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

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

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


News Releases

09/03/15: Kansas Supreme Court launches eCourt project
08/21/15: Kansas judicial branch receives national recognition for court caseload reporting excellence
08/14/15: New date set for interviews to fill judge vacancy in 9th judicial district
08/10/15: Kansas Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments August 18 in Garden City
08/04/15: Supreme Court to conduct special evening session October 13 at Garden City High School
07/21/15: Ten apply for judge vacancy in 9th judicial district
07/21/15: Chief Judge Richard Walker to retire August 1
07/17/15: Supreme Court seeks comment on proposed rule changes for new attorney oath procedure
07/16/15: Reno County Judge Macke Dick appointed to serve on family law committee
07/10/15: Supreme Court seeks public comment on proposed changes to Rules 106 and 108
07/09/15: Johnson County judge recognized for leadership, service
07/06/15: Kansas Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments July 14-15 in Beloit
07/01/15: Electronic filing in appellate courts to be mandatory effective November 2
06/26/15: Kansas District Magistrate Judges' Association elects new officers
06/19/15: Kansas District Judges’ Association elects new officers
06/16/15: Nominating commission seeks candidates for judge vacancy in 9th judicial district
06/05/15: Chief justice wants Kansans to know state courts fully operating next week
05/22/15: Supreme Court announces decisions on cases heard in April 13 special session in Hays
05/20/15: Updates to child support guidelines open for public comment
05/11/15: Kansas Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments May 12-13 in Chanute
05/07/15: Kansas Supreme Court accepting public comment on proposed change to Rule 710
05/05/15: Kathryn Gardner to be sworn in as Court of Appeals judge May 8
05/01/15: Supreme Court stays proceedings in Cheever case
04/29/15: Shawnee County Judge Wilson to sit with Kansas Supreme Court
04/16/15: New attorneys take state and federal oaths in April 17 ceremony
03/24/15: Kathryn Gardner to be sworn in as Court of Appeals Judge on May 8
03/23/15: Supreme Court announces cases for April 13 docket at Fort Hays State University
03/23/15: Samuel J. Marsh selected to fill district magistrate judge vacancy in 11th judicial district
03/13/15: Kansas Supreme Court accepting public comment on proposed change to records rule
03/03/15: Supreme Court selects Fort Hays State University for April 13 docket
02/27/15: 11 apply for district magistrate vacancy in 11th judicial district
02/23/15: Stephanie Bunten named new budget and fiscal officer for judicial branch
02/13/15: Kansas Supreme Court reappoints two to Chief Judges' Council
02/12/15: Kansas district court judge named co-chair of national judicial voter education project
01/29/15: Court of Appeals Judge Karen Arnold-Burger wins national award
01/28/15: Nominating commission seeks candidates for district magistrate judge vacancy in 11th Judicial District
01/08/15: F. William Cullins new chief judge of 14th judicial district
01/07/15: Van Hampton new chief judge of 16th judicial district
01/07/15: Amy Harth new chief judge of 6th judicial district
01/06/15: Chief Justice to give State of the Judiciary January 21

See the Archives for new releases dating back to 1997


NEWS RELEASE: September 3, 2015

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

Kansas Supreme Court launches eCourt project

TOPEKA—State courts are one step closer in their transition to a centralized electronic court environment with the Supreme Court’s launch of its Kansas eCourt project today.

The eCourt project will focus on merging electronic document filing already used in most Kansas courts with a centralized case management system, uniting all court case information and business processes on a single platform.

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

“Courts have used technology to improve day-to-day business operations, but it has been at a district or county level, essentially creating standalone digital environments,” said Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss. “This initiative to centralize most of our court records and processes will allow us to share information across district and county lines, where we can make the most effective use of our limited staff and fiscal resources. It also strengthens the unification of our state’s courts the people of Kansas asked for in their constitution more than 40 years ago.”

To prepare for this move to centralized case management, electronic filing was introduced in some district courts in 2009. Electronic filing allows lawyers and court employees to file and store court documents electronically in the nearly half a million cases courts process each year.

Currently, more than half of the state’s judicial districts are using electronic filing and the 7th judicial district in Douglas County requires it. Electronic filing in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals will be mandatory starting November 2.

Now that electronic filing is nearly fully in place, the courts are ready to move to the electronic court environment that is one goal of the eCourt project.

Justice Dan Biles
Justice Dan Biles

 “While technology is the foundation of this project, the transition to a more centralized case management system will require a fair amount of standardization across judicial districts,” said Justice Dan Biles, who is chair of the eCourt steering committee. “Our subcommittees on infrastructure, requirements, and rules will examine needs of individual courts, the legal community, the public, and others to establish baseline requirements for the eCourt environment.”

Funding for the eCourt project is through the Electronic Filing and Case Management Fund established by the 2014 Legislature, which directed that the first $3.1 million received in docket fee revenue for fiscal years 2015, 2016, and 2017 be deposited into the fund. In fiscal year 2018 and subsequent years, the first $1 million in docket fee revenue is directed into the fund.

In 2015, the Legislature extended by one year the requirement that $3.1 million be deposited into the fund and authorized the judicial branch to use revenue deposited in fiscal years 2015 and 2016 to fill gaps in its general expenditures.



NEWS RELEASE: August 21, 2015

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

Kansas judicial branch receives national recognition
for court caseload reporting excellence

TOPEKA—For a third time since 2009, the Kansas judicial branch has been recognized by the National Center for State Courts for reporting excellence in providing detailed and publishable court caseload data.

This year's national recognition was for reporting excellence for six continuous years.

Kansas received two excellence awards from the Court Statistics Project in 2009 in recognition of its reporting in two categories — civil and juvenile caseload statistics. Since then, Kansas has continued to report detailed case type data in all five categories that conform to the definitions and case counting rules in the State Court Guide to Statistical Reporting.

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

"I'm proud that Kansas was recognized for its efforts to collect and publish caseload data in a manner that gives it utility beyond our state," said Lawton R. Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court. "This allows us to see how Kansas compares to other states in number and types of cases processed and their outcomes."

The Kansas judicial branch collects data about nearly half a million court cases handled each year by district courts across Kansas, as well as by the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. The data are published in an annual report available on the judicial branch website at www.kscourts.org.

The data are also published on the Court Statistics Project website at www.courtstatistics.org to allow for national and cross-state analysis of case data to give court officials information essential to efficient and effective management of fair and impartial courts.

The Court Statistics Project is a joint effort by the National Center for State Courts and the Conference of State Court Administrators, an organization composed of state court administrators from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S territories.

When considering award candidates, the Court Statistics Project evaluates the following criteria:

  • number of case types reported
  • number of status categories, case characteristics, and manners of disposition reported
  • publishability/quality of data reported
  • improvements from past reporting years
  • sustained excellent reporting
  • overall support and investment in improving caseload reporting

Kansas, like other state court systems, has long published its own data. But it didn't always directly compare to other states because of differences in court structure, case definitions and counting practices, court rules, statutes, or terminology. Adhering to the statistical reporting standards established by the Court Statistics Project ensures comparability of all data reported to the project.



NEWS RELEASE: August 14, 2015

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

New date set for interviews to fill judge vacancy in 9th judicial district

TOPEKA—The 9th Judicial District Nominating Commission will convene at 9 a.m. Friday, September 11, in the Harvey County Courthouse in Newton to interview nominees to fill a judge vacancy created by the August 1 retirement of Chief Judge Richard B. Walker.

The meeting is open to the public.

The 10 candidates are:

  • JoAn Lindfors
  • Gregory Nye
  • Marilyn Wilder
  • Michael Llamas
  • Gary Price
  • Joy Williams
  • Mary McDonald
  • Harold Schorn
  • David Yoder
  • Trinity J. Muth

A judge must reside in the district, be at least 30 years old, be admitted to practice law in Kansas, and have actively practiced law for at least five years.

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

The 9th judicial district is made up of Harvey and McPherson counties.

The 9th Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Justice Carol A. Beier as the nonvoting chair; William E. Gusenius, Lindsborg; Ronnie L. Krehbiel, Burrton; Thomas A. Adrian, John S. Robb, and George Rogers of Newton; and Michael L. Androes, Harris G. Terry, and Robert W. Wise of McPherson.


NEWS RELEASE: August 10, 2015

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

Kansas Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments August 18 in Garden City

TOPEKA—A three-judge panel of the Kansas Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, August 18, at the Finney County Courthouse, 425 North 8th Street, Garden City.

Judges G. Joseph Pierron Jr., David E. Bruns, and Kim R. Schroeder will hear oral argument in seven criminal and civil cases at dockets that convene at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The panel will also decide 11 cases without argument based on the parties' written submissions.

Pierron, the presiding judge for the panel, said that the Court of Appeals regularly hears cases throughout the state.

"Nearly every month, panels of Court of Appeals judges will hear cases in Wichita, Topeka, and the Kansas City area," he said. "We welcome the opportunity to visit other places, like Garden City. It makes our court more accessible to Kansans."

Pierron said that hearing cases around the state also saves money for the parties.

"When a three-judge panel visits a location where many cases from a region can be heard, the attorneys representing the parties do not have to travel to Topeka," Pierron said.

Oral Arguments

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

The appeals to be heard in Garden City arose in Ellis, Ellsworth, Ford, Logan, Trego, and Sherman counties. In addition to the Court of Appeals panel hearing cases this week in Garden City, other three-judge panels of the Court of Appeals will be hearing cases in Wichita, Topeka, and Kansas City. All hearings are open to the public.

There are 14 judges on the Court of Appeals, and the judges sit in three-judge panels to decide cases. In 2014, the Court of Appeals resolved appeals in 1,861 cases, including 1,295 in which the court issued a formal written opinion.

The seven cases to be heard in Garden City are summarized as follows:

9 a.m. Tuesday August 18, 2015

No. 111,962: Kenneth E. Wilson v. State of Kansas, appeal from Osborne County

Kenneth E. Wilson challenges his 2009 conviction for first-degree murder and other crimes in a habeas corpus action on the grounds his trial lawyer provided constitutionally inadequate representation for failing to seek the pretrial exclusion of some evidence against him.

