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

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Telephone:
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Fax:  785.296.1028
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News Releases

12/10/10: Supreme Court Nominating Commission Open Interviews to Public - 11/12/10: Three Nominated for Court of Appeals - 11/10/10: Three Nominated for Douglas County Judge - 11/08/10: New Chief Judge of Court of Appeals Named -11/04/10: Three Judges Named to Hear School Finance Suit -11/25/10: Thirteen apply for Douglas County Judge Vacancy - 10/25/10: Thirteen apply for Douglas County Judge Vacancy - 10/15/10: Planned Parenthood Subponea Decision Filed - 10/13/10: Seventeen apply for Court of Appeals - 10/04/10: Applicants sought for Douglas County Judge Vacancy - 09/28/10: Three Nominated for Supreme Court - 09/14/10: Nominations sought for 28th Judicial District Judge Vacancy - 09/09/10: 17th Judicial District Chief Judge Elliott to sit with Supreme Court - 09/08/10: Comprehensive Review of Court System Announced - 09/08/10: Gordon Atcheson to be sworn in to Court of Appeals - 09/08/10: Reno County's Chief Judge Macke Dick to sit with Supreme Court - 09/08/10: Riley County's Chief Judge Miller to sit with Supreme Court - 09/01/10: Thirteen Apply for Supreme Court Vacancy - 08/18/10: Chief Judge Rulon Retirement Announced - 08/03/10: Chief Justice Davis Retirement Announced - 07/09/10: Applications for the District Judge Vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Jan Leuenberger in the 3rd Judicial District closed today at noon - 06/14/10: Nominations sought for Shawnee County Judge Vacancy - 05/28/10: Court of Appeal Nominations to Governor - 05/12/10: 18 Apply for Court of Appeals Vacancy - 01/13/10: Chase County District Magistrate Judge Appointed

See the Archives for new releases dating back to 1997


Anne Burke
Anne E. Burke
Commission Chair

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 10, 2010

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

Breaking from a longtime tradition, the Supreme Court Nominating Commission announced today that interviews of prospective nominees for vacancies on the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court will be open to the public, beginning with the next round of appellate court interviews February 17-18, 2011.

The Commission will convene then to interview applicants for a vacancy on the Court of Appeals created by the appointment of Judge Nancy L. Caplinger to the Supreme Court to succeed the late Chief Justice Robert E. Davis. Judge Caplinger is to be sworn in to the Supreme Court on January 7.

"Of the 33 states that use nominating commissions to fill appellate court vacancies, Kansas has become the 11th to open interviews to the public. The names of those applying for vacancies on the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals have been made public since 1981.

Commission Chair Anne E. Burke, Overland Park, said the move to open the interviews is designed to instill further confidence in the manner in which the appellate court judges and justices are nominated. “We believe the move toward open interviews will demonstrate the careful thought and consideration given by the Commission to those whose names are forwarded to the governor for appointment,” Burke said. “Kansans now can see for themselves how well the nonpartisan merit selection process works.”

“The decision to open the interviews recognizes that a more transparent process of appellate judicial selection is important. This change will allow the public to hear the questions asked by the Commission and the candidates’ answers,” she said.

Kansas adopted the merit selection method of choosing Supreme Court justices in 1958. Applicants for the positions are required to submit a comprehensive application packet that includes an agreement for a background and credit investigation, names of persons who have served as adversaries in court proceedings, writing samples and similar information touching on their qualifications to be on the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.  Following extensive background checks and personal interviews, the Commission submits the names of three persons to the governor for appointment. They stand for retention at the next general election following a full year on the bench.

Today’s change to the appellate court nominating procedures provides that the Commission adjourn to executive session to discuss personal traits and deliberate.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 12, 2010

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

Two judges and the head of the Supreme Court’s Death Penalty Appeals staff today were nominated to fill a vacancy on the Kansas Court of Appeals that will be created by the January 10 retirement of Chief Judge Gary W. Rulon.

The names of Overland Park Municipal Court Judge Karen Arnold-Berger, Finney County District Judge Robert J. Frederick, and Supreme Court staff attorney Deborah L Hughes, Lawrence, were submitted to Gov. Mark Parkinson Friday afternoon.  He will have 60 days in which to select one of the three for the appointment.

The three were nominated by the Supreme Court Nominating Commission following interviews that were conducted Thursday and Friday. Seventeen judges and attorneys applied for the impending vacancy.

