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Headlines for Saturday, January 16, 2016

Judge: Kobach Had No Authority in Voting Case

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas judge has ruled that Secretary of State Kris Kobach has no legal right to bar people who register to vote using a federal form from voting in local and state elections. Shawnee County District Judge Franklin Theis ruled yesterday (FRI) in favor of two Kansas voters who challenged how Kobach is enforcing a state proof-of-citizenship requirement for registering to vote. The judge said Kobach had no authority to "encumber the voting process" by declaring that voters who use a federal form to register can cast ballots only in federal races. The federal form does not require proof of citizenship. The court found the right to vote under current Kansas law is not tied to the method of registration. Kobach's office declined comment on the ruling.


Kansas Lawmakers Eye Change to Grand Jury Petitions

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas House will vote next week whether to allow changes to the petition process that allows citizens to convene grand juries. The House debated the bill Thursday and advanced it to final action on a voice vote. The final vote is scheduled for Tuesday. If approved, it would go to the Senate. The measure would allow those responsible for calling grand juries to observe while judges give instructions to jurors. The move aims to address concerns from some citizens that the secretive grand jury process is unduly influenced by judges or prosecutors. Kansas is one of six states that allow citizens to petition for grand juries. The 1887 law was rarely used until abortion opponents discovered it about a decade ago to force grand jury investigations of abortion clinics.


Mom Sentenced to 34 Years for Locking Girl in Closet

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City woman whose daughter was 10 years old and weighed just 32 pounds when she was rescued from a closet has been sentenced to 34 years in prison. The Kansas City Star reports that the mother screamed after she was sentenced yesterday (FRI) for endangering, abusing and assaulting the girl. Police officers found the girl barricaded in an apartment closet in June 2012 while responding to a child abuse hotline call. The Associated Press isn't naming the mother to protect the child's identity. Prosecutors said the girl didn't attend school or receive adequate medical care. They argued the abuse left her so weak that she had a heart transplant in 2013. Defense witnesses said her heart disease could have had "a vast number of causes."


Fiery KCK Crash Claims Two Lives

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A man and a woman have died in a fiery crash in Kansas City, Kansas. Police said in a news release that the crash happened early yesterday (FRI). The release says that the preliminary investigation indicates that the victims were in a speeding vehicle that left the roadway, hit a tree stump and caught on fire. The man was in his mid-60s and the woman in her late 40s. Their names weren't immediately released, pending positive identification and notification of family members. The crash is under investigation.


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