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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 2001

12/18/01 | 10/26/01 | 10/19 | 10/8/01 | 9/14/01 | 6/29/01 | 6/1/01 | 5/16/01 | 5/11/01 | 4/27/01 | 3/30/01


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

For more information,
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 18, 2001

District Judge Robert W. Fairchild has been named chief judge of the 7th Judicial District, a one-county district consisting of Douglas County, to succeed Chief Judge Michael J. Malone who asked to be relieved of the additional administrative duties effective January 1.

Supreme Court Justice Bob Abbott, who is departmental justice for the area that includes Douglas County, said the Court is "sorry that Judge Malone didn't want to continue with the administrative duties. He has held the chief judge position for 12 years and has worked very hard. They have an outstanding judicial district," Justice Abbott said.

"Judge Malone has always had a good relationship with the other judges in the district, but has worked with other judges across the state on numerous court improvement projects. But we do look forward to working with Judge Fairchild and know he will do a great job as chief judge," Justice Abbott said.

As chief judge, Judge Fairchild will have general management responsibilities in the judicial district, including assigning judicial caseloads and directing all clerical and administrative personnel. The appointment is for two years.

Judge Fairchild was appointed to the Douglas County bench in March 1996, following approximately 23 years of private practice as a shareholder and attorney in the firm of Riling, Burkhead, Fairchild and Nitcher and its predecessors in Lawrence. He also has been an adjunct professor of law at the University of Kansas since 1993.

Judge Malone was appointed district judge in Douglas County in 1982, after having served nine years in the Douglas County attorney's office, first as an assistant county attorney and then as district attorney. He is a 1973 graduate of the Universityof Kansas law school. He has been an adjunct professor of law at the University of Kansas since 1981, where he teaches trial advocacy.


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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   October 26, 2001

Child support affects a large number of people in Kansas and there is a constant concern that the system be fair and equitable. The Kansas Supreme Court, through its Child Support Guidelines Advisory Committee, is reviewing the procedures through which child support is collected in Kansas.

The Court periodically examines the guidelines to ensure that they are fair for both parents and are in the best interests of the child. The Child Support Guidelines Committee is holding a public meeting in the Crawford County Courthouse, 4th and Pine, Pittsburg, on Thursday, November 1, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The purpose is to hear from parents participating in the current system. Other public hearings are scheduled in Dodge City and Pittsburg during September, October, and November. The advisory committee will conduct a follow-up meeting on the guidelines from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, November 2, in the courthouse.

Testimony at the public hearing will be limited to not more than five minutes per person and may be limited further depending on the number of persons wishing to testify. Written testimony is strongly encouraged. Comments and testimony will be restricted to matters related to the Kansas Child Support Guidelines.

Questions regarding the meetings should be directed to Mark Gleeson, Family and Children Program Coordinator at (785) 291-3224 or through e-mail at gleeson@kscourts.org. Written comments to the committee can be submitted to the Kansas Supreme Court's Child Support Guidelines Advisory Committee, Room 2N, Kansas Judicial Center, Topeka, Kansas 66612.

The Kansas Child Support Guidelines can be found on the Kansas Supreme Court web site at www.kscourts.org.


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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  October 19, 2001

Marvin E. Thompson, Russell, has been awarded a certificate of appreciation for his long-time service on the Kansas Judicial Council, a 10-member board that works to improve the administration of justice in Kansas by continuously studying the judicial system and related areas of the law.

Thompson served as a member of the prestigious board for 31 years. Other members of the board include the chair of the judiciary committee of both houses of the Legislature and judges and lawyers appointed by the Supreme Court. During his tenure he served as a member and chair of numerous committees of the Judicial Council, which resulted in sweeping changes to Kansas law.

He served as a member of the Care and Treatment/Guardianship Advisory Committee, the Continuing Legal Education Advisory Committee, the Civil Code Advisory Committee, the Lien Law Advisory Committee, the Probate Law Advisory Committee and the title Standards Advisory Committee.

He chaired the Governmental Immunity Advisory Committee from 1970 through 1973, Administrative Chair of the State Bench Bar Advisory Committee from 1973 through 1975, chair of the Continuing Legal Education Advisory Committee from 1976 through 1978, and chair of the Advisory Committee on Attorney Fees in 1986. He also served as chair of the Civil Code Advisory Committee from 1975 through 1994 and as chair of the probate Law Advisory Committee from 1997 until his retirement from the Judicial Council.

