Kansas Judicial Branch Home
Kansas Courts
Kansas Judicial Branch
CONTACT INFORMATION

The Kansas Supreme Court
301 SW 10th Avenue
Topeka Kansas 66612-1507

Office of Judicial Administration
Telephone:
 785.296.2256
Fax:  785.296.7076
Email: info@kscourts.org

Appellate Clerk's Office
Telephone:
 785.296.3229
Fax:  785.296.1028
Email: appellateclerk@kscourts.org


News Releases

01/06/12: Court Adopts New Child Support Schedules
01/09/12: Blue Ribbon Commission Report Given Court
01/13/12: Chief Justice to Address Joint Session
02/02/12: Two Nominated for District Judge
03/09/12: Nominations Accepted for Judge Vacancy in 11th District
03/22/12: Nominations Sought for District Magistrate Judge Vacancy
04/02/12: Nine Apply to Fill Vacancy in 11th Judicial District
04/04/12: Supreme Court Orders Court Employee Furloughs
04/06/12: Supreme Court Lifts Smoking Ban Temporary Injunction
04/09/12: Court Closure/Furlough Order Released
04/23/12: 21st Judicial District Vacancy
04/23/12: Shawnee County Judicial Vacancy
04/23/12: Two furlough days postponed
04/25/12: Three Nominated for Judgeship
05/09/12: Johnson County Judge Vacancies
05/21/12: Furlough Cancellation
05/24/12: Eleven Apply for Shawnee County Judge Vacancy
06/11/12: Three Nominated for Shawnee County Judge Vacancy
06/12/12: Eight to be Interviewed for 21st Judicial District
06/19/12: Three Nominated for 21st District Judge Vacancy
06/29/12: Court of Appeals Rules on Case Manager Hearings
07/13/12: Shawnee County Judge Announces Retirement
08/09/12: District Magistrate Judge Vacancy Applicants Sought
08/17/12: 12 Apply for Shawnee County Judgeship
08/21/12: Supreme Court Goes Live on Internet
08/27/12: District Magistrate Judge Vacancies in Harper and Kingman counties
09/06/12: Applications Now Accepted for Court of Appeals Upcoming Vacancy
09/10/12: Five apply for Mitchell County District Magistrate Judge Vacancy
09/11/12: Court of Appeals to sit at Cloud County Community College
09/11/12: Court of Appeals to sit at Cowley County Community College
09/12/12: Court of Appeals to sit at Washburn University
09/12/12: Court of Appeals to sit at Kansas State University
09/19/12: Mitchell County District Magistrate Judge Appointed
09/25/12: Chief Judge Wurst Honored
09/26/12: Supreme Court to Sit at Johnson County Community College
10/05/12: Court Upholds Medical Malpractice Cap
10/09/12: Court of Appeals Chief Judge Dies
10/12/12: 21 Apply for Court of Appeals Vacancy
10/15/12: Court of Appeals Vacancy Applications Sought
10/23/12: Judge Malone Named Chief Judge of Court of Appeals
11/05/12: Court of Appeals Interviews Scheduled Nov. 13-14
11/15/12: 25 Apply for Second COA Vacancy
11/19/12: Nominating Commission Schedules Interviews
11/30/12: Names of three Court of Appeals Nominees Delivered to Governor
12/07/12: WU Law's Former Dean to Receive Supreme Court Justice Award
12/10/12: Johnson County Judge Vacancies

See the Archives for new releases dating back to 1997


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 10, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

The Tenth Judicial District Judicial Nominating Commission will convene January 18, 2013 to interview and select nominees for submission to the Governor to fill two district judge vacancies due to the retirements of The Honorable Thomas Bornholdt and the Honorable John P. Bennett.

Interested persons may obtain nomination forms on-line at http://www.jocojnc.org. In order to be considered, candidates must submit an original and 15 copies of the nomination form and all supporting documents to the Hon. Kevin Moriarty, Div. 14, Room 315, 100 N. Kansas, Olathe, KS 66061 no later than noon, Friday, December 21, 2012. Forms cannot be accepted by fax or on-line.

The 10th Judicial District Judicial Nominating Commission is made up of 14 members. Seven are attorneys elected by the Kansas licensed attorneys residing in the district, and 7 are non-lawyers appointed by the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners. The Nominating Commission welcomes and encourages public input into this important process. Comments can be submitted in writing to the Commission Secretary, Hon. Karen Arnold-Burger, 301 S.W. 10th Ave., Topeka, KS 66612-1507, faxed to (785) 296-7079 or emailed to arnold-burgerk@kscourts.org. All comments will be forwarded to all members of the Commission. Find out more information about the Commission by visiting its website at http://www.jocojnc.org.

Future Meeting Dates

ALL MEETINGS ARE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, WITH AN OPPORTUNITY PROVIDED FOR PUBLIC COMMENT

January 7, 2013 Meeting to Review Applications 4:00 p.m. at the Johnson County Courthouse, Room 319, 100 N. Kansas Ave., Olathe, KS. Public comment will be accepted at 4:15 p.m.

January 18, 2013 Meeting to Interview Applicants 8:00 a.m. at the Johnson County Courthouse, Room 319, 100 N. Kansas Ave., Olathe, KS Public comment will be accepted at 8:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m.


 

Professor James M. Concannon
Professor James M. Concannon

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 7, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

The Kansas Supreme Court will meet in a special session at 1:30 P.M. Friday, December 14, 2012, to present its Justice Award to Washburn University School of Law Professor James M. Concannon.

Concannon served as dean of the law school from 1988—2001, and has served as a Distinguished Professor of Law since then. Before serving as law school dean, Concannon had been a member of its faculty since 1973.

The Supreme Court is awarding him the Justice Award based on career-long service to the legal community and the courts, in particular. Among his principal activities for the improvement of justice in Kansas, Concannon has been a member of the Pattern Instructions for Kansas Civil and Criminal Committees since 2001 and the Judicial Council's Civil Code Advisory Committee since 2008. That Committee, among other things, restyled and revised the first three articles of the Kansas Code of Civil Procedures and revised time computation standards throughout the Kansas Statutes Annotated.

He also served as a member of the Supreme Court Rules Advisory Committee, from 2010 to 2012, when the Supreme Court adopted sweeping changes to the rules attorneys follow in court cases. A long-time advocate of keeping courts out of politics, Concannon served on the Kansas Commission on Judicial Performance since 2006, although its funding has been withdrawn by 2012 legislation. He has represented Kansas on the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws since 1998.

In addition, Concannon has authored numerous chapters and legal treatises, including the recent publication of a book detailing the history of the Washburn law school since its founding in 1903 to 2003. Entitled "The Ideal Place…for the Establishment of a Great Law School": History of Washburn Law School 1903-2003," it was published in June 2012 by the Washburn University School of Law Alumni Association.

The Justice Award is presented as merited to recognize persons or organizations which have contributed significantly to the improvement of justice in Kansas. It consists of a plaque and a $500 stipend. Also, a permanent plaque, listing the names of the recipients is on public display in the Judicial Center, just outside the courtroom. The stipends have been awarded from earnings on a $10,000 check the Court received in 1987, when its program to reduce delay in the courts was recognized by the Foundation for the Improvement of Justice, a national organization founded by the late James W. Chapman, of Atlanta, GA. Kansas was the first state to establish specific time standards for disposing of cases for each of five major case categories. Numerous statements have followed-up such time standards and guidelines.

Any Kansan or Kansas organization, except members of the Supreme Court and their personal staff and the members of the Justice Awards Nominating Committee, is eligible for the award. Professor Concannon will be presented to the Court by WU law school Distinguished Professor Linda Elrod, and David Heinemann, a Topeka attorney, who served as a legislator from Garden City for 27 years. Previous recipients of the award include: Kenneth Bronson, Rev. Wardell A. Chambers, Judge Herbert W. Walton, Paul E. Wilson, Arno Windscheffel, Robert A. Cobean, Lewis L. Ferguson, Marion County Extended Learning, Judge Jerry L. Mershon, Jack R. Euler, Justice David Prager, and Gerald L. Goodell.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 30, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

The names of two attorneys in private practice and a Sedgwick County district judge were submitted to Gov. Sam Brownback late Friday afternoon as nominees to fill a vacancy on the Court of Appeals that was created by the October 7, 2012, death of Judge Richard D. Greene.

Nominated were Dennis Depew, a Neodesha attorney; Stephen M. Kerwick, an Eastborough attorney; and Sedgwick County District Judge Anthony J. Powell.  The governor will have 60 days in which to appoint one of the three to the intermediate appellate court.

The three were nominated following interviews conducted of nine applicants to succeed Judge Greene, who was chief judge of the Court of Appeals at the time of his death. Also under consideration were 16 others who had applied for a vacancy that will be created by the January retirement of Court of Appeals Judge Christel E. Marquardt.

Names of three of the 25 already had been forwarded to the governor to fill Judge Marquardt’s impending vacancy.  They include Steven J. Obermeier, Senior Deputy District Attorney in Johnson County; Judge Kim R. Schroeder, a Hugoton district court judge; and Teresa L. Watson, a Topeka attorney in private practice.

Depew has practiced law in Neodesha in the Depew Law Firm since 1983, upon graduating from the University of Kansas School of Law. Depew also received a Bachelor of Business degree from KU in 1980. Among his professional and civic endeavors, Depew is the president-elect of the Kansas Bar Assn., and will become president next June.  He also is current president of the Kansas Assn. of School Boards.  He served as a member of the Board of Education for USD 461 for 18 years.

Kerwick began his law practice in 1981, when he graduated from the KU law school.  He is currently a partner in the Wichita law firm of Foulston Siefken, LLP, where he has practiced continuously since law school. Kerwick is a former president of the Kansas Assn. of Defense Counsel and has been active in the Wichita, Kansas, and American Bar Assns. He received a BA degree from La Salle University.

Judge Powell has been a Sedgwick County District Judge since 2003, and before that was in private practice from 1991 until becoming a judge. In addition to his law practice, Judge Powell served as a member of the Kansas House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003.  He obtained a BA degree from George Washington University and his JD degree from the Washburn University School of Law.  He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Kansas District Judges Assn. and has been active in the Wichita and Kansas Bar Assns.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 19, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

The Supreme Court Nominating Commission announced today that interviews to fill a vacancy on the Court of Appeals that was created by the October death of Chief Judge Richard Greene will be conducted on November 30th. The Commission will interview five new applicants, plus four others who were among those already interviewed for an earlier vacancy on the intermediate appellate court.

The Commission is considering 25 applicants for Chief Judge Greene’s position, which includes everyone who applied for a Court of Appeals vacancy being created by the January 14 retirement of Judge Christel E. Marquardt. Four of those applicants have been scheduled for a second interview, including attorneys Kathryn A. Gardner, Topeka; Stephen M. Kerwick, Eastborough; Caleb Stegall, Lawrence; and District Judge Anthony J. Powell, Wichita.

Being interviewed for the first time by the Nominating Commission will be Municipal Judge Bryce A. Abbott, Wichita; District Judge Daniel Cahill, Kansas City, KS; District Magistrate Judge Sheila P. Hochhauser, Manhattan; and attorneys Thomas D. Arnhold, Topeka; and Dennis D. Depew, Neodesha.

