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Topeka Kansas 66612-1507

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Telephone:
 785.296.2256
Fax:  785.296.7076
Email: info@kscourts.org

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Telephone:
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Fax:  785.296.1028
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News Releases

07/25/14: Supreme Court issues opinions in Carr cases
07/24/14: Supreme Court justice applicants to be interviewed August 4 and 5
07/23/14: Four apply for magistrate judge vacancy in 6th Judicial District
07/21/14: Nominating commission seeks candidates for judge vacancy in 7th Judicial District
07/18/14: Chief Justice Nuss commends judicial branch court services officers
07/16/14: Kansas Supreme Court appoints four to Judicial Qualifications Commission
07/10/14: Fourteen apply for Supreme Court vacancy
07/09/14: Wyandotte County judge recognized for leadership, innovation
07/03/14: Kansas District Judge Association elects new officers
06/30/14: Nominating commission seeks candidates for judge vacancy in 4th Judicial District
06/27/14: Nominating commission seeks candidates for magistrate judge vacancy in 6th Judicial District
06/12/14: Topeka attorney Don Patterson to be honored guest at judicial conference
06/12/14: Kansas judges and justices examine role of German judiciary in Holocaust
06/10/14: Kansas Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments June 17 in Hays
06/05/14: Despite quiet departure, retiring appellate court clerk leaves lasting legacy
05/15/14: Topeka Bar Association gives 2014 Liberty Bell Award to Court of Appeals judge
05/13/14: Kansas Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments May 20-21 in Emporia
05/01/14: Supreme Court to appoint Heather Smith clerk of the appellate courts
04/28/14: Chief justice recognizes Jay Scott Emler for contributions to municipal judge education
04/25/14: New attorneys take state and federal oaths in April 25 ceremony
04/23/14: 13th Judicial District Judge Ward to sit with Kansas Supreme Court
04/23/14: Leavenworth County Chief Judge King to sit with Kansas Supreme Court
04/23/14: Johnson County Judge Elliott to sit with Kansas Supreme Court
04/23/14: Sumner County Judge McQuin to sit with Kansas Supreme Court
04/21/14: Supreme Court accepting public comment on videoconferencing recommendations
04/18/14: Supreme Court issues statement on Senate Substitute for House Bill 2338
04/18/14: Court of Appeals Chambers Counsel receives Topeka Bar Association award
04/16/14: Justice Marla Luckert receives Warren W. Shaw Distinguished Service Award
04/11/14: Kansas Court of Appeals to hear arguments April 15 at Washburn Law
04/02/14: Court requires universal use of offender assessment tool to break cycle of repeat crimes
03/11/14: Kansas Court of Appeals to hear arguments in Leavenworth March 18
03/07/14: Supreme Court issues opinion in public education financing case
02/28/14: Supreme Court to Present 2014 Justice Award to Robert Guenthner
02/06/14: Kansans Targeted by Court Scams
01/31/14: Kansas Supreme Court establishes Chief Judges’ Council to fill advisory role
01/17/14: Douglas County Judge Malone to sit with Kansas Supreme Court
01/13/14: Hearing panel recommends informal admonition for Sarah Peterson Herr
01/02/14: Chief Justice to give State of the Judiciary January 22

See the Archives for new releases dating back to 1997


NEWS RELEASE: July 25, 2014

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
Public Information Director
785-296-4872
taylorl@kscourts.org

Supreme Court issues opinions in Carr cases
Appeal No. 90,044: State of Kansas v. Reginald Dexter Carr Jr.
Appeal No. 90,198: State of Kansas v. Jonathan D. Carr

TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court issued two opinions today in the capital appeals of codefendant brothers Reginald Dexter Carr Jr. and Jonathan D. Carr—affirming 32 of Reginald Carr’s convictions and 25 of Jonathan Carr’s convictions, including one capital conviction for each.

A six-justice majority also vacated each defendant’s remaining death sentence because the trial judge failed to separate the penalty proceedings against them.

The 421-page Reginald Carr opinion discusses issues affecting both brothers’ appeals, while the 57-page Jonathan Carr opinion refers to the Reginald Carr opinion for resolution of issues the two cases have in common.

Reginald and Jonathan Carr were tried jointly in Sedgwick County for a series of crimes committed in December 2000 in Wichita. The charges against them included four capital murders, one felony murder, one attempted first-degree murder, and aggravated kidnappings, aggravated robberies, and sex crimes. At the conclusion of the guilt phase of trial, the jury found Reginald Carr guilty on 50 counts and Jonathan Carr guilty on 43 counts. At the conclusion of the penalty phase of trial, Reginald Carr was given four death sentences, one hard 20 life sentence, and a consecutive total of 570 months’ imprisonment. Jonathan Carr was given four death sentences, one hard 20 life sentence, and a consecutive total of 492 months’ imprisonment.

The court unanimously reversed three of each defendant’s four capital convictions because jury instructions on sex-crime-based capital murder were fatally erroneous and three of the multiple-homicide capital murder charges duplicated the first. The court also unanimously declared certain of the defendants’ sex crime convictions void for lack of district court jurisdiction and reversed a particular rape conviction of each defendant because of multiplicity with another, affirmed conviction.

Although the court identified a total of 11 errors in the guilt phase of trial, a majority of four justices ruled that the accumulated errors did not require further reversals of the defendants’ convictions: “The combined weight of these individually harmless errors pales in comparison to the strength of the evidence against the defendants.”

Individual justices and two combinations of justices filed a total of four separate opinions in each case.

Justice Carol A. Beier, joined by Justices Marla J. Luckert and Justice Lee A. Johnson, disagreed with, among other things, the majority’s decision on whether the 11 guilt phase errors, considered collectively, required reversal of the defendants’ remaining convictions. Among the guilt phase errors the three justices emphasized were the trial judge’s refusal to sever and the judge’s mishandling of the defense’s peremptory strike of the eventual presiding juror. The justices said that it was, “hard to imagine, for instance, a single error with more pervasive likely impact on the direction and content of the evidence before the jury than [the judge’s] refusal to sever the defendants’ prosecutions.”

Justice Johnson also dissented on the basis of the trial judge’s repeated refusal to change venue from Sedgwick County. He wrote that historical Kansas decisions and the majority’s opinion, “set the bar so high [for change of venue] that nothing will suffice short of an actual mob storming the courthouse, carrying burning torches and a rope tied with a hangman’s noose.”

Justice Dan Biles, joined by Justice Nancy Moritz, noted his dissent from the majority’s discussion of the standard of proof governing evidence of mitigating circumstances in the penalty phase of capital trials. His opinion asserted that United States Supreme Court precedent interpreting the Eighth Amendment did not compel the mitigating circumstances instruction the majority would demand.

Justice Nancy Moritz dissented from the majority’s decision to vacate the remaining capital sentence for each defendant. She said the evidence against Reginald and Jonathan Carr was so strong that the failure to sever the penalty portion of the trial could not have affected the ultimate outcome: “[G]iven the unusually egregious facts of this case, [a surviving victim’s] powerful testimony, the overwhelming evidence of aggravating circumstances found by the jury, and the lack of persuasive mitigating evidence, I would hold beyond a reasonable doubt that the jury’s decision to impose the death penalty was not attributable to any joinder error below.”

The two Carr cases will now return to district court for further action.


NEWS RELEASE: July 24, 2014

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
Public Information Director
785-296-4872
taylorl@kscourts.org

Supreme Court justice applicants to be interviewed August 4 and 5

TOPEKA — The Supreme Court Nominating Commission will interview 14 attorneys and judges who applied to fill a vacancy on the Kansas Supreme Court created by the July 28 departure of Justice Nancy Moritz to serve on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Applicants will be interviewed beginning at 9 a.m. Monday, Aug. 4, and Tuesday, Aug. 5, in the Fatzer Courtroom in the Kansas Judicial Center in Topeka. The full interview schedule and brief biographical statements from each applicant are available on the Kansas judicial branch website home page under the heading “What’s New.”

“These will be the first Supreme Court justice interviews open to the public since the guidelines for open interviews were adopted by the commission in January 2011,” said commission chair Anne Burke of Overland Park. “This level of transparency makes it possible for anyone to observe how the commission interviews candidates and reviews their skills and qualifications in our state’s merit-based selection process.”

Although the interviews are open to the public, cell phones and other electronic devices may not be used in the interview room. Also, the guidelines allow the commission to, on a motion and a majority vote, close part of an interview if it’s “necessary to protect the privacy interests of the applicant," although the provision further states that, "closing any portion of an interview is disfavored."

To ensure a fair interview process, applicants are discouraged from attending an interview other than their own and from seeking or accepting information about questions asked of other applicants.

The public may make written comment to the commission up to one week before the interviews take place, or by Monday, July 28, by sending them to: Supreme Court Nominating Commission; ATTN: Anne Burke; 301 SW 10th Ave., Room 374; Topeka, KS 66612.

After interviewing applicants and considering all public comment, the Supreme Court Nominating Commission will decide the three applicants to recommend to the governor to fill the position. The governor will then choose which of the three candidates to appoint to fill the Supreme Court vacancy.

The Supreme Court Nominating Commission is an independent body created by the Kansas Constitution. Four of its members are appointed by the governor from each of the state’s four congressional districts. These appointees are not attorneys. Four other members are attorneys selected by attorneys in each of the state's congressional districts. The commission chair is an attorney elected by attorneys in a statewide vote.

Members of the commission are: Anne E. Burke, Chair, Overland Park; David J. Rebein, Dodge City; Linda B. Weis, Manhattan; Natalie G. Haag, Topeka; Felita R. Kahrs, Topeka; Matthew D. Keenan, Leawood; Robert Hayworth, Shawnee Mission; Jay F. Fowler, Wichita; and Gary T. Mason, Maize.


NEWS RELEASE: July 23, 2014

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
Public Information Director
785-296-4872
taylorl@kscourts.org

Four apply for magistrate judge vacancy in 6th Judicial District

TOPEKA—Four people applied to fill a magistrate judge vacancy in the 6th Judicial District, sitting in Bourbon County.

The applicants are:

Valorie R. Leblanc of Fort Scott, who currently is assistant county attorney in Bourbon County, assistant county counselor for the Bourbon County commissioners, and city attorney for the City of Fulton.

Reina J. Probert of Jasper, Missouri, who currently is deputy county attorney in the Crawford County Attorney’s office.

Heather E. Russell of Uniontown, who currently is case manager/juvenile intensive supervision probation officer for the 6th Judicial Community Corrections.

Angel Y. Wilson of Fort Scott, who currently works as an office administrator in the Bourbon County Attorney’s office.

The 6th Judicial District Nominating Commission is tentatively scheduled to convene to interview candidates August 22 in the Bourbon County Courthouse, 210 S National, Fort Scott, although the time is not yet set. Interviews are open to the public, but the commission can adjourn to executive session during the meeting to discuss nominee personal traits.

Kansas law requires that a magistrate judge be a resident of the county at the time of swearing in, be at least 30 years old, be a high school graduate or its equivalent, and, if not admitted to practice law in Kansas, be certified by the Supreme Court as qualified to serve in the job.

The 6th Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Justice Lee A. Johnson as the nonvoting chair; and Richard M. Fisher Jr., Osawatomie; Alan D. Hurt, Mound City; Blake D. Hudson, Fort Scott; Blake Heid, Paola; Ronald P. Wood, Louisburg; and Mark McCoy, Fort Scott.


NEWS RELEASE: July 21, 2014

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
Public Information Director
785-296-4872
taylorl@kscourts.org

Nominating commission seeks candidates for judge vacancy in 7th Judicial District

TOPEKA—The 7th Judicial District Nominating Commission is seeking candidates to fill a judge vacancy in Douglas County that was created by the retirement of District Court Judge Michael J. Malone.

Justice Eric Rosen, the Supreme Court departmental justice responsible for the 7th Judicial District, said nominees can apply or be recommended, but recommendations must come on a nomination form and include the nominee’s signature.

“This is an open process to find the most qualified candidates in the district, so if a community member knows someone ideally suited for the job, he or she should encourage that person to apply, or volunteer to recommend him or her,” Rosen said.