In Russell, he has been a long time member of the B.P.O.E., served on the county zoning commission and serves as Moderator for the First Congregational Church of Russell. He married Maxine Snow in 1942. She died in 1991. He has two children, David Thompson of Russell and Patricia Hubert of Vernon, Vermont. In 1992, he married Arcella Wasinger.

Thompson also was honored by a Senate Resolution that was adopted during the 2001 legislative session. He is a past president of the Kansas Bar Assn.


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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   October 8, 2001

The Supreme Court announced today it is establishing a statewide impaired lawyers assistance program to further combat problems resulting from mental infirmity, disorder, or addiction to or excessive use of drugs and alcohol.

The new program, called Kansas Impaired Lawyers Assistance Program, is being funded exclusively from attorney registration fees. It will be led by an attorney devoting half time to the position. He or she will have several years in recovery, or experience and training in mental health and addiction treatment, pursuant to a job announcement that is currently being advertised across the state. Application deadline is November 1.

Justice Donald L. Allegrucci, who presented the proposal to the Supreme Court, said the director will be supported by an 11-member board and volunteer attorneys who will serve as counselors. He noted that there has been an impaired lawyer committee of the Kansas Bar Association for many years; however, much of its work is confined to urban areas. The new program is designed to reach all areas of the state, particularly in the more rural parts, to enhance statewide coverage.

The primary purposes of the program are to protect clients from harm caused by impaired lawyers, assist impaired lawyers in recovery, and education the bench and bar to the causes of and remedies for impaired lawyers.

Among the duties of the director are to provide initial response to help line that will be set up, to help members of the legal community and their families secure expert counseling and treatment for chemical dependency and other illnesses, maintain current information on available treatment services, establish and maintain liaison with other bar functions that serve as sources of referral or resources in providing help, and plan and deliver educational programs for the legal community with respect to all sources of potential lawyer impairment, as well as treatment and preventive measures.

"The bottom line is that we want to provide immediate and continuing help to lawyers who suffer from physical or mental disabilities that result from disease, disorder, trauma, or age and that impair their ability to practice," Justice Allegrucci said.

"Depression, drugs, and alcohol are recurring problems that surface in attorney discipline cases that come before us," he said.


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 14, 2001

Child support affects a large number of people in Kansas and there is a constant concern that the system be fair and equitable. The Kansas Supreme Court, through its Child Support Guidelines Advisory Committee, is reviewing the procedures through which child support is collected in Kansas.

The Court periodically examines the guidelines to ensure that they are fair for both parents and are in the best interests of the child. The Child Support Guidelines Committee is holding a public meeting in the Ellis County Courthouse Commission Chambers, Hays, on Thursday, September 20, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The purpose is to hear from parents participating in the current system. Other public hearings are scheduled in Dodge City and Pittsburg during September, October, and November.

Testimony will be limited to not more than five minutes per person and may be limited further depending on the number of persons wishing to testify. Written testimony is strongly encouraged. Comments and testimony will be restricted to matters related to the Kansas Child Support Guidelines.

Questions regarding the meetings should be directed to Mark Gleeson, Family and Children Program Coordinator at (785) 291-3224 or through e-mail at gleeson@kscourts.org. Written comments to the committee can be submitted to the Kansas Supreme Court's Child Support Guidelines Advisory Committee, Room 2N, Kansas Judicial Center, Topeka, Kansas 66612.

The Kansas Child Support Guidelines can be found on the Kansas Supreme Court web site at www.kscourts.org.


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

June 29, 2001

To: Kansas News Media
From: Ron Keefover
Re: Budget Deficit Plan

All of the state's 31 chief judges have been notified this week of steps approved by the Supreme Court to address a $1.9 to $2.0 million deficit in the budget for the fiscal year beginning Monday.

Key components of the plan include the continuation of a 60-day delay in filling nonjudicial vacancies, a 25 percent reduction in the amount of funds available to hire temporary workers, elimination of travel for district magistrate judges from outlying districts into districts that do not have district magistrate judges, elimination of travel for Court of Appeals hearings, and assignment of additional specific budget reductions in each judicial district.

