The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear the appeal of a Kansas man sentenced to death after found guilty of killing four members of his family nearly a decade ago in Osage County.
The conviction and sentence of James Kraig Kahler were affirmed in 2018 by the Kansas Supreme Court, but the nation's highest court agreed to consider Kahler's appeal of the capital murder conviction. In Kansas, he unsuccessfully challenged constitutionality of the death penalty as well as conduct of the prosecutor and trial judge.
Kahler was found guilty of shooting to death his wife, two daughters and his wife's grandmother in Burlingame in November 2009.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a request to review three Kansas court rulings holding that the state's criminal statutes on identity theft were pre-empted by federal immigration law.
Attorney General Derek Schmidt, a Republican, appealed the pre-emption rulings in an attempt to overturn the 2017 decisions of the Kansas Supreme Court.
"We remain convinced Congress did not intend to block Kansas from prosecuting defendants for falsifying state tax forms or private legal documents merely because the defendant also falsified federal employment verification forms," Schmidt said.
Two years ago, the state Supreme Court overturned the convictions of three people for crimes related to identity theft and including making false information on state tax forms or private legal documents.
The 5-2 decision asserted that national immigration law guided the cases because false Social Security numbers and other information used by defendants was submitted on a federal I-9 form used for employment verification.
Oral argument on both appeals is expected this fall in Washington, D.C.