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Headlines for Monday, November 4, 2019

Justices Seem OK with Car Stop over Owner's Invalid License

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court seems ready to say police may pull over a car when they know only that its owner's license is not valid — even if they don't know who's driving. The issue of traffic stops based on information gleaned from motor vehicle records has become more pressing with the advent of automated license plate readers that can run hundreds of plates a minute. The justices indicated in arguments Monday that they would reverse a Kansas high court ruling that found police violated a driver's constitutional rights when they stopped his pickup based only on information that the truck owner's license had been suspended. Chief Justice John Roberts was among justices who suggested that the common-sense view that the owner would be driving was enough to justify the traffic stop. The Supreme Court has previously ruled that police face a relatively low burden known as "reasonable suspicion" to stop and question people. 

"As we've said often, it can be based on common sense," Roberts said.

It's reasonable for an officer to make the traffic stop even if the driver turns out not to be the registered owner most of the time, he said. The situation arises when an officer can't easily see into a vehicle to determine, for instance, that a woman is driving the vehicle, though the vehicle's owner is a man. Siding with the driver in this case, Charles Glover of Kansas, could raise practical problems, some justices said. If the window glass is tinted and an officer can't easily see in, the officer "has to let the driver go on?" Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asked. Justice Brett Kavanaugh said he was troubled by the possibility that a patrol car would have to follow a driver waiting for a minor traffic infraction to pull over the car. Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor sounded like the most likely votes for the driver. They suggested in their questions that police officers can easily justify a traffic stop based on their experience and training. In this case, the Kansas court said police relied on nothing other than Glover's suspended license, they said.

A decision in Kansas v. Glover, 18-556, is expected by late June.

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Lawmaker Quits Outside Job Amid Conflict of Interest Worries

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas state senator has resigned from her job outside of government working for a company that has earned more than $13.3 million from state contracts since 2016 amid conflict of interest concerns. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Sen. Julia Lynn of Olathe resigned Friday from Inclusion Works, a division of Allied Global Services. Lynn has served as Republican leader of the Senate Commerce Committee. She declined to discuss her role in a private 2017 meeting in which a Kansas Department of Commerce data breach was discussed with agency leaders and AGS executives. The firm sought contract work to help resolve the hacking problem. Lynn says influence she has had for AGS shouldn't be questioned because Kansas law exempts lawmakers from conflicts of interest. Some lawmakers called her interpretation inaccurate.

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More Health Insurance Options in Kansas for 2020

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas residents using the federal marketplace for individual health insurance will see more options for 2020. Some plans are less expensive than in 2019 but, for the second year in a row, consumers must pay the entire bill for most out-of-network care in 2020. Two new insurers now offer health plans in some of Kansas' most populous counties. Meanwhile, Ambetter, which is already active in the Kansas City area, is expanding to 12 more counties in southeast and central Kansas. Across Kansas, five insurers are offering 82 plans for 2020, the most since the marketplace launched in 2014. Availability varies by county, but it's a big increase from the three insurers offering 23 plans this year. Enrollment began Friday and runs through Dec. 15. 

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Trial Delayed over Bomb Plot for Soldier Said to Be Satanist

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A federal judge in Kansas has delayed the trial of an Army infantry soldier who prosecutors say is a Satanist hoping to overthrow the U.S. government and distributed information about building bombs. U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree in Topeka on Monday granted a request from attorneys for Jarrett William Smith to postpone a trial from early December until at least mid-January. Smith pleaded not guilty in September to charges of distributing explosives information and making a threatening interstate communication. His attorneys said they needed more time to review evidence. Smith was a private stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas. He's accused of providing information about explosives to an FBI undercover agent and threatening to burn down the house of a far-left-leaning "antifa" member. Authorities say he also wanted to car bomb a major news organization.

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Ft. Riley Soldier, Called a Satanist, Faces Charges in Alleged Bomb Plot

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - An Army infantry soldier described by a prosecutor as a Satanist hoping to overthrow the U.S. government faces a federal court hearing in a case in which he's charged with distributing information about building bombs. The hearing in U.S. District Court in Topeka on Monday comes about five weeks after Jarrett William Smith pleaded not guilty to charges of distributing explosives information and making a threatening interstate communication. His attorneys have argued he was only an internet troll spouting off online. Smith was a private stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas. He's accused of providing information about explosives to an FBI undercover agent and with threatening to burn down the house of a far-left-leaning "antifa" member. Authorities say he also wanted to target a major news organization with a car bomb. 

