The Kansas Supreme Court released published decisions today in the following cases:
Appeal No. 111,235: FV-I, Inc., In Trust for Morgan Stanley Mortgage Capital Holdings, LLC v. Constance M. Kallevig, et. al., and Bank of the Prairie
The Kansas Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the Court of Appeals opinion affirming the Miami County District Court's decision in a mortgage foreclosure proceeding between FV-I and junior mortgage holder Bank of the Prairie. The district court initially granted summary judgment in the Bank of Prairie's favor, and the Court of Appeals reversed and remanded for trial. The district court ruled that FV-I lacked standing to file the foreclosure petition, failed to establish enforcement rights in the note at trial, and the Bank of Prairie's mortgages had priority. The Court of Appeals affirmed on appeal, and the Supreme Court granted FV-I's petition for review.
Writing for a unanimous court, Justice Eric Rosen held that standing in a foreclosure action is predicated on the plaintiff's ability to demonstrate that it was in possession of the note with enforcement rights at the time it filed the foreclosure action, and possession of the mortgage alone is insufficient to establish standing. The court held that remand was necessary because the district court erroneously excluded two endorsements on the note that may have been able to establish standing. The court vacated the Court of Appeals' priority determination in the Bank of Prairie's counterclaim noting that an unenforceable mortgage remains in existence.
Appeal No. 111,046: State of Kansas v. David Darrel Williams
An Ellis County jury convicted David Darrel William of distribution of methamphetamine. On appeal, Williams challenged a district court judge's decision to allow the jury to consider an audio recording of an informant who participated in the drug buy underlying the prosecution but did not testify against Williams at his trial.
The Kansas Supreme Court agreed with Williams that the audio recording included testimonial statements by the informant – one identifying Williams and one identifying the methamphetamine. Admission of the recording violated Williams' right to confront the witnesses against him, but the error was harmless and did not require reversal of Williams' conviction.
Appeal No. 114,721: State of Kansas v. Patrick Angelo
In a unanimous decision written by Justice Marla Luckert, the Kansas Supreme Court rejected Patrick Angelo's appeal from his consecutive life sentences. Angelo was convicted in Wyandotte County District Court of two counts of premeditated murder and, on his first habeas corpus motion, the Court of Appeals concluded the district court had mistakenly only pronounced sentence on count one — an error that required resentencing. A different district court judge then pronounced what he believed the first district court intended: two terms of life imprisonment with parole eligibility after 25 years, to run consecutive to one another. Angelo appealed from the resentencing order, and the Supreme Court affirmed Angelo's sentences after concluding his arguments against them depended on an inapplicable statute.
Kansas Court of Appeals decisions released today