Kansas law requires that a judge be a resident of the district, be at least 30 years old, have actively practiced law for at least five years, and be admitted to practice law in Kansas.

Recommendations must be accompanied by a nomination form available from the clerk’s office in the Douglas County District Court. The form is also available from the clerk of the appellate courts at the Judicial Center in Topeka and on the Kansas Judicial Branch website at www.kscourts.org under What’s New.

Completed nomination forms and supporting letters are to be sent to Elizabeth S. Cateforis, University of Kansas School of Law, 1535 West 15th, Room 409, Lawrence, KS 66045, no later than noon, Friday, August 22.

The nominating commission will convene at 9 a.m. Tuesday, September 23, in the Douglas County Judicial and Law Enforcement Center, Lawrence, to interview nominees. The meeting will be open to the public.

Kansas law requires the commission to submit at least two names, but not more than three, to the governor, who will choose one to appoint.

Notice of this vacancy was sent to every attorney in this judicial district by the chairman of the commission.

The 7th Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Justice Eric Rosen as the nonvoting chair; and Elizabeth S. Cateforis, Shon A. Qualseth, Wesley F. Smith, Ashley P.A. All, Michael C. McGrew, and Terry L. Smith, all of Lawrence.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 18, 2014

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
Public Information Director
785-296-4872
taylorl@kscourts.org

Chief Justice Nuss commends judicial branch court services officers

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton Nuss recently commended judicial branch court services officers in recognition of national Probation, Parole and Community Supervision week, which runs from July 13 through 19.

“This year’s theme, “Changing Lives, Building Futures,” reminds us of the important work done by court services officers to help keep our communities safe,” Nuss said in a letter to chief court services officers statewide. “Allow me to express my appreciation for you and the other dedicated professionals who perform this dangerous work without much recognition – and often with little thanks.”

The Kansas judicial branch employs 350 court services officers across the state who work with more than 24,000 probationers to hold them accountable for crimes committed against Kansans and their communities. Even though these individuals can be uncooperative or openly hostile, the court services officer will provide investigation services, adult and juvenile offender supervision, immediate response to violations, and referrals for necessary treatment.

“Court services officers are on the front line showing people who are convicted of crimes how to live in our communities without breaking our laws,” said Nuss. “All Kansans benefit from the increased public safety that results from their work.”

Court services officers use professional judgment and the Level of Service Inventory-Revised (LSI-R) assessment tool to evaluate the type and level of supervision each misdemeanor and felony offender needs to reduce future criminal activity. The assessment tool focuses on indicators for repeat criminal behavior, like criminal history, education, current employment, financial well-being, connections to family and friends, and alcohol and drug use.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 16, 2014

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
Public Information Director
785-296-4872
taylorl@kscourts.org

Kansas Supreme Court appoints four to Judicial Qualifications Commission

TOPEKA — The Supreme Court appointed two judges, one lawyer and one legislator to the Commission on Judicial Qualifications, the body charged with helping the high court exercise its authority in judicial disciplinary matters.

All four appointments are for four-year terms beginning July 1, 2014, and ending June 30, 2018. The full 14-member commission includes six active or retired judges, four lawyers, and four nonlawyers.

“Members of the Commission on Judicial Qualifications play an important role upholding the Code of Judicial Conduct and we appreciate their commitment to this duty,” said Lawton Nuss, chief justice of the Supreme Court.

The two judges appointed to the commission are Brenda Cameron, a district court judge from Johnson County who was appointed to the bench in 2002, and Larry D. Hendricks, a district court judge from Shawnee County who was appointed to the bench in 2006.

Valdenia C. Winn was appointed to the commission as a nonlawyer member. She is professor of history at Kansas City Kansas Community College and represents District 34 in the Kansas House of Representatives.

Jeffrey A. Mason of Goodland was reappointed to the commission as a lawyer member. He has practiced law in Goodland since 1983 and is a member of the firm Vignery & Mason L.L.C. He was first appointed to the commission in 2006.

The Commission on Judicial Qualifications was established by the Kansas Supreme Court in 1974. It operated as a one-tier, nine-member commission until 1999, when a two-tier system was adopted and it was expanded to 14 members.

Commission members are assigned to one of two panels. In formal matters, one panel investigates the complaint, while the other conducts the hearing, which separates the investigative and judicial functions.

Complaints about a judge can arise when the judge fails to comply with the Code of Judicial Conduct or has a disability that is so serious it interferes with his or her ability to perform required judicial duties.

Judge Brenda Cameron Judge Larry D. Hendricks Valdenia C. Winn Jeffrey A. Mason
Judge Brenda Cameron
Judge Larry D. Hendricks
Valdenia C. Winn
Jeffrey A. Mason

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 10, 2014

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
Public Information Director
785-296-4872
taylorl@kscourts.org

Fourteen apply for Supreme Court vacancy

TOPEKA — Fourteen Kansas attorneys and judges applied by a noon deadline today to fill a vacancy on the Kansas Supreme Court created by the July 28 departure of Justice Nancy Moritz to serve on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Applicants will be interviewed by the Supreme Court Nominating Commission Aug. 4 and 5 in the Fatzer Courtroom in the Kansas Judicial Center in Topeka. The interview schedule will be posted on the Kansas judicial branch website at www.kscourts.org. later in July.

Interviews will be open to the public and interested parties are encouraged to attend.

After interviewing applicants, the Supreme Court Nominating Commission will submit names of three qualified individuals to the governor. The governor will then choose from that list who to appoint to fill the Supreme Court vacancy.

The Supreme Court Nominating Commission is an independent body created by the Kansas Constitution. Its members are: Anne E. Burke, Chair, Overland Park; David J. Rebein, Dodge City; Linda B. Weis, Manhattan; Natalie G. Haag, Topeka; Felita R. Kahrs, Topeka; Matthew D. Keenan, Leawood; Robert Hayworth, Shawnee Mission; Jay F. Fowler, Wichita; and Gary T. Mason, Maize.

List of applicants


July 9, 2014

Wyandotte County judge recognized for leadership, innovation

TOPEKA—Judge Kathleen Lynch of Wyandotte County District Court was recognized by her peers at a recent judges conference for demonstrating innovation and leadership in how her court handles some of its busier dockets.

Lynch was given the Community Outreach and Education Award by the Kansas District Judge Association at a statewide conference for judges last month in Topeka. The award was presented to Lynch by Lawton Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.

Judge Kathleen Lynch
Judge Kathleen Lynch

“I was honored and grateful to receive the award while at a conference with my fellow Kansas judges,” Lynch said. “It allowed me to immediately share my insights for what has worked in Wyandotte County, so a similar approach might be tried in other district courts.”

The Community Outreach and Education Award is given annually to a member of the Kansas judiciary who demonstrates extraordinary leadership and service in educating the public about courts and the judicial branch, with emphasis on developing public trust and confidence, and supporting access to justice and fairness.

Lynch was nominated by Wayne Lampson, who is chief judge of the Wyandotte County District Court.

“Judge Lynch made significant changes in the paternity docket and the protection from abuse and stalking dockets, which improved services provided to people before the court and reduced the number of problems these very difficult cases can have,” Lampson said.

One change introduced by Lynch was a partnership with the county mental health center, Wyandotte County domestic court services and the Wyandotte County court trustee to create a supervised visitation and exchange center for families in high-conflict divorce or paternity cases, or cases involving domestic abuse. The center is supported by a monthly fee its users pay.

Lynch also forged a partnership with the Wyandotte County court trustee to file instantaneous paternity actions for parties involved in the protection from abuse or protection from stalking docket. This allows for orders to be entered quickly to address parenting assessments through the court’s domestic court services, to determine proper child support and enforcement through the court trustee, and to establish an appropriate parenting plan using the supervised visitation and exchange center.

“Since we started instantaneous paternity actions in 2013, filings on the protection from abuse and protection from stalking docket have decreased by almost 50 percent,” Lampson said.

Lynch, who was largely responsible for the idea, said, “When courts help families come to an understanding on all the underlying issues, instances of abuse between the parties are greatly reduced.”

Another Lynch initiative involved training law enforcement on crisis intervention techniques officers can use when they encounter someone who is mentally ill. This training will soon be delivered to the Kansas City Kansas Fire Department.

She also organized monthly staffing of the mental health docket by community partners, including the county mental health center, the district attorney’s office, defense attorneys who work in this field, and municipal court judges and prosecutors.

Lynch also participated in a mapping initiative to identify gaps in the criminal justice system as it relates to the mentally ill. As a result, she was able to establish a jail diversion program in partnership with the Wyandotte County Sheriff, the county mental health center, and the Heartland Regional Alcohol and Drug Assessment Center.

A process Lynch implemented allows for in-court reviews for involuntary commitments to better determine the status of the consumer and the services provided. This effort resulted in a 50 percent reduction in revocations related to commitment orders.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 3, 2014

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
785-296-4872

Kansas District Judge Association elects new officers

Judge Daniel A. Duncan
Judge Daniel A. Duncan

TOPEKA — The Kansas District Judges Association, an organization open to all state district court judges, recently elected officers to serve the organization in the fiscal year that began July 1.

Judge Daniel A. Duncan was elected president of the association. He is a judge in the 29th judicial district, a one-county district that consists of Wyandotte County.

Duncan has been a district court judge since 1989 and he had a private law practice from 1977 to 1989. He is a member of the American Bar Association’s judicial division, the Kansas Bar Association, and the Wyandotte County Bar Association. He earned his law degree from Kansas University.

Other Officers Elected

Judge Michael F. Powers is president-elect. He is a judge in the 8th judicial district, which is made up of Dickinson, Geary, Marion and Morris counties.

Judge Patty Macke Dick was elected secretary. She is a judge in the 27th judicial district, a one-county district that consists of Reno County.

Judge Robert Frederick was elected treasurer. He is judge in the 25th judicial district, which is made up of Finney, Greeley, Hamilton, Kearny, Scott and Wichita counties.

Outgoing president is Judge Thomas Foster, 10th judicial district, a one-county district that consists of Johnson County.

The new officers were elected at a recent statewide conference for judges in Topeka.

Judge Michael F. Powers Judge Patty Macke Dick Judge Robert Frederick
Judge Michael F. Powers
Judge Patricia Macke Dick
Judge Robert Frederick

NEWS RELEASE: June 30, 2014

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
785-296-4872

Nominating commission seeks candidates for judge vacancy in 4th Judicial District

TOPEKA—The 4th Judicial District Nominating Commission is seeking candidates to fill a judge vacancy in the 4th Judicial District, which includes Anderson, Coffey, Franklin and Osage counties.

The vacancy was created by the retirement of District Court Judge Thomas H. Sachse. Justice Eric Rosen, the Supreme Court departmental justice responsible for the 4th Judicial District, said nominees can apply or be recommended, but recommendations must come on a nomination form and include the nominee’s signature.

“This is an open process to find the most qualified candidates in the district, so if a community member knows someone ideally suited for the job, he or she should encourage that person to apply, or volunteer to recommend him or her,” Rosen said.

Kansas law requires that a judge be a resident of the district, be at least 30 years old, have actively practiced law for at least five years, and be admitted to practice law in Kansas. Recommendations must be accompanied by a nomination form available from the clerk’s office in each of the district’s courts: Anderson County District Court in Garnett; Coffey County District Court in Burlington; Franklin County District Court in Ottawa; and Osage County District Court in Lyndon. The form is also available from the clerk of the appellate courts at the Judicial Center in Topeka and on the Kansas Judicial Branch website at http://www.kscourts.org. under What’s New.

Completed nomination forms and supporting letters are to be sent to Janet Walsh, Secretary, 704 Topeka Avenue, Lyndon, KS 66451, no later than noon, Thursday, July 31. The nominating commission will convene at 9 a.m. Friday, August 22, in the Franklin County Courthouse in Ottawa to interview nominees. The meeting will be open to the public.

Kansas law requires the commission to submit at least two names, but not more than three, to the governor, who will choose one to appoint.