No. 111,808: In the Matter of the Marriage of Courtney L. Schmeidler and Brian D. Schmeidler, appeal from Ellis County

The Ellis County District Court granted the couple a divorce, determining child custody and support, and approving the parties' property settlement agreement. Less than five months later, Courtney filed a motion to modify the child support, which the district court granted. Brian appeals, arguing that the district court's decision constitutes an improper modification of the parties' property settlement agreement. In the alternative, Brian argues that the district court abused its discretion in granting Courtney's motion to modify child support.

No. 111,827: Danker & Danker Public Relations v. Brenda McCants d/b/a Blending Moments, appeal from Sherman County

Danker filed a petition against McCants alleging McCants was personally liable for the unpaid balance for work Danker had done for McCants. The Sherman County District Court granted McCants' motion for summary judgment, finding she was not personally liable as a matter of law. Danker appeals, arguing McCants is personally liable because she never disclosed to Danker that she was acting as an agent for a limited liability company. Danker contends McCants acted in her capacity as president of Blending Moments, which is a trademarked name. Because trademarks do not provide the same personal liability shield as an LLC does, Danker argues McCants is not protected by the shield of a limited liability company.

No. 113,244: Erick Wade Harbacek, #49146, v. Daniel Schnurr, et al., appeal from Ellsworth County

Eric Harbacek appeals the district court's summary denial of his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Harbacek claims the Kansas Department of Corrections incorrectly computed his conditional release date in contravention of ex post facto laws. He contends the loss of 90 days good time was not a punishment available to the Department of Corrections and violated ex post facto laws. The Department of Corrections argues Harbacek's conditional release was properly and legally computed.

1:30 p.m. Tuesday August 18, 2015

No. 110,841: In the Matter of the Guardianship and Conservatorship of Rosa Lee Raney, appeal from Trego County

Carl Raney appeals the Trego County District Court's decision not to remove Wayne Raney as the conservator for his elderly mother, Rosa Lee Raney. Carl alleges that Wayne violated multiple fiduciary duties while serving as conservator of his mother's estate, and the district court abused its discretion in finding that while Wayne had failed to strictly comply with the rules established by K.S.A. 59-3069, his compliance was not fatal.

No. 110,046: State of Kansas v. David Darrel Williams, appeal from Ellis County

David Williams appeals his conviction of distribution of methamphetamine. On September 13, 2012, an undercover officer and a confidential informant picked up Williams in the undercover officer's unmarked vehicle and purchased methamphetamine from him. Another officer located down the street listened to and recorded the parties' conversations. At trial, the confidential informant was unavailable to testify. Over Williams' objection, the Ellis County District Court played the recording for the jury, which included statements from the unavailable confidential informant. Williams argues on appeal that permitting the jury to hear the recording violated his Sixth Amendment right to be confronted with the witnesses against him. Williams also argues that the district court erred by using his prior convictions to increase his sentence without requiring the state to prove such convictions beyond a reasonable doubt.

No. 112,067: State of Kansas v. Ricardo Barnhardt, appeal from Ford County

This is a direct appeal of Barnhart's convictions of two counts aggravated battery, one count felony endangering a child and one count of misdemeanor battery out of Ford County. The charges arose out of a domestic dispute between Barnhart and his girlfriend who was 38 weeks pregnant. On appeal, Barnhart is arguing: (1) there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction; (2) his fundamental rights were violated when the jury was mistakenly allowed to listen to an unredacted videotape, (3) his defense counsel provided insufficient representation and (4) the prosecutor committed prosecutorial misconduct by playing the unredacted videotape for the jury.

No. 113,288: In the Matter of the Estate of Earlene F. Brenner, deceased, appeal from Sherman County

Beverly Goodman, daughter of Earlene F. Brenner, filed a petition for issuance of letters of administration approximately seven months after Brenner's death. The Sherman County District Court denied the petition by finding Beverly's claims of a last will and testament were untimely and also that Brenner's estate lacked substantial assets to administer. Goodman argues the appellate court should hold that proof of assets is not a prerequisite to issuing letters of administration. Brenner's son Danny argues the petition was untimely as a claim against the estate and that the district court correctly determined that a lack of assets prevented administering any estate.

Note: Reporters who want to cover the oral arguments using video, photo, or audio recording devices, as spelled out in Court Rule 1001, should contact Lisa Taylor at taylorl@kscourts.org, no later than 3 p.m. Monday, August 17.


NEWS RELEASE: August 4, 2015

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

Supreme Court to conduct special evening session October 13 at Garden City High School

TOPEKA The Kansas Supreme Court announced today it has selected Garden City High School as the next destination in its ongoing outreach to familiarize Kansans with the high court, its work, and the overall role of the Kansas judiciary.

It will be the Supreme Court’s first visit to Garden City in the court’s 154-year history, and it will be the second time the court will hear cases in the evening. The court’s first evening session was in April in Hays and it drew a record crowd of nearly 700 people.

The court will be in session from 6:30 p.m. to about 8 p.m. Tuesday, October 13, in the auditorium of the Garden City High School at 2720 Buffalo Way.

The public is invited to attend the proceedings and observe the court as it hears oral arguments in cases it will announce prior to October. After the hearing concludes, the justices will greet the public in an informal reception in the school’s commons area.

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

“Community visits are a great way for the people of Kansas to get to know us — who we are, what we do — and to get reacquainted with the judiciary’s role in our society,” said Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss. “We encourage anyone who’s ever been curious about Supreme Court proceedings to come.  Although we provide live webcasts of all our Topeka courtroom sessions, people tell us there’s nothing like seeing proceedings in person.”

To mark the state’s sesquicentennial in 2011, the court convened outside its Topeka courtroom for the first time in Kansas history. Its first stop was the historic Supreme Court courtroom in the Kansas Statehouse. From there, and through the end of 2011, the court conducted special sessions in Salina, Greensburg, and Wichita. The court held sessions in Overland Park in 2012, Pittsburg in 2013, Kansas City in 2014 and Hays in April 2015.



NEWS RELEASE: July 21, 2015

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

Ten apply for judge vacancy in 9th judicial district

TOPEKA—Ten candidates applied to the 9th Judicial District Nominating Commission seeking to fill a judge vacancy created by the August 1 retirement of Chief Judge Richard B. Walker.

The 9th judicial district is made up of Harvey and McPherson counties.

The nominating commission will convene at 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 28, in the Harvey County Courthouse in Newton to interview nominees. The meeting will be open to the public.

The 10 candidates are:

  • JoAn Lindfors
  • Gregory Nye
  • Marilyn Wilder
  • Michael Llamas
  • Gary Price
  • Joy Williams
  • Mary McDonald
  • Harold Schorn
  • David Yoder
  • Trinity J. Muth

A judge must reside in the district, be at least 30 years old, be admitted to practice law in Kansas, and have actively practiced law for at least five years.

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

The 9th Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Justice Carol A. Beier as the nonvoting chair; William E. Gusenius, Lindsborg; Ronnie L. Krehbiel, Burrton; Thomas A. Adrian, John S. Robb, and George Rogers of Newton; and Michael L. Androes, Harris G. Terry, and Robert W. Wise of McPherson.


NEWS RELEASE: July 21, 2015

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

Chief Judge Richard Walker to retire August 1

TOPEKA—Chief Judge Richard B. Walker will retire August 1, after serving nearly 31 years on the bench in the 9th Judicial District composed of Harvey and McPherson counties.

Chief Judge Richard B. Walker
Chief Judge Richard B. Walker

"It was a great honor to be selected for this position three decades ago, and I have tried to do my best to honor the public trust placed in me," Walker said. "I have had tremendous support from the appellate courts, my fellow judges around the state, and members of the bar who have practiced here. I particularly want to thank court staff in the 9th for their great work and commitment in very stressful times."

Walker has accepted a position as senior judge serving on the Kansas Court of Appeals.

Walker was appointed district court judge in December 1984 by then-governor John Carlin. He has handled the full range of civil, criminal, juvenile, and probate cases, and has been chief judge the last 13 years. He has been assigned to help the Court of Appeals several times and the Kansas Supreme Court once.

Walker has served on several Supreme Court committees, including Alternative Dispute Resolution and Access to Justice. For 12 years he was a Supreme Court appointee to the Kansas Sentencing Commission. At the national level, Walker served for more than a decade as an advisor to the American Law Institute's Model Penal Code revision project. He also has spoken on behalf of sentencing reform in several states for the Vera Institute of Justice.

Before he became a judge, Walker practiced law in Newton, was the chief legislative assistant to Senator James Pearson in Washington, D.C., and spent four years on the Kansas Adult Authority, predecessor to the Kansas Parole Board. He also served three terms in the Kansas House of Representatives.

Walker was born in Newton, and he graduated from Bethel College and the University of Kansas School of Law. He will continue to reside in Newton.


NEWS RELEASE: July 17, 2015

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

Supreme Court seeks comment on proposed rule changes
for new attorney oath procedure

TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court is accepting comment on proposed changes to Rules 708, 709A, and 712 to allow new attorneys to take their oaths following one procedure, regardless of whether they are admitted under Rule 708, 709, 709A, or 712.

The court will accept comment by email to glarkin@kscourts.org until 5 p.m. Monday, August 17.  

Currently, there are two procedures for new attorneys to take the oath, and the procedure the new attorney follows is dictated by the rule that applies to their admittance. The proposed changes are to establish one procedure for all the rules.

Proposed changes to Rules 708, 709A, and 712 are available for review on the Kansas judicial branch website at www.kscourts.org under the heading What's New.


NEWS RELEASE: July 16, 2015

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

Reno County Judge Macke Dick appointed to serve on family law committee

TOPEKA—The Kansas Judicial Council has appointed Reno County Judge Patricia Macke Dick to serve on the Family Law Advisory Committee, an advisory group that monitors family law and conducts studies specific to that area.

