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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 Archive
Kansas Judicial Branch - News Releases for 2000

12/20/00, 11/22/00, 11/15/00, 9/29/00, 8/31/00, 5/26/00, 5/2/00


Office of Judicial Administration
Kansas Judicial Center
301 West 10th
Topeka, Kansas 66612-1507
(785) 296-2256
For More Information,
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 20, 2000

The Supreme Court today announced the appointment of Judge Gary W. Rulon as the next chief judge of the state Court of Appeals. Chief Justice Kay McFarland said the appointment is effective January 8th, upon the retirement of the current chief judge, J. Patrick Brazil.

Judge Rulon, of Emporia, has been a member of the Court of Appeals since 1988. Before that, he was administrative judge of the 5th Judicial District, which consists of Chase and Lyon counties. Prior to his appointment as administrative judge in Emporia, Rulon served as a staff attorney on the Central Staff of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit. He was in private practice in Emporia from 1972 to 1979.

He is a graduate of Washburn University and of the Washburn Law School, as well as Topeka High School. He and his wife, Patricia, have two grown daughters who live in the Kansas City area.

As chief judge of the Court of Appeals, Judge Rulon will be responsible for general administrative functions and judge and location assignments. The Court of Appeals is an intermediate appellate court, which sits in three-judge panels across the state.


Office of Judicial Administration
Kansas Judicial Center
301 West 10th
Topeka, Kansas 66612-1507
(785) 296-2256
For More Information,
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 22, 2000

The following judges attended the 17th National College on Judicial Conduct and Ethics in Chicago, Illinois, October 26-28, 2000: Chief Judge J. Patrick Brazil, Topeka; Judge Kathryn Carter, Concordia; Jude Robert Fleming, Parsons; and Judge Mike Malone, Lawrence.

The College, sponsored every two years by the American Judicature Society's Center for Judicial Conduct Organizations, provides a forum for members and staff of judicial conduct commission, judges, judicial educators, and others interested in judicial ethics to exchange experiences and discuss solutions to their common problems. Chief Judge J. Patrick Brazil, Judge Kathryn Carter, and Judge Robert Fleming are members of the Kansas conduct commission know as the Commission on Judicial Qualifications and chaired by Judge Carter.

The workshop topics included: The Appearance of Impropriety; Bifurcated Judicial Discipline System; Conditions as Part of a Sanction; Confidentiality; Current Issues in Community Activities; Disqualification (Judge Malone faculty member); Issues for New Commission Members; Judicial Independence and Judicial Discipline; and The Role of Public Members; and Sanctions (Chief Judge Brazil faculty member).

The judges received a scholarship from the State Justice Institute which covers transportation and registration fee. The State Justice Institute (SJI) is a non-profit organization established bye Federal law to award grants to improve the quality of justice in State courts nationwide, facilitate better coordination between State and Federal courts, an foster innovative, efficient solutions to common problems faced by all courts.


State of Kansas
Office of Judicial Administration

Kansas Judicial Center
301 SW 10th
Topeka, Kansas 66612-1507
(785) 296-2256

November 15, 2000

TO: Statehouse Media
FROM: Ron Keefover
RE: Court of Appeals Nominees

The names of three persons were submitted to Gov. Bill Graves today as nominees to fill the vacancy on the Court of Appeals that will be created by the retirement of Chief Judge J. Patrick Brazil on January 8th.

Nominated to serve as a member of the Court of Appeals are: Chief Judge Stephen D. Hill, 49, Paola, and attorneys Lee Alan Johnson, 53, Caldwell; and Lawton M. Nuss 47, Salina. The governor will have 60 days in which to make an appointment from the list.

The Supreme Court Nominating Commission, consisting of four non-lawyers and four lawyers representing each of the state's four congressional districts plus a lawyer member elected statewide to serve as chair, met in Topeka Monday and Tuesday to interview suggested nominees for the vacancy.

Judge Hill has been a district judge of the 6th Judicial District (consisting of Miami, Linn and Bourbon counties) since 1981. He was appointed by the Supreme Court as administrative judge of the district in 1990 and remains in that capacity today, although the position has since been renamed chief judge.

A 1975 graduate of the Washburn University School of Law, Judge Hill began his law practice in Mound City and served as assistant Miami County Attorney in Paola. He was appointed Linn County Attorney and then elected to the post in 1976.