Notice of this vacancy was mailed to every attorney in this judicial district by the chairman of the commission.

The 4th Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Justice Eric Rosen as the nonvoting chair; and James R. Campbell, Burlington; Sara E. Caylor, Ottawa; Craig E. Cole, Garnett; Thomas B. DeBaun, Osage City; Forrest A. Lowry, Ottawa; Eugene E. Highberger, Westphalia; Janet C. Walsh, Lyndon; and Timothy A. Sipe, Waverly.


NEWS RELEASE: June 27, 2014

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
785-296-4872

Nominating commission seeks candidates for magistrate judge vacancy
in 6th Judicial District

The 6th Judicial District Nominating Commission is seeking candidates to fill a magistrate judge vacancy in the 6th Judicial District, sitting in Bourbon County. Justice Lee Johnson, the Supreme Court departmental justice responsible for the 6th Judicial District, said nominees can apply or be recommended, but recommendations must come on a nomination form and include the nominee’s signature.

“Finding good candidates for district magistrate judge is a public process that involves members of all communities in the district. If a resident knows someone suited for the job, he or she should encourage that person to apply, or volunteer to recommend him or her,” Johnson said.

Kansas law requires that a magistrate judge be a resident of the county at the time of swearing in, be at least 30 years old, be a high school graduate or its equivalent, and, if not admitted to practiced law in Kansas, be certified by the Supreme Court as qualified to serve in the job.

Recommendations must be accompanied by a nomination form available from the clerk’s office in each of the district’s courts: Bourbon County District Court in Fort Scott; Linn County District Court in Mound City; and Miami District Court in Paola. The form is also available from the clerk of the appellate courts at the Judicial Center in Topeka and on the Kansas Judicial Branch website at http://www.kscourts.org. under What’s New.

Completed nomination forms and supporting letters are to be sent to Hon. Lee A. Johnson, Kansas Supreme Court, 301 SW 10th Avenue, Topeka, KS 66612-1507, no later than noon Monday, July 21.

The nominating commission will convene after the application period closes to interview candidates. A date for that meeting is not yet set, but it will be open to the public. The commission can adjourn to executive session during the meeting to discuss nominee personal traits.

Notice of this vacancy was mailed to every attorney in this judicial district by the chairman of the commission.

The 6th Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Justice Lee A. Johnson as the nonvoting chair; and Richard M. Fisher, Jr., Osawatomie; Blake D. Hudson, Fort Scott; Blake Heid, Paola; Ronald P. Wood, Louisburg; and Mark McCoy, Fort Scott.


NEWS RELEASE: June 12, 2014

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
Public Information Director
785-296-4872
taylorl@kscourts.org

Topeka attorney Don Patterson to be honored guest at judicial conference

TOPEKA — Retired Topeka attorney and World War II veteran Don Patterson will be an honored guest at the Kansas Judicial Conference June 12 in Topeka.

Patterson will join nearly 300 of the state’s justices, judges, magistrate judges, and senior and retired judges, to hear speakers from the United State Holocaust Museum present “Law, Justice, and the Holocaust,” an educational program designed specifically for the judiciary.

Patterson was a 20-year-old corporal serving in the 20th Armored Division of the U.S. Army when his division helped liberate nearly 32,000 prisoners at Dachau, a Nazi Germany concentration camp outside Munich, in April 1945.

“We are honored Don can join us for this presentation,” said Lawton Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court. “We commend him for his service to his country and to his fellow man.”

During his law career, Patterson’s trial experience included real estate, antitrust, trade practices, vehicular accidents, medical malpractice, fair employment practices, products liability, civil rights and government defense.

He was a founding member of the Topeka law firm Fisher, Patterson, Sayler and Smith. He is a Fellow in the American College of Trial Attorneys.


NEWS RELEASE: June 12, 2014

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
Public Information Director
785-296-4872
taylorl@kscourts.org

Kansas judges and justices examine role of German judiciary in Holocaust

TOPEKA — Speakers from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum will deliver the educational program “Law, Justice, and the Holocaust” to nearly 300 judges and justices from Kansas’ appellate and district courts at the Kansas Judicial Conference June 12 in Topeka.

The conference is for the state’s justices, judges, magistrate judges, and senior and retired judges, to fulfill annual continuing judicial and legal education requirements.

Chief Justice Lawton Nuss of the Supreme Court recommended the program to the conference’s planning committee based on positive reviews he had heard from chief justices in other states.

“This is a timeless topic relevant to all judges and justices. It helps us understand our role in democracy and why we can’t take our responsibilities lightly,” Nuss said.

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s “Law, Justice, and the Holocaust” program challenges legal professionals to critically examine the decisions German jurists made and the pressures they faced under the Nazi regime.

The presentation will include a discussion of the Holocaust by interpreting images from the 1930s and 1940s with emphasis on the role played by law and non-Nazi judges in the destruction of democracy and the establishment of the Nazi German state.

Judges were among those inside Germany who might have effectively challenged Hitler’s authority, the legitimacy of the Nazi regime, the hundreds of laws that restricted political freedoms and civil rights, and the guarantees of property and security. And yet, the overwhelming majority did not.

Against that backdrop, the presenters will encourage thoughtful debate on the role of the judiciary in society and its responsibilities in the United States today: What is the responsibility of judges to the system as a whole? What have been the challenges to a fair and impartial administration of justice in the United States today? What can judges do right now to ensure the kinds of failures that led to the Holocaust do not happen here?

The program will be presented by Marcus A. Appelbaum and Dr. William F. Meinecke, Jr.

Appelbaum is director of the museum’s Law, Justice, and Society Initiatives, for which he has created and facilitated training models for more than 80,000 law enforcement professionals around the country. Inspired by his grandmother who survived the Holocaust, he began working at the museum as a high school intern, serving as a docent, collecting survivor testimony, and representing the Museum at the Seventh Millennium Evening at the White House in 1999. He received a BA in history from The George Washington University and a master’s degree in museum management from the Bank Street College of Education in New York City.

Meinecke is a historian for the museum’s leadership development programs and is the author of Nazi Ideology and the Holocaust, published by the museum in 2007. He joined the museum’s staff in 1992 to help create the Historical Atlas of the Holocaust and a multimedia learning site for students. A graduate of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, he also attended the Universities of Bonn and Berlin in Germany and received an MA and a PhD in history from the University of Maryland at College Park. His dissertation is titled “Conflicting Loyalties: The Supreme Court in Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918–1945.”


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 10, 2014

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
Public Information Director
785-296-4872

Kansas Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments June 17 in Hays

TOPEKA—A three-judge panel of the Kansas Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments Tuesday, June 17, at the Ellis County Courthouse, 1204 Fort Street, Hays.

Judge Kim R. Schroeder will be the presiding judge for the panel that also includes Judge Patrick D. McAnany and Senior Judge Edward Larson.

Larson, of Hays, was a justice on the Kansas Supreme Court from 1995 to 2002. He has served as a senior judge since his retirement and this is the last time he will sit with the court as a senior judge.

Attorneys for each side of a case are allotted time to present their arguments and judges can ask questions. The court will then take each case under consideration. Written decisions are issued later, usually within about 60 days.

Following are summaries of the cases to be heard:

9 a.m. – Tuesday, June 17, 2014

No. 110,058: Brandy Kara L. Stewart v. Timothy A. Stewart

Brandy and Tim Stewart married in Missouri in 2004. While married, they lived in Missouri, Arizona, Tennessee, and, most recently, Texas. They lived in Texas from 2009 to October 2012, when Brandy left with their two children to come to Ellsworth, Kansas, while Tim was away on business. Brandy then initiated proceedings under Kansas' Protection From Abuse Act, K.S.A. 60-3101 et seq. (PFA Act). The Ellsworth County District Court entered temporary support and custody orders before ultimately issuing a one-year protection from abuse order against Tim. Tim argues the district court lacked jurisdiction to enter any orders against him under the PFA Act, so they should be declared void.

No. 109,095: State of Kansas v. Scott Thomas Hulsey

Hulsey was convicted of two counts of aggravated indecent liberties of a child, one count of aggravated criminal sodomy, and 89 counts of sexual exploitation of a child stemming from his abuse of a minor, and possession of child pornography. He appeals, claiming his convictions were multiplicitous, that the state failed to present sufficient evidence regarding the ages of individuals in the pornographic images, that the prosecution inappropriately commented on his post arrest silence, that his lifetime postrelease supervision is unconstitutional, and that the Saline County District Court inappropriately considered his criminal history in sentencing without proving his criminal history to a jury.

No. 109,999: State of Kansas v. Kevin James Hazlett

The Graham County District Court dismissed aggravated battery charges stemming from a head-on collision on U.S. Highway 24. The state appeals, arguing the evidence established probable cause to believe Hazlett was driving recklessly. The evidence at the preliminary hearing included testimony that Hazlett was driving in the oncoming lane of traffic with his head down, and that an open cell phone was found on the driver’s side floorboard of his vehicle after the collision.

No. 109,800: State of Kansas v. Traci E. Goldsberry

Goldsberry pled no contest to rape of a 13-year-old boy. The Saline County District Court departed to a 96-month prison sentence with lifetime postrelease supervision. The district court denied Goldsberry’s motion to declare a lifetime postrelease sentence cruel or unusual, and she appeals the district court’s ruling on that motion.

1:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 17, 2014

No. 108,502: State of Kansas v. William Lance McGowan

William Lance McGowan appeals his convictions for one count of aggravated indecent liberties with a child and one count of aggravated solicitation of a child. The Lane County District Court imposed a controlling life sentence without the possibility of parole for 25 years. McGowan appeals, arguing: (1) the district court erred by not suppressing evidence of a pornographic text file stored on McGowan's computer; (2) the district court erred by not giving a jury instruction defining "lewd touching"; (3) the district court erred by failing to give a unanimity instruction on the aggravated indecent liberties charge; (4) the prosecutor committed reversible misconduct by misrepresenting its burden of proof during closing argument; (5) cumulative errors deprived McGowan of a fair trial; (6) McGowan's life sentence is disproportionate and violates Section 9 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights; and (7) the district court imposed an unauthorized sentence of lifetime postrelease supervision with electronic monitoring.

No. 109,602: State of Kansas v. Wesley Gene Hall

A jury found Wesley Gene Hall guilty of one count of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance and not guilty on one count of battery. He appeals his conviction, asserting two jury instruction errors. First, he claims the Greeley County District Court erred by refusing to instruct the jury on the defense of compulsion. The district court refused to give the instruction because it felt there was no factual basis in the evidence to form Hall's "reasonable belief" that he was at risk for death or great bodily harm. Second, Hall claims the district court improperly instructed the jury on the mental culpability it was required to find for the unlawful distribution charge. Specifically, the district court instructed the jury that it could find him guilty if it found he committed the act "intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly," but the complaint against him alleged that he had "intentionally" committed the act.

No. 110,209: State of Kansas v. Timothy Michael Lobmeyer

Timothy Lobmeyer appeals the Finney County District Court's ruling on the state's motion to correct illegal sentence. Lobmeyer had received probation with 64 months' imprisonment underlying and 24 months' postrelease supervision for his convictions of two counts of indecent liberties with a child. His probation was later revoked and he was ordered to serve his underlying sentence. The state then filed a motion to correct illegal sentence because Lobmeyer is statutorily required to be sentenced to lifetime postrelease supervision for his offenses of conviction. The district court agreed and modified Lobmeyer's sentence accordingly.

Lobmeyer appeals the district court's decision because he claims the district court imposed a legal, lesser sentence when it revoked his probation and, therefore, did not have jurisdiction to modify his sentence. He also asserts that lifetime postrelease supervision violates the United States' and Kansas' constitutional prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment.

Note: Reporters who want to cover the oral arguments using video, photo, or audio recording devices, as spelled out in Court Rule 1001, must contact Lisa Taylor at 785-296-4872 or taylorl@kscourts.org no later than noon Monday, June 16.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 5, 2014

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Despite quiet departure, retiring appellate court clerk leaves lasting legacy

Carol Gilliam Green
Carol Gilliam Green
Clerk of the Appellate Courts

TOPEKA -- Although Carol Gilliam Green doesn’t want a big fuss made over her June 6 retirement from her job as clerk of the appellate courts, she can’t deny the lasting impact she’s had on the clerk’s office and the legal community from her nearly 23 years in the position.