The Nominating Commission last week sent the names of three nominees to Gov. Sam Brownback for appointment to fill Judge Marquardt’s impending vacancy, including Asst. Johnson County District Attorney Steven J. Obermeier, Judge Kim R. Schroeder, Hugoton; and Teresa L. Watson, a Topeka attorney.

All Nominating Commission interviews are open to the public.  They are being conducted in the Harold R. Fatzer courtroom on the third floor of the Judicial Center, 301 SW 10th Ave., in Topeka.
           
Attached are the interview schedule for November 30th and the bios of all 25 applicants under consideration for Chief Judge Greene’s vacant position on  the Court of Appeals.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 15, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

The Supreme Court Nominating Commission today submitted the names of two attorneys and a judge to Gov. Sam Brownback for appointment to a vacancy on the Court of Appeals that will be created by the January 14, 2013, retirement of Judge Christel E. Marquardt.

Nominated following interviews that were conducted Tuesday and Wednesday at the Kansas Judicial Center were Steven J. Obermeier, Senior Deputy District Attorney in Johnson County; Judge Kim R. Schroeder, a Hugoton district court judge; and Teresa L. Watson, a Topeka attorney in private practice. The governor will have 60 days in which to appoint one of the three to the intermediate appellate court.

Obermeier has served as a prosecutor in the Johnson County District Attorney's office since 1985, a year after he graduated from the Washburn University School of Law. He completed undergraduate work at the University of Kansas, where he received both a BS in journalism and a BA degree in political science.

Judge Schroeder has been a district judge in the 26th Judicial District in southwest Kansas since 1999. Before that, he was in private practice in Hugoton from 1982 until his selection to the district court. He is a 1981 graduate of the Washburn School of Law, and also received a BA degree there.

Watson has served as a research attorney for both the state Court of Appeals and the Kansas Supreme Court. She currently is in private practice as a partner in the Topeka firm of Fisher, Patterson, Sayler & Smith, L.L.P. She received both her undergraduate and law degree from Washburn University.

Meanwhile, the Nominating Commission is proceeding with its work in arriving at three nominees to fill a second vacancy on the Court of Appeals, which was created by the October 7th death of Judge Richard Greene, who was chief judge of the court when he died in a Columbus, OH, hospital. The Commission will consider those applying for Judge Marquardt's vacancy, as well as five others, when it conducts interviews that are scheduled for November 30th in the Fatzer Courtroom at the Judicial Center.

Members of the Nominating Commission include include Anne Burke, chairman, Overland Park; and Kerry E. McQueen, Liberal; Dr. Janet A. Juhnke, Salina; Natalie G. Haag and Felita R. Kahrs, both of Topeka; Matthew D. Keenan, Leawood; Robert Hayworth, Stillwell; Jay F. Fowler, and Paul F. Babich, both of Wichita.

Attached is a list of the applicants for Judge Greene's vacancy.


 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 5, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

The Supreme Court Nominating Commission has scheduled public interviews of 20 attorneys, who have applied for a vacancy on the state Court of Appeals that will occur January 2, 2013, when Judge Christel E. Marquardt's retirement is effective.

The interviews will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, November 13-14, in the Fatzer Courtroom on the third floor of the Judicial Center, 301 W. 10th Ave., in Topeka.

The interviews are open to the public under Supreme Court Nominating Commission guidelines that were adopted in January 2011; however, no cell phones or other electronic devices may be used in the interview room.

The guidelines allow the Commission upon motion and a majority vote to close a portion of an interview "if necessary to protect the privacy interests of the applicant." The provision also states that "Closing any portion of an interview is disfavored."

"In fairness to all applicants, the Commission requests that applicants not be present at interviews of other applications for the same position. Nor should any applicant otherwise seek or accept information regarding questions asked of other applicants during interviews."

The complete list of interview guidelines, the interview schedule, and brief biographical statements for each candidate are posted on the Judicial Branch website at www.kscourts.org under "What's New."

Members of the Nominating Commission include: Members of the Nominating Commission include Anne Burke, chairman, Overland Park; and Kerry E. McQueen, Liberal; Dr. Janet A. Juhnke, Salina; Natalie G. Haag and Felita R. Kahrs, both of Topeka; Matthew D. Keenan, Leawood; Robert Hayworth, Stillwell; Jay F. Fowler, and Paul F. Babich, both of Wichita.


 

Hon. Thomas E. Malone
Chief Judge Thomas E. Malone

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 23, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

The Supreme Court has appointed Judge Thomas E. Malone as chief judge of the Court of Appeals, it was announced in Topeka today.  He succeeds Hon. Richard D. Greene, who died October 7, 2012.

A native of Wichita, Chief Judge Malone has been a member of the Court of Appeals since 2003. He has been acting chief judge since Judge Greene became ill this summer.

The new chief judge said he is not planning major changes for the 13-member intermediate court of appeals, but wants to continue the excellence and national reputation the Kansas court has received for its timely disposition of appeals.  Almost all appeals on the court are resolved within 60 days of being heard.

“Being designated chief judge of the Court of Appeals is an honor, and I thank the Supreme Court for its trust and confidence in appointing me to the position,” Chief Judge Malone said.

Judge Malone practiced law in Wichita for 12 years with Redmond & Nazar, L.L.P. from 1979 through 1990.  He concentrated on business and commercial litigation in federal and state courts. During this time, he taught upper division Business Law at Newman University.

Chief Judge Malone was elected to the Sedgwick County district bench in 1990 and served as district judge 12 years. He was primarily a trial judge, presiding over more than 250 jury trials and hundreds of bench trials.

Judge Malone is a member of the Wichita Bar Association, Kansas Bar Association, American Bar Association, and the Kansas Association for Justice. He served on the Kansas Judicial Council: Pattern Instructions in Kansas Advisory Committee from 1999 to 2010. He also served on the Board of Editors of the Kansas Bar Association Journal from 2002 to 2009. In 2011, Judge Malone was appointed to the Kansas Board of Law Examiners. Judge Malone has published numerous law journal articles, and he is a frequent speaker at seminars sponsored by the Wichita Bar Association, the Kansas Bar Association, and the Kansas Association for Justice.

A 1976 graduate of Newman University, Judge Malone received his law degree from the Washburn University School of Law in 1979. He and his wife, Anne, have three grown children. He is active in many civic and church organizations in Wichita and Topeka.


 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 12, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

Twenty-one Kansas attorneys and judges have applied to fill a vacancy on the Court of Appeals that will be created by the January 2, 2013, retirement of Judge Christel E. Marquardt..

Interviews for the position will be conducted November 13 and 14th in the Fatzer Courtroom in the Judicial Center in Topeka. The applicant names and interview schedule will be posted on the court website in early November. The interviews will be open to the public.

Members of the Nominating Commission include Anne Burke, chairman, Overland Park; and Kerry E. McQueen, Liberal; Dr. Janet A. Juhnke, Salina; Natalie G. Haag and Felita R. Kahrs, both of Topeka; Matthew D. Keenan, Leawood; Robert Hayworth, Stillwell; Jay F. Fowler, and Paul F. Babich, both of Wichita.

Click here for a list of applicants.

.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 15, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

The Supreme Court Nominating Commission is now accepting applications for a vacancy on the Court of Appeals that was created by the October 7, 2012, death of Richard D. Greene, chief judge of that court.

The Nominating Commission set noon, Wednesday, November 14, 2012, as the deadline to apply for the impending vacancy. No date for interviews has been set. The applicant names and interview schedule will be posted on the court website when it is available. The interviews will be open to the public.

Nomination forms are available online at www.kscourts.org under "What's New" or from the office of the Clerk of Appellate Courts.

Chief Judge Greene died at a Cleveland, OH, hospital from complications arising from a heart condition. He was born in Hermann, Missouri, on January 9, 1950. He received a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1972, and a J.D. from Southern Methodist University-Dallas in 1975. Upon graduation he practiced law with the firm Morris, Laing, Evans, Brock & Kennedy for 28 years. Governor Kathleen Sebelius appointed him to the Court of Appeals in June of 2003. Greene was appointed Chief Judge by the Supreme Court effective January 10, 2011.

Members of the Nominating Commission include Anne Burke, chairman, Overland Park; and Kerry E. McQueen, Liberal; Dr. Janet A. Juhnke, Salina; Natalie G. Haag and Felita R. Kahrs, both of Topeka; Matthew D. Keenan, Leawood; Robert Hayworth, Stillwell; Jay F. Fowler, and Paul F. Babich, both of Wichita.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 12, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

Twenty-one Kansas attorneys and judges have applied to fill a vacancy on the Court of Appeals that will be created by the January 2, 2013, retirement of Judge Christel E. Marquardt..

Interviews for the position will be conducted November 13 and 14th in the Fatzer Courtroom in the Judicial Center in Topeka. The applicant names and interview schedule will be posted on the court website in early November. The interviews will be open to the public.

Members of the Nominating Commission include Anne Burke, chairman, Overland Park; and Kerry E. McQueen, Liberal; Dr. Janet A. Juhnke, Salina; Natalie G. Haag and Felita R. Kahrs, both of Topeka; Matthew D. Keenan, Leawood; Robert Hayworth, Stillwell; Jay F. Fowler, and Paul F. Babich, both of Wichita.

Click here for a list of applicants.


 

Hon. Richard D. Greene
Chief Judge Richard D. Greene

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 9, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

Hon. Richard D. Greene, Chief Judge of the Kansas Court of Appeals, died Sunday at a Cleveland, OH, hospital from complications arising from a heart condition.

Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss said he and Chief Judge Greene had known each other since the time they were both lawyers. "He possessed two notable abilities that are hard to find in the same person. First, he had a great legal mind that allowed him to independently analyze the most complex issues. Second, he was a great leader who worked tirelessly with the other Court of Appeals judges, plus their lawyers and staff, to manage their huge caseload," Chief Justice Nuss said.

"I will miss his scholarship and his leadership, but most of all, his friendship. His passing is a big loss for Kansas," he said.

Judge Thomas Malone, who has been serving as acting chief judge of the Court of Appeals, said: "Richard Greene was a great friend and an outstanding chief for the Court of Appeals. As a judge, Richard was dedicated to the rule of law and his only allegiance was to the Constitution. He will be deeply missed and his passing is a huge loss for the state of Kansas."

Chief Judge Greene was born in Hermann, Missouri, on January 9, 1950. He received a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1972, and a J.D. from Southern Methodist University-Dallas in 1975. Upon graduation he practiced law with the firm Morris, Laing, Evans, Brock & Kennedy for 28 years. Governor Kathleen Sebelius appointed him to the Court of Appeals in June of 2003. Greene was appointed Chief Judge by the Supreme Court effective January 10, 2011.

Judge Greene attended Appellate Judge School in the summer of 2004 at New York University. He had often been appointed to sit with the Kansas Supreme Court, and in that capacity he authored three published opinions for that court, In re Tax Appeal of Weisberger, 285 Kan. 98 (2007), State v. Alderete, 285 Kan. 359 (2007), and In re Trust D of Darby, 290 Kan. 785.