Johnson has practiced law in Caldwell in Sumner County since 1980, where he became a general partner in the firm of Stallings & Johnson until May 1987 when his partner retired. He is currently a sole practitioner. A 1979 graduate of the Washburn Law School, he served as its placement officer for one year and then entered private practice. He served as mayor of the City of Caldwell from 1976-1977, and has been a judge pro tem in Welington Municipal Court and Sumner County District Court.

Nuss joined the Salina firm of Clark, Mize & Linville, Chartered, Salina, upon his graduation from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1982. He was named a shareholder and vice president of the firm in 1988, and has remained with the firm since then. In 1977 and 1978, after two years as a combat engineering officer, he served as a legal officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he handled courts-martial, administrative discharge hearings and hearings under Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. He is currently chair of the Board of Editors of the Journal of the Kansas Bar Association.

Members of the Supreme Court Nominating Commission include Lynn R. Johnson, chair, Overland Park; Lowell F. Hahn, Phillipsburg; Debbie L. Nordling, Hugoton; Thomas E. Wright and James S. Maag, both of Topeka; Thomas L. Bath Jr. and Suzanne S. Bond, both of Overland Park; M. Kathryn Webb, Wichita, and Dennis L. Greenhaw, Independence, KS.


Office of Judicial Administration<
Kansas Judicial Center
301 SW 10th
Topeka, Kansas 66612-1507             
(785) 296-2256

For more information
contact Ron Keefover,
Education-Information Officer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 29, 2000

The Kansas Supreme Court and U.S. District Court will meet in special session at 10 a.m. today at the Topeka Performing Arts Center to swear in 216 new attorneys. The ceremony will be conducted before the justices of the Supreme Court and U.S. District Judge Richard D. Rogers.

Prospective attorneys will be presented to the courts by Gerald Goodell, chairman of the Kansas Board of Law Examiners. Appellate Court Clerk Carol G. Green and Ralph DeLoach, clerk of the U.S. District Court, will administer the oaths of office. Judge Rogers will represent the federal court.

The Kansas Bar Association will host a reception for the new attorneys and their families in the Hill's Festival Hall in the Lower level of the Performing Arts Center immediately following the ceremony.


State of Kansas
Office of Judicial Administration

Kansas Judicial Center
301 SW 10th
Topeka, Kansas 66612-1507
(785) 296-2256

For more information
contact Ron Keefover,
Education-Information Officer
or Chief Judge Brazil
(785) 296-5407

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 31, 2000

Hon. J. Patrick Brazil, Chief Judge of the Kansas Court of Appeals since 1995, announced today he is not seeking retention for another four-year term. Today's announcement will mark the conclusion of 28 years as a Kansas judge, including 15 years on the appellate court and 13 as a state district judge in Eureka.

Reflecting on his career, Judge Brazil said that our system of justice, like democracy, is not perfect but it is the best system that has ever been created.

"The ultimate goal of our legal system is to achieve justice in human conflict. As a trial judge, I tried to do that by assuring every person a fair, if not perfect, trial."

"Similarly, as a judge of the Court of Appeals, I have reviewed the records of the trial court to find and correct serious or reversible error, not necessarily all error."

During his tenure as chief judge, the court has concentrated on addressing the huge backlog of appeals caused by the 1993 enactment of the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines Act. "With the help of many people, we have eliminated the backlog and drastic ally reduced the delay in deciding the appeals."

"But," he said, "to remain current we are continuing to rely more and more on the help of district judges." Following the recommendations of the Kansas Citizens Justice Initiative report, and based on his own knowledge of the needs of the court, he plans to urge the legislature next year to approve four additional judges for the court.

Born in Pittsburg, Chief Judge Brazil attended Chanute Junior College (now Neosho County Community College) and received a B.S.B.A. degree from Rockhurst College, Kansas City, Missouri, in 1957. He received his law degree from Washburn University School of Law in 1962. Judge Brazil was appointed Chief Judge June 1, 1995.

He was a state district judge from 1972 until his appellate court appointment on December 11, 1985. Prior to that, he practiced law in Pratt and Eureka.

Brazil believes that any system of justice is only as good as the judges and lawyers in the system. For that reason, he has been a member of the Kansas Commission on Judicial Qualifications since 1985. The Commission reviews complaints filed agai nst judges and makes recommendations to the Supreme Court for appropriate sanctions or removal from office when judges have violated the Code of Judicial Ethics. "I have always been impressed with the dedication of the judges, lawyers and citizens who ha ve served on the Commission." Brazil was chairman of the Commission from 1991 to 1994, and has presented programs on judicial ethics statewide and nationally.