Lawton Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court, quantified Green’s impact for a group of newly minted attorneys at their swearing-in ceremony in April in Topeka.

“You may not know it, but you sat at the last bar exam and are attending the last swearing-in ceremony under Ms. Green’s careful guidance. She has overseen 45 exams and 46 ceremonies involving 9,796 attorneys,” Nuss said. “Her influence will be missed.”

But overseeing the bar exam and swearing in new attorneys are just part of the clerk’s duties. Green also manages the clerk of the appellate courts’ office, which processes case files for the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals in the Judicial Center in Topeka.

Justice Dan Biles recalls his interactions with the clerk’s office when he was a practicing attorney and he credits Green with making the office approachable.

“She positioned the clerk’s office to be a reference point for lawyers. She made that a hallmark of the office, even if she didn’t dispense all the advice herself,” Biles said. “As a lawyer, it was reassuring to know I could pick up the phone and ask the best way to present issues so it’s clear for the court.”

Thomas Malone, chief judge of the Court of Appeals, said that Green always made sure the appellate courts operated smoothly.

“If I had to summarize her in a word, it would be dedication. She is dedicated to the entire judicial branch and in particular to the people who work in the clerk’s office,” Malone said. “It has been a distinct privilege for me to have worked with her.”

Richard Ross, who has been the reporter of Supreme Court and Court of Appeals decisions since 1975, has known and worked with Green the longest. He recalls when Green was hired in 1981 by then-Chief Justice Alfred Schroeder.

“Chief Justice Schroeder always hired from the top of the graduating class and Carol was first in hers,” Ross said.

In 1982, Green was made director of central research staff, a pool of attorneys who supported the Court of Appeals. She stayed in that position until she was named clerk of the appellate courts in 1991.

“Everyone who’s worked with her knows that anything she’s assigned she will do not just well, but extremely well,” Ross said.

Because of Green’s exceptional performance, Ross said the Supreme Court never hesitated to assign her office new duties. As clerk, Green has been secretary for the Commission on Judicial Qualifications, the Client Protection Fund Commission, the Kansas Board of Law Examiners, Board of Examiners for Court Reporters, and the Supreme Court Nominating Commission.

Despite her accomplishments, though, Green still prefers to stay out of the spotlight.

If you ask her to reflect on her career with the Kansas judicial branch, she answers with sincerity, “It has been both a privilege and a pleasure to serve the Kansas appellate courts.”

Green earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Southeast Missouri State University, a master’s degree in English from the University of Missouri, and a law degree from Washburn University School of Law.

Note to reporters: Also see related news release, Supreme Court to appoint Heather Smith clerk of the appellate courts.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 15, 2014

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Topeka Bar Association gives 2014 Liberty Bell Award to Court of Appeals judge

Judge G. Joseph Pierron
Judge G. Joseph Pierron

TOPEKA – The Topeka Bar Association gave its 2014 Liberty Bell Award to Judge G. Joseph Pierron of the Kansas Court of Appeals for his work on a Constitution Day project that involves helping organize Constitution Day activities in Seaman USD 345 schools.

Pierron recruited judges from the Court of Appeals and Third Judicial District, and an attorney from the Kansas Bar Association’s board of governors, to deliver the Constitution Day program last September to about 2,000 Seaman district students in grades kindergarten through 12.

Other Court of Appeals judges who delivered programs were Karen Arnold-Burger and David Bruns. Shawnee County District Court judges were Cheryl Rios Kingfisher, Evelyn Wilson and Nancy Parrish. Terri Bezek presented on behalf of the Kansas Bar Association. Seaman district teachers Susan Sittenauer and Debra Stewart helped coordinate the effort.

Pierron has delivered programs to Seaman students, primarily at the high school level, since 1996.

“Over the last few years, we’ve expanded the program to involve more students,” Pierron said. “Then, last year we made it our goal to reach as many Seaman district students as possible with a quality Constitution Day program. We succeeded by presenting at least one program in nearly every school in the district.”

Judges who helped deliver the programs had materials that ranged from basic to complex, so content was appropriate for students’ ages and grades. All focused on the importance of the U.S. Constitution in establishing the federal system of government and the powers assigned to its three branches: legislative, executive and judicial.

The Topeka Bar Association gives the Liberty Bell Award to individuals who provide outstanding service to their community in ways that strengthen the American system of freedom under the law. The recipient is not required to be an attorney, but he or she must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • promote a better understanding of our Constitution and Bill of Rights;
  • encourage greater respect for law and the courts;
  • stimulate a deeper sense of individual responsibility so citizens recognize their duties as well as their rights;
  • contribute to the effective functioning of government;
  • foster a better understanding and appreciation of the rule of law.

Pierron has been a Court of Appeals judge since 1990. He was a district judge in Olathe from 1982 and assistant county and district attorney in Johnson County from 1971.

In 2011, Pierron received the American Bar Association Burnham (Hod) Greely Award, “in recognition of his outstanding contribution to promoting public awareness of the importance of a fair, impartial and independent judiciary.”


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 13, 2014

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Kansas Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments May 20-21 in Emporia

TOPEKA—A three-judge panel of the Kansas Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments Tuesday and Wednesday, May 20 and 21, at the Lyon County Courthouse, 430 Commercial Street, in Emporia.

Chief Judge Thomas E. Malone will be the presiding judge for the panel that also includes Judge David E. Bruns and Senior Judge Daniel Hebert.

Attorneys for each side of a case are allotted time to present their arguments and judges can ask questions. The court will then take each case under consideration. Written decisions are issued later, usually within about 60 days.

Following are the cases to be heard. For more detail, see the full news release with case summaries.

9 a.m. — Tuesday, May 20, 2014

No. 110,535: Donald D. Base, Jr. v. Raytheon Aircraft Company and Hawker Beechcraft Corp.

No. 110,256/110,257: Columbian Bank and Trust Company and Columbian Financial Corporation v. Edwin Splichal, State Bank Commissioner for the State of Kansas

No. 110,658: University of Edinburgh v. Thomas Vessey

No. 110,694: State of Kansas v. Julian Michael Kuszmaul

1:30 p.m. — Tuesday, May 20, 2014

No. 110,410: Thomas W. Debbrecht and Par Digital Outdoor, Inc. v. The City of Haysville, Kansas and Jeana M. Morgan

No. 110,588: State of Kansas v. Julian Delvalle

No. 110,220: In the Matter of the Marriage of Donald G. Arensman, Petitioner (Deceased), (Peggy Arensman and Peggy Arensman, as Executrix for the Estate of Donald Arensman), and Jana L. Arensman

No. 110,477: Russell Franklin Brazell v. Furmanite America, Inc. and New Hampshire Insurance Co.

9 a.m. — Wednesday, May 21, 2014

No. 109,706: State of Kansas v. Matthew T. Fisher

No. 109,728: State of Kansas v. Michael Combs

No. 110,106: State of Kansas v. Misael Segovia

No. 110,727: Ernest Hamilton v. The Riley County Law Enforcement Agency

Note: Reporters who want to cover the oral arguments using video, photo, or audio recording devices, as spelled out in Court Rule 1001, must contact Lisa Taylor at 785-296-4872 or taylorl@kscourts.org no later than noon Monday, May 19.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 1, 2014

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Supreme Court to appoint Heather Smith clerk of the appellate courts

TOPEKA — The Kansas Supreme Court announced today that it has hired Heather Smith to be clerk of the appellate courts at the Judicial Center in Topeka effective June 9.

Smith will replace Carol Green, who has been clerk since 1991 and will retire June 6.

Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss
Kansas Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss

“Carol Green set an exceptionally high bar for her successor, but we believe Heather Smith is suited to the challenge,” said Chief Justice Lawton Nuss. “She has broad appellate court experience and we look forward to her leadership in the clerk’s office.”

Smith currently is deputy clerk of the Indiana Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and Tax Court, where she is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the office. She also played a key role in planning several technology projects, including emailing orders and opinions, accepting online attorney registration fees, and a public online case search.

Heather Smith
Heather Smith

“I’m thrilled for this opportunity to serve the appellate courts in Kansas and I am eager start my new duties,” Smith said.

In her new role, Smith will be responsible for planning and supervising administrative work related to the operation of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals, including work related to appellate rules, managing court records, keeping statistical information, processing bar admission applications and certifying court reporters. She also will be responsible for conducting elections for lawyer members of the Supreme Court Nominating Commission and district judicial nominating commissions in nonpartisan judicial districts.

Prior to becoming deputy clerk in Indiana, she worked as a staff attorney for the Indiana Court of Appeals, as a hearing officer in the Indiana Department of Revenue, and legal counsel to the Union Federal Bank of Indianapolis.

Smith earned her law degree from Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law and a degree in economics from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a member of the Indiana State Bar Association and the National Conference of Appellate Court Clerks.

The clerk of the Kansas Supreme Court is a constitutional officer who, by statute, is also clerk of the Court of Appeals.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 28, 2014

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Chief justice recognizes Jay Scott Emler for contributions to municipal judge education

TOPEKA — Chief Justice Lawton Nuss will present Jay Scott Emler with an award in recognition of his role as a founder and leader of the Municipal Judges Education Committee at the Municipal Court Judges Conference in Topeka April 28.

Nuss will present the award on behalf of the entire Supreme Court.

Legislation enacted in 1989 required the Supreme Court to provide a training and examination program to ensure municipal court judges who are not admitted to practice law possess the skills and knowledge needed to carry out their duties.

Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss
Kansas Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss

“Jay was instrumental in passing that legislation because he believed a certification program and a mandatory continuing judicial education requirement were necessary for municipal court judges,” said Nuss. “He also helped draft the original certification examination and he’s conducted ongoing reviews to ensure it has been kept up to date.”

After the legislation was passed, the Supreme Court established a Municipal Court Judges Testing and Education Committee on June 8, 1989, and Emler was one of three members appointed to serve on it. He continued to serve until he was appointed commissioner of the Kansas Corporation Commission in 2014.

Jay Scott Emler
Jay Scott Emler

“I am honored to be recognized by the Supreme Court, especially before this group of municipal judges,” said Emler. “However, I did not commit to this cause for the recognition it might get me. Rather, it was to prepare municipal judges to justly resolve the issues that come before them.”

During the years Emler was a member of the Municipal Court Judges Testing and Education Committee, he devoted many hours to helping with new judge certification, planning educational programs, and teaching. He mentored many municipal judges and has always been willing to provide his advice and guidance.

At the time the 1989 legislation was passed, Emler was a municipal judge in Lindsborg and an active member of the Kansas Municipal Judges Association. He served as the group’s president, and either served on or chaired several committees. He currently is an ex officio member.

Emler graduated from the University of Denver College of Law. He had a private law practice from 1977 to 1990, and he worked as corporate counsel in the private sector throughout the 1990s. He has been a member of the Kansas Bar Association since 1977 and was a member of the McPherson County Bar from 1977 to 2011.

Emler was elected to the Kansas Senate and sworn into office in 2001. His service in the Senate continued until he was appointed commissioner of the Kansas Corporation Commission in January 2014.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 25, 2014

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New attorneys take state and federal oaths in April 25 ceremony

TOPEKA — Successful applicants to the February 2014 Kansas Bar Examination were sworn in as Kansas attorneys at a 10 a.m. ceremony at the Topeka Performing Arts Center in Topeka Friday, April 25.

The swearing in was presided over by Chief Justice Lawton Nuss and the Kansas Supreme Court, and by Judge Julie Robinson for the U.S. District Court.

Carol Green, clerk of the Kansas Supreme Court, administered the state oath and Tim O’Brien, clerk of the U.S. District Court, administered the federal oath.

Terry Mann, chairman of the Kansas Board of Law Examiners, read the roll of the 134 new attorneys.

