With coronavirus-related restrictions gradually being lifted, local high-profile court cases have hearings scheduled for the summer.
The Riley County District Courthouse has been operating in a limited capacity since mid-March. As courts have been performing emergency operations, such as managing bond hearings, warrants and protection orders, most other hearings were directed to continue at a later date or be conducted remotely via video.
Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Luckert on Thursday issued new orders guiding district courts as they begin reopening to the public and renewed orders suspending certain deadlines and time limitations for courts and prosecutors.
Judges and counsels had to push back hearings or appearances in several local cases:
- A two-day preliminary hearing for Robert Iacobellis, which was rescheduled from April to June 16 and 17. The 61-year-old owner of Bob’s Diner is charged with 125 counts of aggravated indecent liberties, one count of aggravated indecent solicitation, three counts of aggravated criminal sodomy and one count of rape, all allegedly with a child.
- A status hearing for Jalen Gill, 18, set for June 23. Gill is charged with attempted second-degree murder, criminal discharge of a firearm, aggravated assault and three counts of aggravated endangerment of a child. Police linked him to a January incident in which a man was shot in southwest Manhattan.
- A preliminary hearing for Alan Goens, Dylan Hitsman and Jaylon Hitsman, which is scheduled for July 9. They are charged with first-degree murder and other related charges after a man was shot and killed in November after an alleged attempted robbery. Shamar Sutton faces similar charges and his next court appearance, a status hearing, is set for June 23.
- A preliminary status hearing for Sean Morgan, who is charged with rape, aggravated criminal sodomy and other charges, is scheduled for June 2. His charges stem from a February 2015 incident involving a 31-year-old woman and a March 2018 incident with a 26-year-old woman.
The new order requires courts to remain closed to the public until it can meet certain conditions, including seeking guidance from the local public health department, complying with health recommendations and having a plan for screening people entering courtrooms or offices.
According to the order, all hearings should still be done remotely when possible. It bars most in-person proceedings that require more than 10 people in a courtroom and that people be at least six feet apart.
It allows jury trials to take place if they are required to preserve someone’s right to a speedy trial and the court has presented a plan that outlines how it will proceed with jury selection, evidence handling, provides video streaming if necessary and how the jury will be managed to meet social distancing requirements.