Motorcyclist dies in crash with school bus

A motorcyclist died in a motorcycle and school bus collision this morning near South 7th and Homer in Kansas City, Kansas. The accident was investigated by Kansas City, Kansas, police, and a cleanup was taking place on South 7th, which was closed to traffic between Central and I-70. (Staff photo)

A motorcyclist died in a crash with a school bus this morning near South 7th and Homer in Kansas City, Kansas. No children were hurt in the accident, a school district spokeswoman said.

About 8:44 a.m. Sept. 25, police responded to an accident call at South 7th and Homer Avenue, a police spokesman stated.

A white motorcycle had struck the side of a Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools bus, the police spokesman stated.

The driver of the motorcycle, a man in his early 20s, was dead when officers arrived, according to the police spokesman. There were no other injuries reported.

Traffic was blocked off on South 7th Street north of the I-70 ramp, and on 7th Street south of Central Avenue, while the investigation was ongoing.

Nine pre-kindergarten children were on the bus at the time of the accident, and there were no injuries to the children, said Melissa Bedford Fears, spokeswoman for the Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools.

“The children were not hurt, and they were able to go on to school,” she said.

The children were transferred to another school district bus and taken to their school after the accident, she said.

Counselors and the district’s crisis team were sent to the school to be available to speak with students today, she said.

The accident is under investigation by the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department’s Traffic Support Unit-Critical Collision Response Team.


Judge OKs class-action in Leavenworth taping case that could affect 1,000 attorneys

by Dan Margolies, Kansas News Service

Attorneys alleging their meetings and phone calls with clients at the Leavenworth Detention Center were unlawfully recorded can move forward with a class-action lawsuit, a federal judge ruled last week.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Bough found that a class action was the best way to proceed because “(i)t would be judicially uneconomical for the court to entertain hundreds if not thousands of individualized claims” over the same issue.

That issue is whether the private operator of the facility, CoreCivic, and its provider of telephone and recording services, Securus Technologies, unlawfully intercepted privileged attorney-client communications in violation of federal and state wiretap laws and the Sixth Amendment right to counsel.

“This has always been a real important case to us in terms of the underlying implications of constitutional rights and the American criminal justice system,” said Michael A. Hodgson, one of the attorneys who filed the lawsuit.

“We took this case because of the nature of the privileged conversations themselves and the importance of the attorney-client relationship,” he added. “So I would say we’re cautiously optimistic and encouraged by the court’s ruling. We’ve got a long ways to go … but this was a great first step in that process.”

In his ruling, Bough wrote that he “acknowledges the importance of the attorney-client privilege and recognizes the sanctity of what is at stake in the present controversy — public trust in the legal system and the administration of justice.”

Hodgson said the class certified by Bough could eventually number as many as 1,000 attorneys.

The case, which was filed in 2016, is one of two class-action lawsuits spawned by disclosures that privileged attorney-client phone calls and meetings were recorded at the Leavenworth facility. The other case was filed on behalf of detainees and is in the midst of settlement negotiations.

Both suits, which contend the recordings violated federal and state wiretap laws, have the potential to expose CoreCivic and Securus to millions of dollars in damages.

A spokeswoman for CoreCivic, the largest private operator of prisons and detention facilities in the United States, said the company does not comment on pending litigation.

CoreCivic owns and operates Leavenworth Detention Center, which houses pre-trial detainees and has more than 1,100 beds.

The company insists it did nothing wrong because it says outgoing calls subject to recording were preceded by a pre-recorded message to that effect. But in-person meetings were recorded as well, and neither clients nor their attorneys were warned that those might also be recorded.

The recordings first came to light in a criminal case alleging that guards, inmates and outside parties had smuggled drugs and contraband into the Leavenworth Detention Center.

U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson, who is overseeing that case, appointed a special master – an independent third party – to investigate the extent of the problem and whether the recordings were provided to law enforcement officials and prosecutors.

In court filings, David Johnson, the attorney who filed the class action case on behalf of attorneys who say they were unlawfully recorded, says that data provided by Securus show that nearly 19,000 calls to 567 attorneys on a list compiled by the special master were recorded. And Johnson says that probably understates the number, since calls were also made to attorneys not on the special master’s list.

More than 1,300 of the recorded calls were between federal public defenders and their clients.

Dan Margolies is a senior reporter and editor at KCUR. You can reach him on Twitter @DanMargolies. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to the original post.

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Suspects arrested after shooting, chase

Four suspects were arrested in Shawnee, Kansas, after fleeing a shooting scene near North 27th and Delavan Avenue this afternoon in Kansas City, Kansas.

According to a Kansas City, Kansas, police spokesman, officers were in the area of North 27th and Delavan about 4:01 p.m. when they heard several shots fired before patrolling into a shooting in progress.

The officers chased the suspects’ vehicle to the 6300 block of Cottonwood Drive in Shawnee, Kansas.

At the end of the chase, four suspects fled into an apartment, according to the spokesman. With assistance from multiple jurisdictions, officers took all four suspects into custody, the spokesman stated.

Other officers went to 27th and Delavan and found a female shooting victim, the spokesman said. The victim was taken to a hospital with a non-life-threatening injury.

The incident is under investigation by the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division, which is encouraging anyone with information to call the TIPS hotline at 816-474-TIPS.