List of attorneys.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 23, 2014

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13th Judicial District Judge Ward to sit with Kansas Supreme Court

Judge Mike Ward
Judge Mike Ward 13th Judicial District Court

TOPEKA — Judge Mike Ward of the 13th Judicial District has been appointed to sit with the state Supreme Court Wednesday, April 30, to hear oral arguments in four cases.

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

Ward has been a 13th Judicial District Court judge, serving Butler, Greenwood and Elk counties, since 1999. He presided in the district’s only death penalty case to date, State v. Scott Cheever.

Ward has served on the Pattern Jury Instructions for Kansas criminal and civil committees to review law changes and incorporate those changes into jury instructions for all Kansas district courts. He currently chairs the PIK committees.

In 2012, he served with a Kansas Court of Appeals panel and helped write six opinions, two of which were published.

Ward graduated from the University of Kansas School of Law, after which he worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Kansas City in the enforcement division. After that, he entered private practice in El Dorado, his home town. From 1983, until taking the bench in 1999, he served as assistant county attorney and as Butler County Attorney.

All Supreme Court oral arguments are webcast live through the Watch Supreme Court Live! link in the right-hand column of the Kansas Judicial Branch website at http://www.kscourts.org.

The four cases Ward will hear beginning at 9 a.m. Wednesday, April 30, are as follows:

Appeal No. 105,245: Golden Rule Insurance Co. v. Robert M. Tomlinson, Assistant Commissioner of Insurance

Shawnee County: (Petition for Review of Court of Appeals Decision) Appeal from a finding by the Commissioner of Insurance that Golden Rule Insurance Company violated two provisions of the Kansas Unfair Trade Practices Act. The district court upheld the agency action; petitioner appealed. The Court of Appeals reversed, and the Supreme Court granted respondent Insurance Department's petition for review. Issues on review are whether, under Kansas statute and regulations, an insurance company is bound by the acts and representations of its appointed agents; whether, under Kansas case law, McClary was an agent of Golden Rule and the company is bound by his acts and representations; and whether Golden Rule's refusal to investigate and to attempt settlement was committed "flagrantly and in conscious disregard" of its duties under K.S.A. 2001 Supp. 40-2404(9)(d) and K.S.A. 2011 Supp. 40-2404(9)(f) and "as a general business practice."

Appeal No. 109,083: Jayden Ryan Burgardt v. Lacey Rose Willinger

Finney County: (Petition for Review of Court of Appeals Decision) Petitioner father filed for custody and support orders regarding minor child. Following a hearing, the district court issued a detailed parenting plan of shared custody until August 2015, when the father would be designated the custodial parent. The respondent mother appealed, and the Court of Appeals reversed and vacated the decision. The Supreme Court granted petitioner father's petition for review. Issue on review is whether the district court erred making future custody and residency findings when there was no evidence to support the best interest of the child three years hence.

Appeal No. 107,905: State v. Gabriel DeLatorre

Ford County: (Criminal Appeal) DeLatorre was convicted by jury, after a second trial, of one count of felony murder, resulting from the child's death during the commission of, or during an attempt to commit, the crime of abuse of a child. He was sentenced to a hard-20 term for the felony murder conviction and a consecutive 57- month term for the abuse of a child conviction. He appeals. Issues are whether the district court erred refusing to instruct the jury on the lesser included offense of reckless second-degree murder, whether the state presented no evidence that would have allowed a rational fact finder to conclude the DeLatorre "inflicted cruel and inhuman bodily punishment upon" the child, whether the district court failed to give a unanimity instruction, and whether the state committed prosecutorial misconduct during its opening statements and closing arguments at both trials.

Appeal No. 106,329: State v. Tynisha Story

Wyandotte County: (Criminal Appeal) Story was convicted by jury of first-degree murder and sentenced to a hard-25 term. She appeals. Issues are whether district court erred admitting prejudicial and irrelevant evidence, erred in failing to give a limiting instruction regarding evidence of other crimes or bad acts, erred in failing to give a limiting instruction regarding evidence of prior crimes or bad acts presented, and erred in failing to give a lesser included instruction for voluntary manslaughter. Also, whether the state violated Story's right to a fair trial and committed reversible misconduct during closing argument, and whether the combination of errors deprived Story of her right to a fair trial.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 23, 2014

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Leavenworth County Chief Judge King to sit with Kansas Supreme Court

Chief Judge David J. King
Chief Judge David J. King Leavenworth County District Court

TOPEKA — Leavenworth County District Court Chief Judge David J. King has been appointed to sit with the state Supreme Court Thursday, May 1, to hear oral arguments in six cases.

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

King has been a Leavenworth County District Court judge since 1986 and the district’s chief judge since 1991. Before he was appointed judge, he was the assistant Leavenworth County attorney and also in private practice.

King is a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Law.

All Supreme Court oral arguments are webcast live through the Watch Supreme Court Live! link in the right-hand column of the Kansas Judicial Branch website at http://www.kscourts.org.

The six cases King will hear beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday, May 1, are as follows:

Appeal No. 106,894: State v. Quartez Brown

Sedgwick County: (Criminal Appeal) Brown was convicted of felony murder, second-degree murder, aggravated burglary, and aggravated assault, and sentenced to a hard-20 term. He appeals. Issues are whether the district court erred granting someone's withdrawal of Brown's motion for new counsel without sufficient inquiry, erred in failing to give a lesser included offense instruction of voluntary manslaughter, and erred in failing to give lesser included offense instructions on reckless second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. Also, whether there was sufficient evidence to find Brown guilty of aggravated burglary beyond a reasonable doubt, whether there was sufficient evidence to find Brown guilty of felony murder beyond a reasonable doubt, and whether there was sufficient evidence to find Brown guilty of aggravated assault beyond a reasonable doubt. Whether the case must be remanded to the district court for a nunc pro tunc order to correct the error in the journal entry of judgment.

Appeal No. 108,218: State v. Kevin L. Brown, Jr.

Sedgwick County: (Criminal Appeal) Brown was convicted by jury of felony murder, aggravated burglary, and aggravated assault, and sentenced to a hard-20 term with a consecutive 120-month term. He appeals. Issue are whether district court had jurisdiction to convict Brown of felony murder and aggravated burglary because he was not bound over for aggravated assault against Otis Bolden as the underlying intent element of aggravated burglary. Whether evidence exists to support the alternative means instruction, whether aiding and abetting the commission of a criminal act is a separate and distinct crime from acting as the principal in the commission of a criminal act, and whether the instructions given to the jury regarding the felony murder charge and the underlying felony were flawed. Also, whether Brown’s convictions for felony murder and burglary are invalid due to the state's failure to amend the information and for the district court's unwarranted narrowing of the charges in the jury instructions.

Appeal No. 108,586: State v. Kiara M. Williams

Sedgwick County: (Criminal Appeal) Williams was convicted of felony murder, aggravated burglary, and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and sentenced to a hard-20 term. She appeals. Issues are whether the trial court erred giving an instruction on sympathy and prejudice pursuant to PIK Crim.3d 51.07, whether the trial court abused its discretion by giving PIK Crim.3d 51.07 and not giving the mere association or presence instruction as requested by the defense, and whether defense counsel imposed a guilt-based defense by telling the jury that Williams was morally and ethically wrong. Also, whether cumulative error prevented Williams from having a fair trial.

Appeal No. 105,695: State v. Allen R. Julian

Rice County: (Petition for Review of Court of Appeals Decision) Julian was arrested for possession of marijuana, possession of a handgun, and no proof of insurance after a traffic stop. Julian moved to suppress all evidence seized as a result of the traffic stop. The state appealed, and the Court of Appeals reversed and remanded (Judge Henry W. Green Jr., concurring in part and dissenting in part). The Supreme Court granted Julian's petition for review. Issues are whether the search of Julian's vehicle was in violation of his right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures under the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution and Section 15 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights, and whether the search of his vehicle was lawful under K.S.A. 22-2501 which, at the time, allowed limited searches to areas within a person's immediate presence and only for the purposes of protecting an officer or preventing escape.

Appeal No. 109,836 and 111,126: In the Matter of Miriam Rittmaster

Original Proceeding in Attorney Discipline: (Recommended Temporary Suspension of Law License with Reinstatement Hearing) These disciplinary actions were docketed separately but consolidated by the Supreme Court for hearing. On April 1, 2013, respondent and the disciplinary administrator entered into a joint motion for temporary suspension that the Supreme Court granted. Respondent remains suspended during the pendency of the disciplinary proceedings.

In 109,836, respondent accepted a retainer in a domestic matter but repeatedly failed to respond to her client's requests for information. Respondent and the client failed to appear at a hearing on temporary orders despite respondent's notice from the court to appear. Respondent lied to her client about scheduled hearing dates. The client terminated representation and filed a complaint with the disciplinary administrator. Respondent failed to cooperate in the investigation, but the day before the scheduled disciplinary hearing filed an answer in which she admitted the factual allegations and the rule violations. The hearing panel found violations of the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct and recommended a six-month suspension from the practice of law, with a reinstatement hearing. Respondent has not taken exceptions.

In 111,126, respondent accepted representation to attempt to set aside a divorce decree. She failed to appear at a hearing, filed motions without taking steps to have them set for hearing, failed to communicate with the client, and failed to follow up when representation was terminated. Respondent answered the disciplinary complaint and entered into stipulations. The hearing panel found violations of the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct and recommended suspension for one year, retroactive to April 1, 2013, with a reinstatement hearing. Respondent has not taken exceptions.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 23, 2014

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Johnson County Judge Elliott to sit with Kansas Supreme Court

Judge Gerald T. Elliott
Judge Gerald T. Elliott Johnson County District Court

TOPEKA — Johnson County District Court Judge Gerald T. Elliott has been appointed to sit with the state Supreme Court Tuesday, April 29, to hear oral arguments in five cases.

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

Elliott has been a district court judge in Johnson County since 1990. Before that, he was a Merriam Municipal Court judge for 18 years. He also served as city prosecutor for Mission Hills, as a judge pro tem in the Johnson County District Court and had a private law practice.

After Elliott graduated from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1964, and before he entered private practice, he worked as a law clerk for federal district court Judge Arthur J. Stanley, Jr.

All Supreme Court oral arguments are webcast live through the Watch Supreme Court Live! link in the right-hand column of the Kansas Judicial Branch website at http://www.kscourts.org.

The five cases Elliott will hear beginning at 9 a.m. Tuesday, April 29, are as follows:

Appeal No. 106,111: State v. Keaira Brown, a/k/a Keaire Brown

Wyandotte County: (Criminal Appeal) Brown was convicted of felony murder and attempted aggravated robbery, and sentenced to a hard-20 term. She appeals. Issues are whether the district court erred instructing the jury that it could convict Brown of felony murder if it found, beyond a reasonable doubt, that she had killed the victim in "flight from attempting to commit aggravated robbery." Also, whether both convictions must be vacated on alternative means grounds, whether the district court erred authorizing adult prosecution, and whether the prosecutor committed misconduct during her closing argument. Also, whether the Kansas sentencing scheme that requires a district court to sentence a juvenile to life in prison without possibility of parole for 20 years, and gives a judge no discretion to depart, is unconstitutional.

Appeal No. 103,881: State v. Kenneth Crawford

Barton County: (Petition for Review of Court of Appeals Decision) Crawford was convicted of aggravated kidnapping, aggravated indecent liberties, and criminal threat, and sentenced to a controlling term of 337 months. He appealed, and the Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court granted Crawford's petition for review only for issue two. Issue on review is whether the prosecutor committed prejudicial misconduct by: improperly suggesting to jurors they would have to answer to the state for their verdict; misdefining the state's burden of proof by analogy to a jigsaw puzzle; and arguing facts not in evidence during closing argument.