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Several Earthquakes Shake Kansas and Oklahoma

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) - The U.S. Geological Survey says several earthquakes were recorded in south-central Kansas and northern Oklahoma over the weekend, but no significant damage was reported. One earthquake with a 3.2 magnitude was recorded Saturday night near Hutchinson. That tremor was reportedly felt as far away as Concordia, Kansas. In northern Oklahoma, a 3.0 magnitude earthquake was reported near Fairview around 1 a.m. Sunday. Another earthquake with a 2.6 magnitude hit near Quinton in eastern Oklahoma around 1:30 a.m. Sunday and another earthquake with a 2.7 magnitude rattled Waukomis in northern Oklahoma at 4:25 p.m. Saturday. 
 
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Relatives of Man Fatally Shot by Police Reach $1 Million Settlement

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Relatives of a Kansas man who was fatally shot by a police officer have settled a wrongful death and civil rights lawsuit for $1 million. The Kansas City Star reported the settlement Monday for the family of Antonio Garcia Jr. Garcia was killed by a Leavenworth officer on July 11, 2017, while sitting in a car in the driveway of his home. The lawsuit said Officer Matthew Harrington unjustifiably shot and killed Garcia. The suit cited what it called the city's "shoot-first-ask-questions-later" policy. Harrington was fired. A grand jury indicted him on an involuntary manslaughter charge . That case has not yet gone to trial. Garcia's family reached the settlement with the city and the officer in August, and a federal judge approved it Monday.

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Second Wichita Man Sentenced for Bystander's Death

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - The second of two Wichita men charged in the death of an innocent bystander during a shootout has been sentenced to prison. District Attorney Marc Bennet said Friday that 24-year-old KeAndre Summers was sentenced to nearly 15 years in prison. He pleaded guilty in August to second-degree murder and aggravated assault. In June 2017, Erick Vazquez of Wichita was found dead from three gunshot wounds in his bullet-riddled pickup in Wichita. Prosecutors say before the shooting, 20-year old Jeremy Levy and KeAndre Summers began shooting at each other in a strip mall parking lot. Vazquez was waiting nearby in the truck while his friend was buying cigarettes. Levy was sentenced to life in prison in August 2018 after he was found guilty of first-degree felony murder.

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Woman Killed in Northeastern Kansas Crash

ST. MARYS, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Highway Patrol says a Belvue woman has been killed in the head-on crash of a pickup truck and sport utility vehicle on U.S. Highway 24 just west of St. Marys in northeastern Kansas. The Capital-Journal reports that the crash happened around 7:25 a.m. Friday when a 19-year-old St. Marys man driving a pickup went west in the eastbound lane of the highway, hitting an SUV driven by 54-year-old Kathleen Cummings. Cummings was pronounced dead at the scene. The 19-year-old driver was taken to a hospital with minor injuries. The crash remains under investigation.

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Grass Fire Burns 300 to 400 Acres in Central Kansas

BURRTON, Kan. (AP) _ Authorities are investigating the cause of a grass fire that burned about 300 to 400 acres in central Kansas yesterday (SUN.) Harvey County spokesman Kyle McCaskey said in a news release that emergency crews responded around 1 p.m. Sunday to an area northeast of Burrton. By about 4:30 p.m., firefighters had stopped the spread of the flames, but continued to monitor for hot spots. No injuries or damage to homes was reported. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.  Burrton is about 40 miles northwest of Wichita. 

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Fleeing Motorist, Passenger Injured in Atchison County Crash

HOLTON, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a fleeing driver and his passenger were injured in a rollover crash in northeast Kansas. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the two men were taken to area hospitals with suspected minor injuries. Jackson County Sheriff Tim Morse says the pursuit started around 5 a.m. Sunday about 4 miles north of Holton when a deputy attempted to stop a Saturn Ion for traffic infractions. The driver then fled into Atchison County before overturning about 3 miles north of Muscotah at the junction of Kansas 9 and U.S. 159. The incident is under investigation.