Judge Greene was active in the State Bar Association, where he served for 7 years as Editor in Chief for the Annual Survey of Law. He served as a member of the KBA's Bench-Bar Committee. He was a lecturer or education panel member for the National Association of Appellate Attorneys, Kansas Womens' Attorneys' Association, Johnson County Bar Association, Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, Kansas State University, Kansas University School of Law, Pittsburg State University, North Carolina Central Law School, Southwest Kansas Bar Association, Washburn University School of Law, the Wichita Bar Association, the Wyandotte County Bar Association, and the Newton Bar Association. Judge Greene received the Outstanding Service Award from the Kansas Bar Association in 2007 for distinguished service to the profession. He was a member of the national Council of Chief Judges of State Courts of Appeal, and served as national chairman of its membership committee and on its executive committee.

As Chief of the Court, Judge Greene implemented a host of initiatives to make the court more tech savvy, more efficient, and more responsive to its legislative mandate to take the court to the people of Kansas. Under his leadership, the court had convened panels in all 31 judicial districts, had achieved the filing of nearly 96% of its opinions within 60 days of hearing, and had enhanced its public and educational outreach to civic clubs, local bar associations, high schools, community colleges, and major universities across our State.

Chief Judge Greene had a long history of community and charitable involvement. He has served as volunteer judge for Youth Entrepreneurs Kansas, and was a member of the emeritus council of Project Concern International where he served a Chairman of the Board in 1992-94. He was also active in his church, where he taught a Sunday adult theology class. Chief Judge Greene and his wife, Mary Sue, have a blended family of four daughters, Kristin, Julie, Katie, and Jenny, and four grand-daughters, Asheton, Savannah, Chandler, and Maddie May.

Funeral services have not been announced.


 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 5, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

A five-member majority of the Kansas Supreme Court today upheld the constitutionality of a Kansas statute limiting a medical malpractice plaintiff's jury award for non-economic damages to $250,000. The Kansas legislature enacted the damages limitation in 1988 as part of an effort to restrict personal injury lawsuits based on a belief that a statutory cap would reduce medical malpractice insurance rates and make insurance more readily available to physicians and others in the state. Two justices dissented from the majority decision.

The medical malpractice plaintiff, Amy C. Miller, sued Dr. Carolyn N. Johnson in Douglas County District Court for mistakenly removing her left ovary during a surgery intended to take the right ovary. The jury found the doctor at fault and awarded Miller $759,679.74 in damages. But $575,000 of that award was for noneconomic loss subject to the $250,000 limit, so the trial judge lowered the judgment to comply with the statute. Non-economic loss typically includes pain and suffering, mental anguish, injury and disfigurement not affecting earning capacity. Miller appealed and challenged the statute's constitutionality, as well as the judge's post-trial ruling that reduced her claim for future medical expenses. Dr. Johnson also appealed, claiming Miller failed to prove malpractice caused her injuries and that the trial judge improperly restricted expert witness testimony.

In the court's majority decision, Justice Dan Biles acknowledged that the constitutionality of statutory caps on jury awards was "a long-standing and highly polarizing question nationwide." He noted two other Kansas Supreme Court decisions had reached contradictory results on the subject in 1988 and 1990. But in the decision filed today, the majority held that K.S.A. 60-19a02 did not violate a medical malpractice plaintiff's right to a jury trial, right to remedy by due course of law, right to equal protection under the law, or the separation of powers doctrine under the Kansas Constitution.

Justices Carol A. Beier and Lee A. Johnson dissented in part. They would have held that the statutory cap violated Miller's constitutional rights to trial by jury and remedy by due course of law, while reserving judgment on the equal protection challenge. All seven members of the court agreed the statute did not violate the constitutional separation of powers doctrine.

In another portion of the decision that drew unanimous agreement, the Supreme Court reinstated $100,000 in future medical expenses the jury awarded Miller that had later been struck by the trial judge in post-trial rulings. The Supreme Court held there was sufficient evidence to support the jury's determination for those future medical expenses. The Court's decision means Miller's damages award will be set at $84,679.74 for medical expenses incurred up to trial, $100,000 for future medical expenses, and $250,000 for noneconomic damages. The Supreme Court unanimously rejected Dr. Johnson's arguments in her appeal. It remanded the case to Douglas County District Court for further proceedings to conform to the Supreme Court's decision.

On the constitutional challenges, the majority of the court held that "Our court has long recognized that the legislature may modify the common law in limited circumstances," as long as the legislature provides an adequate substitute remedy or quid pro quo. The majority said retreating from that holding now would call into question the constitutionality of the state's longstanding Workers Compensation Act and the Kansas Automobile Injury Reparations Act, which establishes no-fault insurance. The decision relied in part on the statutory cap's relationship to the Health Care Provider Insurance Availability Act. That Act requires that all health care providers maintain liability insurance with designated levels of excess coverage. It further requires every health insurer to contribute to a plan that covers health care providers who cannot acquire insurance through ordinary methods.

While upholding the constitutionality of the statute, the court's majority cautioned that the legislature's failure to increase the $250,000 cap in the more than 20 years since it was first adopted was "troubling" because inflation had eroded its value by 57 percent. "There is a reasonable question," the majority decision stated, "as to the continued adequacy of the $250,000 limitation that has admittedly devalued over time due to the legislature's failure to adjust it."

In an unusual occurrence, this case was argued to the Supreme Court on two separate dockets, first in 2009 and then 2011 because of changes to the court's composition while the case was pending. After 2009, Justice Eric S. Rosen recused and Senior Judge David S. Knudson sat in his place, while then Chief Justice Robert E. Davis retired following an extended illness and Justice Nancy Moritz was appointed by the governor to fill that vacancy.


Hon. Lawton R. Nuss
Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 26, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

In what is believed to be a historical first in Johnson County, Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss today announced the Kansas Supreme Court will travel to Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, next Wednesday, October 3rd, to hear appeals in four cases pending before the Court.

The Court has never presided over appeals within Johnson County, historical records show. The Supreme Court session will be conducted from 9 a.m. to noon in Craig Auditorium of the General Education Building at the Community College , 12345 College Blvd., Overland Park. The session is open to the public.

“This session is part of a public outreach by the Supreme Court to provide an educational opportunity for students and the general public alike to learn about the justices—who they are, what they do, and how they do it,” Chief Justice Nuss said. “This continues a recent program of traveling for special Court sessions to hear oral arguments in appeals that has included sessions in Greensburg, Wichita, Salina and now, Johnson County,” he said. “We began the outreach in January 2011, when the Supreme Court first sat in a courtroom outside of the Judicial Center in Topeka. In that month, we sat in the recently restored former Supreme Court courtroom in the State Capitol building.”

To facilitate public understanding about the upcoming Johnson County session, summaries of the four cases to be argued have been written and formatted into a tri-fold brochure, which will be distributed at the door during the court session. The brochure also may be found online at the Judicial Branch website, www.kscourts.org. In addition, a live video stream of the oral arguments may be accessed at the kscourts.org website.

Besides the seven justices, Wyandotte County District Judge Ernest L. Johnson will join the Court to hear one of the appeals and later participate in the decision and opinion writing process.  Judge Johnson will be sitting in place of Justice Carol A. Beier, who has recused in the appeal of a breach of contract case.

Those attending the sessions will view arguments in three criminal cases from the Kansas City area, including a spousal murder, DNA testing, and drug offenses, as well as a $13.5 million civil suit involving a contract for the construction of communications towers for the Sprint telecommunications company.

(Editors: Chief Justice Nuss will be available at the Ritz Charles in Overland Park immediately after oral arguments for interviews and a photo op by members of the news media regarding this special session and other judicial outreach efforts, including the recently implemented live video stream of all Supreme Court oral arguments.  He will be available from 12:30 p.m. to approximately 1 p.m. Wednesday, October 3, 2012, in the hotel’s conference room, which is located on the first floor of the hotel at 9000 W. 137th St, in Overland Park. Ron Keefover will be available that day via email at keefover@kscourts.org or cell phone at (785) 640-7997 should questions arise that day.)

 


Hon. Daniel L. Mitchell
Chief Judge Wen Wurst

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 25, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

Chief Judge Wendel Wurst, Garden City, has been awarded the Southwest Kansas Bar Association's "Civility Award" in recognition of his civility to attorneys, courtesy to witnesses, and others in the legal process, it was announced in Topeka today.

The Southwest Kansas Bar Association noted in presenting the award earlier this month that Chief Judge Wurst "consistently places the welfare of the judicial system, litigants, attorneys, and witnesses foremost and above his personal ambitions and ego, thereby demonstrating the finest traditions and aspirations of the Kansas lawyer."

Judge Wurst was appointed Chief District Court Judge by the Supreme Court last January after taking over the position from Judge Philip Vieux, who stepped aside after serving in that capacity for 19 years. The Chief Judge oversees case assignments for judges and ensures coverage of all of all dockets in the 25th Judicial District, which includes Finney, Kearny, Greeley, Hamilton, Wichita, and Scott counties.

Prior to taking the bench in 2009, Judge Wurst was in private practice for 29 years where he had a diverse practice case load with an emphasis on insurance defense litigation. He has served as president of the Finney County Bar Association and as chair of the Bench-Bar Committee. He is a graduate of Kansas State University and the University of Kansas School of Law.

He and his wife, Rhonda, have three children and three grandchildren.

 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 19, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

The 12th Judicial District Nominating Commission has appointed a Beloit native to fill a vacancy that was created by the retirement of Mitchell County District Magistrate Judge Bonnie J. Wilson, it was announced today.

Appointed following interviews that were conducted Tuesday in the Mitchell County Courthouse, Beloit, was Debra J.Gronewoller Wright, who currently resides in Raymore, MO. She will relocate to Mitchell County upon her swearing-in. No date for that has been set.

Wright is a graduate of Beloit High School and received an Associate of Arts degree from the Cloud County Community College. She received her BA degree from the University of Missouri—Rolla and her law degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law.

She currently serves as legal counsel for the Juvenile Officer for the 17th Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri—Juvenile Division in Harrisonville, MO. Before that she served as an attorney for the Jackson County, MO, Family Court Division in Kansas City, and also engaged in private practice in Raymore and Kansas City.

Others applying for the position included Kay Marie Strong Prather, Randall; Daniel T. Porterfield Runge, Hill City; Matthias W. Schroeder, Hunter; and Janet M. Thiessen, Sherwood, OR.

The nominating commission includes Justice Nancy L. Moritz, Departmental Justice, as the nonvoting chair, and Dana Brewer, Concordia; Jerry L. Harrison, Beloit; Daniel D. Metz, Lincoln; Darrell E. Miller, Mankato; Douglas G. Simms, Belleville; Regine L. Thompson, Scandia; Carol K. Good, Barnard; Dwight L. Daniels, Beloit; Michael E. Johnson, Courtland; J. Bradley Lowell, Concordia; Steven G. Melby, Mankato; and Bruce E. Meyer, Palmer.