Appeal No. 106,210: State v. Christina Mika Isabel Ortega

Finney County: (Appeal on Petition for Review of Court of Appeals Decision) Ortega was convicted by jury of attempted aggravated interference with parental custody of her daughter and disorderly conduct. The district court imposed a 10-month prison sentence. Ortega appealed, and the Court of Appeals affirmed (Chief Judge Thomas Malone, dissenting). The Supreme Court granted Ortega's petition for review. Issues on review include whether the district court erred by failing to instruct the jury on the affirmative defense of ignorance or mistake. Whether the prosecutor violated an order in limine in his opening statement when he referred to irrelevant prior bad acts, and, in his closing argument, the prosecutor also improperly vouched for the state's witnesses and misstated the law. Whether the prosecution presented sufficient evidence that Ortega performed an overt act toward taking her child out of state, a requisite to attempted aggravated interference with parental custody. Whether the district court erred when it did not instruct the jury on the lesser offense of attempted interference with parental custody. Whether the jury convicted Ortega of attempting to lead, take, carry, decoy, or entice V.O. away. Whether the district court's instruction on reasonable doubt improperly advised the jury that they could find Ortega guilty if they had "no reasonable doubt as to the truth of any of the claims required to be proved by the state," rather than each of the claims required to be proved by the state. Whether cumulative error deprived Ortega of a fair trial.

Appeal No. 107,158: State v. William D. Holt, II

Shawnee County: (Criminal Appeal) Holt was convicted by jury of first-degree murder and aggravated burglary. He was sentenced to a hard-50 term for the murder and appeals that conviction and sentence. Issues are whether prosecutor's appeals to sympathy and misstatements of the law were reversible misconduct, whether the district court erred giving a reasonable doubt instruction that lowered the state's burden of proof, and whether, because the prosecutorial misconduct and the error in the jury instructions both go to the burden of proof, cumulative error also dictates reversal. Also, whether there was sufficient evidence that Holt knowingly or purposely created a risk of death to more than one person to warrant imposition of a hard-50 sentence. Supplemental briefing was filed on the constitutionality of Holt’s hard-50 sentence in light of Alleyne v. United States.

Appeal No. 111,125: In the Matter of Trey Thomas Meyer

Original Proceeding in Attorney Discipline: (Recommended Temporary Suspension of Law License With Reinstatement Hearing) This disciplinary proceeding arises out of two complaints filed against the respondent. In the first, respondent was retained to seek a declaratory judgment regarding real property. He failed to respond to discovery requests, failed to meet the deadline to exchange witness and exhibit lists, and failed to communicate adequately with the client. Respondent also was admitted to an attorney diversion program but failed to comply with the agreement. In the second complaint, respondent accepted representation in a divorce action but failed to file in a timely manner, causing the client to lose significant advantages when her husband filed first. The hearing panel found violations of Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct and recommended suspension from the practice of law for six months with a reinstatement hearing. Respondent has not taken exceptions.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 23, 2014

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Sumner County Judge McQuin to sit with Kansas Supreme Court

Judge R. Scott McQuin
Judge R. Scott McQuin Sumner County District Court

TOPEKA — Sumner County District Court Judge R. Scott McQuin has been appointed to sit with the state Supreme Court Monday, April 28, to hear oral arguments in four cases.

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

McQuin has been a district court judge in Sumner County since 1993. Before that, he was a magistrate judge in Barber County from 1987 to 1993. Before becoming a judge, McQuin was Barber County Attorney and also had a private law practice in Medicine Lodge.

McQuin is a graduate of the Kansas University School of Law.

All Supreme Court oral arguments are webcast live through the Watch Supreme Court Live! link in the right-hand column of the Kansas Judicial Branch website at http://www.kscourts.org.

The four cases McQuin will hear beginning at 9 a.m. Monday, April 28, are as follows:

Appeal No. 109,208: In the Interest of N.A.C.

Sedgwick County: (Petition for Review) N.A.C. was born on the street in Wichita on November 2, 2011, and placed in police protective custody the same day. Kansas Social Rehabilitation Services (now Kansas Department for Children and Families) placed the child with foster parents. Maternal cousins from Idaho expressed interest in adopting the child. Parental rights were terminated in 2012, and the child became available for adoption. On the foster parents' motion, the district court found that SRS had failed to make reasonable efforts or progress toward finding an adoptive placement, removed the child from SRS custody, and granted custody to the foster parents with court approval to adopt. The maternal cousins appealed, and the Court of Appeals reversed the district court's finding regarding reasonable efforts, vacated the court's orders regarding custody, and remanded while SRS proceeds with and finalizes adoption placement [Chief Judge Thomas E Malone, dissenting]. The Supreme Court granted the foster parents' petition for review. [In a separate proceeding, a final decree of adoption was granted in favor of the foster parents while this appeal was pending.] Issues on review include whether the Court of Appeals erred finding that it had jurisdiction to hear the appeal and in finding that the district court decision is not supported by substantial competent evidence in the record.

Appeal No. 106,299: State v. Bobby D. Edwards

Sedgwick County: (Petition for Review of Court of Appeals Decision) Edwards was charged with aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, and attempted murder. At his first trial, he was acquitted of aggravated burglary and attempted murder. The second trial resulted in a mistrial. At his third trial, he was convicted of aggravated robbery. He appealed, and the Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court granted Edward's petition for review. Issues on review are whether there was sufficient evidence to convict Edwards of aggravated robbery and whether his constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel was violated. Also, whether the district court erred by refusing to inform the jury that the underlying theft could not be incidental to the crime, erred by not instructing the jury that the threat of force must precede or be contemporaneous with the taking, erred in allowing the state to present an expert witness without following K.S.A. 60-226, and erred in limiting Edwards’ attorney’s examination of Dr. Goodman. And, whether this combination of errors denied Edwards’ constitutional right to a fair trial.

Appeal No. 105,603: State v. Monh Suady

Johnson County: (Cross-Petition for Review After Court of Appeals Remand to District Court) Suady was convicted of aggravated robbery, aggravated battery, and attempted aggravated robbery, and sentenced to a controlling 290-month prison term. He appealed. The Court of Appeals affirmed in part, reversed in part, dismissed in part, and remanded. Suady petitioned for review, and the state cross-petitioned. The Supreme Court denied the petition for review but granted the cross-petition. Issue on cross-petition for review questions whether, since the Kansas robbery statute is plain and unambiguous, an appellate court may speculate about the legislative intent behind it and read into the statute an element not readily found in it, such as lack of facilitation to commit another crime.

Appeal No. 109,355: In the Matter of A.M.M.-H

Johnson County: (Petition for Review of Court of Appeals Decision) Respondent was charged with three felonies and entered into a stipulation to two of them before being placed on Extended Jurisdiction Juvenile Prosecution. He was sentenced to 24 months with 24 months’ aftercare. The adult sentence was ordered to be concurrent terms of 59 months and 18 months. Respondent was remanded to the juvenile correctional facility and later placed on conditional release. The state moved to revoke the juvenile sentence and impose the adult sentence, following alleged violations of the conditional release contract. The district court found violations of the sentence and sustained the motion to impose the adult sentence. Respondent appealed, and the Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court granted respondent's petition for review. Issue on review is whether technical violations of a juvenile's conditional release constitute violations of the court's sentence.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 21, 2014

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Supreme Court accepting public comment on videoconferencing recommendations

TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court has made available for public comment recommendations it recently received from its committee proposing standards, best practices and procedures for increased videoconferencing use in court settings.

The report, Recommendations for Videoconferencing in Kansas Courts, is based on extensive evaluation of legal and logistical issues by a 16-member committee appointed in late 2012. The committee included attorneys from private practice and government service, appellate and district court judges, information technology staff, and district court clerks.

Chief Judge Wendel W. Wurst
Chief Judge Wendel Wurst 25th Judicial District

“Increased use of videoconferencing technology in court proceedings will lead to cost savings for the court, reduced costs for civil litigants, and increased convenience for lawyers and witnesses,” said Wendel Wurst, chief judge of the 25th Judicial District and chair of the committee. “What we seek to establish is the foundation for that to occur.”

The committee’s recommendations expand on ideas posed by the Kansas Supreme Court’s Blue Ribbon Commission, during Project Pegasus. They reflect the group’s objective analysis of practical issues related to increased videoconferencing use, as well as legal considerations raised by the Supreme Court Research Clinic at the University of Kansas School of Law.

“In the end, we will have statewide standards that make efficient use of our courts’ limited financial and personnel resources while maintaining constitutional protections for people charged with crimes,” Wurst said.

In criminal cases that could result in incarceration, videoconferencing will be used only to the extent it does not interfere with the defendant’s right to confront his or her accuser. However, some criminal defendants are already appearing by videoconference for procedural hearings, which saves courts transportation and security costs.

In civil cases, it will allow certain witnesses to appear by videoconference from another location, saving the witness time and parties to the case money. According to the recommendations, video testimony is generally allowed, but the opposing party has the opportunity to contest it.

For lawyers arguing before the Kansas Court of Appeals, the opportunity to appear by videoconference means no need to travel to Topeka or another location where a three-judge panel has convened. This means considerable savings for the lawyers’ clients.

Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss
Chief Justice Lawton Nuss

“The committee has wisely taken more than a year to thoroughly review this complex topic,” said Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss. “While videoconferencing has the potential to save resources for many, we agree with the committee that the people of Kansas should have an opportunity to read the report and make suggestions.”

The Judicial Branch Videoconferencing Committee recommendations are available in the What’s New section of the Kansas Judicial Branch website. Public comment may be made by June 21, 2014, to Kathy Porter at porterk@kscourts.org.





FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 18, 2014

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Supreme Court issues statement on Senate Substitute for House Bill 2338

TOPEKA—The Supreme Court of Kansas released this statement on learning Senate Substitute for House Bill 2338 was signed by the governor.

“The Supreme Court of Kansas has strongly opposed this bill since its creation. We are troubled now that it has been signed by the governor.

“It weakens the centralized authority of the Kansas unified court system in exchange for money to pay our employees and keep courts open. And the money it provides still may fall short of even doing that.

“This is a poor trade. We have very serious concerns about what will happen to the administration of justice in Kansas.

“We believe Kansans deserve better.”


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 18, 2014

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Court of Appeals Chambers Counsel receives Topeka Bar Association award

TOPEKA—Kansas Court of Appeals Chambers Counsel Doug Shima received the Honorable E. Newton Vickers Professionalism Award from the Topeka Bar Association at the group’s annual meeting April 9.

Shima has worked for the Kansas Judicial Branch since he graduated from the Washburn University School of Law in 1994. He currently serves as Chambers Counsel for Judge G. Joseph Pierron, Jr., of the Kansas Court of Appeals.

Doug Shima
Doug Shima

“I am extremely honored and humbled to receive the Newt Vickers Professionalism Award. Professionalism starts with how you treat people. It’s the relationships you build, the people you meet, and your involvement with other attorneys and in your community, that make life enjoyable and worthwhile,” Shima said. The Topeka Bar Association gives the Honorable E. Newton Vickers Professionalism Award to recognize a member who, by his or her conduct, honesty, integrity and courtesy, best exemplifies, represents and encourages other lawyers to follow the highest standards of the legal profession, including those contained in the Topeka Bar Association Creed of Professional Courtesy.

Shima received the Topeka Bar Association’s Outstanding Young Lawyer Award in 1997. He was president of the Topeka Bar Association in 2008/2009, and he currently co-chairs the membership committee. He is a regular contributor to the association’s monthly newsletter, TBA Briefings.

Shima has been active in the Sam A. Crow American Inn of Court ever since graduating from Law School and currently serves as the Inns' secretary/treasurer.

Shima is also a longstanding volunteer in the community. For the last 15 years, he has organized two corporate routes for Meals on Wheels of Shawnee and Jefferson Counties. In 2013, he was given the Reuter Award for distinguished service to Meals on Wheels.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 16, 2014

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Justice Marla Luckert receives Warren W. Shaw Distinguished Service Award

TOPEKA—Justice Marla Luckert became the third Kansas Supreme Court justice to receive the Warren W. Shaw Distinguished Service Award when it was presented to her by the Topeka Bar Association at the group’s annual meeting April 9.

The first time the award was presented, it was to retired Chief Justice David Prager in 1996. Chief Justice Kay McFarland received the award in 2008.

Justice Marla Luckert
Justice Marla Luckert

“I am grateful to the Topeka Bar Association membership for this honor and flattered to join rank with the distinguished group who received this award before me,” said Luckert.

