The Kansas Supreme Court on Friday reversed the convictions and ordered a new trial for a former Inman police chief convicted on 15 counts of sexual assault on children living in his home.
Michael Akins Jr. was convicted in January 2011 and sentenced to two consecutive “Hard 25” life sentences following two Jessica’s Law convictions for aggravated indecent liberties with underage daughters of his new wife, an employee in the McPherson County Attorney’s Office.
Akins also received another 59-month consecutive sentence for an aggravated indecent liberties conviction involving a third daughter. He received concurrent sentences ranging from six to 63 months for 12 other convictions. He was acquitted on four of 19 charges.
Akins appealed his convictions, citing among other factors reversible prosecutor misconduct in three instances — one involving the cross-examination of a defense witness, another entailing personal comments about the credibility of certain witnesses — and trial error involving improper jury instruction and excluding testimony about previous false allegations of sexual abuse.
In a unanimous opinion authored by Chief Justice Lawton Nuss, the Supreme Court found that claims of prosecution misconduct and district court error were valid, and consequently adversely influenced Akins’ right to a fair trial. It remanded the case to McPherson County District Court.
Daniel Monnat, a Wichita attorney who argued Akins’ appeal, praised the Supreme Court finding that the prosecutor’s comments denied Akins a fair trial.
“Specifically, the prosecutor posed as her own unsworn psuedo-psychological expert at trial,” Monnat said in a news release. “She misstated the law, and she expressed her personal opinion about the case, both praising the children who testified and calling Mr. Akins a liar.”
“Courtroom theatrics are not evidence,” Monnat added.
Monnat claimed the state’s case was based on statements made by the children that were based on “leading questions” from their mother following her separation from Akins.
Read full article here
Read the full Supreme Court decision here
Topeka Capital Journal