Macke Dick is chief judge of the 27th judicial district, a one-county district that consists of Reno County.

The Kansas Judicial Council works to improve the administration of justice in Kansas by continuously studying the judicial system and related areas of law, and by recommending changes when they are appropriate. It has several advisory committees that focus on particular areas of law.

For the 2015 legislative session, the Family Law Advisory Committee drafted Senate Bill 105, which was passed by the Kansas Legislature to incorporate the 2008 Uniform Interstate Family Support Act into existing Kansas law.  

The Family Law Advisory Committee is made up of judges, lawyers, elected officials, and legal academics who are recognized as having expertise in the area of family law. 

Macke Dick has served as district judge in Reno County District Court in the 27th judicial district since January 1989. Currently, she is chief judge of the district.

She is a native of Plainville and a graduate of Kansas State University and the University of Kansas School of Law. She currently serves as president-elect of the Kansas District Judges Association. She also serves on the Chief Judges Council.


NEWS RELEASE: July 10, 2015

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

Supreme Court seeks public comment on proposed changes to Rules 106 and 108

TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court is accepting public comment until 5 p.m. Sunday, August 9, on proposed changes to Rules 106 and 108 governing disclosure, reproduction and destruction of certain marriage records kept by district courts.

The proposed changes to Rule 106 are to establish a limited record that provides public information about marriage license applications, while providing protection for the personally identifiable information the documents contain. The changes will also establish criteria all district courts will follow when handling documents used to apply for a marriage license, as well as the license itself.

The proposed changes to Rule 106 include modifications made in response to comments the court received after an earlier draft of the rule changes were opened for public comment in March.

Proposed changes to Rule 108 are to add reference to, and establish standards for, how district courts will handle the confidential cover sheet and uniform marriage license application developed to provide a mechanism for consistent protection of marriage license applicants’ personally identifiable information. 

The proposed changes to Rules 106 and 108 have no effect on how the Kansas Department of Health and Environment manages vital records under the Uniform Vital Statistics Act. People who meet eligibility requirements will still be able to get copies of marriage records from KDHE under the provisions of that act.

Proposed changes to Rules 106 and 108 are available for review on the Kansas judicial branch website at www.kscourts.org under the heading What’s New.


NEWS RELEASE: July 9, 2015

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

Johnson County judge recognized for leadership, service

TOPEKA—Retired Johnson County District Court Judge Stephen R. Tatum was recognized by his peers at a recent judges' conference for demonstrating extraordinary leadership and service.

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

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.

Judge Stephen R. Tatum
Retired District Court Judge
Stephen R. Tatum

"There are so many judges deserving of this award that I'm humbled and grateful to be selected to receive it," Tatum said.

Although Tatum retired from his judge position with Johnson County District Court in 2013, he continues to work as a temporary judge in the criminal courts and to serve on the Johnson County Criminal Justice Advisory Council and on the Johnson County Bar Association board of directors.

Tatum served eight years on the domestic violence court that he launched in 1996. The collaborative effort involved the court, community corrections, a domestic violence shelter, the district attorney's office, and the sheriff. This occurred at about the same time Kansas passed a law that required law enforcement to make an arrest if there was evidence of domestic violence, rather than on the victim's request that the perpetrator be charged.

"We focused on victim support and education. We made sure that victims of domestic violence were made aware of resources available in the community," Tatum said.

Domestic violence victims appearing in court were assigned a victim's assistant to appear with them and victims were allowed to speak during the proceedings. This gave the judge more information on which to base decisions for establishing bond and to issue no-contact orders.

Another of Tatum's achievements is his involvement in the program Changing Lives Through Literature, which was made a condition of some offenders' probation. A probationer who participates in the program meets weekly with a group of other probationers, a probation officer, a judge, and a retired professor who acts as facilitator. During two-hour meetings over the course of seven weeks, the probationers discuss literature they are assigned to read.

"When probationers start talking about their lives in relationship to the stories they are reading, it expands their world view," Tatum said. "They begin to see how they fit into the world, and they learn how others work through their problems. Soon, they start making better choices."

Also among Tatum's achievements is his involvement with Habitat for Humanity, where he volunteered for 10 years. Under the banner of the Johnson County Bar Association, Tatum recruited lawyer and judge volunteers from the association's membership. For four weekends in September and October, the volunteers would help build or paint houses, or clean brush from around houses.

"When you're accustomed to working at a desk, a little physical labor goes a long way," Tatum said. "Despite the demands of the work, though, we always had good participation by lawyers and judges in our group. It was a great way to be of service and to connect with the community."

Tatum served as judge for the Johnson County District Court from 1994 to 2013 and as chief judge from 2004 to 2010. Before he became a judge, he was a corporate attorney and assistant district attorney in Sedgwick and Johnson counties. He is a graduate of the Washburn University School of Law.


NEWS RELEASE: July 6, 2015

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

Kansas Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments July 14-15 in Beloit

TOPEKA—A three-judge panel of the Kansas Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments Tuesday, July 14, and Wednesday, July 15, at the Mitchell County Courthouse, 115 S. Hersey, Beloit.

The hearings will take place at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 14, and at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 15.

Judges G. Gordon Atcheson, Michael B. Buser, and Kathryn A. Gardner will hear oral argument in 11 criminal and civil cases over the two days hearings are scheduled. The panel will also decide 10 cases without argument based on the parties' written submissions.

Atcheson, the presiding judge for the panel, said that the Court of Appeals regularly hears cases throughout the state.

"Almost every month, panels of Court of Appeals judges hear cases in Wichita, Topeka, and Kansas City," he said. "We appreciate the opportunity to visit other places, like Beloit, where we can make our court and this part of the judicial process accessible to the more Kansans."

Atcheson said that hearing cases around the state also saves money for the parties.

"It's typically more cost-efficient having a three-judge panel visit a location where many regional cases can be heard than having all the attorneys travel to Topeka for court arguments, " Atcheson said.

Oral Arguments

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

The appeals to be heard in Beloit arose in Cloud, Dickinson, Geary, Osborne, Ottawa, and Riley counties. In addition to the Court of Appeals panel hearing cases this week in Beloit, other three-judge panels of the Court of Appeals will be hearing cases in Wichita, Topeka, and Kansas City. All hearings are open to the public.

There are 14 judges on the Court of Appeals, and the judges sit in three-judge panels to decide cases. In 2014, the Court of Appeals resolved appeals in 1,861 cases, including 1,295 in which the court issued a formal written opinion.

The 11 cases to be heard in Beloit are summarized as follows:

9:30 a.m. Tuesday July 14, 2015

No. 111,962: Kenneth E. Wilson v. State of Kansas, appeal from Osborne County

Kenneth E. Wilson challenges his 2009 conviction for first-degree murder and other crimes in a habeas corpus action on the grounds his trial lawyer provided constitutionally inadequate representation for failing to seek the pretrial exclusion of some evidence against him.

No. 111,440: State of Kansas v. Lee Roy Cada, appeal from Cloud County

Lee Roy Cada is appealing his conviction for aggravated criminal sodomy, claiming multiple trial errors including improper limits on his lawyer's questioning of a witness, improper closing argument by the prosecutor, and defective jury instructions.

No. 111,899: Robert Feight v. Moly Manufacturing, Inc., appeal from Cloud County

Robert Feight is appealing a jury verdict in a personal injury action in which he alleged Moly Manufacturing sold a defective hydraulic cattle chute. Feight suffered facial injuries while using the chute. He contends the jury instructions were improper and the jury verdict for Moly Manufacturing was contrary to the evidence.

No. 111,913: State of Kansas v. James H. Young Sr., appeal from Cloud County

James H. Young, Sr., appeals jury verdicts finding him guilty of several drug offenses. He contends the district court's instructions to the jury were defective and the court improperly permitted a Mitchell County resident to serve as a juror in a Cloud County case, among other errors.

1:30 p.m. Tuesday July 14, 2015

No. 112,805: State of Kansas v. Frank Crudo, appeal from Geary County

The state appeals a ruling of the district court suppressing evidence against Frank Crudo in a prosecution for possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute and related drug offenses. The district court found law enforcement officers unconstitutionally stopped Crudo's truck and camper because the license tag was not sufficiently lighted and then impermissibly searched the vehicles. The state contends the stop and the search were proper.

No. 112,184: State of Kansas v. Aliyah Stephens, appeal from Riley County

Aliyah Stephens waived her right to a jury trial and was tried by the district court on agreed facts for possession of marijuana and convicted. On appeal, Stephens argues her conviction should be set aside because the district court did not sufficiently advise her about her jury trial right and because making a second offense for possession of marijuana a felony amounts to cruel and unusual punishment violating the Kansas Constitution and the United States Constitution.

No. 112,897: State of Kansas v. Tony Toliver, appeal from Riley County

Tony Toliver appeals his conviction for possession of marijuana on the grounds that law enforcement officers and his parole officer entered and searched his home without a warrant or reasonable suspicion. The state contends Toliver consented to such searches in his parole agreement. The district court ruled in favor of the state.

No. 112,520: David and Annjaneen Jones v. Corey Jones and Casey Jones, appeal from Dickinson County

Brothers Corey Jones and Casey Jones appeal from the district court's ruling granting their cousin David Jones and his wife ownership of about 43 acres of pasture land by adverse possession. An uncle of the Joneses left the land to Corey and Casey on his death. But David and his wife had used the land to graze their cattle for more than 15 years and then asserted their claim for adverse possession.

9:30 a.m. Wednesday July 15, 2015

No. 113,130: State of Kansas v. Dominic Parry, appeal from Clay County

The state appeals the ruling of the district court suppressing marijuana seized from Dominic Parry's apartment. The district court found the search to be unconstitutional because the police entered the apartment without a search warrant or valid consent. The state contends the doctrines of inevitable discovery and exigent circumstances permitted the search and, in turn, the use of the evidence in Parry's prosecution for possession of marijuana.