Rulon is retiring after 30 years on the Court, including 10 years as its Chief Judge. Judge Richard Greene has been appointed Chief Judge.

Arnold-Berger has been chief judge of the Overland Park Municipal Court since 1996, and a member of that court since 1991. In addition to her judicial duties, she teaches at the National Judicial College, Reno, NV; for the Institute for Faculty Excellence in Judicial Education, Memphis, TN; and for the American Bar Association Judicial Division.

Before her appointment to the bench, Arnold-Berger served as an assistant U.S. Attorney, and as an Assistant City Attorney for Overland Park from 1982—1989, including three years as First Assistant City Attorney.  She received BA degrees  in Personnel Administration, Political Science, and Psychology from the University of Kansas, where she also obtained her law dgree.

Headquartered in Garden City, Frederick has been a District Court Judge of the six-county 25th Judicial District since 2001.  Before that, he was in private practice in Lakin since 1976, which included service as the Kearny County Attorney and as City Attorney for Deerfield. From 1987 to 2001, he was the school board attorney for USD 215, Lakin.

Frederick received a BS degree in Education from the University of Kansas in 1972 and a law degree from the Washburn University School of Law in 1975.

Hughes has worked as the Supreme Court's Special Projects Attorney since 2005.  Before that, she served three years as a Shawnee County Assistant District Attorney.  She engaged in private practice from 1989 until her appointment as Assistant District Attorney in 2001.

She received both her law degree and undergraduate degree from the University of Kansas, with a BA degree in Political Science.


 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 10, 2010

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

The names of three Lawrence attorneys were submitted to Gov. Mark Parkinson today as nominees to succeed Douglas County District Judge Jean F. Shepherd, who is retiring effective January 10 following 27 years service as a judge in Lawrence.

Nominated to succeed her are Barbara K. Huff, a Lawrence attorney in practice; James R. McCabria, a Douglas County Assistant District Attorney; and Angela M. Wilson, a Deputy Attorney General.

The three were nominated following a day and a half of interviews Monday and Tuesday by the Douglas County Judicial Nominating Commission, a seven-member panel of three lawyers and three non-lawyers that is chaired by Justice Eric S. Rosen, who is a non-voting commission member and Departmental Justice for the 7th Judicial District.

Gov. Parkinson will have 30 days in which to select one of the three for appointment. A total of 13 attorneys submitted applications for the position.

Huff has been a solo law practitioner in Lawrence since 1991 and taught part-time at the Kansas University School of Law between 1992 and 1997 as a clinical professor. Before entering private practice, she served as a public defender in Olathe and as a Legal Aid Society Criminal Appeals Bureau attorney in New York from September 1985—to November 1988. She began her legal career as an attorney with the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Central Staff in San Francisco in 1982.

Huff received a BA degree from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, in 1979 and a JD degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Philadelphia in 1982.

McCabria has been an assistant district attorney since 2006. Before that, he was an assistant Attorney General from 2001—2006, which followed private practice that began in 1994 upon his graduation from the Tulsa University School of Law that year. He is a 1991 graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in criminal science.

Wilson has been an Assistant Attorney General since 2008, and before that served 10 years as an Assistant Douglas County Attorney. She began her legal career in private practice with a Topeka law firm upon her graduation from the KU law school in 1997. She then served a year as a member of the Kansas Court of Appeals Central Staff before joining the Douglas County District Attorney’s office in 1998.

In addition to her law degree, Wilson has a BA in psychology and communication from Pittsburg State University.


Hon. Richard Greene
Hon. Richard Greene

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 8, 2010

For more information
contact Ron Keefover,
Education-Information Officer

Judge Richard D. Greene has been appointed chief judge of the Kansas Court of Appeals to succeed outgoing Chief Judge Gary W. Rulon, who will retire at the end of his term January 10.

The appointment was made by the Supreme Court and is effective upon Judge Rulon’s retirement. Rulon had been chief judge of the Court since 2001, and a member of that Court since 1988. Judge Greene has been a judge on the Court of Appeals since 2003.

In announcing the appointment, Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss praised both Court of Appeals judges for their legal ability and caseload management skills. “This is an important position in the Kansas court system, and I know Judge Greene will lead the court with his vision and dedication to the judicial branch,” Chief Justice Nuss said.