 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 12, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

A three-judge panel of the Kansas Court of Appeals will hear four appeals in Manhattan Wednesday, September 19, as part U.S. Constitution Observance Day. The hearings will be conducted in Forum Hall in the Kansas State University Student Union.

Court will convene at 1:00 p.m. The appeals are from Pottawatomie, Saline, and Sedgwick Counties. In addition, 14 other appeals will be submitted to the Court for decision without oral arguments.

Judges Melissa Standridge and Henry W. Green, Jr. will be joined by retired Justice Edward Larson to hear the cases. Judge Standridge has been designated the presiding judge for the hearing.

Judge Standridge said the appeals demonstrate how the courts interpret and apply the law as adopted by our legislature and the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. "The constitutional rights we all share are tested daily in cases that appear on our docket throughout the year," Judge Standridge said.

Attorneys for each side will have an opportunity to present argument to the judges, and the judges will have a chance to ask questions. The court will then take each of the cases under consideration and will issue a written decision at a later date, usually within 60 days.

After the hearings have been completed, the judges will be available to talk with students.

These hearings are part of the Constitution Day observance at Kansas State University. Congress has directed by law that federally funded educational institutions host educational events about the United States Constitution on or about September 17 each year. The Constitution was signed by a majority of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention on September 17, 1787.


 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 12, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

A three-judge panel of the Kansas Court of Appeals will hear seven appeals in the Robinson Courtroom at Washburn University's School of Law, Tuesday, September 18, as part U.S. Constitution Observance Day.

Court will convene in special session in the law school at 9:00 A.M. and 1:30 P.M. to hear appeals from Franklin, Shawnee, Douglas, and Atchison counties. In addition, 14 other appeals will be submitted to the Court for decision without oral arguments.

Judges David E. Bruns, Christel E. Marquardt, and G. Joseph Pierron, Jr. will hear the cases. Judge Bruns has been designated as the presiding judge for the hearing.

In addition to oral arguments, the law school is hosting a speech Monday, September 17, for law students featuring the current president-elect of the American Bar Association, James "Jim" R. Silkenat, partner in Sullivan & Worcester's New York law office. He will be the first ABA president who was born in Kansas since 1933. President Earle W. Evans came from Wichita.

Silkenat also will speak at 7 p.m. Monday evening in the Bradbury Conference Center at Washburn. Drawing on his law practice's primary focus on international joint ventures in developed and developing countries, he will speak on "The Rule of Law at Home and Abroad: Why it Makes a Difference to All Parts of Society."

Regarding the Court of Appeals hearings, Judge Bruns said the appeals demonstrate how the courts interpret and apply the law as adopted by our legislature and the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. "The constitutional rights we all share are tested daily in cases that appear on our docket throughout the year," Judge Bruns said.

Attorneys for each side will have an opportunity to present argument to the judges, and the judges will have a chance to ask questions. The court will then take each of the cases under consideration and will issue a written decision at a later date, usually within 60 days.

After the hearings have been completed, the judges will be available to talk with students.

Congress has directed by law that federally funded educational institutions host educational events about the United States Constitution on or about September 17 each year. The Constitution was signed by a majority of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention on September 17, 1787.


 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 11, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

A three-judge panel of the Kansas Court of Appeals will hear cases in Arkansas City Tuesday, September 18, as part of the U.S. Constitution Observance Day. Oral arguments in three of the appeals will be conducted in the Earle N. Wright Community Room in the Brown Center, 125 S. 2nd Street, and three others in the Cowley County Courthouse.

The Court of Appeals hearings at the Community College are from Sedgwick County, with the appeals to be argued at the courthouse from Sedgwick and Seward counties, plus the Workers Compensation Appeals Board. The hearings at the Community College will begin 9:30 A.M. The appeals to be heard at the Courthouse will begin at 1:30 p.m.

Judges Patrick D. McAnany and Stephen D. Hill will join retired District Judge Allen R. Slater, to decide the cases. Judge McAnany has been designated the presiding judge for the hearing. The Court also will decide the outcome of 15 additional appeals that will be submitted to the panel without oral arguments on them.

Judge McAnany said the appeals demonstrate how the courts interpret and apply the law as adopted by our legislature and the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. "The constitutional rights we all share are tested daily in cases that appear on our docket throughout the year," Judge McAnany said.

Attorneys for each side will have an opportunity to present argument to the judges, and the judges will have a chance to ask questions. The court will then take each of the cases under consideration and will issue a written decision at a later date, usually within 60 days.

After the hearings have been completed, the judges will be available to talk with students.

These hearings are part of the Constitution Day observance at Cowley County Community College. Congress has directed by law that federally funded educational institutions host educational events about the United States Constitution on or about September 17 each year. The Constitution was signed by a majority of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention on September 17, 1787.


 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 11, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

A three-judge panel of the Kansas Court of Appeals will hear cases in Concordia Tuesday, September 18, as part of U.S. Constitution Observance Day. Oral arguments in two of the cases will be conducted in the Cook Theater at Cloud County Community College and two others at the Cloud County Courthouse.

The Court of Appeals hearings at the Community College are from Cloud and Johnson counties. The hearings will occur at 9:30 A.M. and 11:00 A.M. The appeals to be heard at the Courthouse will begin at 1:30 p.m. Those appeals are from Geary and Riley counties.

Judges Michael B. Buser, Tom Malone, and Karen Arnold-Burger will hear the cases. Judge Buser has been designated the presiding judge for the hearing.

Judge Buser said the four appeals demonstrate how the courts interpret and apply the law as adopted by our legislature and the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. "The constitutional rights we all share are tested daily in cases that appear on our docket throughout the year," Judge Buser said.

Attorneys for each side will have an opportunity to present argument to the judges, and the judges will have a chance to ask questions. The court will then take each of the cases under consideration and will issue a written decision at a later date, usually within 60 days.

After the hearings have been completed, the judges will be available to talk with students. These hearings are part of the Constitution Day observance at Cloud County Community College. Congress has directed by law that federally funded educational institutions host educational events about the United States Constitution on or about September 17 each year. The Constitution was signed by a majority of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention on September 17, 1787.


 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 10, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

Five persons have applied for a district magistrate judge vacancy in Mitchell County that created by the August 1retirement of Judge Bonnie Wilson.

Applicants include Debra Joy Gronewoller Wright, Raymore, MO; Kay Marie Strong Prather, Randall; Daniel T. Porterfield Runge, Hill City; Matthias W. Schroeder, Hunter; and Janet M. Thiessen, Sherwood, OR.

The 12th Judicial District Nominating Commission will convene at 9 a.m., September 18, 2012, in the Mitchell County Courthouse, Beloit, to interview the applicants and will select the judge following the interviews. The meeting will be open to the public; however, the commission has the authority to adjourn to executive session to discuss personal traits of the applicants.

The nominating commission includes Justice Nancy L. Moritz, Departmental Justice, as the nonvoting chair, and Dana Brewer, Concordia; Jerry L. Harrison, Beloit; Daniel D. Metz, Lincoln; Darrell E. Miller, Mankato; Douglas G. Simms, Belleville; Regine L. Thompson, Scandia; Carol K. Good, Barnard; Dwight L. Daniels, Beloit; Michael E. Johnson, Courtland; J. Bradley Lowell, Concordia; Steven G. Melby, Mankato; and Bruce E. Meyer, Palmer.


 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 6, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

The Supreme Court Nominating Commission is now accepting applications to fill a vacancy on the Kansas Court of Appeals that will be created by the January 2, 2013, retirement of longtime Judge Christel E. Marquardt, it was announced today.

Judge Marquardt, who has been a member of the Court of Appeals, since 1995, said in announcing her retirement that it has been an honor to serve on the Court. She said she has enjoyed working with attorneys and the public throughout the state as she traveled as a member of three-judge panels to hear appeals in every corner of the state as caseloads warranted. "This Court has truly accomplished one of the goals of having a traveling court—sending three-judge panels to locales where cases arose rather than having all the attorneys travel to Topeka for the hearings," she said. "We have saved our citizens both time and money by doing that," she added.

Among numerous awards, Judge Marquardt received an honorary doctor of law degree from Washburn University during this year's spring commencement ceremony. She also is a Washburn law school graduate. In addition to her judicial duties, she also served as the first woman president of the Kansas Bar Association in 1987-88.

Judge Marquardt has served on many committees of the American Bar Association, has been a member of its Board of Governors, has served in its House of Delegates since 1988, was State Delegate from 1995-99 and is currently serving as State Delegate. She is a past chair of the Washburn University of Topeka, Board of Regents and past chair of the Washburn University School of Law Board of Governors. She served on the Board of Governors of the Topeka Symphony and many other civic organizations.

Judge Marquardt has been a lecturer on legal issues for the American Bar Association, Kansas Bar Association, Kansas Trial Lawyers, Kansas Municipal Attorneys, Kentucky Bar, Louisiana Bar, Washburn University, Missouri Western University, Kansas Women Attorneys, The Menninger Foundation and a variety of civic organizations.

The Supreme Court Nominating Commission set noon, Friday, October 12, 2012, as the deadline to apply for the impending vacancy. Interviews will be conducted November 13 and 14th in the Fatzer Courtroom in the Judicial Center in Topeka. The applicant names and interview schedule will be posted on the court website in early November. The interviews will be open to the public. Nomination forms are available online at www.kscourts.org under "What's New" or from the office of the Clerk of Appellate Courts.

Members of the Nominating Commission include Anne Burke, chairman, Overland Park; and Kerry E. McQueen, Liberal; Dr. Janet A. Juhnke, Salina; Natalie G. Haag and Felita R. Kahrs, both of Topeka; Matthew D. Keenan, Leawood; Robert Hayworth, Stillwell; Jay F. Fowler, and Paul F. Babich, both of Wichita.


 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 27, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

A nominating commission charged with appointing a district magistrate judge in each of Harper and Kingman counties has issued a request for assistance from the public.

The nine-member commission is responsible for selecting a district magistrate judge to fill the vacancies which will be created by the retirements of District Magistrate Judges Richard Befort, Anthony; and James D. Mathis, Kingman.

"The nominating commission is especially interested in receiving recommendations from the general public.

A district magistrate judge is required to be a graduate of a high school or secondary school or the equivalent; to be a resident of the relevant county at the time of taking the oath of office and to maintain residency in the relevant county while holding such office; and to either be a lawyer admitted to practice law in Kansas or pass an examination given by the Supreme Court and become certified within 18 months.

Suggested appointees are requested to complete questionnaires for the position. The completed forms should be returned to Justice Carol A. Beier, departmental justice for the 30th Judicial District, no later than noon, October 4, 2012. The forms are available in the office of clerk of the district court in Barber, Harper, Kingman, Pratt, and Sumner counties.

The nominating commission will convene at 10 a.m., November 2, 2012, in the Kingman County Courthouse to interview the suggested appointees. The meeting will be open to the public; however, the commission has the authority to adjourn to executive session to discuss personal traits of the suggested appointees.

Notices of the vacancies are being mailed to every attorney in the 30th Judicial District by the chairman of the commission.

