TOPEKA – (September 28, 2015) – When the U.S. Supreme Court begins its annual term next week, it will hear oral arguments in three Kansas capital murder cases.
On October 7, the high court will hear the State’s appeals in Kansas v. Reginald Carr, Kansas v. Jonathan Carr, and Kansas v. Sidney Gleason. The Carr cases arise from murders in Sedgwick County in December 2000 and the Gleason case from murders in Barton County in February 2004.
In each of the three cases, the Kansas Supreme Court upheld the defendant’s guilt but overturned the death sentences that had been recommended by the jury and imposed by the trial court. Kansas appealed, and in March the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the Kansas Supreme Court’s decisions.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ordered oral argument on two separate constitutional questions. At 10 a.m., Attorney General Derek Schmidt will argue that the instructions given to the juries did not violate the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, an issue present in all three cases. At 11 a.m., Solicitor General Steve McAllister will argue that conducting a joint sentencing proceeding for the two Carr defendants did not violate the Eighth Amendment.
Kansas last participated in oral argument at the U.S. Supreme Court in January, when it successfully argued that state antitrust laws were not preempted by federal law and could be applied to alleged price-fixing in the natural gas marketplace.