Kansas to Go to US Supreme Court on Gay Marriage
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas plans to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to preserve its gay-marriage ban while a legal challenge from two lesbian couples is considered by lower federal courts. Attorney General Derek Schmidt said yesterday (FRI) that he'll act before a federal judge's injunction barring the state from enforcing its ban takes effect Tuesday. Schmidt announced his plans after the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver refused to stay the injunction issued by U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree earlier this week. Crabtree delayed his injunction to allow the state to appeal. Schmidt said he has a duty to exhaust all the state's options because the state constitution bans gay marriage. Voters approved the constitutional provision in 2005. He said his request would go to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
Court Nixes Kansas, Arizona Citizenship Proof Rule
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A federal appeals court has ruled that Kansas and Arizona residents can register to vote using a federal form without providing proof of citizenship. Most residents in the two states register using a separate state form requiring them to show a birth certificate, a U.S. passport or naturalization papers. Kansas and Arizona had asked the U.S. government to also impose that same requirement on voters who register using the simpler federal form, which only requires a sworn statement. But the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found yesterday (FRI) that the states have no authority to demand the federal government apply the citizenship proof requirements to the federal form. The ruling effectively gives potential voters a simpler way to register without providing citizenship documentation in order to vote in federal races.
Groups Spent Nearly $17M on Kansas Senate Race
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Federal data shows that political and special interest groups spent nearly $17 million in Kansas starting in September in the nationally watched race between Republican Sen. Pat Roberts and his independent challenger. Online records of the Federal Election Commission show the three-term GOP incumbent benefited more from the outside spending than independent candidate Greg Orman. Roberts won re-election. Groups spent nearly $10 million on activities supporting Roberts or opposing Orman. They spent about $6.8 million supporting Orman or opposing Roberts. This year's election was the first time Kansas saw significant spending. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down limits on such spending in January 2010, but such groups reported almost none during the competitive Republican primary won that year by Jerry Moran, who had an easy general election race.
DA Says Probe of Police Shooting Remains Open
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas prosecutor says he's not ready to determine if a Wichita police officer was justified in the fatal shooting of an unarmed man in April 2012. Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett read a statement about the status of the investigation at a news conference Friday but did not take questions. 24-year-old Troy Lanning II was running from a stolen vehicle when he was shot six times by Wichita Police Officer Randy Williamson. Williamson's lawyer has said the officer saw Lanning reach into a bag and feared he had a gun. Bennett said forensic evidence examined so far has not been conclusive. He also noted that the officer's recent plea to a separate case of filing a false report has complicated the Lanning death investigation. Williamson is no longer with the department.
Elderly Kansas Man Killed in Hit-and-Run
CLAY CENTER, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say an 83-year-old man was killed in a hit-and-run accident in northeast Kansas after getting out of his car to check on an injured deer. Clay County Sheriff Chuck Dunn says Joe Knitter of Clay Center died in the accident early Friday on U.S. 24. Dunn says Knitter's wife was driving their car and struck the deer. Knitter got out to check on the animal and was hit by another vehicle as he was returning to his car. KSNT-TV reports authorities located the other driver Friday afternoon with help from a broken mirror recovered at the scene. Dunn says the woman told investigators she didn't stop because she thought she had also hit a deer. No charges were filed yesterday (FRI).
Guilty Plea in Fatal Fall of AZU Student from KS
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — One of the men accused of alcohol-related violations in connection with the fatal fall of an Arizona State University student has pleaded guilty. Court documents show 20-year-old David Siegal pleaded guilty this week to one count of minor in possession of liquor with a second count dismissed. Siegal and 20-year-old Matthew Farberovh were indicted in the case along with a third man who had charges later dropped. Farberovh is facing charges of minor possession of liquor and failing to require identification. Naomi McClendon of Manhattan, Kansas, plunged 10 floors to her death March 30 from an apartment complex near ASU's campus. Tempe police say the 18-year-old woman from Manhattan, Kansas initially attended an "all-you-can-drink" party thrown by ASU fraternity members. Surveillance video showed her stumbling and intoxicated when she entered the residential building.