The nominating commission includes Justice Beier, as the nonvoting chair, and Robert R. Eisenhauer, Pratt; Alan C. Goering, Medicine Lodge; Elaine M. Esparza, Harper; Gordon B. Stull, Pratt; Lance S. Dixon, Kingman; Victor M. Elliott, Anthony; Howard K. Loomis, Pratt; and Richard L. Swayden, Medicine Lodge. The interviews will be presided over by Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss.


 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 21, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss announced today that the Kansas Supreme Court will start video streaming its oral arguments live on the Internet, beginning next Monday (August 27).

The Court will hear oral arguments daily as part of its August docket from 9 a.m. to noon Monday, August 27, through Friday August 31. At oral arguments, each side’s attorney makes a presentation to the Court and answers questions from the justices.  The video stream will be available via the Judicial Branch website at www.kscourts.org under the “Supreme Court Oral Arguments” heading.

“With this video stream, the Court will be even more open in its work.  Now everyone, regardless of their location, can observe the justices in session,” Chief Justice Nuss said.  “Next week’s docket provides an excellent example of the benefit this technology brings to our citizens because the appeals include the one involving the construction permit of the proposed Holcomb coal electricity generating plant,” the Chief Justice said.

The appeal involving the longstanding Holcomb plant controversy will be argued at 9 a.m. Friday, August 31, 2012.

Chief Justice Nuss said “the Court has a long history of seeking ways to make its work accessible to the public, beginning with allowing news cameras in the courtroom in 1981. We followed that by establishing one of the first state court websites in the country in 1996, and then by audio streaming oral arguments in 2004.

“In 2011 we took the historic step of hearing oral arguments at four locations beyond our Courtroom in Topeka. They included sessions at the Statehouse in Topeka, and in Salina, Greensburg, and Wichita. The sessions were well attended.  They helped us achieve our goal of showing Kansans who we are, what we do, and how we do it,” Chief Justice Nuss said.

“We think the video streamed Court sessions can also serve as educational opportunities for the state’s K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and our two law schools,” he added.

Kansas will become the 23rd state appellate court to offer a video stream of oral arguments, and one of only 13 that stream live. The Kansas Supreme Court will be video streamed live and later archived on the Judicial Branch website for later viewing.


 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 17, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

Twelve local attorneys have applied to fill a vacancy on the Shawnee County District Court that will be created by the August 31st retirement of Judge Daniel Mitchell.

Applying by Friday's deadline that was set by the 3rd Judicial District Nominating Commission were: Ardith Smith-Woertz, Duston J. Slinkard, Fred C. Patton, Mary E. Mattivi, Derenda J. Mitchell, Joe R. Little, Kimberly L. Knoll, Jason E. Geier, Lee J. Davidson, James E. "Jeb" Benfer, Brett W. Berry, and Athena E. Andaya.

The seven-member Nominating Commission is scheduled to conduct interviews of the applicants September 5, beginning at 10 a.m. The interviews are open to the public. Members of the Nominating Commission include: Justice Marla J. Luckert, non-voting Commission Chair, and members Lee R. Barnett, Terry E. Beck, Thomas G. Lemon, Toby L. McCullough, Joline C. Miller, and C. Patrick Woods.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 9, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

A nominating commission charged with appointing a district magistrate judge in Mitchell County has issued a request for assistance from the public.

The 13-member commission is responsible for selecting a district magistrate judge to fill the vacancy which was created when Judge Bonnie J. Wilson retired effective August 1.

“The nominating commission is especially interested in receiving recommendations from the general public.  All of the citizens of Mitchell County are requested to consider this matter and the names of suggested nominees submitted by the public will be welcomed by the commission,” according to Supreme Court Justice Nancy L. Moritz, departmental justice for the 12th Judicial District, which includes Mitchell County.

Kansas statutes require a district magistrate judge to be a graduate of a high school or secondary school or the equivalent; to be a resident of Mitchell County at the time of taking the oath of office and maintain residency in Mitchell County while holding such office; and to either be a lawyer admitted to practice law in Kansas or to pass an examination given by the Supreme Court and to become certified within 18 months.

Applicants are requested to complete an application for the position.  The completed forms should be returned to Daniel E. Miller, Commission Secretary, 208 N. Commercial, Mankato, KS  66956, no later than noon, September 3, 2012. The forms are available in the office of clerk of the district court in Mitchell, Cloud, Jewell, Lincoln, Republic and Washington Counties, as well as online at www.kscourts.org

The nominating commission will convene at 9 a.m., September 18, 2012, in the Mitchell County Courthouse, Beloit, to interview the suggested appointees.  The meeting will be open to the public; however, the commission has the authority to adjourn to executive session to discuss personal traits of the suggested appointees.
Notices of the vacancy are being mailed to every attorney in the 12th Judicial District by the chairman of the commission. 

The nominating commission includes Justice Moritz, as the nonvoting chair, and Dana Brewer, Concordia; Jerry L. Harrison, Beloit; Daniel D. Metz, Lincoln; Darrell E. Miller, Mankato; Douglas G. Simms, Belleville; Regine L. Thompson, Scandia; Carol K. Good, Barnard; Dwight L. Daniels, Beloit; Michael E. Johnson, Courtland; J. Bradley Lowell, Concordia; Steven G. Melby, Mankato; and Bruce E. Meyer, Palmer.


 

Hon. Daniel L. Mitchell
Judge Daniel L. Mitchell

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 13, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

Shawnee County District Judge Daniel L. Mitchell today announced his retirement effective August 31st.

Judge Mitchell was appointed to fill a vacancy in the juvenile division of the court in October 1985, and has served in that capacity continuously since then.  “I was fortunate enough to be appointed to the position open in the juvenile court, which is where I wanted to be from the beginning.  I have stayed in that position my entire judicial career by my choice because of the wonderful experience it provides to assist children in their time of need,” Mitchell said in announcing his decision to retire.

In addition to maintaining a busy docket of juvenile offender and child in need of care cases, Judge Mitchell has served on numerous committees and commissions in the state court system, including long-standing service on the Kansas Supreme Court’s Task Force on Permanency Planning, which was established in the 1980s to implement programs to end revolving door placement of foster children from one institution to another.

Judge Mitchell is a 1970 graduate of the College of Emporia and a 1972 graduate of the Washburn University School of Law.  He was in private practice in Topeka until his appointment to the juvenile court.

Judge Mitchell’s successor will be chosen by the governor from a list of three nominees made by the Third Judicial District Nomination Commission, a single-county district consisting of Shawnee County.

The seven member commission has set noon August 17, as the deadline for applicants to fill the vacancy that will be created by Judge Mitchell’s retirement.  Interviews of applicants will be conducted beginning at 10 a.m. September 5, 2012. The interviews are open to the public; however, the commission has the authority to adjourn to executive session to discuss personal traits of the applicants.

Kansas statutes require that a judge be a resident of the district in which selected, be at least 30 years of age, have been in the active practice of law for at least five years, and have been admitted to the practice of law in the state of Kansas.

Applicants for the position must complete questionnaires for the position on forms that are available online at www.kscourts.org or at the office of the Clerk of Shawnee County District Court.  Members of the Third Judicial District Nominating Commission include Supreme Court Justice Marla J. Luckert, as the non-voting chair, and members Lee R. Barnett, Wakarusa; Terry E. Beck, Thomas G. Lemon, Toby L. McCullough, Jolene C. Miller, and C. Patrick Woods, all of Topeka.

 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 29, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

The Kansas Court of Appeals today filed its decision in the following child custody proceeding, which generated much attention during the past legislative session:

Appeal No. 106,292: In The Matter of the Marriage of Jeffrey E. Hutchison and Karen L. Wray, f/k/a Karen L. Hutchison

The state Court of Appeals today ruled that due process, "one of the most sacred and essential constitutional guarantees" requires district courts to conduct an evidentiary hearing in making child custody decisions if the assigned case manager's recommendations "materially affects a parent's right" to the care and custody of his or her child and the facts are disputed by the parent.

The Court pointed to recommendations that change legal custody, residential custody, or significantly change parenting time as circumstances that warrant a hearing.

The decision came in an appeal from a Douglas County decision in a post-divorce order granting a change of residential custody of a child from the mother to the father that was based on the case manager's recommendation without granting a hearing to the mother, who strongly contested facts contained in the case manager's report.

Writing for the Court of Appeals three-member hearing panel, Judge Karen Arnold-Burger, said that "when the case manager's recommendations materially affect a parent's right to the care, custody, and control of a child and the case manager's report relies upon material facts that are either not supported by specific factual references or are specifically disputed by a parent, due process requires that the district court conduct an evidentiary hearing prior to ruling on the recommendations."

Judge Arnold-Burger noted that although today's decision "may result in having busier dockets, the information received at such a hearing will aid the courts in deciding whether the case manager's recommendations are in the best interest of the child and insure that due process, one of the most sacred and essential constitutional guarantees, is provided to the parties."

Also participating in the decision and opinion drafting in the case were Chief Judge Richard Greene, and Judge Melissa Standridge. The full text of this decision is attached.

 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 19, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

The names of three attorneys were submitted to Gov. Sam Brownback Tuesday as nominees to fill a judge vacancy in the 21st Judicial District, a two-county district consisting of Clay and Riley counties.They include John F. Bosch, Clay Center; and Kendra S.  Lewison and Grant Bannister, both of Manhattan.

Applicants for the vacancy, which was created by the retirement of Judge Paul E. Miller, were conducted in Manhattan Monday by the 21st Judicial District Nominating Commission.  former Chief Judge Miller retired effective June 8th.

Lewison has been an assistant Riley County Attorney since March 2010 and before that was of counsel in the law office of Shook, Hardy & Bacon, LLP, Kansas City.  She received her law degree from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1995, and her undergraduate degree from Kansas State University in 1992.

Bannister has been in private practice in the firm of Knopp & Bannister, PA, in Manhattan, since 1997, when he graduated from the KU law school.  He received his undergraduate degree from Fort Hays State University where he graduated Magna Cum Laude.

Bosch has practiced law in Clay Center either as a solo practitioner or with a partner since 1986. He also served as Clay County Attorney from 1983 to 1991.  He is a 1981 graduate of the KU law school and received his Bachelor of Science degree from Kansas State University in 1978.

The governor will have 30 days in which to make an appointment.

 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 12, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

Eight Manhattan area attorneys will be interviewed June 18 as nominees to fill a vacancy in the 21st Judicial District that was created by the retirement of Judge Paul E. Miller, Manhattan.

Scheduled for interviews are Grant D. Bannister, a partner in the firm of Knopp & Bannister, P.A., Manhattan; Amy J. Bipes, a legal assistance attorney in the Office of Staff Judge Advicate, Fort Riley; John F. Bosch, a Clay Center attorney in solo practice; Sheila P. Hochhauser, Manhattan, a District Magistrate Judge; Kendra S. Lewison, Assistant County Attorney in the Riley County Attorney’s office; William M. Malcolm, Clay Center, a District Magistrate Judge; Kassie L. McEntire, Manhattan city prosecutor; and Phylemon Chuen-Man Yau, Assistant Public Defender, Manhattan.

The interviews will be conducted beginning at 9 a.m., June 18, in Room 301 of the Riley County Courthouse. The public is invited to submit written comments regarding the applicants to any member of the 21st Judicial District Nominating Commission.