No. 113,192: Marriage of Carlson, appeal from Ottawa County

In this divorce action, Michael S. Carlson appeals the district court's rulings on child custody arrangements and child support payments.

No. 112,071: State of Kansas v. Barnes, appeal from Clay County

The state appeals the order of the district court finding insufficient evidence to bind Jeffrey Barnes over on a felony charge of aggravated intimidation of a witness. The State contends it established probable cause to try Barnes. Barnes allegedly made a threatening gesture to an informant for the Alcohol Beverage Control Division who had purchased cigarettes at a club despite being underage.

Note: Reporters who want to cover the oral arguments using video, photo, or audio recording devices, as spelled out in Court Rule 1001, should contact Lisa Taylor at taylorl@kscourts.org, no later than 3 p.m. Monday, July 13.


NEWS RELEASE: July 1, 2015

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Electronic filing in appellate courts to be mandatory effective November 2

TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court announced today that it has a project underway to expand attorneys' use of electronic filing in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals with the intent that it will become mandatory effective November 2, 2015.

"This is an important step toward more modern courts that allow attorneys to electronically file their documents from anywhere, saving them both time and money," said Lawton R. Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court. "In our experience, many attorneys who bring cases to the appellate courts are open to using electronic filing, especially when they discover how easy it is."

Since April, the clerk of the appellate court's office has encouraged more attorneys in certain judicial districts to file new criminal cases electronically, focusing on cases with the Office of the Appellate Defender and county and district attorneys. Private attorneys in those judicial districts are also encouraged to file electronically in criminal cases that do not require paying a fee.

The appellate clerk's office is also seeking willing parties in specific judicial districts to convert cases that originated on paper into electronically filed ones. Stipulations are that the cases originate in specific judicial districts and that all parties agree to the change. By mid-July, electronic filing in the appellate courts will be open to criminal cases from all judicial districts.

In August, electronic filing will be opened to civil cases. In mid-August, the KanPay online payment feature will be fully integrated into the appellate e-filing system, allowing any electronic filer to begin to file cases that have a required fee. Between August and the end of October, e-filing will be open to attorneys for all case types, including those that require electronic payment. This period of voluntary use will allow attorneys to get accustomed to e-filing before it becomes mandatory November 2.

Last year, more than 200 new criminal cases were electronically filed by appellate defenders and county or district attorney offices in three of the state's busiest judicial districts. About 2,800 cases are filed with the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals each year. Since 2013, the appellate courts have processed more than 16,000 electronic submissions in the appellate e-filing system.

Nuss encourages attorneys who now have, or will have in the future, cases before the appellate courts to get registered to use the Kansas Court Electronic Filing system and take advantage of web-based training to learn how to use it. Instructions for registering and links to online training are available on the judicial branch website at http://www.kscourts.org/Cases-and-Opinions/E-filing/default.asp.

The mandate for electronic filing in the appellate courts does not affect electronic filing in district courts. The statewide e-filing rollout in district courts will continue into next year.


NEWS RELEASE: June 26, 2015

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Kansas District Magistrate Judges' Association elects new officers

TOPEKA — The Kansas District Magistrate Judges' Association, an organization open to all state district magistrate court judges, last week elected officers to serve the organization in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

District Magistrate Judge Guy R. Steier was elected president of the association. He has been a district magistrate judge in Cloud County since February 2005. Cloud County is in the 12th judicial district with Jewell, Lincoln, Mitchell, Republic, and Washington counties.

Before he became a district magistrate judge, Steier was in a private law practice with Gantenbein & Frasier and with Frasier & Steier, both in Beloit. Prior to that, he was a research attorney for Judge Corwin C. Spencer of the Kansas Court of Appeals.

Steier is a graduate of Washburn University and Washburn University School of Law in 1982. He served a term on the Kansas Supreme Court Judicial Education Advisory Committee and currently serves on the Governor's Behavioral Health Services Advisory Committee, 12th Judicial District Juvenile Services/Community Corrections Advisory Board, 12th Judicial District Supervised Visitation and Exchange Services board, and the Executive Board of the Coronado Area Council, Boy Scouts of America. He is a member and past president of the Clyde Lions Club and a member of the Clyde Community Development Resource Committee and the Knights of Columbus.

Other Officers Elected

District Magistrate Judge Taylor J. Wine is first vice president and legislative chair. He is from Osage County in the 4th judicial district.

District Magistrate Judge Marty K. Clark is second vice president. He is from Russell County in the 20th judicial district.

District Magistrate Judge Philip J. Moore is third vice president. He is from Clark County in the 16th judicial district.

District Magistrate Judge Roseanna K. Mathis is treasurer. She is from Kingman County in 30th judicial district.

District Magistrate Judge Debra S. Anderson is secretary. She is from Norton County in the 17th judicial district.

Outgoing president is District Magistrate Judge Sheila P. Hochhauser is from Riley County in the 21st judicial district.

The new officers were elected at a statewide conference for judges conducted June 18 and 19 in Overland Park.

District Magistrate Judge Guy R. Steier District Magistrate Judge Taylor J. Wine District Magistrate Judge Marty K. Clark
District Magistrate Judge Guy R. Steier
District Magistrate Judge Taylor J. Wine
District Magistrate Judge Marty K. Clark
District Magistrate Judge Philip J. Moore District Magistrate Judge Roseanna K. Mathis District Magistrate Judge Debra S. Anderson
District Magistrate Judge Philip J. Moore
District Magistrate Judge Roseanna K. Mathis
District Magistrate Judge Debra S. Anderson

NEWS RELEASE: June 19, 2015

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Kansas District Judges' Association elects new officers

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

Judge Michael F. Powers was elected president of the association. He is chief judge in the 8th judicial district composed of Dickinson, Geary, Marion, and Morris counties. 

Powers has been a district court judge since 1991 and he has served as chief judge since 1994. Before his appointment to the bench, he served as Morris County attorney from 1980 to 1991. He also practiced law in Council Grove in the firm Bryant and Powers.

Powers is a graduate of Emporia State University, where he was president of the Student Government Association, and later president of the ESU Alumni Association. He graduated from the University of Kansas School of Law.

He is a member of the Kansas Bar Association, American Bar Association, and American Judicature Society. He has served on the executive committee of the Kansas District Judges Association since 2006. He has received many awards for exemplary service from state and local organizations and is very active in the community. He and his wife, Judy, live in Marion, where he serves on multiple boards and is active in many local organizations.  

Powers says his favorite local involvement is as play-by-play announcer for cable TV broadcasts of Marion High School football games, which he has done since 1994. He enjoys the energy and purity of high school sports and believes that staying connected to young people help him maintain his faith in the future.

As president of KDJA, Powers looks forward to working with the state’s judges to support a free and independent court system dedicated to serving the public.

Other Officers Elected

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

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

Judge James Fleetwood was elected treasurer. He is chief judge of the 18th judicial district, a one-county district that consists of Sedgwick County.

Outgoing president is Judge Daniel A. Duncan, 29th judicial district, a one-county district that consists of Wyandotte County.

The new officers were elected at a statewide conference for judges conducted in Overland Park.

Judge Michael F. Powers Judge Pactricia Macke Dick Judge Robert Frederick Judge James Fleetwood
Judge Michael F. Powers
Judge Pactricia Macke Dick
Judge Robert Frederick
Judge James Fleetwood

NEWS RELEASE: June 16, 2015

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Nominating commission seeks candidates
for judge vacancy in 9th judicial district

TOPEKA—The 9th Judicial District Nominating Commission is seeking candidates to fill a judge vacancy created by the upcoming retirement of Chief Judge Richard B. Walker.

The 9th judicial district is made up of Harvey and McPherson counties.

Justice Carol A. Beier, the Supreme Court departmental justice responsible for the 9th judicial district, said nominees can apply or be recommended, but recommendations must come on a nomination form and include the nominee's signature.

"Selecting judges is an open process to find the most qualified candidates in the district. 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," Beier 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 district courts in Harvey (Newton) and McPherson (McPherson) counties.

Completed nomination forms and supporting letters must be delivered to Office of the Clerk of Appellate Courts, Attn: Julie Meyer, 301 SW 10th Ave., Topeka, KS 66612-1507, by noon Tuesday, July 14.

The nominating commission will convene at 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 28, in the Harvey County Courthouse in Newton 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 active member of the Kansas bar by the chair of the commission. Nominees who currently reside outside the 9th judicial district should review K.S.A. 20-2909(b).

The 9th Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Justice Carol A. Beier as the nonvoting chair; William E. Gusenius, Lindsborg; Ronnie L. Krehbiel, Burrton; Thomas A. Adrian, John S. Robb, and George Rogers of Newton; and Michael L. Androes, Harris G. Terry, and Robert W. Wise of McPherson.


NEWS RELEASE: June 5, 2015

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Chief justice wants Kansans to know state courts fully operating next week

TOPEKA — Chief Justice Lawton Nuss wants to get the message to all Kansans that even if state offices close or operate with reduced staff beginning Monday, all state courts will nevertheless be open — staffed and conducting business as usual.

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

"With all the news stories about the state government budget and the possibility of thousands of state employees being furloughed, I don't want any Kansans to be confused about their courts," Nuss said. "It might be easy for someone to conclude that the courts are also closed and to miss an important hearing or notice to appear for jury duty."

The reason Nuss knows all courts will be open is because the judicial branch budget was in House Bill 2005, which was separate from the budget legislation that applies to all other state government.

"As of last Monday, the House and Senate had reached agreement on House Bill 2005. And yesterday afternoon the governor signed it." Nuss said. "Within minutes we notified all state courts in our 105 counties that we will now be able to continue to provide uninterrupted service to nearly 3 million Kansans. Today I simply want to ensure that as many Kansans as possible get that same news."

State courts in the judicial branch of government include the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and district courts in every county statewide.


NEWS RELEASE: May 22, 2015

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Supreme Court announces decisions on cases heard
in April 13 special session in Hays

TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court announced its decisions today for two cases the court heard in a special evening session April 13 before more than 700 people in the Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center on the Fort Hays State University campus

"These decisions demonstrate to the people of Hays and surrounding communities what is, for nearly all cases, the end of the appeals process," said Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss. "Our written decisions document the legal questions brought before our court, the laws that apply to them, and the court's rationale for deciding those questions of law."

