporia State University. He is a member of the Kansas Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys.

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 O’Brien, the firm includes two former prosecutors, Trevor Riddle and Sal Intagliata, associate attorney Matt Gorney, and legal research and writing specialist Kathryn Stevenson.

In a rare move, a federal judge has thrown out a defendant’s conviction on drug charges after ruling that the prosecutor had interfered with his Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial.

In a blistering decision handed down Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson found that the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Terra Morehead, had “substantially interfered with a defense witness’s decision to testify” in the case.

According to Robinson’s order, Morehead told the witness’s attorney that if the witness “got in her way, she would get in his way” in a separate case in which he was the defendant. That, said Robinson, went beyond the bounds of a straightforward perjury warning.

“While a limited warning of consequences for committing perjury is proper, a warning of consequences for simply taking the stand crosses the boundary line into improper witness interference,” Robinson ruled.

She added that Morehead “should have had a heightened awareness of the bounds of fair play and the gravity of witness interference” because she was accused of witness intimidation in another, highly publicized case.

The defendant in that case, Lamonte McIntyre, was exonerated in October after serving 23 years for two murders he did not commit. McIntyre’s attorneys had accused Morehead, who was a Wyandotte County prosecutor when she tried the case, of threatening to bring contempt charges against a witness and to have her children taken away if she refused to testify against McIntyre.

Jim Cross, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas, where Morehead has been a federal prosecutor for the last 15 years, declined to comment on Robinson’s decision.

The defendant in the case, Gregory Orozco, was charged with drug trafficking and firearm offenses. The issue of Morehead’s interference arose when Orozco proposed to call a witness to rebut the testimony of one of the government’s chief witnesses.

Orozco’s witness was himself awaiting trial on federal drug charges, and Robinson ruled that Morehead could ask him when he took the stand whether he was seeking favorable treatment in his case in return for testifying. But she also told Morehead that she couldn’t ask him about the underlying circumstances of his case because that would infringe on his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself.

But the witness decided not to testify on Orozco’s behalf after Morehead relayed the warning to his attorney and also told her that she knew which prosecutor in Missouri was handling his indictment. Orozco then felt compelled to take the witness stand himself, which allowed Morehead to cross-examine him about his lengthy criminal record.

Had Orozco not felt compelled to testify, the jury wouldn’t have heard about the extent or nature of his prior convictions, Robinson wrote. “The Court thus concludes that AUSA Morehead’s prosecutorial misconduct, in violating Defendant’s Sixth Amendment right, prejudiced the Defendant.”

James Campbell, Orozco’s attorney, declined to comment other than to say that Robinson’s decision “speaks for itself.”

Dan Monnat, a Wichita attorney who has practiced law for 41 years, called Robinson’s ruling “a brave and wise decision.”

“Prosecutors wield tremendous power, but the Bill of Rights is a check on that power and the Bill of Rights prevents a prosecutor from denying an accused the witness needed for a fair trial by the prosecutor threatening and intimidating the defense witnesses,” said Monnat, who was not involved in the Orozco case.

Monnat said he has seen judges dismiss cases because of prosecutorial misconduct, “but not this particular kind of prosecutorial misconduct.”

He added: “Judges work with federal prosecutors every day and judges often work with the same federal prosecutors every day. It always has to be difficult for a judge to say to a prosecutor the judge regularly sees, ‘You committed misconduct and this case is going to be dismissed forever because of that misconduct.’ That’s why I say it’s a brave and wise decision.”

Tom Bradshaw, a veteran criminal lawyer in Kansas City, said that most people don’t understand how difficult it is to present a defense in a federal criminal prosecution.
Unlike in civil cases, in federal criminal cases attorneys can’t depose witnesses to determine what they plan to testify about. And the government isn’t required, prior to trial, to answer interrogatories, or questions, presented by the other side.

“So any interference with the defendant’s presentation of evidence is extremely serious and, as Judge Robinson pointed out, can be harmful to the entire system of criminal justice,” Bradshaw said.

Hear the full story at KCUR.org

WICHITA — Drivers that were issued tickets during a now-suspended Wichita Police camera-based traffic enforcement pilot program, must pay their fines.

Wichita Police announced it ended the pilot program early, leaving some asking if the program is legal and if they have to pay their citations.