More recently, Brazil has been interested in the growth of the Inns of Court program in the United States. "It is a program that brings judges and older lawyers together with newer lawyers and law students in a mentoring relation that is dedicated to the preservation of professionalism and ethics in the legal profession." He is a charter member and past president of the Sam A. Crow Inn of Court in Topeka.

He has served in the officer positions of the Kansas District Judges' Association, including president from 1980-1981. He was a member of the Advisory Committee of the Kansas Judicial Council for Civil and Criminal Pattern Instructions for Kansa s from 1983 to 1995. He served on the Kansas Continuing Legal Education Commission from its creation in 1985 to July 1, 1991.

While on the district court bench, he was active in the national Conference of State Trial Judges and served as chairman and vice chairman of several of that organization's committees.

Judge Brazil is currently a member and officer of the National Conference of Chief Judges. In 1994, he received an Outstanding Service Award conferred by the Kansas Bar Association.

Looking back at his 15 years on the Court of Appeals, he is reminded of all the judges, law clerks and staff that he has worked with. "It has been an honor and privilege to know and work with such dedicated and good people. Like so many of my fr iends in the 13th Judicial District, as well as many lawyers and judges across the state, I think of the Court as family."

Brazil is a member of Topeka South Rotary. He and his wife, Char, belong to Christ the King Catholic Church in Topeka. They have two children, Michelle, an attorney for Sprint, and Jody, a Senior Sales Engineer for Fish Net Security. They are both married and living in Johnson County.


Office of Judicial Administration
Kansas Judicial Center
301 SW 10th
Topeka, Kansas 66612-1507
(785) 296-2256

May 26, 2000

To: Statehouse Media
From: Ron Keefover

Re: Appeal No. 83,805: Unified School District No. 501 and The Board of Education of U.S. No. 501 et al. v. Linda M. Baker

The Supreme Court today filed its decision in the above entitled appeal and rules 5-2 that teachers are ineligible to serve as a member of the their Board of Education under the common-law doctrine of incompatibility of office, reversing Shawnee County District Court. Writing for the majority is Justice Fred N. Six. Justices Donald L. Allegrucci and Tyler C. Lockett, in separate dissents, would affirm the district court on the basis that 11 attempts to pass a bill prohibiting the dual service has failed each time since the bills were first introduced beginning in 1979.

Justice Six, in writing for the majority, said the positions of teacher as employee and board member as employer are incompatible. He said the fact that the legislature has not acted is "not necessarily indicative of legislative intent. A court can draw many contradictory inferences from the legislature's failure to pass a bill," he wrote.

The appeal arose in a lawsuit from Shawnee County in which the court was asked to determine whether Linda M. Baker, a teacher in the Topeka school district since 1984, could serve on the board of education after assuming the position on July 1, 1999. The court ruled that rather than finding that Baker vacated her tenured teaching position when she assumed the duties of board member, the more equitable approach is that "because she is contractually employed by the district, her employment as a teacher endures."

Justice Allegrucci, in his dissent, said he agrees with the rationale and decision of District Judge Marla Luckert and that Supreme Court previously ruled that inferences can be drawn from the legislature's inability to pass legislation.

He said the legislature's consideration, but failure to enact, a so-called dram shop act is indicative of legislative intent under a decision relating to the liability of a nightclub for an ensuing drunk driving accident caused by one of its patrons. "The legislature's failure to pass any of the 11 bills introduced since 1979 speaks volumes on the issue of whether a teacher may serve on a school board," Justice Allegrucci wrote.

Justice Lockett added in his dissent that be believes the majority's interpretation of the statute prohibits a member of the "board of education from contracting to perform any work or service for or to sell any goods to the school district."


Office of Judicial Administration
Kansas Judicial Center
301 West 10th
Topeka, Kansas 66612-1507
(785) 296-2256


For More Information,
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 2, 2000

Chief Justice Kay McFarland today notified the Secretary of State of the establishment of the newly created 26th Division of Sedgwick County District Court.

The notification paves the way for the election of a judge at this year's primary and general elections. The incumbent would assume the office in January.

The Supreme Court certified the creation of the judgeship in April contingent upon funding by the legislature. "I am pleased to report that the legislature came through with suitable funding that will make this badly needed position a reality," Chief Justice McFarland said in announcing the official notification of the vacancy.

She noted that the April order included findings that the Sedgwick County District Court has experienced a dramatic increase in filings for Children in Need of Care under the Kansas Code for Care of Children. "While statewide, such filings have increased by 48 percent in the last 10 years, the Sedgwick County District Court has seen an increase of 158 percent," the court's order stated.