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District Judge Steve Johnson to sit with Kansas Supreme Court October 29

Portrait of District Judge Steve JohnsonTOPEKA— District Judge Steve Johnson will sit with the Kansas Supreme Court to hear and help decide one case on the court’s October 29 docket that will take place by videoconference. 

After hearing oral arguments, Johnson will join Supreme Court justices in their deliberations and decision drafting. 

"The Supreme Court looks forward to Judge Johnson hearing a case with us. He will read the case materials, prepare for oral argument, and deliberate with the court on its decision," said Chief Justice Marla Luckert. "We thank Judge Johnson for helping us, especially because we know he already has a significant caseload in district court to handle." 

Judge Johnson was appointed the chief judge of the 20th Judicial District in January 2021. 

“As a district judge, it is an honor to be selected to sit with the Supreme Court,” Johnson said. “I sincerely appreciate the opportunity and will cherish the experience.” 

Johnson grew up on a small farm in Gove County and graduated from Healy High School, Fort Hays State University, and Washburn University School of Law. He was in private practice in Great Bend from 1985 to 2012. Johnson took the position of district judge in 2013 in the 20th Judicial District and was appointed chief judge for the 20th in January of 2021. 

Johnson will hear one case at 11 a.m. on the October 29 docket.  

All cases on the October 25–29 docket will be heard by videoconference and livestreamed on the Supreme Court YouTube channel

Appeal No: 121,866: State of Kansas v. Luqman Yusuf Keys 

Shawnee County: (Criminal) Keys shot a man once in the chest while purchasing marijuana. At his first trial, the jury acquitted Keys of burglary and hung on felony murder and robbery. A second jury convicted Keys of both felony murder and aggravated robbery. The court sentenced Keys to a hard-25 life sentence for felony murder and then consecutive and concurrent sentences for aggravated robbery and criminal possession of a firearm. The Supreme Court heard arguments on Keys’ case in May 2021. In August 2021, the Court ordered supplement briefing. The issues on review are whether: 1) a district court should determine whether a defendant is being charged with or is alleged to have committed or attempted to commit a forcible felony rendering self-defense unavailable to defendant pursuant to K.S.A. 2020 Supp. 21-5226(a); 2) if yes, what test should the district court employ to make that determination; 3) on appeal, what standard of review should the appellate court employ to review such determination; 4) if a court determines that a defendant is being charged with or is alleged to have committed or attempted to commit a forcible felony, but the defendant alleges the State’s evidence is insufficient for a jury to find beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant in fact committed or attempted to omit the forcible felony, is a self-defense instruction legally appropriate; and 5) if yes, what standard should a district court employ to determine if a self-defense instruction is factually appropriate?