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Police Identify Man Killed in Kansas City Shooting

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Police in Kansas City, Missouri have identified a man shot to death in the northeastern part of the city.  A police spokesman says the victim has been identified as 58-year-old Mark Broome.  Officers were called to the area just after 4 a.m. Saturday and found Broome lying dead in the street. Police later determined he had been shot to death and said a homicide investigation had begun. The Kansas City Star says Broome's death is the city's 124th homicide this year. 

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Affidavit: Suspect Says Child Porn Was 'Form of Art'

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Court documents say a Lawrence man told police that child pornography found on his electric devices was a "form of art." The Lawrence Journal-World reports that 46-year-old Charles Tingler is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday on two counts of sexual exploitation of a child. The recently released affidavit says a woman called police in 2016 to report finding child porn on Tingler's devices. Tingler told police that the images on the devices belonged to the previous owners, although they had been downloaded recently. Tingler later told police that he "equated the access of the imagery to an appreciation for the imagery as a form of art or curiosity." The affidavit says he denied accessing the images for sexual arousal. It is not clear why Tingler wasn't charged until September.

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Toddler's Killer Gets 13 ½ More Years for Stabbing Guard 

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man serving a life sentence for killing a toddler has been sentenced to 13 ½ more years in prison for stabbing a guard at least three times in the abdomen with a shank. The Hutchinson News reports that 34-year-old Mark Anthony Baker was sentenced to the extra time Friday for the Dec. 6, 2018, attack at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility. Prosecutors say it happened after the officer denied Baker's request to talk to a counselor. Records indicate that the officer spent one night in the hospital. Baker previously was sentenced to life for the March 2011 killing his then-girlfriend's 19-month-old son, Zane Pennington. A forensic pathologist testified that Zane suffered from severe head trauma and abdominal injuries. In the plea, an aggravated criminal sodomy charge was dismissed.

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Church of Scientology Opens Downtown Kansas City Location

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Church of Scientology has opened a new location in downtown Kansas City, in a seven-story building that once housed a bank. The Kansas City Star reports that the 79,000-square-foot building near 18th and Grand was draped with a giant red ribbon and box affixed to the upper floors over the weekend. A large electric sign reading "Church of Scientology" was lit at night. The opening occurred more than a decade after the church bought the building in 2007. The building was constructed in the 1920s and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The church's previous presence in Kansas City was at a storefront at 39th and Main.

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Wichita Police: Remains of Fetus Found in Box Along River

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Police in Wichita, Kansas, are investigating after a woman found the remains of a human fetus inside a small box along a river. The fetus was found Sunday afternoon. Police believe it to be 10 weeks gestation or younger. A coroner will examine the remains for a more exact determination. At a news conference on Monday, police Capt. Brent Allred said a 57-year-old woman was near the Arkansas River when she saw a box on a sandbar. Officers were called and found the fetus inside the box. Bloody towels and other materials also were found in the box. The remains were taken to a forensics lab for an autopsy. Police say they have not classified the case as a criminal investigation but that could change, depending on autopsy results.

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Sprint: Fiscal 2Q Earnings Snapshot

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Sprint Corporation on Monday reported a fiscal second-quarter loss of $274 million, after reporting a profit in the same period a year earlier. The Overland Park, Kansas-based company said it had a loss of 7 cents per share. The results missed Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 13 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for a loss of 1 cent per share. The wireless carrier posted revenue of $7.8 billion in the period, which also did not meet Street forecasts. Twelve analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $8.17 billion. Sprint shares have increased 8% since the beginning of the year. The stock has increased slightly in the last 12 months.

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Chiefs Defeat Vikings with Late Game Field Goal

KANSAS CITY, Mo.-Kansas City Chiefs’ Quarterback Patrick Mahomes sat out his second straight game recovering from a dislocated kneecap, but the Chiefs still pulled out a late game 26-23 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday afternoon. Kicker Harrison Butker connected for a 54-yard field goal to tie the game at 23-all with two-and-a-half minutes left in the game.  Then he kicked the game-winning field goal as time ran out. The Chiefs won their first home game since their season opener on Sept. 22. Their next game is at Tennessee next Sunday.

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