Ruling: Sleeping Kansas judge not automatic reason for retrial

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Man sleeping in bed at night

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TOPEKA, Kan. — The Kansas Supreme Court says a Sedgwick County man’s convictions shouldn’t be automatically reversed because the judge fell asleep during the first day of trial.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the states highest court rejected on Wednesday a legal interpretation by the lower Kansas Court of Appeals that had granted Daquantrius Johnson a new trial on firearms charges.

Justice Caleb Stegall wrote in the court’s opinion that there was no precedent in Kansas to justify a finding of structural error simply because a judge catnapped during a trial.

District Judge Benjamin Burgess acknowledged to the jury that he fell asleep, but noted that no objections from attorneys were raised while he was temporarily out of commission.

The Supreme Court concluded the trial judge’s slumber amounted to regrettable misconduct.

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