The decisions released today involving cases heard April 13 in Hays are:

Appeal No. 109,796: City of Atwood v. Richard David Pianalto. The Kansas Supreme Court rejected Richard D. Pianalto's appeal of his conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol after a traffic stop for speeding led to his arrest. Pianalto claimed the police officer who initiated the stop was mistaken about the applicable speed limit because a traffic sign that normally posted a lower speed limit had been knocked to the ground. The high court said the officer, who acted without knowing the sign was down, could reasonably have suspected a traffic violation on that roadway.

"In this case, the officer's reliance on the false, but normally true, fact that a speed limit sign was in place was objectively reasonable," the court decided in a unanimous opinion written by Justice Dan Biles. At the time of trial, Rawlins County District Court Judge Glenn D. Schiffner found that the speed limit had been 20 miles per hour on the road where Pianalto was stopped for "more years than anyone knew." The trial evidence established that signs displaying the speed limit are normally in place on both ends of the road. "Nothing in the record indicates the officer had any reason to doubt the continuing existence of the normal condition," the Supreme Court said.

Appeal No. 102,256: State of Kansas v. Heather Page Hilton. After originally granting Heather Page Hilton's petition for review of the Court of Appeals' decision, the Kansas Supreme Court dismissed her appeal as moot. The court had granted the petition in order to resolve a specific legal question — whether both of Hilton's two consecutive probation terms could be revoked for a violation that occurred during the first term — but that question could not be resolved without first resolving a predicate legal question that the parties had not briefed or argued. That predicate legal question was whether the district court judge had power to grant consecutive probation terms. The prior Court of Appeals opinion was vacated.

These and other Supreme Court decisions are available on the Kansas judicial branch website at www.kscourts.org under Recent Published Opinions.

The court will announce when it decides the remaining case heard in the April 13 evening session.


NEWS RELEASE: May 20, 2015

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Updates to child support guidelines open for public comment

TOPEKA—Every four years, an advisory committee reviews Kansas' child support guidelines to ensure that the roughly $35 million mothers and fathers pay in support each month is equitable for the parents and appropriate for the day-to-day essential needs of the children they support.

As a result of the most recent review, started in June 2014, child support obligations could increase by an average of about 3.5 percent across all income groups beginning January 2016.

Child support pays for housing, clothing, transportation, recreation, health care, child care, and other expenses that would have been shared by the parents had the family remained intact.

A 14-member advisory committee spent nearly a year reviewing the guidelines and making proposed updates, which are now open for public review and comment until 8 a.m. Monday, June 22. Comment can be made through an online survey accessible from the Kansas judicial branch website at www.kscourts.org under the heading What's New.

Federal law requires states to review their child support guidelines every four years, and Kansas has reviewed and revised its guidelines nine times since they were initially established in 1989.

Reviews are by an advisory committee that has included parents who either pay or receive child support, and attorneys, judges, and tax professionals with expertise in child support. Economists are also enlisted to help with the review. Committee members are identified in a report posted on the web page where the survey is accessed, along with the economists' report, the proposed guidelines, and other useful documents.

After receiving public comment, the Kansas Supreme Court will decide whether to adopt changes to the guidelines as proposed by the advisory committee.


NEWS RELEASE: May 11, 2015

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Kansas Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments May 12-13 in Chanute

TOPEKA—A three-judge panel of the Kansas Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments Tuesday, May 12, and Wednesday, May 13, at the Neosho County Courthouse, 102 South Lincoln, Chanute.

The hearings will take place at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 12, and at 9 a.m. Wednesday, May 13.

Judges Stephen D. Hill, Topeka; Steve Leben, Fairway; and G. Gordon Atcheson, Overland Park, will hear the cases. Leben will be the presiding judge for the hearings.

Leben said that the Court of Appeals hears cases throughout the state.

"We have hearings almost every month in Wichita, Topeka, and Kansas City," he said. "But we also visit other parts of the state so that our court is accessible to the people."

He added that hearing cases around the state saves money for the parties.

"When we have a group of cases from an area, it's certainly more economical to send three judges to a central location rather than to have the attorneys for both sides in quite a few cases come to us. That saves money for the parties being represented by these attorneys," Leben said.

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

The appeals to be heard in Chanute arose in Anderson, Crawford, Greenwood, Labette, and Lyon counties. In addition to the Court of Appeals panel hearing cases this week in Chanute, other three-judge panels of the Court of Appeals will be hearing cases in Wichita, Topeka, and Kansas City. All hearings are open to the public.

There are 14 judges on the Court of Appeals, and the judges sit in three-judge panels to decide cases. In 2014, the Court of Appeals resolved appeals in 1,861 cases, including 1,295 in which the court issued a formal written opinion.

The nine cases to be heard in Chanute are summarized as follows:

9 a.m. Tuesday May 12, 2015

No. 111,085: State of Kansas v. Artis Denton, Appeal from Lyon Co.

The defendant appeals his conviction for criminal threat, arguing that the statute under which he was prosecuted is unconstitutionally vague, that the district court did not provide proper instructions to the jury, and that the evidence wasn't sufficient to convict him.

No. 111,009: State of Kansas v. Kristina M. Arb, Appeal from Lyon Co.

The defendant appeals her conviction for distribution of Oxycodone by arguing that the district court did not provide proper instructions to the jury.

No. 110,556: State of Kansas v. Martin, Appeal from Greenwood Co.

The defendant appeals his convictions for second-degree murder and aggravated child endangerment, arguing that the district court did not provide proper instructions to the jury and that the statute on aggravated child endangerment is unconstitutionally vague.

No. 112,341: Vance v. DCCCA, Inc., Appeal from Workers Compensation Bd.

An injured worker appeals the decision of the Workers Compensation Board, which did not grant her any monetary award for a TMJ condition caused by an on-the-job injury.

1:30 p.m. Tuesday May 12, 2015

No. 111,310: State of Kansas v. Jimmie J. Dawes, Appeal from Lyon Co.

The defendant appeals his DUI conviction by arguing that the statute under which a Kansas Highway Patrol obtained a blood sample from him, while he was unconscious after an accident, is unconstitutional.

No. 111,398: State of Kansas v. Jason D. Kelsey, Appeal from Labette Co.

The defendant appeals the district court's denial of his request for DNA testing, after conviction, related to his convictions for two counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child under age 14. The defendant argues that he is entitled to the testing under a statute that provides for such testing on convictions for first-degree murder and rape because his sentence, life in prison, is so severe that the protections of this statute should be extended to him.

No. 111,642: State of Kansas v. Andrew W. Parker, Appeal from Crawford Co.

The defendant appeals his conviction for manufacturing methamphetamine and other drug offenses by arguing that the search warrant used to obtain key evidence wasn't valid and that the evidence wasn't sufficient to convict him.

9 a.m. Wednesday May 13, 2015

No. 111,745: In re Estate of Robert L. Brecheisen, Appeal from Anderson Co.

A person who either sold or leased a trailer to another man, who died, appeals the district court's ruling enforcing an oral sales agreement and determining that the estate need not return the trailer. The person who sold or leased the trailer asks on appeal that the trailer be returned and that the estate be charged a rental fee for each day it has possessed the trailer.

No. 111,389: In re Estate of Beuford W. Rickabaugh, Appeal from Greenwood Co.

The son and heir of a deceased man appeals the district court's admission of the man's will into probate; the son also argues, in the alternative, that the will was revoked and that even if the will is to be admitted in probate, the district court misconstrued it.

Note: Reporters who want to cover the oral arguments using video, photo, or audio recording devices, as spelled out in Court Rule 1001, should contact Lisa Taylor at taylorl@kscourts.org, no later than 3 p.m. Monday, May 11.


NEWS RELEASE: May 7, 2015

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Kansas Supreme Court accepting public comment
on proposed change to Rule 710

TOPEKA- The Kansas Supreme Court is accepting public comment until noon May 15, 2015, on a proposed rule change to allow applicants seeking admission under Supreme Court Rules 708 and 709A to apply for a temporary permit to practice law.

The proposed changes to Rule 710 are available for review on the Kansas judicial branch website at www.kscourts.org under the heading What's New.


NEWS RELEASE: May 5, 2015

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Kathryn Gardner to be sworn in as Court of Appeals judge May 8

TOPEKA—Kathryn Gardner will be sworn in as judge of the Kansas Court of Appeals at 2 p.m. Friday, May 8, in the Supreme Court courtroom in the Kansas Judicial Center, Topeka.

Court of Appeals Chief Judge Thomas Malone will preside over the ceremony.

The public can access a live webcast of the ceremony by following the Watch Supreme Court Live! link in the right-hand column of the Kansas Judicial Branch website at www.kscourts.org.

Gardner was nominated to the Court of Appeals by Gov. Sam Brownback on January 29 and her nomination was confirmed by the Kansas Senate on March 11.

Prior to her nomination, Gardner was a chambers law clerk to the Honorable Sam A. Crow, a judge with the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, a position she held twice. In between, she was in private practice with the Martin Pringle law firm, where she became a partner. Her practice included litigating employment discrimination and other cases in state and federal court. She began her legal career as a research attorney for Judge Joe Haley Swinehart of the Kansas Court of Appeals, then served as an assistant attorney general in the civil division.

While a lawyer, Gardner was active in many professional, civic, and community activities. She chaired the Kansas Bar Association's committees on law related education and legal issues affecting the elderly. She also served as editor of Law Wise, an educational periodical for teachers and students published by the association.

Gardner was appointed to the U.S. District Court civil justice reform act committee and federal practices handbook committee. She presented many continuing legal education courses to attorneys and business leaders, and she served on the Wichita Bar Association board of governors. She currently serves as president of the Sam A. Crow American Inn of Court and has served on its executive committee for 12 years.

