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Monday, December 03, 2012 8:33 PM

Man in DUI case, prosecutor waiting for court decision

By CRYSTAL HERBER, Herald Staff Writer

A Franklin County man remains in prison while his case is in legal limbo.

Roger Neal Shaw, 54, remains incarcerated in Lansing Correctional Facility after a three-judge panel of the Kansas Court of Appeals reversed his involuntary manslaughter conviction in July. Whether he is released or remanded for a new trial now is up to the Kansas Supreme Court, Stephen Hunting, Franklin County attorney, said.

“There is not a hard-and-fast time or rule as to when they make their decision on that,” Hunting said.  

In 2010, Shaw was convicted of involuntary manslaughter while driving under the influence of alcohol in an incident that resulted in the death of 21-year-old Franklin County resident Aaron Kichler. Shaw was on the second year of a 10-year sentence when the Kansas Court of Appeals reversed his conviction on the basis that prosecutors neglected to prove all parts of the charge against the defendant. Hunting’s office filed a petition for review on Shaw’s appeal in August in an attempt to stop the appeals process.

It will be up to the discretion of the state Supreme Court whether it grants the petition to review the court of appeals’ decision. If it does, the court will review the case and determine whether it agrees with the appellate court’s ruling. If it denies the petition or the court determines the court of appeals was correct, Hunting said previously, the case would come back to Franklin County, and a new trial would be planned.

No timeline or deadline relating to the state Supreme Court’s ruling on Shaw’s case has been set. Hunting said he checks for a high court decision regularly, but is not frustrated with the delay — it’s part of the process, he said.

“The court of appeals and the Kansas Supreme Court are very overworked,” Hunting said. “They have a high volume of cases. And so these things take time, and it’s something that we all just learn to understand and operate with.”

Shaw’s earliest possible release date is not until 2018, but Hunting said he expects the Supreme Court to make a decision, one way or the other, before that time comes.

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