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Blue Ribbon Commission
Kansas Judicial Branch
CONTACT INFORMATION

The Kansas Supreme Court
301 SW 10th Avenue
Topeka Kansas 66612-1507
Telephone:  785.296.2256
Fax:  785.296.7076


Supreme Court Charge to the Blue Ribbon Commission

In August of 2010, the Kansas Supreme Court decided to examine our Judicial Branch operation and court structure to evaluate whether we are being optimum stewards of our taxpayer resources. We are committed to finding ways to function as efficiently as possible so that we can assure Kansans justice that is compassionate, swift, and accurate. Our examination includes the study by your Commission. Your study may include, but need not be limited to, the number of court locations, services to be provided in each court location, the hours of operation, the appropriate use of technology, cost containment or reductions, and flexibility in use of human and other resources.

To aid the Commission in this work, the Court recommends the Commission perform the following:

1.   Review the "Principles Governing Study of Kansas Judicial System" developed by the Court.

2.   Review the 2010 Legislative Post-Audit Report and the Judicial Branch's response.

3.   Review the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) publication "Future Trends in State Courts 2010," the Kansas Bar Association Journal article by Chief Justice Nuss, documents and reports from other state court studies, and the Court's website for the study of the Kansas judicial system.

4.   Review the Judicial Study Advisory Committee (JSAC) report of 1974 for content, structure, or both.

5.   Review and consider the Kansas Constitution and relevant statutes.

6.   Review the operations of the Kansas state courts:

a.   Discuss with the Court its view of issues confronting the Judicial Branch.
            1.   Technology (e-filing, etc.)
            2.   Organization and restructuring of the courts
            3.   Court record retention
            4.   Administrative supervision of the courts
            5.   Workload of judicial and non-judicial personnel
            6.   Financing of the court system
            7.   Centralized court data network
            8.   Use of video conferencing and other methods for court hearings
            9.   Jurisdiction, qualifications and compensation of district magistrate judges.

b.  Participate in presentations by judges and the Office of Judicial Administration (OJA) staff (Judicial Branch programs, budget, information systems, children's issues, self-represented community, etc.) on the Court’s and OJA’s activities and those of the state courts.

7.    Meet with NCSC consultants regarding their experiences with statewide judicial system reviews conducted in other states.

8.    Meet with the Judicial Needs Assessment Committee (JNAC), the Staffing Needs Assessment Committee (SNAC), and support staff from the NCSC, Supreme Court, and OJA, regarding the weighted caseload study (WCLS); discuss their duties and experiences; and review information received by those groups.  Consider the WCLS results in conjunction with other information reviewed during that study.

9.    Visit as a whole, through sub-groups or ad hoc advisory groups, district courts and communities around the state; and discuss with court personnel, the business community, residents, and other interest groups, the impact of the courts and OJA on those entities.

10.  Consider, within the Principles Governing Study of Kansas Judicial System, various constraints on the courts, including the balancing of constitutional requirements, access to justice, and tight finances.

11.   Communicate regularly with Court staff.

12.  Communicate weekly with the Chief Justice in person via the Commission chair.

13.  Take other actions the Commission deems appropriate.

Following the Commission's examination and assessment of the operation and structure of the Kansas Judicial Branch, the Commission shall report its findings exclusively to the Supreme Court, including but not limited to:

A.        General recommendations:

            1.         Actionable by the Supreme Court acting on its own authority.
            2.         Actionable by the Supreme Court only with legislative changes.
            3.         Actionable by the Supreme Court only with constitutional changes.

B.        Specific recommendations:

            1.         Actionable by the Supreme Court acting on its own authority.
            2.         Actionable by the Supreme Court only with legislative changes.
            3.         Actionable by the Supreme Court only with constitutional changes.

C.        Funding/budget recommendations.