Members of the Nominating Commission include Barry A. Clark, James W. Morrison, Derrick L. Roberson, Richard H. Seaton Jr., and Johanna D. Lyle, all of Manhattan; Kyle C. Bauer and Steven C. McMahan, both of Clay Center; and Steven L. Hargave, Randolph. Departmental Justice Marla J. Luckert is the non-voting chair of the Commission.

 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 11, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

Three persons have been nominated to fill a vacancy on the Shawnee County District Court that has been created by the retirement of Judge Charles Andrews. Supreme Court Departmental Justice Marla J. Luckert said the names of Jason E. Geier, senior assistant Shawnee County District Attorney; Mary E. Mattivi, who serves as judge pro tem in Shawnee County District Court and Topeka Municipal Court, as well as a prosecutor for the City of Maple Hill; and Carl William ?Bill? Ossmann, chief litigation attorney for the State Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, will be submitted to Gov. Sam Brownback on Tuesday. The governor will have 30 days in which to select one of the three.

The nominees were interviewed throughout the day today by the 3rd Judicial District Nominating Commission, which narrowed the list of applicants for the job from 11 to three.

 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 24, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

Eleven Topeka area attorneys submitted applications Thursday to fill a vacancy on the Shawnee County District Court created by the retirement of Judge Charles Andrews.

Submitting applications were: Athena Andaya, a deputy state attorney general; Bradley R. Burke, chief legal counsel for the Juvenile Justice Authority; Lee J. Davidson, an assistant attorney general; Jason E. Geier, senior assistant Shawnee County district attorney; Kimberly L. Knoll, a deputy attorney disciplinary administrator; and Joe R. Little, a sole practitioner in Topeka.

Mary E. Mattivi, who serves as judge pro tem in Shawnee County District Court and Topeka Municipal Court, as well as a prosecutor for the City of Maple Hill; Derenda Mitchell, an assistant attorney general; Carl William "Bill" Ossmann, chief litigation attorney for the state Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services; Fred C. Patton, a Topeka attorney in private practice; and Duston J. Slinkard, an assistant attorney general assigned to work as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney.

The Third Judicial District Nomination Commission will interview the applicants June 11, beginning at 9 a.m. in the Shawnee County Courthouse. The Nominating Commission will narrow the list to two or three names, which then will be submitted to the governor for appointment. The governor will have 30 days in which to make the appointment. The newly appointed judge will then be on the next general election ballot after having served a year in office for a yes or no vote on whether he or she should be retained for another term.

 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 21, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

Statewide Court Closures Scheduled This Week and June Cancelled

Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss said today that the four remaining days of statewide court closures and court employees' unpaid furloughs have been cancelled, including two days that were scheduled this Thursday and Friday. Two additional statewide court shutdowns were scheduled for June 7-8.

The Chief Justice made the announcement after the Legislature's Sunday night appropriation of enough funding to keep the courtroom doors open for the balance of the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. The $1.1 million in supplemental funding has been rolled into the legislative appropriation bill for FY 2013, which begins July 1. Courts previously were closed statewide and court employees sent home without pay on April 13 after no action was taken on the supplemental funding request before the Legislature adjourned for its annual April break.

Chief Justice Nuss said he advised court employees of the cancelled furlough days in a letter that was sent today and that he will enter a formal order cancelling court closings later this week. He informed the employees that he cancelled on the basis of last night's passage of the appropriation bill. He said he and the other justices of the Supreme Court wanted to advise the employees of the development as soon as possible. "But my colleagues and I wanted you to receive this message as soon as possible. While technically the funds are not assured until Governor Brownback signs the budget bill, I am confident a bill will be signed," Chief Justice Nuss said. He also said the Judicial Branch owed the citizens of Kansas notice of their courts' reopening as soon as possible.

Approximately, 1,590 state court employees and potentially many other Kansans are affected by today's decision cancelling the court closures in 105 counties. Chief Justice Nuss asked Kansans not to expect that trials and hearings previously scheduled for Thursday and Friday, and then cancelled for lack of funds, can now all be held on those days. He said that the required presence of many lawsuit participants such as witnesses, lawyers, parties, and potential jurors make it difficult to conduct them on such short notice. He repeated that the Kansas Judicial Branch "is like an aircraft carrier underway in the open sea, not like a bass boat on a Kansas fishing lake" and cannot be turned quickly. The chief justice stated that the last few months have been extremely challenging for the entire Judicial Branch of Government, as well as for Kansans accessing their justice system.

 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 09, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

Thirty-one attorneys residing in Johnson County have applied for the two current judicial openings in Johnson County. The openings are due to the retirements of Judge Allen Slater and Judge Peter Ruddick. The applicants are:

Jason Billam, Olathe; Jon Blongewicz, Overland Park; Christi Bright, Overland Park; Paul Burmaster, Overland Park; Robert Caldwell, Overland Park; Henry Cox, Shawnee; Veronica L. Dersch, Stillwell; Christina Dunn, Leawood; Hon. Michael Farley, Olathe; Stephanie Goodnow, Lenexa; Hon. Renee Gurney, Leawood; Michael P. Joyce, Leawood; Corey Kenney, Olathe; Timothy McCarthy, Overland Park; Laura McConwell, Mission; Michael McCulloch, Olathe; Tiffany McFarland, Olathe; Matthew Miller, Leawood; Clayton Norkey, Overland Park; Keven O'Grady, Prairie Village; Hon. James Phelan, Overland Park; Jacquelyn Rokusek, Olathe; Robert Scott, Lenexa; Michelle Suter, Overland Park; Dayna Terrell, Kansas City; Jean Ann Uvodich, Overland Park; Jennifer Vath, Overland Park; Hon. Daniel Vokins, Olathe and Brenda Watkins, Olathe; Lisa Wetzler, Prairie Village; Andrew Wimmer, Overland Park.

The 10th Judicial District Judicial Nominating Commission is made up of 14 members. Seven are attorneys elected by the Kansas licensed attorneys residing in the district, and 7 are non-lawyers appointed by the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners. The Nominating Commission welcomes and encourages public input into this important process. Comments can be submitted in writing to the Commission Secretary, Hon. Karen Arnold-Burger, 301 SW 10th Ave, Topeka, KS 66612, faxed to (785) 296-7079 or emailed to arnold-burgerk@kscourts.org. All comments will be forwarded to all members of the Commission. Find out more information about the Commission by visiting its website at: www.jocojnc.org

Future Meeting Dates

ALL MEETINGS ARE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, WITH AN OPPORTUNITY PROVIDED FOR PUBLIC COMMENT

June 6, 2012 Meeting to Review Applications 2:00 p.m. at the Johnson County Courthouse, Room 337, 100 N. Kansas Ave., Olathe, KS. Public comment will be accepted at 2:15 p.m.

June 28, 2012 Meeting to Interview Applicants 8:00 a.m. at the Johnson County Courthouse, Room 310, 100 N. Kansas Ave., Olathe, KS Public comment will be accepted at 8:05 a.m. and at 3:00 p.m.

 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 25, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

The names of three southeast Kansas attorneys were submitted to Gov. Sam Brownback today as nominees to fill a vacancy on the Crawford County District Court that was created by the April 2 retirement of District Judge Donald R. Noland.

Nominated were David S. Brake, who has been in private practice in Chanute since 1984; Lori A. Bolton Fleming, a Pittsburg attorney since 2001; and David K. Markham, Parsons, who has been admitted to practice since 1977.

The three were chosen as nominees following interviews conducted Tuesday by the 11th Judicial District Nominating Commission of a total of nine applicants for the judgeship. Other applicants include Steven W. Wilhoft, Parsons; Randel L. Messner and John G. Mazurek, both of Pittsburg; Kathleen M. Cerne, Frontenac; Frederick R. Smith, Farlington; and Darian P. Dernovish, Lawrence.

The 11th District judicial nominating commission includes Justice Lee A. Johnson, as the nonvoting chair, and Sara S. Beezley, Girard; Hon. Oliver K. Lynch, Columbus; Richard G. Tucker, Parsons; James K. Cook, Parsons; John W. Lehman, Girard; and Charles W. Sweeton, Baxter Springs.

 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 23, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

The Kansas Supreme Court today postponed two of the remaining four days scheduled for furloughs of court employees and the closing of Kansas courts.

The statewide closing of all district and appellate courts set for Friday, April 27, is postponed until Thursday, May 24; while the closing set for Friday, May 11, is postponed until Thursday, June 7. The scheduled furlough days of Friday, May 25, and Friday, June 8, remain unchanged.

"In reliance upon last Friday's House Appropriations Committee assurances to fund the courts, we are agreeing to postpone two days of court closures," said Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss. "Waiting until May 24 should give the legislature more than enough time to make good on the House committee's stated intentions.

"As I explained on April 4 when the furloughs were first announced, the Supreme Court simply had no choice but to order a reduction in court operations because we don't have enough money for the courts to stay open through the end of our current fiscal year," Chief Justice Nuss continued. "The failure of the legislature in late March to approve our supplemental appropriation for reasons unrelated to the Court's budget left us with the unacceptable prospect of concentrating employee furloughs within a shorter number of pay periods if the appropriation failed for some reason after the legislature returned. We had no assurance at that time that our budget would not fall victim to the same impasses that created the legislature's inaction in March.

"But things changed last Friday when we received the assurances that give us enough confidence to change the furlough schedule," Chief Justice Nuss explained. "Most telling to me was the message repeated by Rep. Marc Rhoades. He is not only chair of the House appropriations committee, but also chair of the House's budget conference committee. His comments, plus those of his fellow appropriations committee members, that the legislature will fund the courts were significant to the Supreme Court."

Chief Justice Nuss made it clear this postponement is not without problems. Changing furlough dates means that any court business that may have been originally scheduled for May 24 and June 7 in 105 counties will now have to be rescheduled. This affects not just court personnel and judges but also witnesses, court litigants, their attorneys, and Kansans called for jury duty.

"Changing the direction of the court system is not like turning a bass boat, while fishing on a Kansas lake," Chief Justice Nuss said. "It is more like trying to turn an aircraft carrier underway at sea." Also, reopening the originally scheduled court closures on April 27 and May 11 may not allow previously canceled hearings to be held then. But reopening does allow the offices of the clerks of the courts to be available to the public. Finally, postponement risks employees losing two furlough days per pay period, which reduces employees' paychecks by about 20 percent, if the supplemental appropriation fails to be passed.

The Chief Justice concluded by repeating the message from his April 4 news conference. "The Supreme Court is not interested in pointing fingers. We are interested in trying to help fix this mess. Today's decision is our effort to help fix it."

 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 23, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

A nominating commission charged with filling a Shawnee County District Court vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Charles Andrews has set May 24th as the deadline for applying for it.

The seven-member commission is responsible for submitting the names of two or three nominees to the Governor for the vacancy which was created when Judge Andrews retired effective March 30th.

"The nominating commission is especially interested in receiving recommendations of suggested nominees to fill the vacancy from the general public. All of the citizens of the 3rd Judicial District are requested to consider this matter and the names of suggested nominees submitted by the general public will be welcomed by the commission," according to Supreme Court Justice Marla J. Luckert, departmental justice for the 3rd Judicial District.