Gardner has been an adjunct professor at the Washburn University School of Law, where she taught writing for law practice and trial advocacy. She also has published articles in the Kansas Bar Association Journal, the National Inns of Court Bencher, and other publications.

She graduated magna cum laude from Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. She taught English and French at Washburn Rural High School for two years before attending the University of Kansas School of Law, where she earned her law degree.

Gardner and her husband, Timothy, have been married for more than 36 years. They have three grown daughters and two granddaughters. She continues to be active in many community and church organizations in Topeka.


NEWS RELEASE: May 1, 2015

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Supreme Court stays proceedings in Cheever case

TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court this week stayed its proceedings in a death penalty case involving Scott D. Cheever pending the outcome of the United States Supreme Court's review of three cases that present a similar legal issue.

At the request of the Kansas attorney general, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review Kansas Supreme Court decisions in death penalty cases involving Jonathan Carr, Reginald Carr, and Sidney Gleason. The U.S. Supreme Court will review whether failing to instruct jurors that a defendant's mitigating circumstances need not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt violates the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution requiring the penalties to be vacated and the defendant to be resentenced.

The penalty phase instructions in the Cheever case pending in state court present a similar legal issue, so the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the Carr and Gleason cases could determine future proceedings in the Cheever case.

Both the prosecution and defense in the Cheever case agreed it was appropriate to stay that appeal pending resolution of the instruction issue by the U.S. Supreme Court in one or all of the cases pending before it.


NEWS RELEASE: April 29, 2015

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Shawnee County Judge Wilson to sit with Kansas Supreme Court

TOPEKA—Shawnee County District Court Judge Evelyn Z. Wilson has been appointed to sit with the Supreme Court Monday, May 4, to hear oral arguments in the first case on the court's 9 a.m. docket.

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

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

"I'm pleased that Judge Wilson is taking time from her duties in Shawnee County District Court to sit with the Supreme Court," said Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss. "I have known her professionally for more than 25 years, and I look forward to her contributions."

Wilson, who currently serves as chief judge of the Third Judicial District, has been a district court judge since 2004. She said she is eager to sit with the state's highest court.

Judge Evelyn Wilson
Judge Evelyn Wilson

"I am honored by the opportunity to sit with the Kansas Supreme Court," Wilson said. "I look forward to the excitement of oral arguments, the challenge of researching the case, and interesting deliberations with the other justices."

Before taking the bench in 2004, Wilson practiced law for 19 years, first in northwest Kansas, then in Topeka. She is a published author and former adjunct professor of law at Washburn University.

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 www.kscourts.org.

The case Wilson will hear is scheduled at 9 a.m. Monday, May 4:

Appeal No. 110,835: State of Kansas v. David Scott Morrison

Johnson County: (Petition for Review) David Scott Morrison was ousted from his position on the Prairie Village City Council after a full trial. The ouster was based on his allowing Kelley Mallone to sleep at City Hall over a four-day period. The district judge found that Morrison had violated K.S.A. 60-1205(1) and (2)—specifically that Morrison willfully engaged in misconduct while in office and willfully neglected to perform a duty enjoined upon an official by law.

Morrison appealed to the Kansas Court of Appeals. On appeal, Morrison asserted three claims of error: (1) The district court misapplied K.S.A. 60-1205 when it found that the undisputed facts of this case justified Morrison's ouster; (2) jury instruction and verdict form errors; and (3) that ouster requires a violation of state law, which was not found in this case. The court found in Morrison's favor on the first claim of error and did not reach Morrison's final two claims. Specifically, the Court of Appeals found that the undisputed facts of this case did not, as a matter of law, satisfy the criteria for judicial ouster contained in K.S.A. 60-1205 and reversed the lower court's decision and remand with directions that judgment be entered in Morrison's favor, thus reinstating him to his public office. The Supreme Court granted the state's petition for review.

Issues on review are whether the Court of Appeals panel's definition of misconduct or neglect was based on the plain language of K.S.A. 60-1205, and whether violations of the city's ethics code can result in ouster, and whether the panel disregarded the standard of review in ouster cases and used an incorrect standard in determining the sufficiency of evidence.


NEWS RELEASE: April 16, 2015

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New attorneys take state and federal oaths in April 17 ceremony

TOPEKA — Successful applicants to the February 2015 Kansas Bar Examination will be sworn in as Kansas attorneys Friday, April 17, at a 10 a.m. ceremony in the Supreme Court courtroom in the Kansas Judicial Center in Topeka.

Chief Justice Lawton Nuss will preside over the Supreme Court and Judge Julie Robinson will represent the U.S. District Court.

Heather Smith, clerk of the Kansas Supreme Court, will administer the state oath and Ingrid Campbell, chief deputy clerk of the U.S. District Court, will administer the federal oath.

Terry L. Mann and Kevin F. Mitchelson, respectively the chair and vice chair of the Kansas Board of Law Examiners, will present the new attorneys to the court.

List of attorneys.


NEWS RELEASE: March 24, 2015

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
Public Information Director
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Kathryn Gardner to be sworn in as Court of Appeals Judge on May 8

TOPEKA—The Kansas Court of Appeals announced today that Kathryn Gardner will be sworn in as that court's 14th judge in a 2 p.m. ceremony Friday, May 8, in the Supreme Court courtroom of the Kansas Judicial Center in Topeka.

"We look forward to Kathryn joining the Court of Appeals and to working with her in the years to come," said Chief Judge Thomas E. Malone, who will preside over the swearing-in ceremony.

Gardner was appointed to the Court of Appeals on January 29 by Governor Sam Brownback. The appointment was confirmed March 11 by the Kansas Senate.

"I am honored and humbled to take a seat on the Court of Appeals bench," Gardner said. "I look forward to working with my new colleagues and to serving the State of Kansas in this new role."

Currently, Gardner works as a law clerk to U.S. District Senior Judge Sam Crow. She replaces Caleb Stegall, who now serves on the Kansas Supreme Court.


NEWS RELEASE: March 23, 2015

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
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Supreme Court announces cases for April 13 docket at Fort Hays State University

TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court announced the three cases it will hear April 13 at Fort Hays State University, its next destination in ongoing outreach to familiarize Kansans with the high court, its work, and the overall role of the Kansas judiciary.

It will be the Supreme Court's first visit to Hays in the court's 154-year history. It is also believed to be the first time the court will hear cases in the evening.

The court will be in session from 6:30 p.m. to about 8:30 p.m. Monday, April 13, in the Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center located in Sheridan Hall on the Fort Hays State University campus at 600 Park Street in Hays.

The docket includes:

Appeal No. 102,256 and 102,257: State of Kansas v. Heather Page Hilton, on a petition for review of a case that originated in Ellis County.

Appeal No. 109,796: City of Atwood v. Richard David Pianalto, on a petition for review of a case that originated in Rawlins County.

Appeal No. 105,183: State of Kansas v. Steve Kelly Moyer, on a criminal appeal of a case that originated in Sherman County.

Summaries of the cases and briefs filed by the attorneys involved are available online by following the Hays Supreme Court Docket link under What's New on the Kansas judicial branch website at www.kscourts.org.

The public is invited to attend the proceedings and observe the court as it hears oral arguments.

After the hearing concludes, the justices will greet the public in an informal reception.

Anyone who wants to attend the special session should plan to arrive at the performance hall before 6 p.m. to allow time to get through security screening. Court security offers these guidelines to ease the process:

  • Do not bring large bags, large purses, backpacks, computer cases, or briefcases.
  • Do not bring knives, pepper spray, firearms, or weapons.
  • Do not bring electronic devices like laptop computers, handheld games, personal digital assistants, or tablets. If you have to carry a cell phone, it must be turned off or its ringer silenced, and it must be stored out of sight while court is in session.
  • Do not bring food or drink.
  • Members of the audience are prohibited from talking during oral arguments because it interferes with the attorneys' remarks and questions asked by the justices. If someone arrives after proceedings start, or must leave the auditorium before it ends, he or she should be as quiet as possible entering and exiting the auditorium. Talking in the hallway outside the auditorium is also discouraged.

    A live stream of the special session will be available on the Internet by selecting the Watch Supreme Court Live! link on the judicial branch home page at www.kscourts.org.

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

    "Anyone who's ever been curious about Supreme Court proceedings should come," said Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss. "We've provided live webcasts of our courtroom sessions in Topeka since 2012, but people tell us there's nothing like seeing proceedings in person."

    Fort Hays State University is the court's eighth destination since 2011, when the court convened outside of the Kansas Judicial Center to mark the state sesquicentennial. Its first stop was the historic Supreme Court courtroom in the Kansas Statehouse. From there, and through the end of 2011, the court conducted special sessions in Salina, Greensburg, and Wichita. The court held sessions in Overland Park in 2012, Pittsburg in 2013 and Kansas City in 2014.




    NEWS RELEASE: March 23, 2015

    For more information
    contact Lisa Taylor
    Public Information Director
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    taylorl@kscourts.org

    Samuel J. Marsh selected to fill district magistrate judge vacancy
    in 11th judicial district

    TOPEKA—The 11th Judicial District Nominating Commission has selected Samuel J. Marsh to fill a district magistrate judge vacancy in Cherokee County in the 11th judicial district.

    The 11th judicial district includes Cherokee, Crawford and Labette counties.

    Marsh, of Columbus, is a private attorney. He will begin his new duties on his swearing-in, which is not yet scheduled.

    The 11th Judicial District Nominating Commission interviewed candidates March 20 at the Cherokee County Courthouse in Columbus.

    A district magistrate judge must have graduated from a high school, secondary school, or the equivalent; be a resident of Cherokee County at the time of taking office and while serving; and either be a lawyer admitted to practice in Kansas or pass an examination given by the Supreme Court and become certified within 18 months.

    The 11th Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Justice Lee A. Johnson as the nonvoting chair; Sara S. Beezley, Pittsburg; James K. Cook and Richard G. Tucker, Parsons; Hon. Oliver K. Lynch and Charles W. Sweeton, Baxter Springs; and John W. Lehman, Girard.