Judge Greene was appointed to the Court of Appeals by Governor Kathleen Sebelius after practicing law for 28 years in the firm of Morris, Laing, Evans, Brock & Kennedy, which has offices in Topeka and Wichita. A native of Hermann, Missouri, he received a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1972, and a law degree from Southern Methodist University-Dallas in 1975. After joining the Court of Appeals, Judge Greene completed the Appellate Judges’ School at New York University, and he has completed additional judicial courses at the University of Mississippi and at the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada.

Judge Greene has often been appointed to sit with the Supreme Court and has authored several significant opinions for that court. He currently serves as chair of the Kansas Bar Association’s Annual Survey of Law Committee, and as a member of other KBA committees. He has often been a lecturer or education panel member at Kansas law schools as well as many state and national meetings of legal and civic associations. Judge Greene received the Distinguished Service Award of the Kansas Bar Association in 2007.

Judge Greene and his wife, Mary Sue, have a blended family of four daughters; Kristin, Julie, Katie, and Jenny.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 4, 2010

For more information
contact Ron Keefover,
Education-Information Officer

Court of Appeals Chief Judge Gary W. Rulon today appointed three judges from across the state to preside over a new lawsuit challenging the current level of state funding for Kansas schools.

The suit, Gannon et al. v. State of Kansas, was filed in Shawnee County District Court Tuesday; however, a 2005 legislative enactment directs the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals to appoint a panel of three judges to preside over school finance challenges.

Named to hear the case were Shawnee County District Judge Franklin R. Theis, Labette County District Judge Robert J. Fleming, Parsons; and retired Sherman County District Judge Jack L. Burr, Goodland. Judge Theis was designated presiding judge of the panel. Together, they will consider contentions brought on behalf of 32 named students and four school districts, including those from Dodge City, Hutchinson, Kansas City, KS, and Wichita. In addition, attorneys are asking that the lawsuit be certified as a “class action” to represent all schools in the state that are entitled to capital outlay equalization payments during the 2009-10 school year.

The plaintiffs contend current school funding violates the Kansas constitutional provision for suitable funding for education, and the substantive due process and equal protection clauses of the Constitution, as well as the mandates of a Kansas statute requiring education be given first priority in the budgeting process and be paid first from existing state revenues. The suit also challenges the constitutionality of a third statute restricting the judiciary’s authority to order a school district or any attendance center within a school district to be closed or to enjoin the use of all statutes related to the distribution of funds for public education.

Chief Judge Rulon said in signing today’s order appointing the three judge panel he has “high confidence in their legal abilities,” but also was interested in attaining geographical diversity in making the case assignments.

No date for a hearing has been set.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 25, 2010

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

Thirteen Lawrence attorneys have applied for a vacancy on the Douglas County District Court that will occur at the end of the current term of office of Hon. Jean F. Shepherd in January. The deadline to apply was noon Friday.

The 7th Judicial District Nominating Commission will interview applicants on November 8 and then forward the names of not fewer than two persons nor more than three to the Governor, who will have 30 days in which to make an appointment.

Applying are Daniel D. Peebles, James T. George, Jeffrey S. Southard, Kenneth P. Kula, Randall F. Larkin, Angela M. Wilson, James R. McCabria, Barbara Kay Huff, Kathryn D. Myers, Christopher N. Behre, Brian Dempsey, Darian Dernovish, and Daniel Dunbar, all of Lawrence.

The 7th Judicial District Nominating Commission includes Justice Eric S. Rosen, as the nonvoting chairman, and Loren C. Anderson, Baldwin City; Charles A. Briscoe, Janine A. Cox, Charles R. Epp, John W. Nitcher, and Terry L. Smith, all of Lawrence.

The 7th district judicial nominating commission includes Justice Rosen, as the nonvoting chairman, and Loren C. Anderson, Baldwin City; Charles A. Briscoe, Janine A. Cox, Charles R. Epp, John W. Nitcher, and Terry L. Smith, all of Lawrence.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 15, 2010

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

The Supreme Court today filed four decisions, including three attorney disciplinary matters, and a long-awaited ruling reinstating subpoenas issued in the prosecution of a Johnson County abortion clinic. A digest of that decision is attached and links to the full text of all four decisions follow immediately beneath the following capsules. The decisions filed today include:

Appeal No. 100,726: State v. Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri Inc., in which the Court sends a 107-count criminal case pending against the abortion clinic back to Johnson County for further proceedings. Summary

Docket No. 104,199: In Re: Michael A. Millett, in which the Court orders a two-year suspension of an Overland Park attorney’s law license based on his guilty plea to attempted obstruction of official duty for stopping a tape recorder and rewinding it while detectives were out of an interrogation room in which Millett’s client was being questioned.