Kansas statutes require that a judge be a resident of the district in which selected, be at least 30 years of age, have been in the active practice of law for at least five years, and have been admitted to the practice of law within the State of Kansas.

Suggested nominees are requested to complete questionnaires for the position. The completed forms should be returned to Justice Luckert, Kansas Supreme Court, 301 SW 10th Avenue, Topeka, KS 66612, no later than noon, May 24, 2012. The forms are available in the office of the clerk of the district court in Topeka and online at www.kscourts.org.

The nominating commission will convene at 9:00 a.m. June 11, 2012, in the Shawnee County Courthouse to interview the suggested nominees. The meeting will be open to the public; however, the commission has the authority to adjourn to executive session to discuss personal traits of the suggested nominees.

The law requires that the commission submit at least two names, but not more than three, to the Governor who may appoint any of the suggested nominees.

Notices of the vacancy are being mailed to every attorney in this judicial district by the chair of the commission.

The 3rd District judicial nominating commission includes Justice Luckert, as the nonvoting chair, and Lee R. Barnett, Wakarusa; Toby L. McCullough, Rossville; Terry E. Beck, Thomas G. Lemon, Jolene C. Miller, and C. Patrick Woods of Topeka.

 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 23, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

A nominating commission charged with naming candidates to fill a district judge vacancy in the 21st Judicial District has issued a request for assistance from the public.

The 21st Judicial District includes Clay and Riley counties.

The nine-member commission is responsible for submitting the names of two or three nominees to the Governor for the vacancy which was created by the retirement of Judge Paul E. Miller, Manhattan, who is retiring June 8, 2012.

Kansas statutes require that a judge be a resident of the district in which selected, be at least 30 years of age, have been in the active practice of law for at least five years, and have been admitted to the practice of law within the State of Kansas.

Suggested nominees are requested to complete questionnaires for the position. The completed forms should be returned to Barry A. Clark, Clark and Kellstrom, Chtd., 417 Poyntz Avenue, Manhattan, KS 66502, no later than noon, June 1, 2012. The forms are available in the office of the clerk of the district court in each of the counties in the district and online at www.kscourts.org.

The nominating commission will convene at 9:00 a.m. June 18, 2012, in the Riley County Courthouse to interview the applicants. The meeting will be open to the public; however, the commission has the authority to adjourn to executive session to discuss personal traits of the suggested nominees.

The law requires that the commission submit at least two names, but not more than three, to the Governor who may appoint any of the suggested nominees.

Notices have been mailed to every attorney in this judicial district by the chair of the commission.

The 21st district judicial nominating commission includes Justice Luckert, as the nonvoting chair, and Barry A. Clark, James W. Morrison, Derrick L. Roberson, Richard H. Seaton, Jr., Johanna D. Lyle, Manhattan; Kyle C. Bauer, Steven C. McMahan, Clay Center; and Steven L. Hargrave, Randolph.

 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 9, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

The Kansas Supreme Court today released its administrative order closing all state courts and sending 1,500 Judicial Branch employees home without pay as a result of a budget shortfall.

The Supreme Court's decision to close courts and furlough employees was announced by Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss at a news conference last Wednesday. The next day the Court sent the administrative order to all chief judges and court managers in the state's 31 judicial districts. That order is being released and posted on the Judicial Branch website today for the public's information.

The state courts have been ordered to be closed this Friday, April 13, and April 27, May 11 and 25, and June 8, 2012.

The decision to close the courts was announced after the Legislature adjourned on March 30th without addressing the court system's request for $1.4 million in supplemental funding, leaving 5 court workdays unfunded. As a result, all employees paid though the Kansas Judicial Branch except justices and judges will be on involuntary unpaid leave on the closure dates. Justices and judges are exempted from the furloughs because of a constitutional provision that states their salaries may not be reduced unless the salaries of all state officers also are reduced. So they will be working in their offices on those days.

The Supreme Court order sets out the limited "critical functions" that can be undertaken by judges for Kansans during the 5 furlough days, including such things as:

  • Criminal matters that are time and date sensitive, such as issuance of arrest warrants, conducting first appearances for criminal defendants, issuing search warrants and wire taps, and similar situations requiring immediate attention;
  • Child in need of care and juvenile offender proceedings that likewise are time sensitive, such as juvenile detention and temporary custody hearings;
  • Emergency orders in protection from abuse and protection from stalking, as well as orders for probable cause hearings regarding the commitment of sexually violent predators, and mental illness proceedings.

Judges are being directed that all other court matters, including things ranging from obtaining a marriage license to filing civil cases regardless of the amount being sought, may not be handled during the closures.

Beyond the list of critical functions that judges are authorized to undertake, the order directs the district courts to notify the public, attorneys, law enforcement agencies and other court users of the closures, including via the news media and court websites.

 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 6, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

Appeal No. 104,761: Downtown Bar and Grill, LLC v. State of Kansas

The Supreme Court today reversed a lower court decision temporarily blocking the state from enforcing a statute that exempts certain private liquor-serving clubs from a statewide ban on indoor smoking.

The decision reverses a Shawnee County District Court decision granting the Downtown Bar and Grill, a Class B club in Tonganoxie, a temporary injunction in a suit challenging the constitutionality of the statewide smoking ban as violations of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and Section 1 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights.

The lawsuit alleges the ban is unconstitutional because the Kansas Indoor Clean Air Act, which was passed in 2010, exempts Class B clubs that were already licensed on January 1, 2009, but not those obtaining a Class B license after that cut-off or grandfathering date.

The Downtown Bar and Grill was licensed as a drinking establishment but was not licensed as a Class B club until May 4, 2009, or approximately four months after the cut-off date. The state contends the cut-off date was set by the legislature to prevent mere drinking establishments from circumventing the smoking ban by changing their liquor license to Class B status during the pendency of the Act's passage by the legislature.

Writing for a unanimous Court, Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss reversed and remanded the case to the district court "because Downtown Bar is unable to establish an element essential to issuance of a temporary injunction: a substantial likelihood of eventual success on the merits."

He said Downtown Bar presented the issue before the Supreme Court as simply whether it was denied equal protection of the law because the Act's January 1, 2009, cut-off date had no rational basis connected to a legislative purpose. Downtown Bar does not challenge the objective of the Act, which was for the State to promote its interest in the health and safety of its citizens by reducing exposure to second-hand smoke. "Nor does it challenge the fact of grandfathering," Chief Justice Nuss wrote. He said the district court ruled that the cut-off date was wholly arbitrary "because this particular date, other than by its existence, finds no rational basis for its selection."

The January 1, 2009, date was first set in a smoking ban bill that was introduced, but not adopted, in the 2009 legislative session. The bill was resurrected in the 2010 session and passed, thus, prompting the district court's decision that the date was not deliberately "selected" by the 2010 legislature.

Chief Justice Nuss said the Supreme Court disagreed that the 2009 cut-off date "stopped being rational merely because it was not independently—or deliberately—'selected' by the 2010 legislature. If the 2009 legislature conceivably chose the January 1, 2009, date as a cut-off—which would eliminate any incentive [for a mere 'drinking establishment'] to rush to Class B club status during the pendency of the 2009 legislation—then it is exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to conclude that the 2010 legislature could not conceivably have retained that same cut-off date for the same reason during its own session."

Because Downtown Bar failed to meet its obligation to prove there was not any conceivable rational basis for the 2009 date, the case was reversed and remanded for further proceedings.

 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 4, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

The Kansas Supreme Court today announced dates for scheduled furloughs of court employees and the closing of Kansas courts. Statewide closings of all district and appellate courts are set for April 13 and 27th, May 11 and 25th, and June 8th.

The scheduled court closings are necessary because of the legislature's failure last week to approve a $1.4 million supplemental appropriation for the judicial branch that had been agreed to earlier by House and Senate negotiators. That funding was held up due to an impasse over other unrelated issues included in the same appropriation measure.

"This impasse creates an operational dilemma for the state court system because without the supplemental appropriation, we do not have enough money to make our payroll through the end of the fiscal year. And as of today, we have no assurance we will have that appropriation to operate through the end of this fiscal year," explained Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss.

In a letter Chief Justice Nuss sent to key legislators in February, he advised them that action on the supplemental appropriation would be required no later than March 31 to avoid employee furloughs and court closures. This date was picked because it allowed the judicial branch to spread out the furlough days required to make up the missing funds over the remaining pay periods in the fiscal year. To delay longer would require the judicial branch to concentrate furloughs over a shorter number of pay periods, if the supplemental appropriation failed for some reason after the legislature returns in late April. Having more than one furlough day per pay period would mean payroll losses would be greater and more difficult for 1,500 employees to manage. A one-day furlough each pay period reduces an employee's paycheck by about 10 percent.

"The Supreme Court simply believes it has no real choice but to act now, rather than face the uncertainties of what may happen when the legislature returns," Chief Justice Nuss continued. "If we gamble on getting the supplemental appropriation when the legislature returns, but something arises that prevents it, then the impact on our employees is more severe over the time that is left. We will rescind the remaining furlough days if the supplemental appropriation is approved."

The need for a supplemental appropriation was made known to the legislature in January when the judicial branch advised it had more than a $1 million shortfall in its current FY 2012 budget. The shortfall occurred because a portion of the judicial branch budget comes from case filing fees, and case filings were down during the first half of the fiscal year. This drop in case filings caused a loss of revenue.

The judicial branch budget is primarily made up of wages and salaries because most other judicial operations are paid by counties. The shortfall equates to about 5days of court operations for employee wages and salaries. There are about 1,500 judicial employees affected by the furlough order because salaries of judges cannot be lowered under the Kansas Constitution unless all state officers' salaries are reduced. Judges will be working in their offices on those days.

"The judicial branch does not have financial reserves to access" Chief Justice Nuss explained, "because for the past few years the legislature has specified that the court system must operate only with the bare minimum appropriation needed to keep our courts open, while maintaining at least 80 unfilled job vacancies from previous staff levels. Since almost all of the court budget is for salaries, we do not have the flexibility other governmental entities have to postpone other expenditures to manage cash flow."

"I also want to address the suggestion by some that the judicial branch has other funds it can access to make up shortfalls in operational cash flow," the Chief Justice continued. "This is simply not the case. The Bar Discipline Fee Fund, which is most commonly mentioned, is comprised of attorney registration fees paid annually by Kansas attorneys. That money is limited to paying for attorney discipline activities, a client protection fund that reimburses clients for losses caused by dishonest conduct of Kansas attorneys, and the Kansas lawyer assistance program. It is not available for ongoing judicial branch operations. And the funds in the judicial branch budget that are not used for payroll are limited by state law to other purposes. For example, the Judicial Branch Education Fund, which is money obtained from case filing fees, carries a statutory limitation that must be changed by the legislature before the money could be used for judicial branch wages and salaries. That statutory change was part of the supplemental appropriation that is stalled in the legislature."

"I know that legislators have been under pressure in the last few years due to economic conditions. But I hope they act quickly to fund the judicial branch of our government," the chief justice said.