    NEWS RELEASE: March 13, 2015

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

    Kansas Supreme Court accepting public comment on proposed change to records rule

    TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court is accepting public comment until April 12, 2015, on a proposed rule change to clarify how district courts treat personally identifiable information in marriage licensing documents that the courts maintain.

    The proposed changes to Rule 106 are available for review on the Kansas judicial branch website at www.kscourts.org under the heading What's New.


    NEWS RELEASE: March 3, 2015

    For more information
    contact Lisa Taylor
    Public Information Director
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    taylorl@kscourts.org

    Supreme Court selects Fort Hays State University for April 13 docket

    TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court announced today it has selected Fort Hays State University as the next destination in its ongoing outreach to familiarize Kansans with the high court, its work, and the overall role of the Kansas judiciary.

    It will be the Supreme Court's first visit to Hays in the court's 154-year history. It is also believed to be the first time the court will hear cases in the evening.

    The court will be in session from 6:30 p.m. to about 8:30 p.m. Monday, April 13, in the Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center located in Sheridan Hall on the Fort Hays State University campus at 600 Park Street in Hays.

    The public is invited to attend the proceedings and observe the court as it hears oral arguments in three criminal cases. After the hearing concludes, the justices will greet the public in an informal reception.

    "Community visits are a great way for the people of Kansas to get to know us — who we are what we do — and to learn about the judiciary's role in our society," said Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss. "We encourage anyone who's ever been curious about Supreme Court proceedings to come. We have provided live webcasts of our courtroom sessions in Topeka since 2012, but people tell us there's nothing like seeing proceedings in person."

    In 2011, the court convened outside its Topeka courtroom in the Kansas Judicial Center to mark the state's sesquicentennial. Its first stop was the historic Supreme Court courtroom in the Kansas Statehouse. From there, and through the end of 2011, the court conducted special sessions in Salina, Greensburg, and Wichita. The court held sessions in Overland Park in 2012, Pittsburg in 2013 and Kansas City in 2014.


    NEWS RELEASE: February 27, 2015

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

    11 apply for district magistrate vacancy in 11th judicial district

    TOPEKA—Eleven people applied to fill a district magistrate judge vacancy in Cherokee County in the 11th judicial district.

    The 11th judicial district includes Cherokee, Crawford and Labette counties.

    The applicants are:

    Murl Thomas (Tom) Bringle of Oswego — account manager/sales with Cellular Sales of Kentucky, Inc.

    Timothy Alan Frieden of Haysville — Board of Indigent Defense Services, death penalty defense unit.

    Candace Brewster Gayoso of Baxter Springs — Gayoso Law Office; city attorney for Weir; municipal court judge for Arcadia.

    Michael C. Grimmett of Columbus — YoungWilliams Child Support Services, Child Enforcement Services.

    John David Gutierrez of Joplin, Missouri — private attorney.

    Robert Wayne Lattin of Independence, Kansas — private attorney.

    Samuel J. Marsh of Columbus — private attorney.

    Douglas Roper Steele of Galena — private attorney.

    Terra Lyn Tecchio of Overland Park — associate attorney with Morrow Willnauer Klosterman Church.

    Christopher J. Velez of Garden City — private attorney.

    Jeffrey Joseph Williams of Baxter Springs — private attorney.

    The 11th Judicial District Nominating Commission will interview candidates March 20 at the Cherokee County Courthouse, 110 West Maple Street, Columbus.

    A district magistrate judge must have graduated from a high school, secondary school, or the equivalent; be a resident of Cherokee County at the time of taking office and while serving; and either be a lawyer admitted to practice in Kansas or pass an examination given by the Supreme Court and become certified within 18 months.

    The 11th Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Justice Lee A. Johnson as the nonvoting chair; Sara S. Beezley, Pittsburg; James K. Cook and Richard G. Tucker, Parsons; Hon. Oliver K. Lynch, Columbus; John W. Lehman, Girard; and Charles W. Sweeton, Baxter Springs.


    NEWS RELEASE: February 23, 2015

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

    Stephanie Bunten named new budget and fiscal officer for judicial branch

    TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court announced today that Stephanie Bunten has joined the judicial branch as its new budget and fiscal officer effective February 23.

    Bunten previously served as assistant fiscal officer of the judicial branch from 2010 to 2011. She succeeds Kim Fowler, who left in January to pursue a new career opportunity.

    "Although we were disappointed by Kim's departure, we are thrilled to have Stephanie back with us," said Chief Justice Lawton Nuss. "She has impeccable credentials and she learned about our fiscal operations directly from Kim. We expect her to smoothly transition into the position and to quickly become a vital asset on our team."

    As budget and fiscal officer in the Office of Judicial Administration, Bunten will direct the fiscal office and its accounting functions, including maintaining financial, budgetary and payroll records. She also is responsible for developing cost accounting procedures for effective fiscal control and for compiling financial data for annual and other reports.

    Bunten said in the few years she was away from the judicial branch, she gained more accounting knowledge and expertise working as a certified public accountant for Mize Houser and Company, PA.

    Stephanie Bunten
    Stephanie Bunten

    "Working as a CPA, I cultivated an even stronger fiscal and accounting foundation," Bunten said. "I've learned to be open to new ideas, new approaches and new solutions, which I think will be critical in my position as budget and fiscal officer."

    Bunten also has judicial branch experience working as a research attorney for Judge Henry W. Green on the Kansas Court of Appeals, a position she held for seven years.

    Bunten has a Bachelor of Business Administration Accounting degree from Washburn University, a law degree from the Washburn University School of Law, and a Master of Laws degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. She is a current member of the Kansas CPA Society and Fast Forward of Topeka, and a past member of the Meals on Wheels Board, Metropolitan Ballet of Topeka, and Safe Streets National Night Out Against Crime.


    NEWS RELEASE: February 13, 2015

    For more information
    contact Lisa Taylor
    Public Information Director
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    taylorl@kscourts.org

    Kansas Supreme Court reappoints two to Chief Judges' Council

    TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton Nuss has reappointed Chief Judge Patricia Macke Dick and Chief Judge David A. Ricke to the Chief Judges Council created last year to provide ground-level perspective on issues facing Kansas courts.

    Both will serve two-year terms that expire December 31, 2016.

    "I appreciate that Chief Judge Macke Dick and Chief Judge Ricke agreed to serve another term on the council," Nuss said. "Their contributions help me provide informed leadership on topics that affect our local courts in different ways based on caseloads, staffing and community needs."

    The seven-member council represents the broad diversity of Kansas courts and, as chief judges, their perspectives may occasionally differ from those held by members of the Kansas District Judges Association and Kansas District Magistrate Judges Association. Nuss said the Supreme Court values ideas and input from all three groups.

    Chief Judge Pactricia Macke Dick
    Judge Pactricia Macke Dick

    Macke Dick has served as district judge in Reno County District Court in the 27th judicial district since January 1989. She is a native of Plainville and a graduate of Kansas State University and the University of Kansas School of Law. She currently serves as secretary of the Kansas District Judges Association.

    Chief Judge David Ricke
    Judge David Ricke

    Ricke has served as district judge of the 13th judicial district since November 2004, and he presides over cases in Butler, Elk and Greenwood counties. He is a resident of Rose Hill and a graduate of Wichita State University and the University of Kansas School of Law.

    The council's other five members were appointed in January 2014 to two-year terms that expire December 31, 2015. They 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.

    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.

    Chief Judge R. Wayne Lampson of the 29th judicial district, who has served since 2008 as district judge presiding over cases in Wyandotte County.

    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.

    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.


    NEWS RELEASE: February 12, 2015

    For more information
    contact Lisa Taylor
    Public Information Director
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    taylorl@kscourts.org

    Kansas district court judge named co-chair of
    national judicial voter education project

    TOPEKA—Shawnee County District Court Judge Cheryl Rios Kingfisher has been selected to co-chair the National Association of Women Judges' Informed Voters Project committee for a one-year term that started in January.

    Linda Leali, an attorney in Miami, Florida, is Kingfisher's co-chair.

    Judge Cheryl Kingfisher
    Judge Cheryl Kingfisher

    "It's an incredible honor to help lead the Informed Voters Project Committee in its mission to educate voters about the importance of a fair and impartial judiciary that makes decisions based only on the rule of law, rather than outside influences," Kingfisher said. "I bring to this role my own experience talking to voters all across Kansas who tell me they want to know more about judges on the ballot, but are unsure where to look for information."

    Through the Informed Voters Project, judges, lawyers, and community group members speak to audiences about the stabilizing influence courts play in our democracy and the need to protect the judiciary from political interference.

    Presentations also focus on what voters can do to evaluate judges whose names appear on their local ballots, whether it's for direct election or to retain a judicial appointment. Voters are encouraged to focus on the essential qualities of a good judge, which include integrity, professional competence, judicial temperament, experience and service.

    In 2014, Kingfisher gave presentations to several civic groups and also appeared on KTWU's July episode of "I've Got Issues: Vote Smart," where she explained how a voter can find out which judges are on the ballot and what a voter can do to learn more about them.

    Kingfisher's appointment to co-chair the national committee was lauded by Mary Birch, government relations coordinator for the Lathrop and Gage law firm in Overland Park, who is chair of the state coordinating committee for the project.

    "Judge Kingfisher is passionate about this issue," Birch said. "She has made countless presentations to civic groups around the state. Her selection as national co-chair is well-deserved, and she will do an outstanding job."

    The Informed Voters Project is led by a subcommittee of the Judicial Independence Committee, which Kingfisher also co-chairs. She was appointed to both posts by Judge Julie Frantz of Portland, Oregon, current president of the National Association of Women Judges.

    Kingfisher has been a Shawnee County District Court judge since 2008. Before that, she was a City of Topeka municipal judge, an assistant district attorney in Shawnee County, and a private practitioner. Before attending law school, she was a registered nurse.

