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Kansas Court Rules Evidence Was Seized Illegally

As a Kansas criminal defense attorney, I have watched hundreds of my clients undergo investigation by police. Typically, the get pulled over for something like speeding, and then the officers attempt to gain consent to search the entire vehicle. Sometimes the courts determine that the search was voluntary and allow the evidence, over a motion to suppress. I argue that the search was an investigative detention while the prosecutor argues that the search was voluntary.

A few weeks ago, the Kansas Court of Appeals provided a solid case protecting the rights of it's citizens and helped clarify the issue between consensual and investigative. The case was State of Kansas v. Landon Mark Phillips. In that case, the police initially asked for consent to search their pockets and what was on them at the time. More officers arrived and they kept asking to do more searches, such as the vehicle and then the hotel rooms itself. The defendants "consented" to the searches where meth was eventually found in the hotel room. However, the "consent" was coerced due to numerous police, extensive questioning, and numerous searched. The reality is that the suspects didn't feel free to refuse. The Appeals Court suppressed the illegally obtained evidence.

Congratulations to Kansas lawyer Christina M. Kerls, of the Kansas Appellate Defender Office, who argued and prevailed on this appeal.

One might think that this same kind of ruling would then apply to DUI investigations and be able to suppress breath tests and so forth. Not so. The Kansas legislature has specifically allowed for it.