 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 2, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

Nine attorneys applied to fill a district judge vacancy created by the retirement of District Judge Donald R. Noland by Monday's deadline set by the district's Judicial Nominating Commission.

Applicants include David S. Brake, Girard; David K. Markham and Steven W. Wilhoft, both of Parsons; Lori A. Bolton Fleming, Randel L. Messner, and John G. Mazurek, all of Pittsburg; Kathleen M. Cerne, Frontenac; Frederick R. Smith, Farlington; and Darian P. Dernovish, Lawrence.

Interviews are scheduled for April 24 in the Crawford County Judicial Center, Pittsburg.

The seven-member nominating commission is responsible for submitting the names of two or three nominees to the Governor for the vacancy which was created by the April 2nd retirement of Crawford County District Judge Donald R. Noland. The law requires that the commission submit at least two names, but not more than three, to the Governor who may appoint any of the suggested nominees.

The 11th District judicial nominating commission includes Justice Lee A. Johnson, as the nonvoting chair, and Sara S. Beezley, Girard; Hon. Oliver K. Lynch, Columbus; Richard G. Tucker, Parsons; James K. Cook, Parsons; John W. Lehman, Girard; and Charles W. Sweeton, Baxter Springs.

 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 22, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

A nominating commission charged with naming candidates to fill a district magistrate judge vacancy in Dickinson County has issued a request for assistance from the public.

The nine-member commission is responsible for selecting a district magistrate judge to fill the vacancy which will be created upon the retirement of District Magistrate Judge John E. Barker effective April 16.

"The nominating commission is especially interested in receiving recommendations from the general public. All of the citizens of Dickinson County are requested to consider this matter and the names of suggested nominees submitted by the public will be welcomed by the commission," according to Supreme Court Justice Marla J. Luckert, departmental justice for the 8th Judicial District.

Kansas statutes require that a district magistrate judge be a resident of the county in which appointed, be a graduate of a high school or its equivalent, and if not regularly admitted to practice law in Kansas, be certified by the Supreme Court as qualified to serve in the job.

Suggested nominees are requested to complete questionnaires for the position. The completed forms should be returned to Victor A. davis, Jr., Weary, Davis LC, 819 N. Washington, P.O. Box 187, Junction City, KS 66441, no later than noon, April 13, 2012. The forms are available in the office of clerk of the district court of Dickinson County and online under "What's New" at www.kscourts.org.

The nominating commission will convene at 9 a.m., April 20, in the Dickinson County Courthouse, Abilene, to interview the suggested appointees. The meeting will be open to the public; however, the commission has the authority to adjourn to executive session to discuss personal traits of the suggested appointees.

Notices of the vacancy have been mailed to every attorney in the 8th Judicial District by the chair of the commission. Dickinson County is one of the four counties in the 8th Judicial District, which also includes Geary, Marion, and Morris Counties.

The nominating commission includes Justice Luckert, as the nonvoting chair, and Darrel W. Bryant, Council Grove; Victor A. Davis, Jr., Junction City; Douglas G. Thompson, Chapman; Edwin M. Wheeler, Jr., Marion; Kevin R. Fruechting, Marion; Carolyn L. Gaston, Milford; Kevin O. Harris, Abilene; and Darrell L. Miller, Dwight.

 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 9, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

A nominating commission charged with naming candidates to fill a district judge vacancy on the 11th Judicial District has issued a request for assistance from the public.

The 11th Judicial District includes Cherokee, Crawford, and Labette Counties.

The seven-member commission is responsible for submitting the names of two or three nominees to the Governor for the vacancy which will be created upon the April 2nd retirement of Crawford County District Judge Donald R. Noland.

"The nominating commission is especially interested in receiving recommendations of suggested nominees to fill the vacancy from the general public. All of the citizens of the 11th Judicial District are requested to consider this matter and the names of suggested nominees submitted by the general public will be welcomed by the commission," according to Justice Lee A. Johnson, departmental justice.

Kansas statutes require that a judge be a resident of the district in which selected, be at least 30 years of age, have been in the active practice of law for at least five years, and have been admitted to the practice of law within the State of Kansas.

Suggested nominees are requested to complete questionnaires for the position. The completed forms should be returned to Justice Lee A. Johnson, Kansas Supreme Court, 301 SW 10th Avenue, Room 388, Topeka, KS 66612, no later than noon, April 2, 2012. The forms are available in each of the offices of the clerk of the district court in the 11th Judicial District, or online at www.kscourts.org.

No date for interviews by the nominating commission has been set.

The law requires that the commission submit at least two names, but not more than three, to the Governor who may appoint any of the suggested nominees.

Notification of the vacancy have been mailed to every attorney in this judicial district by the chairman of the commission.

The 11th District judicial nominating commission includes Justice Johnson, as the nonvoting chair, and Sara S. Beezley, Girard; Hon. Oliver K. Lynch, Columbus; Richard G. Tucker, Parsons; James K. Cook, Parsons; John W. Lehman, Girard; and Charles W. Sweeton, Baxter Springs.

 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 2, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

The names of two attorneys were sent to Governor Sam Brownback today as nominees to fill a vacancy on the 30th Judicial District Court that was created by the January 3 retirement of Hon. Robert J. Schmisseur, Pratt.

Nominated were Candace R. Lattin, Iuka, and Francis E. Meisenheimer, Kingman. The governor will have 30 days in which to make the appointment. After that, the new judge will be on the next general election ballot after serving in office for one year for a vote on whether he or she should be retained for a four-year term. The nominations were delivered to the governor Thursday afternoon following interviews by the 30th Judicial Nominating Commission that were conducted in Pratt Thursday morning.

The 30th Judicial District includes Kingman, Barber, Harper, Sumner, and Pratt counties.

Lattin received her law degree from the Washburn University School of Law, a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Wichita State University, and an Associate of Science degree from Pratt Community Junior College.

She began her legal career in 1985 when she opened a private practice in Stafford. Since then, in addition to private practice, she has served as the Kiowa County Attorney, Pratt City Public Defender, Pratt County Public Defender, and served as municipal judge of Pawnee Rock before that position was discontinued in 2007.

Meisenheimer received his law degree from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1980, and his undergraduate degree with a B.S. in Business Administration from Kansas State University in 1977.

The current municipal judge for the City of Kingman, Meisenheimer also has been in private practice since 1986 following a six-year stint as an assistant Reno County Attorney. In addition to private practice, he is the school board attorney for West Kingman County USD No. 332, and Kingman County Counselor.

 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 13, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss will deliver his second State of the Judiciary message to a joint session of the Legislature at 5 p.m., Wednesday, January 18, in the House Chamber.

Chief Justice Nuss said although he isn't disclosing topics of the speech, it will be an important message, given the dire financial straits of the Kansas court system in recent years. He was appointed to the Supreme Court by Governor Bill Graves in August 2002, becoming the first Court member in more than 20 years to move directly from the practice of law to the bench. He became Chief Justice in August 2010.

The first year a Chief Justice addressed a joint session of the Legislature was 1972, when the late Chief Justice Harold R. Fatzer delivered a State of Judiciary message. His speech focused on the need for an impartial judiciary that is separate but co-equal to the other branches of government as the Legislature sought new quarters for the Supreme Court due to overcrowding in the Statehouse.

 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 9, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

The Supreme Court today began its consideration of a much-anticipated report by the Court-appointed Blue Ribbon Commission, which has spent the past year reviewing all facets of the state courts' operations.

Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss said the Blue Ribbon Commission report was presented to the Supreme Court last week, but he said it will not be released publicly until the justices have had a chance to thoroughly study it and discuss its recommendations. He said the report will be released in its entirety later this month.

The Chief Justice said the Commission's comprehensive review of court operations included the first–ever "weighted caseload study" of Kansas courts, as well as recommendations and comments made at 19 public meetings that were conducted across the state during the past year.

"We want to make a public release of the report as soon as the Court can review it in a careful and thoughtful way," Chief Justice Nuss said Monday. He said judges and court employees were advised that the Court received the report in a letter he sent statewide last Friday afternoon.

"In short, I told the judges and employees on Friday that the Court needs to move quickly, but intelligently, in arriving at decisions based on the Blue Ribbon Commission report and the findings contained in the weighted caseload study," Chief Justice Nuss said. He added that some of the Commission recommendations, if adopted by the Court, could require legislative action during the current session, which also began today.

Judiciary employees were advised that the Blue Ribbon Commission Report was presented to the Supreme Court earlier last week by Court of Appeals Judge Patrick D. McAnany, chair of the 25-member Blue Ribbon Commission. The report and the weighted caseload study are the two main components of what the Chief Justice has referred to as Project Pegasus, which he named after the mythological winged horse that became the constellation of the same name. He said he selected a neutral name to avoid designating the project as court reform, re-engineering, restructuring or other terms that would seem to signal a planned result.

"We always have said that the Court has no preconceived ideas of what this study will show during this historic review of court operations," Chief Justice Nuss said.

(Attached is a copy of the Chief Justice's letter to all court personnel that was sent Friday.)

 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 6, 2012

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

The state Supreme Court has adopted new child support payment schedules as a result of a federally mandated review of guidelines for the amounts of money to be ordered for child support, it was announced today. The new rates are effective April 1.

The Office of Judicial Administration emphasized in a statement released today that the revised guidelines do not automatically change any existing child support order. Rather, parents with existing orders will not be affected unless they return to court and a judge modifies it.

All states are required to review the rules governing how child support is established at least every four years. In Kansas, the Supreme Court has the obligation. To accomplish it, the Court appoints an advisory committee to review the economic basis of the guidelines and how often adjustments or deviations requested by one or both parents are approved by judges. The advisory committee consults with an economist, who reviews data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture showing trends in how parents spend money on children. The committee then makes recommendations to the Supreme Court.

The committee advised the Court that parents are spending more on children than they were four years ago. In fact, the amount of money parents spent over the past four years on younger children—aged birth to 11—has increased at a higher rate than spending on children 12 - 17 years of age. As a result, the percentage increase for children in the older age group has increased approximately 3 percent, while the percentage increase for children in the younger age group ranges from 9 to 12 percent.

For example, a divorced couple with one 15-year-old child and a combined annual income of $74,400 will share an increase of $33 a month, a 3 percent increase over their current obligation. If one parent earns 60 percent of the total monthly income, his or her share of the increase will be approximately $20 a month more than his current obligation.

If the same couple has one child who is 3 years old, they would share a combined 9 percent increase in their child support obligation, or $65 a month.

However, no one will see any will see any increase in their child support obligation without a hearing before a judge.

Although most of the Kansas Child Support Guidelines have not changed, there are other significant changes. One change, related to the overall increase in the child support, is new instructions giving judges the authority to consider the high cost of extraordinary expenses such as private education or premier sports. The number of families sending children to private education or enrolling the child in a high cost extracurricular activity has increased over the past 4 to 8 years. This new instruction is an effort to better balance those costs between the parents.

The current Kansas Child Support Guideline and the revised guidelines effective April 1, 2012, can be found on the Kansas Judicial Branch web site at www.kscourts.org.