Docket No. 104,496: In Re: Terence A. Lober, in which the Court disbars a Leavenworth attorney based on his representation of clients in criminal proceedings and failure to cooperate in the investigation of the disciplinary complaints brought against him.

Docket No. 104,495: In Re: Patrick S. Bishop, in which the Court disbars a Fort Scott attorney whose license had previously been suspended indefinitely.

Appeal No. 98,442: Stacy Lee Kuxhausen v. Tillman Partners, L.P., in which a unanimous Court affirmed a Riley County decision dismissing a personal injury accident against an accounting firm arising from fumes emanating from a freshly painted basement in the building where she worked.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 13, 2010

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

Seventeen attorneys, including eight judges, applied by the noon Wednesday deadline for the vacant position on the Court of Appeals that will created by the January 10 retirement of Chief Judge Gary W. Rulon.

The Supreme Court Nominating Commission will convene November 11-12 to conduct interviews, after which the list will be narrowed to three names that will be submitted to the Governor, who will make the appointment.

Those applying include: Judge Karen Arnold-Burger, Overland Park; James A.D. Bartle, Lawrence; Terri L. Bezek, Topeka; Judge David E. Bruns, Topeka; Henry R. Cox, Shawnee; Judge Robert J. Frederick, Lakin; Jim D. Garner, Lawrence; Randall L. Hodgkinson, Topeka; Deborah L. Hughes, Lawrence; Judge Jeffry L. Jack, Parsons; Donald D. Jarrett, Leawood; Christine M.T. Ladner, Lawrence; Judge Steven M. Roth, St. Marys; Judge Kim R. Schroeder, Hugoton; Judge Guy R. Steier, Clyde; Judge Michael E. Ward, El Dorado; and Teresa L. Watson, Topeka.

The Supreme Court Nominating Commission is chaired by Anne E. Burke of Overland Park. Others on the Commission include: First Congressional District, Kerry E. McQueen of Liberal (lawyer member) and Dr. Janet A. Juhnke of Salina (lay member); Second Congressional District, Patricia E. Riley of Topeka (lawyer member) and Dale E. Cushinberry (lay member); Third Congressional District, Matthew D. Keenan of Leawood (lawyer member) and Katherine DeBruce of Shawnee Mission (lay member); and Fourth Congressional District, Jay F. Fowler of Wichita (lawyer member) and Paul F. Babich of Wichita (lay member).

Member of the public are encouraged to comment on the qualification of any of the applicants by writing to Anne E. Burke, c/o Carol G. Green, Clerk of the Appellate courts, 301 SW 10th Avenue, Topeka, Kansas. All written comments will be distributed to the full Commission for their review.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 4, 2010

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

A nominating commission charged with naming candidates to fill a district judge vacancy in the 7th Judicial District has issued a request for assistance from the public.

The 7th Judicial District is a one county district comprised of Douglas County.

The seven-member commission is responsible for submitting the names of two or three nominees to the Governor for the vacancy which will be created by the retirement of Judge Jean F. Shepherd, effective at the end of her term in January.

“The nominating commission is especially interested in receiving recommendations of suggested nominees to fill the vacancy from the general public. All of the citizens of the Douglas County are requested to consider this matter and the names of suggested nominees submitted by the general public will be welcomed by the commission,” according to Justice Eric S. Rosen, departmental justice for the 7th Judicial District.

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

Suggested nominees are requested to complete questionnaires for the position. The completed forms should be returned to Justice Rosen, Kansas Supreme Court, 301 SW 10th Avenue, Topeka, KS 66612 no later than noon, October 22. The forms are available in the office of clerk of the district court, in Douglas County or online under “What’s New” at www.kscourts.org.

The nominating commission will convene at 9:00 a.m., November 8-9 in the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center, Lawrence, to interview the suggested nominees. The meeting will be open to the public; however, the commission has the authority to adjourn to executive session to discuss personal traits of the suggested nominees.

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

Questionnaires and applications will be mailed to every attorney in this judicial district by the chairman of the commission.

The 7th district judicial nominating commission includes Justice Rosen, as the nonvoting chairman, and Loren C. Anderson, Baldwin City; Charles A. Briscoe, Janine A. Cox, Charles R. Epp, John W. Nitcher, and Terry L. Smith, all of Lawrence.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 28, 2010

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

Two Court of Appeals judges and a Lyon County district judge today were nominated to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court created by the August 4th death of Chief Justice Robert E. Davis.