Even with those savings, however, the Judicial Branch will still be $528,753 short of meeting the budget as approved by this year's Legislature. That money will have to be either saved by further action of the Supreme Court or through a supplemental appropriation from the 2002 Legislature. If a supplemental appropriation is not forthcoming, the chief judges have been advised it is possible that three one-day furloughs of non-judicial employees may be planned for the months of April, May, and June, with one furlough day scheduled in each month.

Rumors that employee furloughs every Friday, or every Friday for several consecutive weeks, are not true and are not part of the budget plan that was announced this week. I have attached a copy of the memorandum explaining the budgetary actions that are being taken, as well as the amount of local savings required for each of the judicial districts.

Chief Justice McFarland will be available as time permits today for any follow-up questions. Please contact me at 296-4872 if you wish to make arrangements to interview her. Thanks.

Following is a summary of the Court's plan to address the $1.9 to $2.0 million deficit:

Judicial Branch Budget Deficit Reduction Plan
Total Budget Deficit $1.9 to $2.0 Million

  • Minus 60-Day Hiring Freeze($700,000 to $800,000)
  • Minus System-Wide Reductions ($146,636)
  • Minus Local Reductions($524,611)
  • Projected Remaining Deficit ($528,753)

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

    June 1, 2001

    Former Hiawathan Receives Master of Law in Legal Process Degree

    For More Information,
    Contact Ron Keefover
    Education-Information Officer

    For Immediate Release:

    Hon. Robert L. Gernon, of the Kansas Court of Appeals, has been awarded a Masters of Law in Legal Process degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, it was announced in Topeka today.

    Judge Gernon, a native of Hiawatha, was among 30 judges from across the country who were selected to participate in this graduate program for judges. It is the only such program in the United States. Participants spend two summers in classes at the University of Virginia campus, and then must write a thesis.

    Each judge completing the course work, and having his or her paper accepted, then receives a Masters of Law in Legal Process(LLM) from the University of Virginia School of Law.

    Judge Gernon grew up in Hiawatha. He was graduated from the University of Kansas with a BS degree in business administration in 1966. He received his law degree from Washburn University School of Law in 1969.

    Prior to his appointment to the Court of Appeals, he served as a judge of the 22nd District beginning in 1979, including two terms as the district's administrative judge from 1981 until his appointment to the Court of Appeals. Prior to becoming a judge, he engaged in the private practice of law from 1970 to 1979 and also served as Brown County Attorney and County Counselor from 1971 to 1975. Judge Gernon is a former assistant Shawnee County attorney and probation and Presentence investigator for Shawnee County.

    Active in both the Kansas Bar Association. and Kansas District Judges' Association., he has served on the KBA's Continuing Legal Education Committee since 1986 and on the KDJA Executive Council since 1987. He also has been a member of the KBA's Committee on Professionalism and the KDJA's legislative committee. He is chairman of the Annual Survey of Law Committee, which publishes an annual survey for the KBA, and serves as program coordinator for the annual program associated with that publication. He is a 1991 recipient of the KBA Outstanding Service Award. Judge Gernon has been a frequent speaker at various professional programs, including speaking as a faculty advisor for the National Judicial College. He has been appointed to the Supreme Court's Task Force on Permanency Planning, a board relating to juveniles who come in contact with the courts or a social service agency.

    He has two adult children, Becky and Kristin.


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

    For more information
    C ontact Ron Keefover
    Education-Information Officer

    FOR RELEASE: May 16, 2001

    The Kansas Supreme Court Child Support Guidelines Advisory Committee will conduct a public hearing at the Sedgwick County Courthouse June 7th to hear recommendations concerning revision of the statewide guidelines for setting child support amounts.

    The guidelines, pursuant to federal rules, are to be examined every four years for possible revision. The current guidelines are online at www.kscourts.org.

    The Wichita committee meeting will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the jury assembly room on the first floor of the courthouse. Persons wishing to attend the session need to use the north entry to the courthouse.

    Written comments can be submitted to the Kansas Supreme Court's Child Support Guidelines Advisory Committee, Room 2N, Kansas Judicial Center, Topeka, Kansas 66612.


    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 RELEASE: Friday, May 11, 2001

    The Court of Appeals in a case of first impression in Kansas today reversed a Leavenworth County decision in a probate case denying a petition by a person who had undergone a sex-change operation to inherit from her deceased husband's estate.

