Paul D. Cramm


District attorney says Shawnee violated spirit of open meetings law

By KAREN DILLON The Kansas City Star The Shawnee City Council violated the spirit of the Kansas open meetings law when “backroom deals” were made to elect the mayor’s uncle to a council seat, Johnson County District Attorney Stephen Howe said Wednesday. Howe’s decision was especially hard on Mayor Jeff Meyers, saying he found the mayor’s actions “unacceptable.” Meyers did not return phone calls asking for comment. The problem began last May when the Ward 2 seat was vacated and the council had to find a replacement. Several people applied, including Mike Kemmling, who had just lost a council race… Read More →

Blue Springs Man Charged in Fatal Car Accident

Man charged in fatal accident A Blue Springs man was charged with involuntary manslaughter and resisting arrest Monday after a car crash Sunday night in Blue Springs killed a passenger in his vehicle. Michael L. Garzee, 29, was driving when he crashed into a utility pole during a police pursuit. Dustin A. Wardlow, 29, of Overland Park, was pronounced dead at the scene. Three and a half hours later, police said, Garzee’s blood-alcohol content was .122 percent, well over the legal limit of .08 percent. The incident was reported about 10 p.m. Officers from the Lake Tapawingo Police Department tried… Read More →

No Criminal Charges in Death of KCK Infant

No foul play apparent in KCK baby death Kansas City, Kan., police said there did not appear to be any foul play involved in the death of an infant this afternoon. Police were called about noon to a residence in the 700 block of S. 10th Street concerning the 5-month-old boy. Detectives are awaiting an autopsy report to determine the cause of death, but initial indications were that it may have been a SIDS case or an accident, according to police.

Court sets aside 2 of Casey Anthony’s convictions

ORLANDO, Fla. — A Florida appellate court has set aside two of the four convictions Casey Anthony faced for lying to detectives during the investigation into her missing 2-year-old daughter Caylee. Judges on the 5th District Court of Appeals agreed with Anthony’s attorneys Friday that two of the charges constituted double jeopardy, or being convicted more than once for the same crime. The judges, however, ruled that the trial court was correct to allow her statements to detectives to be used during her murder trial. Anthony’s attorneys had argued that she was in police custody at the time and hadn’t… Read More →

Trio wrongfully convicted of murder released after 18 years in prison

NEW YORK — Three men walked out of jail into the arms of family members Wednesday night after 18 years in prison on murder convictions. In an emotional reunion with his family on a Bronx street, Michael Cosme, 37, screamed, “I’m free, I’m free. Finally, after 18 years, I’m free.” Cosme, Devon Ayers and Carlos Perez were convicted in the murders of a livery cab driver and a FedEx executive in 1995. But nearly two decades later, prosecutors learned two gang members confessed to murdering the cab driver, and the rest of the case unraveled, documented in a joint WNBC/Dateline… Read More →

Olathe Man Charged with Rape in Overland Park

A 22-year-old Olathe man was arrested Tuesday on charges of raping a woman over the summer in Overland Park. Sean Paul Tullgren was charged last week with one count of rape for allegedly forcing a woman at a July 4th party to have sexual intercourse without her consent. Tullgren was being held in the Johnson County jail on $100,000 bond. Tullgren requested and the Court appointed the Public Defender’s Office to provide his defense.

Lawyer Wants AG Removed from 1990 Rural Missouri Murder Case

By TONY RIZZO The Kansas City Star A Missouri man whose murder conviction was thrown out this month by the state Supreme Court is asking the court to disqualify the attorney general’s office from pursuing a new trial. Any decision to retry Mark Woodworth for the 1990 killing of a woman near Chillicothe, Mo., should be made by an independent prosecutor or the current county prosecutor, attorney Robert Ramset argued in court documents filed Tuesday on Woodworth’s behalf. In a separate action, the attorney general’s office filed official notice Tuesday stating that it intended to retry Woodworth. Woodworth, 38, was… Read More →

Supreme Court Wary of Warrantless Blood Draw in DUI Cases

Weighing Missouri case, Supreme Court wary of warrantless DUI blood tests By MARK SHERMAN Associated Press The Supreme Court appeared reluctant Wednesday to allow police to routinely order blood tests for unwilling drunken-driving suspects without at least trying to obtain a search warrant from a judge. The court heard arguments Wednesday in a case about a disputed blood test from Missouri, against the backdrop of a serious national problem of more than 10,000 deaths from crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers in 2010, about one every 51 minutes. That number has dropped by 60 percent in the past 20 years because of… Read More →

Missouri Supreme Court Overturns Chillicothe Murder Conviction Again

Court overturns conviction in murder that divided Chillicothe By TONY RIZZO The Kansas City Star Accused as a teen, Mark Woodworth watched two juries convict him in the 1990 shooting death of a neighbor at her farmhouse outside of Chillicothe, Mo. But on Tuesday, the Missouri Supreme Court threw out his conviction, clearing the way for the now 38-year-old man to be freed unless prosecutors decide to try him for a third time in the killing of Cathy Robertson, 40. In a 6-0 decision, the Supreme Court adopted the findings of a mid-Missouri judge who found in May that Woodworth… Read More →

Kansas Legislature Addresses Change in How State Judges are Selected

Expect Kansas Legislature to tackle how state judges are selected By BRAD COOPER The Kansas City Star Kansas lawyers are ready to relinquish some control over picking judges in hopes the process won’t be turned over to governors who might stack the courts with political soulmates. With the Legislature ready to take up judicial selection as early as next week, the Kansas Bar Association is suggesting that lawmakers rework the way upper-level judges are nominated instead of revamping the entire system and letting Gov. Sam Brownback name judges who are confirmed by the Senate. “Let’s not throw the baby out… Read More →