Timothy Wier was hit with a $110 fine after he was caught making a left turn into the outside lane at 2nd and Washington in Old Town. To his surprise, it wasn’t a Wichita police officer on patrol that spotted his traffic infraction. It was someone sitting in an office, blocks away, looking for bad drivers on the Old Town security camera system.

Wier was one of more than 100 people caught on camera breaking traffic laws over the last few week as part of the camera-based traffic enforcement pilot program, a program that the city announced it’s put an early stop to.

Police announced it’d been using the 70-camera system to write traffic citations. Someone monitoring the cameras would call down to an officer. Then, an officer would pull over the driver in question and possibly issue a ticket.

“For $750,000, I think that they could use them a little bit better than trying to catch people turning left,” Wier said.

“I think it needs to be a one-on-one with a police officer saying, “I caught you speeding’ and ‘I caught you doing an illegal u-turn. I’m going to give you a ticket,'” Wichita resident, Mark Rider said.

Some people are wondering if the system is legal, so we asked attorney Dan Monnat to weigh in.

“Now, we may not like living in a high-tech world of “big brother-like” recordation of our every public action, but that doesn’t mean it’s unconstitutional,” Monnat said.

Monnat says we have no reasonable expectation of privacy while driving in public.

“Just because something is constitutional doesn’t mean public officials have to encourage or foster it,” Monnat said.

Wichita police tell KAKE News even though the pilot program is suspended, the drivers that received tickets still have to pay up.

Police and the city manager say they will meet to discuss the results of the program and decide if it’ll be used to write traffic tickets anymore. The cameras are still being used for safety purposes.

See full story at KAKE.com

Wichita police are using 97 cameras to monitor the Old Town area for safety. Now, some of those cameras are being used for traffic enforcement.

The intersections police are monitoring include 1st and Washington, 2nd and Washington, and 3rd and Mead.

“The idea is to improve traffic safety downtown, to enhance enforcement efforts and raise public awareness,” said Sgt. Kelly O’Brien, Wichita Police Department.

Police said they are working the traffic enforcement with the video two hours at a time. In the last two-hour block of time, officers wrote 52 tickets based on 55 violations.

“It has made a difference in the traffic flow, the amount of violations have decreased as a general observation this morning,” said O’Brien.

And, while officers maintain it’s for safety, some who got a ticket with the video enforcement said they were not expecting to be caught on video.

“Two weeks ago, on my way to work I was turning left on Washington, and I got a ticket for not turning into the nearest lane,” said Madison Bauer, who works in Old Town. “They said they saw it on the camera..”

Madison said her ticket will cost her $105, and she wonders if it’s legal.

Officers running the enforcement said they have run it all through the city legal department.

“It’s not our goal to be big brother watching everyone,” said Sgt. O’Brien. “We want to make Old Town safe. We’ve had an increase in accidents at some of the intersections where we now have cameras.”

Sgt. O’Brien said they have commissioned officers watching the cameras. And, when they see a violation they radio an officer to pull the driver over.

The video is kept in the system for 400 days.

Sgt. O’Brian said they will not go back through old video to look for violations when the camera system is not being staffed. It’s not a 24/7 proposition.

“We’re just trying to do an enforcement to keep the streets safe,” said O’Brien.

See the full video at KSN.com

(WICHITA, Kan.) – Best Law Firms 2018 has awarded Monnat & Spurrier, Chartered, three Tier 1 Rankings in the areas of General Practice Criminal Defense, White-Collar Criminal Defense, and Appellate Practice. The Best Law Firms rankings are based on a national assessment of law firms produced jointly by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers.

Complete rankings are online at www.usnews.com/bestlawfirms.

Rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes client evaluations, peer review by leading attorneys in their practice areas, and Best Lawyers’ independent analysis of the firms. Clients were asked to address areas such as expertise, responsiveness, cost-effectiveness, civility, and whether they would refer another client to the firm.

Defense attorney Dan Monnat and legal scholar Stan Spurrier founded Monnat & Spurrier in 1985. The firm has gained an international reputation for its defense of such high-profile clients as late-term abortion provider Dr. George Tiller; the unfortunate innocent person whose home was mistakenly raided by police as being that of serial killer BTK; and most recently, the Western Kansas man wrongly accused of murdering a four-year-old child by cruelly beating or shaking her.

In addition to Monnat and Spurrier, the firm includes shareholders Trevor Riddle and Sal Intagliata, and associates Kathryn Stevenson and Matt Gorney.