The Topeka Bar Association presents the Warren W. Shaw Distinguished Service Award to recognize a lawyer or judge for exemplary service to the legal profession and to the association. A recipient must devote time to a law-related project with accomplishments above and beyond what is expected, or have made a significant contribution to the goals of the legal profession, the Topeka Bar Association, or the public.

This is the second award presented to Luckert by the Topeka Bar Association. She received the Honorable E. Newton Vickers Professionalism Award in 2004 for exemplifying high standards in the legal professionalism.

Luckert is a 1980 graduate of the Washburn University School of Law. She was appointed to the Third Judicial District Court by Gov. Joan Finney in 1992 and to the Kansas Supreme Court by Gov. Bill Graves in 2003.

Luckert served as president of the Kansas Bar Association, the Topeka Bar Association, the Kansas District Judges Association, the Kansas Women Attorneys Association, the Sam A. Crow Inn of Court, and the Women Attorneys Association of Topeka.

Her involvement with the Topeka Bar Association includes serving as chair of their publications and Law Day committees. She also served on several other committees, including alternative dispute resolution, continuing legal education, medical-legal, bench-bar, young lawyer, family law, and naturalization.

The Topeka Bar Association website has a list of past recipients of the Warren W. Shaw Distinguished Service Award.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 11, 2014

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Kansas Court of Appeals to hear arguments April 15 at Washburn Law

TOPEKA—A three-judge panel of the Kansas Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments Tuesday, April 15, in the Robinson Courtroom at the Washburn University School of Law, 1700 SW College, in Topeka.

Judge Michael B. Buser will be the presiding judge for the panel that also includes Judge Caleb Stegall and Senior Judge John J. Bukaty.

Attorneys for each side of a case are allotted time to present their arguments and judges can ask questions. The court will then take each case under consideration. Written decisions are issued later, usually within about 60 days.

Following are summaries of two cases to be heard:

9 a.m. — April 15, 2014

Case No. 110,130: State of Kansas v. Miles E. Theurer

On May 7, 2013, Miles E. Theurer pled no contest to two counts of involuntary manslaughter while driving under the influence of alcohol. The sentences for these offenses, as provided by the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines, called for presumptive imprisonment. The district court granted Theurer’s request for a downward dispositional departure. He was sentenced to underlying concurrent terms of 41 months’ imprisonment, ordered to serve 60 days in jail, and granted 36 months’ probation under house arrest. The state appeals the district court’s granting of Theurer’s downward dispositional departure motion.

1:30 p.m. — April 15, 2014

Case No. 108,301: State of Kansas v. Stephen Alan Macomber

Stephen Alan Macomber was involved in a dispute that resulted in the shooting death of Ryan Lofton on June 7, 2010. A jury convicted Macomber of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a firearm. On appeal, Macomber, who maintains the shooting was accidental, contends the trial court should not have admitted evidence that he later shot a law enforcement officer in Marshall County, or a coroner’s opinion that the cause of Lofton’s death was homicide. In addition to arguing the inadmissibility of other evidence, Macomber challenges the accuracy of the jury instructions, the propriety of the prosecutor’s conduct, and the constitutionality of the criminal possession of a firearm conviction.

The full docket is as follows:

9 a.m. — April 15, 2014

Case No. 110,130: State of Kansas v. Miles E. Theurer
Case No. 110,094: Glassman Corporation v. Champion Bldrs, LLC
Case No. 109,313: State of Kansas v. Breonna M. Wilkins

1:30 p.m. — April 15, 2014

Case No. 108,301: State of Kansas v. Stephen Alan Macomber
Case No. 109,118: State of Kansas v. Santine White
Case No. 109,688: State of Kansas v. Mathew Scott Evertson
Case No. 110,315: Kite’s Bar & Grill, Inc. d/b/a Kite’s Grille & Bar v. Kansas Department of Revenue Alcoholic Beverage Control Division

Note: Reporters who want to cover the oral arguments using video, photo, or audio recording devices, as spelled out in Court Rule 1001, must contact Lisa Taylor at 785-296-4872 or taylorl@kscourts.org no later than noon Monday, April 14.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 2, 2014

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Court requires universal use of offender assessment tool to break cycle of repeat crimes

TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court decided late last week that it will require court services officers statewide to use the Level of Service Inventory-Revised (LSI-R) assessment tool to evaluate the type and level of supervision each misdemeanor and felony offender needs to reduce future criminal activity.

The requirement applies to all felony offenders who enter supervision on or after July 1, 2014, and all misdemeanor offenders who enter supervision on or after January 1, 2015, or 60 days after an electronic version of the tool becomes available late this year, whichever is later. Kansas Judicial Branch court services officers supervise about 38,000 adult offenders statewide per year. Roughly two-thirds are supervised for misdemeanor crimes, while the remaining third are for felony offenses.

Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss
Kansas Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss

“When we show people who are convicted of crimes how to live in our communities without breaking our laws, we all benefit with increased public safety,” said Chief Justice Lawton Nuss.

The LSI-R is an internationally recognized assessment tool based on more than 30 years of research. It focuses on factors criminal justice professionals have identified as indicators for repeat criminal behavior, like criminal history, education, current employment, financial well-being, connections to family and friends, and alcohol and drug use. How an offender scores in each area reveals to the court services officer where the offender’s risk to reoffend resides and where more in depth evaluation may be warranted.

Chris Mechler
Chris Mechler Court Services Officer Specialist

“These are standardized, evidence-based assessments that give us a statistically valid way to say what factors could lead a person to reoffend,” said Chris Mechler, Court Services Officer Specialist. “It allows us to target our efforts where we can have the greatest impact and prevent repeat criminal behavior.”

When the Kansas Judicial Branch starts using an electronic version of the LSI-R assessment tool late this year, it will greatly expand its ability to collect uniform data statewide. Currently, all assessments are recorded on paper.

Most court services officers have used the tool to some extent in the past, but the court’s requirement makes its use universal.

In 2011, with input and guidance from the Court Services Officer Advisory Board, 213 court services officers from the state’s 31 judicial districts were trained to administer the LSI-R assessment. Continuing education is required annually.

Training is provided by the University of Cincinnati, a recognized expert in LSI-R assessment, and is paid for using probation supervision fees paid by offenders. Probation fees are also being used to develop the electronic assessment tool that will launch late this year.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 11, 2014

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Kansas Court of Appeals to hear arguments in Leavenworth March 18

A three-judge panel of the Kansas Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in three cases Tuesday, March 18, at the Leavenworth Justice Center at 601 South 3rd Street in Leavenworth.

Judge Henry W. Green Jr. will be the presiding judge for the panel that also includes Judge G. Joseph Pierron Jr. and Judge Caleb Stegall.

Attorneys for each side of a case are allotted time to present their arguments and judges can ask questions. The court will then take each case under consideration. Written decisions are issued later, usually within about 60 days.

Following are summaries of the cases to be heard:

9 a.m. — March 18, 2014

110,192 Jonathon M. Moore v. Cimarex Energy Co., Inc and Liberty Mutual Insurance Co.

Moore appeals the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board denial of benefits, arguing the board misinterpreted the law defining an ordinary disease of life and aggravating a pre-existing condition, and that the benefits denial was unreasonable and not supported by substantial evidence.

109,377 State of Kansas v. Melvin Lee

A Wyandotte County jury convicted Lee of aggravated burglary and criminal damage to property (PlayStation 3) valued at less than $500. Lee appeals, arguing the state’s evidence wasn’t sufficient to convict him of aggravated burglary because the jury instructions listed the wrong address for the house he was accused of entering. Lee also argues the state’s evidence was insufficient to convict him of criminal damage to property because the jury instructions listed one roommate (Brown) as the PlayStation 3 owner, when it really belonged to Brown’s roommate (Cobb).

1:30 p.m. — March 18, 2014

110,508 Betty Turner v. State of Kansas and State Self-Insurance Fund

Turner applied for workers compensation benefits after she fell and hurt her shoulder at work. The administrative law judge determined Turner was entitled to compensation for a 16 percent permanent partial impairment for her shoulder injury. The judge also determined that Turner failed to prove a neck injury was caused by her work accident. The Workers Compensation Appeals Board affirmed the administrative law judge’s decision. On this appeal, Turner argues the board erred determining she failed to prove her neck injury was caused by her work accident and also in calculating her average weekly wage.

Note: Media that want to cover the oral arguments using video, photo or audio recording devices, as spelled out in Court Rule 1001, must contact Lisa Taylor at 785-296-4872 or taylorl@kscourts.org no later than noon Monday, March 17.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 7, 2014

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Supreme Court issues opinion in public education financing case

Appeal No. 109,335: Luke Gannon, et al v. State of Kansas

TOPEKA—The Supreme Court today issued its unanimous opinion in a dispute over K-12 public education financing. The court declared certain school funding laws fail to provide equity in public education as required by the Kansas Constitution and returned the case to Shawnee County District Court to enforce the court's holdings. The court further ordered the three-judge panel that presided over the trial of the case to reconsider whether school funding laws provide adequacy in public education – as also required by the constitution.

The plaintiffs in Gannon v. State of Kansas are four public school districts and 31 individuals. Each district lost funding beginning in fiscal year 2009, after the Legislature reduced appropriations for various categories of school funds, including base state aid per pupil, capital outlay state aid, and supplemental general state aid. The plaintiffs claimed continued reductions in school funding violated the education article of the Kansas Constitution—Article 6—which directs the Legislature to "make suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of the state." The plaintiffs also claimed they were denied equal protection and due process.

The Supreme Court dismissed the individual plaintiffs for lack of legal standing and determined the school districts could not pursue equal protection or due process claims. But the court ruled the districts had standing to bring claims under Article 6 of the Kansas Constitution. The court reasoned the districts sufficiently alleged the funding reductions had undermined their ability to perform the districts' constitutional duty to "maintain, develop, and operate local public schools."

The court also rejected the state's argument that the court had no authority to decide whether the Legislature had underfunded K-12 education because it is strictly a political question, rather than a constitutional mandate. The court ruled that the judiciary has both the duty and the authority to review whether acts of the Legislature comply with constitutional standards. "The judiciary is not at liberty to surrender, ignore, or waive this duty," the court said.

The court's decision also clarified that the Kansas Constitution contains at least two separate components for public education: adequacy and equity. The adequacy requirement is met when the structure and implementation of the state's K-12 public education financing system is "reasonably calculated" to have all students meet or exceed certain minimum educational standards. The court also said the three-judge panel's test for adequacy was incorrect because it exclusively focused on cost studies. Therefore, the court reversed and remanded the adequacy issue to the panel so it can apply the proper test and make appropriate findings.

Regarding equity, the court said Article 6 does not require absolute funding equality among districts, but it emphasized that "school districts must have reasonably equal access to substantially similar educational opportunity through similar tax effort." Applying this test, the court concluded the state had established unconstitutional funding disparities among districts when it withheld capital outlay state aid payments and reduced supplemental general state aid payments to which certain districts with less property wealth were otherwise entitled in fiscal years 2010, 2011, and 2012.

The court set a July 1, 2014, deadline to give the Legislature an opportunity to provide for equitable funding for public education. If by then the Legislature fully funds capital outlay state aid and supplemental general state aid as contemplated by present statutes, i.e., without withholding or prorating payments, the panel will not be required to take additional action on those issues. But if the Legislature takes no action by July 1, 2014, or otherwise fails to eliminate the inequity, the panel must take appropriate action to ensure the inequities are cured.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 28, 2014

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Supreme Court to Present 2014 Justice Award to Robert Guenthner

TOPEKA--The Kansas Supreme Court will present the 2014 Justice Award to Wichita attorney Robert I. Guenthner in a public ceremony at 2 p.m. Friday, March 7, in recognition of his contributions to the advancement of justice in Kansas throughout his career.

The ceremony will take place in the Supreme Court courtroom on the second floor of the Kansas Judicial Center, 301 SW 10th Avenue, Topeka, and it will be webcast live through the Watch Supreme Court Live! link in the right-hand column of the Kansas Judicial Branch website at http://www.kscourts.org.

Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss
Kansas Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss

“Robert Guenthner is the ideal recipient for this award,” said Chief Justice Lawton Nuss. “He has given more than 30 years of extended, dedicated service to justice, especially as it relates to the Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys.”

Guenthner was chairman of the Kansas Bar Association committee that developed rules on disciplinary enforcement and was the principal draftsman of rules adopted by the Supreme Court that established the office of the Disciplinary Administrator. He continues to serve on the Review Committee that studies complaints and investigative reports to determine whether probable cause exists to believe an attorney has violated disciplinary rules.

Robert I. Guenthner
Robert I. Guenthner

“Kansans can be proud of the work of the Board of Discipline in effectively dealing with ethics complaints made against attorneys,” said Guenthner. “It is gratifying for me to be recognized by the Supreme Court for my work on the board.”

Guenthner graduated with highest distinction from the University of Kansas School of Law and has been with the law firm Morris, Laing, Evans, Brock & Kennedy, Chartered, in Wichita, since 1967, where his practice concentrates on business, banking, probate, trust and tax law. He’s been active in the business community and has served on several Wichita bank boards, as well as the boards of civic and nonprofit organizations. He also served as a director and vice chair of the Kansas Development Finance Authority.

His professional involvements include serving on several committees with the Wichita, Kansas and American Bar associations. He wrote a chapter of a Kansas Bar Association’s Estate Administration Handbook and was the 2013 recipient of the Kansas Bar Association’s professionalism award.

The Supreme Court presents the Justice Award to recognize individuals or organizations that have made significant contributions to the improvement of justice in Kansas. As a recipient, Guenthner will receive a plaque and a $500 stipend, and his name will be added to the permanent list of recipients displayed outside the Supreme Court courtroom in the Judicial Center.

The award stipend comes from earnings on a $10,000 check awarded by the Foundation for the Improvement of Justice to the Supreme Court for its program to shorten the amount of time it takes to dispose of a case through Kansas courts. Kansas was the first state to establish specific time standards for each of five major case categories.

Any Kansan or Kansas organization is eligible to receive the Justice Award, except Supreme Court justices, their personal staff and members of the Justice Award Nominating Committee.

The Justice Award has been given 16 times since its inception in 1989. The most recent recipients include: Professor James Concannon (2012); Gerald L. Goodell (2007); and the Hon. David Prager (2001).


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 6, 2014

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Kansans Targeted by Court Scams

TOPEKA—Kansas residents who receive unusual phone calls or emails from a person claiming to be affiliated with a Kansas court need to be aware they might be the target of a scam.

In one scam, residents report they received a phone call from someone claiming to be affiliated with a local court or sheriff’s office who demands the person pay a fine for failing to report for jury duty. Anyone who receives a call of this type should hang up immediately and report it to local law enforcement.

In another scam, residents report receiving an email from a Kansas court that encourages them to click on a link to confirm a court complaint was filed. It is believed the link is used to deliver a virus onto the recipient’s computer when it is clicked. Anyone who receives an email of this type should delete it immediately.

A person who receives an unusual communication that does not fit the profile of either of these scams can contact a local court official to confirm whether it’s valid.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 31, 2014

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Kansas Supreme Court establishes Chief Judges’ Council to fill advisory role

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton Nuss signed an order this month creating a seven-member Chief Judges Council to provide additional first-hand expertise and ground-level perspective on current and future issues facing Kansas courts.

Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss
Kansas Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss

“Council members represent the broad diversity of Kansas courts and I look forward to hearing what’s most important to them and why,” Nuss said. “It will allow me to provide informed leadership on topics that affect our local courts in different ways based on caseloads, staffing and community needs.”

Nuss noted the council will give input for the 31 chief judges who preside over the state’s judicial districts. As chief judges, their perspectives may occasionally differ from those of the Kansas District Judges’ Association and the Supreme Court values ideas from both groups.

The council’s first order of business was to select Chief Judge David A. Ricke of the 13th Judicial District as its chairperson. It will next provide feedback on strategies offered by the Court Budget Advisory Council to reduce the number of days courts will close if an $8.25 million shortfall in Judicial Branch funding for fiscal year 2015 is not resolved by the Legislature.

Although Nuss says he will ask the council for input when he needs it, he also expects the council to decide on its own issues it wants to bring to the Supreme Court.

“Chief judges manage their courts with general oversight from Supreme Court justices, so I expect this to be, for the most part, a self-directed group,” Nuss said. “What the council provides is an established venue to discuss what’s important and a structure for continuous information sharing with the Supreme Court that will help us work more effectively toward our common goals.”

Appointed to one-year terms that expire Dec. 31, 2014, are:

Chief Judge Patricia Macke Dick of the 27th Judicial District, who has served since January 1989 as district judge in Division Four of the Reno County District Court. Dick is a native of Plainville and a graduate of Kansas State University and the University of Kansas School of Law. She currently serves as treasurer of the Kansas District Judges’ Association.

Chief Judge David A. Ricke of the 13th Judicial District, who has served since November 2004 as district judge presiding over cases in Butler, Greenwood, and Elk Counties. Ricke is a resident of Rose Hill and a graduate of Wichita State University and the University of Kansas School of Law.

Appointed to two-year terms that expire Dec. 31, 2015, are:

Chief Judge Edward E. Bouker of the 23rd Judicial District, who has served since 1993 as district judge presiding over cases in Ellis, Gove, Rooks, and Trego Counties. Bouker is a resident of Hays and a graduate of Fort Hays State University and the Kansas University School of Law. He currently serves on the Kansas Judicial Council’s Pattern Instructions for Kansas Committee and is chair of the Kansas Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Committee.

Chief Judge Kim W. Cudney of the 12th Judicial District, who has served since November 2006 as district judge presiding over cases in Cloud, Jewell, Lincoln, Mitchell, Republic, and Washington Counties. Cudney is resident of Greenleaf and a graduate of Kansas State University and Washburn Law School. She served on the Blue Ribbon Commission and the Kansas Supreme Court Judicial Needs Assessment Committee. She currently serves on the board of directors of the Kansas District Judges’ Association.

Chief Judge R. Wayne Lampson of the 29th Judicial District, who has served since 2008 as district judge presiding over cases in Wyandotte County. Lampson is a native Kansan and a graduate of Emporia State University and the University of Tulsa School of Law.

Chief Judge Nicholas M. St. Peter of the 19th Judicial District, who has served since October 2004 as district judge presiding over cases in Cowley County. St. Peter is a native of Winfield and a graduate of Fort Hays State University and Washburn Law School. He serves on the Kansas Commission on Judicial Qualifications and the Access to Justice Committee.

Chief Judge Wendel W. Wurst of the 25th Judicial District, who has served since October 2009 as district judge presiding over cases in Finney, Kearny, Hamilton, Greeley, Wichita, and Scott Counties. Wurst is a native of Sterling and a graduate of Kansas State University and Kansas University Law School. He is the current chairperson of the Supreme Court Videoconferencing Standards Committee.

Chief Judge Patricia Macke Dick Chief Judge David A. Ricke Chief Judge Edward E. Bouker
Chief Judge Patricia Macke Dick
Chief Judge David A. Ricke
Chief Judge Edward E. Bouker
Chief Judge Kim W. Cudney Chief Judge R. Wayne Lampson Chief Judge Nicholas M. St. Peter Chief Judge Wendel W. Wurst
Chief Judge Kim W. Cudney
Chief Judge R. Wayne Lampson
Chief Judge Nicholas M. St. Peter
Chief Judge Wendel W. Wurst

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 17, 2014

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
785-296-4872

Douglas County Judge Malone to sit with Kansas Supreme Court

Judge Michael Malone
District Court Judge Michael Malone

TOPEKA—Douglas County District Court Judge Michael Malone will sit with the Kansas Supreme Court Thursday, Jan. 30, to hear oral arguments in a case the court remanded to the Johnson County District Court in 2011.

The Supreme Court appointed Judge Malone to join them to hear oral argument in Appeal No. 101,054: State of Kansas v. John Henry Horton. Malone was sitting with the court when it heard the appeal that resulted in the remand to district court.

Horton was convicted of first degree murder in October 2003. On appeal, the Supreme Court reversed the conviction, holding that the district court erroneously admitted evidence of Horton’s prior crimes, but it did not preclude future prosecution on new charges.

In March 2007, the state brought new charges against Horton, alleging he committed first-degree murder, or felony murder in the alternative. While the jury was deliberating, defense counsel asked the case be continued and to allow defense to present emerging evidence that had the potential to impact the jury’s view of the case. The court denied the request, stating it lacked authority, and Horton was convicted of felony murder.

Horton appealed the felony murder conviction on the premise that the district court abused its discretion by not reopening evidence.

In July 2011, the Supreme Court suspended the appeal to remand the case back to district court on the narrow issue of whether the district court should have reopened evidence presentation to allow the jury to hear evidence related to a recording of an inmate witness’ telephone conversation and any rebuttal evidence offered by the state.

On remand, the district court determined it “should not and would not have reopened the case” to allow the additional evidence.

The issue before the Supreme Court is whether the district court committed reversible error deciding to not reopen the case.

Malone has been on the Douglas County bench since 1982. He served as chief judge of the district from 1989 to 2003. He was an adjunct professor at The University of Kansas School of Law for 33 years and he served on the Patterned Jury Instructions and the Criminal Law Advisory committees to the Kansas Judicial Council. He has been appointed to sit with the Supreme Court a number of times during his career.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 13, 2014

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
785-296-4872

Hearing panel recommends informal admonition for Sarah Peterson Herr

TOPEKA—In a final hearing report final hearing report issued today, a three-judge hearing panel recommended Sarah Peterson Herr be informally admonished for violating Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct.

The hearing panel determined Herr violated Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct by misrepresenting the law and facts when she predicted via her personal Twitter account that an attorney appearing in a disciplinary hearing before the Kansas Supreme Court would be disbarred for seven years, without having a legal or factual basis for making such a prediction.

The panel determined the prediction also was prejudicial to the administration of justice and it represented professional misconduct to imply she had a degree of influence she did not have.

Herr was an employee of the Kansas Court of Appeals when she made the prediction Nov. 15, 2012.

In making its recommendation that she be informally admonished, the panel noted Herr had no prior disciplinary history, her motive was not dishonest or selfish, there was no pattern of misconduct, she publicly apologized for her conduct, she self-reported the possible violation, she cooperated with the investigation, and she has little experience practicing law.

The Kansas Supreme Court appointed the three-judge panel that included the Hon. Robert J. Fleming, who presided over the hearing, Hon. Edward Larson and Hon. Mary Thrower.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 2, 2014

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
785-296-4872
taylorl@kscourts.org

Chief Justice to give State of the Judiciary January 22

Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss
Kansas Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss will give his State of the Kansas Judiciary address at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22, from the courtroom of the Supreme Court in the Kansas Judicial Center, Topeka.

He will give the address to an invited audience that will include Kansas legislators, Judicial Branch employees and key constituent groups.

Chief Justice Nuss’ State of the Judiciary address is believed to be the first in Kansas’ 153-year history to be delivered from the courtroom of the Supreme Court.

Nuss decided to speak from the courtroom in part to make it available via webcast to address the public’s heightened interest in an $8.25 million shortfall in the Judicial Branch base budget in fiscal year 2015, which begins July 1, 2014. Ninety-six percent of the Judicial Branch’s budget is for salaries and wages. If the shortfall isn’t solved, court employees will be sent home without pay—closing courts and impacting Kansans statewide.

Kansas law requires Nuss, as chief justice of the Supreme Court, to provide a written report at the beginning of the legislative session to the governor and to the judiciary committees of both houses of the Legislature. The written report will be delivered in addition to his State of the Kansas Judiciary address.

The public can access a live webcast of the State of the Judiciary address by following the Watch Supreme Court Live! link in the right-hand column of the Kansas Judicial Branch website at http://www.kscourts.org. The address will be recorded for viewing afterward by anyone unable to attend in person or watch it live online.