    In striking down the trial court's ruling denying the validity of the marriage, the Court of Appeals remanded the case for further consideration. Said the court in a decision authored by Judge Robert L. Gernon: "In determining the validity of a marriage in cases in which the sexual identity of a party is at issue, a trial court must consider and decide whether the individual was a male or female at the time the marriage license was issued and not simply what the individual's chromosomes were or were not at the time of birth." The opinion then lists seven other factors that should be considered in making the determination.

    The ruling came in a probate case in which the son of Marshall G. Gardiner, Joe, filed for letters of administration in Leavenworth County District Court. His petition was countered by one filed on behalf J'Noel Gardiner, who had married the decedent in September 1998, following a sex-change operation and other procedures in the early 1990s to change gender to that of a woman. J'Noel was issued a new birth certificate in Wisconsin indicating her sex as female.

    "The legislative history contains discussions about gays and lesbians," Gernon wrote, "but nowhere is there any testimony that specifically states that marriages should be prohibited by two parties if one is a post-operative male-to-female transsexual. Thus, the question remains: Was J'Noel a female at the time the license was issued for the purpose of the statute?"

    The trial court held that the marriage was invalid finding that J'Noel was born a male and remains a male for purposes of marriage under Kansas law; however, the Court of Appeals concluded that numerous other factors in addition to chromosomes have to be considered in making the determination. Thus, the Court of Appeals, citing scientific references in a law review article, and scientific findings in a medical journal, reversed and remanded the case so that each side would have the opportunity to present evidence on the factors the court ordered should be considered. Using those factors, the trial court must then decide whether the marriage was valid and J'Noel can share in the estate as a spouse.

    In a companion case, the court also remanded the issue of attorney fees for redetermination in light of the reversal in this case. Decisions in the two appeals, No. 85,030 and 85,159, are posted in full at www.kscourts.org.


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

    From: Ron Keefover
    Date: May 11, 2001

    Chief Justice Kay McFarland has an unusually busy schedule Monday a.m. Let's see, arrange projects for staff, work on opinions, and, oh yes, report for jury duty in Shawnee County District Court.

    In what may be a historical first, but certainly the first time in the past 35 years or more, a sitting chief justice has been summoned for jury service. She also will have a first-hand look at how Shawnee Countians are treated when they report for this civic duty.

    The summons seems particularly timely in view of jury reform measures Chief Justice McFarland initiated three years ago. Since then, she has commissioned jury exit surveys in six judicial districts (which included a mix of rural, medium, and urban jurisdictions) measuring juror satisfaction, or lack of it, pushed for an increase in payments for jury service, implemented a juror employer appreciation award, featured nationally recognized speakers on best practices in jury management at judicial conferences, and otherwise taken steps to encourage efficient use and treatment of persons reporting for jury duty.

    "We take the important role that our citizens fill in participating in the judicial branch of their government very seriously," Chief Justice McFarland commented. "The jury system is the very foundation on which the judicial branch of government is based. Juries are a significant part of the peaceful resolution of our disputes. I believe it is important that jurors' needs are met wherever possible in order that their jury service is as meaningful and painless as possible," she said."

    The chief justice is to report at 8:45 a.m. Monday to the office of jury coordinator.


    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

    April 27, 2001

    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 176 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 Hon. Carol Beier, of the Court of Appeals, on behalf 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.


    March 30, 2001

    TO: 30th Judicial District News Media
    FROM: Ron Keefover
    RE: Swearing-In of Court of Appeals Judge Lee A. Johnson

    The Court of Appeals will meet in special session Friday, April 6th, at 2:30 p.m. to administer the oath of office to Hon. Lee A. Johnson, Caldwell, as the newest member of the court.

    He is succeeding Chief Judge J. Patrick Brazil, who retired in January. Johnson will be presented to the Court of Appeals by C. Gage Overall, chairman and CEO of the Stock Exchange Bank of Caldwell. A reception for Judge Johnson will follow in the atrium of the Judicial Center.

    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. He is a 1979 graduate of the Washburn Law School. He served as mayor of the City of Caldwell from 1976-1977, and has been a judge pro tem in Wellington Municipal Court and Sumner County District Court.