Courts and Crime

The Commission on Racial Equity and Justice, which meets every other week, is charged with making recommendations to the governor, Legislature and local governments. (Noah Taborda/Kansas Reflector)

Governor’s commission seeks added diversity in Kansas police training, hiring practices

BY: - August 20, 2020

TOPEKA — A leader of Gov. Laura Kelly’s Commission on Racial Equity and Justice on Thursday called for refreshed police training programs focused more squarely on historical context and the role of police in perpetuating inequalities. Shannon Portillo, associate dean for academic affairs at the University of Kansas Edwards campus, suggested every officer take a […]

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican, celebrated the decision to allocate $356 million for construction of a new federal prison and a prison camp to replace the 120-year-old U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran touts potential of new $356 million federal prison at Leavenworth

BY: - August 20, 2020

LEAVENWORTH — U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran joined the U.S. Bureau of Prisons director and the Leavenworth penitentiary warden Thursday to extol allocation of $356 million for construction of a new prison and satellite prison camp that would keep one of the area’s largest employers intact. Moran said it was the largest federally financed building project […]

Federal authorities indicted organizers for the We Build the Wall campaign for allegedly lying about not taking personal payments. The hardline immigration group funded construction of a wall on private land along the Rio Grande. (Dec. 11, 2019, photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Bannon, others indicted in scheme to siphon We Build the Wall funds

BY: - August 20, 2020

TOPEKA — Federal authorities on Thursday announced the indictment of Steve Bannon, Brian Kolfage and two others for siphoning payments from a crowdsourced fund to privately build a border wall with Mexico. Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who serves as general counsel for the nonprofit that manages the $25 million campaign, isn’t named […]

ACLU calls out Overland Park police for ‘militarized response’ to Black Lives Matter protest

BY: - August 19, 2020

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas this week condemned the Overland Park Police Department for an “overly reactive and militarized response” to a Black Lives Matter protest. In a letter addressed to Overland Park Police Chief Frank Donchez, the civil rights group highlighted concerns with officers’ handling of a peaceful protest on July 24. […]

A table decorated for All Saints Day at the Mennonite church where Jennifer Harris Dault serves. (Submitted by Jennifer Harris Dault to Kansas Reflector)

After appeal for compassion causes pain, a pastor apologizes

BY: - August 18, 2020

The Kansas Reflector welcomes opinion pieces from writers who share our goal of widening the conversation about how public policies affect the day-to-day lives of people throughout our state. Jennifer Harris Dault is a Mennonite pastor in St. Louis, Missouri. Recently I was featured in a Kansas Reflector article about Mennonite pastors and church members […]

Gov. Laura Kelly nominated Sedgwick County prosecutor Lesley Isherwood, of Wichita, to a vacancy on the Kansas Court of Appeals. The nomination is subject to confirmation by the Kansas Senate. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Former Pizza Hut guru delivers sizzling rebuke, demands $63 million from Kansas

BY: - August 13, 2020

Former Pizza Hut magnate Gene Bicknell is frustrated state of Kansas refuses to make court-ordered payment to him that stands at $63 million.

Former Emporia resident Brandon Flint, seen Wednesday in downtown Sioux City, Iowa, spent five years wrangling with the legal system in Kansas. With the help of Carl Folsom, the public defender maligned by Senate Republicans in June, the Army veteran testified before the Legislature and eventually cleared his name. (Jerry L. Mennenga for Kansas Reflector)

Before Kansas Senate snubbed Carl Folsom, he helped veteran beat faulty felony

BY: - August 13, 2020

TOPEKA — Emporia authorities didn’t view Brandon Flint’s actions favorably when he walked out of a nightclub in 2008 and rescued his fiancee from an attack by two men. The U.S. Army veteran, who had served two tours in Iraq, retrieved a handgun from his car and pointed his weapon at the attackers as they […]

Alex Orel, a lobbyist with the Kansas Bankers Association, told a joint House and Senate economic recovery committee that COVID-19 added stress to Main Street businesses and the agriculture sector. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

Coronavirus draws Kansas farm bankruptcy, business stagnation into focus

BY: - August 12, 2020

Bipartisan Kansas legislative committee is sorting through COVID-19 economic problems to help speed business recovery.

Additional positive COVID-19 cases send Hutchinson Correctional Facility into lockdown

BY: - August 12, 2020

Kansas Department of Corrections secretary Jeff Zmuda said Wednesday a lockdown has been initiated at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility central unit after additional staff and inmates tested positive for COVID-19. This week, 84 inmates and 10 staff tested positive, bringing the total number of people infected in the facility to 99 inmates and 17 staff […]

Attorneys for former Newton social worker Arlan Kaufman are appealing a U.S. District Court judge's refusal to release him 15 years early from prison due to poor health and risk of COVID-19. Kaufman and his wife were found guilty of forced labor, involuntary servitude and other crimes for abusing mentally ill adults under their care. (Illustration/Kansas Reflector)

Inmate Arlan Kaufman, abuser of mentally ill Kansans, appeals denial of early release

BY: - August 11, 2020

Mennonite church leaders and family members support compassionate release from prison of Arlan Kaufman, convicted of abusing mentally ill adults in Newton.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, left, filed a lawsuit Monday designed to keep the Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma from building a casino on land in Park City. The U.S. Department of Interior decided in May the project could proceed. The plaintiffs are two tribes, the city of Mulvane and Sumner County, which hosts the Kansas Star Casino. (Kansas Reflector)

Kansas attorney general files federal lawsuit to thwart proposed tribal casino

BY: - August 10, 2020

TOPEKA — Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma Chief Bill Friend expressed skepticism Monday a federal lawsuit filed by the Kansas attorney general on behalf of four plaintiffs would succeed in blocking construction of a trial casino on land near Wichita. The petition submitted by Attorney General Derek Schmidt in U.S. District Court seeks an order setting […]

As feds turn attention to protests, Native Americans cope with unchecked violence

BY: - August 8, 2020

Native American activists say violence against indigenous people is being overlooked by federal authorities who are more interested in a politically charged crackdown on civil rights protests. The U.S. Justice Department in July announced the launch of Operation Legend, an anti-violence campaign, in Kansas City, Missouri, then expanded the federal policing efforts to other major […]