    She has served on many judicial committees and in civic organizations, including the Kansas State Judicial Needs Assessment Committee, the Shawnee County District Court Systems Department, the Kansas Judicial Education Advisory Committee and Judicial Education Planning Committee, the Topeka Community Foundation, Mana de Topeka, and Kansas Big Brothers/Big Sisters.


    NEWS RELEASE: January 29, 2015

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

    Court of Appeals Judge Karen Arnold-Burger wins national award

    TOPEKA—Kansas Court of Appeals Judge Karen Arnold-Burger has been selected by the American Bar Association Judicial Division Lawyers Conference to receive the Burnham "Hod" Greeley Award for her work to increase public awareness of the need for a fair and impartial judiciary.

    Arnold-Burger said she is looking forward to receiving the award Friday, February 6, during the American Bar Association's midyear meeting in Houston, Texas.

    Judge Karen Arnold-Burger
    Judge Karen Arnold-Burger

    "I'm thrilled and honored to be selected by a panel of my peers to receive this award for doing what I can to help people understand why it's so important that we have fair and impartial courts," Arnold-Burger said.

    Arnold-Burger was nominated for the award Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss, who noted the judge's work with the Informed Voter Project developed and promoted by the National Association of Women Judges and for serving as chair of the Kansas Supreme Court's Court Budget Advisory Council.

    "Judge Arnold-Burger consistently devotes considerable personal time to civic initiatives that help people understand the role of the judiciary and the critical importance of fair and impartial courts," Nuss said. "Her work with the Informed Voter Project has taken her to communities all across Kansas to speak to groups on these topics in general and retention elections in particular."

    Nuss also noted Arnold-Burger's work as chair of the Court Budget Advisory Council, which the Supreme Court formed in 2013 to develop and prioritize recommendations if the 2014 Legislature did not supplement the approved fiscal year 2015 judicial branch budget. The council met its challenge within the six weeks it was allotted, but Arnold-Burger's work didn't end there. She went on to appear before House and Senate subcommittees to report the council's findings.

    In a letter of support, Marc E. Elkins, vice president and general counsel to Cerner Corporation, reflected on his interactions with Arnold-Burger beginning with their time together attending law school, to when she was a municipal court judge, then in her capacity as judge of the Court of Appeals, and finally as chair of the Court Budget Advisory Council on which he served.

    "Judge Arnold-Burger did an extraordinary job of leading this group in a thoughtful and sensitive way," Elkins wrote. "She was able to lead our discussions that included radically different perspectives on sometimes highly emotional issues in a fashion that minimized the rhetoric and left each member feeling that their views were heard."

    A Court of Appeals colleague, Judge Steve Leben, also provided a letter supporting Arnold-Burger's nomination.

    "When I saw the criteria for the award and read about Mr. Greeley's strong commitment to promoting public trust and confidence in the judicial system, I thought that Karen was the perfect choice," Leben wrote. "Still a junior member of our court, she does more public presentations (to lawyers, judges, and the public) than anyone else, and she also does the work of an appellate judge at 100 percent."

    Before she was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 2011, Arnold-Burger was municipal court judge and then presiding municipal court judge in Overland Park, Assistant U.S. Attorney in Kansas City, Kansas, and First Assistant City Attorney for the City of Overland Park. She is a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Law, where she serves on the Board of Governors.

    Her professional accomplishments include serving as president of the Johnson County Bar Association, the Kansas Municipal Judges Association, and the Earl E. O'Connor Inn of Court. She has been an adjunct faculty member at the National Judicial College since 2000 and was elected by fellow faculty to serve on the Faculty Council beginning in 2010. She is a graduate of the Institute for Faculty Excellence in Judicial Education at the University of Memphis and is a frequent presenter at judicial education programs nationwide.

    She's received many awards, including the Justinian Award for Professional Excellence by the Johnson County Bar Association, which is given annually to an attorney who exemplifies integrity, service to the community, and service to the legal profession. Others include the Outstanding Service Award from the Kansas Bar Association; the Kay McFarland Award from the Women Attorneys Association of Topeka; and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration National Public Safety Award.

    She designed a judicial outreach project, "A Wrong of Passage," that is used by judges all over the country and has grown into an organization that focuses community support on the issue of underage drinking. She was awarded the Regional Prevention Center Founder's Award in 2008 and a scholarship was named after her.


    NEWS RELEASE: January 28, 2015

    For more information
    contact Lisa Taylor
    Public Information Director
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    taylorl@kscourts.org

    Nominating commission seeks candidates
    for district magistrate judge vacancy in 11th Judicial District

    TOPEKA—The 11th Judicial District Nominating Commission is seeking candidates to fill a district magistrate judge vacancy in Cherokee County

    The 11th judicial district includes Cherokee, Crawford and Labette counties.

    Justice Lee A. Johnson, the Supreme Court departmental justice responsible for the11th judicial district, said nominees can apply or be recommended, but recommendations must come on a nomination form and include the nominee’s signature.

    A district magistrate judge must have graduated from a high school, secondary school, or the equivalent; be a resident of Cherokee County at the time of taking office and while serving; and be a lawyer admitted to practice in Kansas or pass an examination given by the Supreme Court and become certified within 18 months.

    Applications must be accompanied by a nomination form available from the clerk of the district court office in Cherokee, Crawford, or Labette county, the clerk of the appellate courts office in the Judicial Center in Topeka, or online at www.kscourts.org under What’s New.

    Completed nomination forms and supporting letters must be received by the Hon. Lee A. Johnson, Kansas Supreme Court, 301 SW 10th Avenue, Topeka, KS 66612-1507, by noon, February 27, 2015.

    The nominating commission will convene to interview candidates at a time and date that will be announced. Interviews are open to the public.

    The 11th Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Justice Lee A. Johnson as the nonvoting chair; Sara S. Beezley, Pittsburg; James K. Cook and Richard G. Tucker, Parsons; Hon. Oliver K. Lynch, Columbus; John W. Lehman, Girard; and Charles W. Sweeton, Baxter Springs.


    NEWS RELEASE: January 8, 2015

    For more information
    contact Lisa Taylor
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    taylorl@kscourts.org

    F. William Cullins new chief judge of 14th judicial district

    TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss announced today that F. William Cullins will become chief judge of the 14th judicial district for a one-year term that starts January 12, 2015.

    The 14th judicial district includes Chautauqua and Montgomery counties.

    “Chief Judge Cullins is highly regarded in his district, both by his fellow judges, and by court employees,” Nuss said. “I look forward to Chief Judge Cullins’ leadership in the 14th judicial district and in the Kansas judicial branch of state government.”

    Cullins is succeeding Chief Judge Roger Gossard, who will retire January 12, 2015.

    Chief Judge Cullins
    Chief Judge Cullins

    “I look forward to taking on new responsibilities as chief judge and welcome the opportunity to serve my community and the courts in this new capacity,” Cullins said.

    Cullins has been a district court judge since 2006. Before becoming a judge, he was Montgomery County attorney, Coffeyville city prosecutor, and he worked in a private law practice. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Law.

    Cullins is a Caney, Kansas, native. He is married to Dr. Melinda Allen-Cullins, the Emergency Room Director for Mercy Hospital in Independence.




    NEWS RELEASE: January 7, 2015

    For more information
    contact Lisa Taylor
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    taylorl@kscourts.org

    Van Hampton new chief judge of 16th judicial district

    TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss announced today that Van Hampton will become chief judge of the 16th judicial district for a one-year term that starts January 12, 2015.

    “Judges and court employees in the 16th judicial district have expressed their respect and support for Judge Hampton, so it’s an honor to announce he will take on this new role,” Nuss said. “I look forward to Chief Judge Hampton's leadership in his six-county district and in the Kansas judicial branch of state government.”

    Hampton will succeed Chief Judge Daniel Love, who will retire January 12, 2015.

    Chief Judge Hampton
    Chief Judge Hampton

    “It is my goal to maintain the high standard set by Chief Judge Love, and I pledge to work with my follow judges to professionally and courteously provide justice for the people of this district,” Hampton said. “As chief judge, I will continue pursuing justice and resolution of disputes for those who come before the court.”

    Hampton has been a district court judge since 1995 and has presided over all types of cases in all six counties of his district: Ford, Gray, Meade, Clark, Comanche and Kiowa.

    Before becoming a judge, Hampton practiced law in Dodge City. He is a graduate of Oral Roberts University School of Law. He also earned a degree in agricultural law from the University of Arkansas.

    Hampton is an avid bicyclist. He rides both road and mountain bikes, and he is associated with the Midwest Masters Cycling Team of Hutchinson.


    NEWS RELEASE: January 7, 2015

    For more information
    contact Lisa Taylor
    Public Information Director
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    taylorl@kscourts.org

    Amy Harth new chief judge of 6th judicial distric

    TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss announced today that Amy Harth will become chief judge of the 6th judicial district for a one-year term that starts January 12, 2015.

    The 6th judicial district includes Bourbon, Linn and Miami counties.

    “Chief Judge Harth is well-respected in her district, by her fellow judges, and by court employees,” Nuss said. “I look forward to Chief Judge Harth's leadership in her three-county district and in the Kansas judicial branch of state government.”

    Harth is succeeding Chief Judge Richard M. “Dick” Smith, who will retire January 12, 2015.

    Chief Judge Harth
    Chief Judge Harth

    “I look forward to serving the people of the 6th judicial district, and working with my fellow judges and court employees, in this new role,” Harth said.

    Harth has been a district court judge since 2004 and has presided over all types of cases.

    Before becoming a judge, Harth worked as a prosecutor in Miami County and as a public defender. She is a 1994 graduate of Washburn University School of Law.







    NEWS RELEASE: January 6, 2015

    For more information
    contact Lisa Taylor
    785-296-4872
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    Chief Justice to give State of the Judiciary January 21

    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. 21, 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 the second in Kansas’ 154-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 interest in the impact of state revenue shortfalls on the Judicial Branch budget.

    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 www.kscourts.org. The address will be recorded for viewing afterward by anyone unable to attend in person or watch it live online.