Gov. Mark Parkinson will have 60 days in which to pick from among Chief Judge Merlin G. Wheeler, Emporia, Court of Appeals Judge Nancy L. Caplinger, or Court of Appeals Judge Thomas E. Malone as the new justice. The Supreme Court Nominating Commission interviewed 13 applicants for the vacancy Monday and Tuesday before arriving at the nominees.

Hon. Nancy Caplinger
Hon. Nancy Caplinger

Judge Caplinger has been a member of the Court of Appeals since October 2004. Before that, she served as an assistant U.S. Attorney, which culminated in her role with that office as head of its appellate division. She began her legal career as a research attorney for former Supreme Court Justice Harold S. Herd from 1985-1987 and then served two years as a law clerk for U.S. District Judge Patrick Kelly. The judge had a general litigation practice in the Overland Park firm of Spencer Fane Britt & Browne from 1989 to 1995 before being appointed assistant U.S. Attorney.

Judge Caplinger received both a BBA degree and a law degree from Washburn University.

 

Hon. Thomas Malone
Hon. Thomas Malone

Judge Malone was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 2003 and has twice before been nominated as a finalist for a position on the Supreme Court. Before his appointment to the Court of Appeals, Judge Malone served as a Sedgwick County District Judge from January 1991 to May 2003. Before that, he was with the Wichita law firm of Redmond & Nazar, from 1979 to December 1990.

Judge Malone is a graduate of Newman University and the Washburn University law school. He also has attended the National Judicial College and the Institute of Judicial Administration at New York University School of Law.

 

Hon. Merlin Wheeler
Hon. Merlin Wheeler

Judge Wheeler has been chief judge of the two-county 5th Judicial District, which includes Chase and Lyon counties, since 1997. He was appointed to the Lyon County bench in 1990, following private practice in the firm of Perkins, Hollembeak & Wheeler, Chtd. Before engaging in the general practice of law, Judge Wheeler was employed as the full time City Attorney for Emporia from 1977 to 1980. His judicial tenure includes two assignments to the Court of Appeals.

Judge Wheeler is a graduate of Dodge City Community College, Emporia State University and the Washburn University School of Law.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 14, 2010

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

A nominating commission charged with naming candidates to fill a district judge vacancy in the 28th Judicial District has issued a request for assistance from the public.

The 28th Judicial District includes Ottawa and Saline counties.

The nine-member commission is responsible for submitting the names of two or three nominees to the Governor for the vacancy which will be created by the retirement of Judge Daniel L. Hebert, effective January 2011.

“The nominating commission is especially interested in receiving recommendations of suggested nominees to fill the vacancy from the general public. All of the citizens of the 28th Judicial District are requested to consider this matter and the names of suggested nominees submitted by the general public will be welcomed by the commission,” according to Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss, who is acting as chairman of the nominating commission.

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

Suggested nominees are requested to complete questionnaires for the position. The completed forms should be returned to Norman Kelly, commission secretary, P.O. Box 2388, Salina, KS 67402-2388, no later than 5:00 p.m., October 1, 2010. The forms are available in the office of clerk of the district court, in Saline and Ottawa counties and are available online.

The nominating commission will convene at 8:00 a.m., October 12 in Room 313 of the city-county building at 300 W. Ash in Salina to interview the suggested nominees. The meeting will be open to the public; however, the commission has the authority to adjourn to executive session to discuss personal traits of the suggested nominees.

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

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

The 28th district judicial nominating commission includes Chief Justice Nuss, as the nonvoting chairman, and Lance H. Cochran, Phyllis A. Anderson, Catherine J. Craft, Norman R. Kelly, David D. Moshier, and Elizabeth (Betsy) A. Wearing, all of Salina; Frank R. Cole, Bennington; and John Pruitt, Minneapolis.


Hon. William Elliott
Hon. William Elliott

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 9, 2010

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

Hon. William B. Elliott, chief judge of the 17th Judicial District, will sit with the state Supreme Court Wednesday, September 15th, to hear appeals in five matters on the Court’s docket.

The Supreme Court appointed Judge Elliott to join them in place of Chief Justice Robert E. Davis, who died August 4th. Judge Elliott is currently completing his ninth year as a district judge. He has been chief judge of the 17th Judicial District, which includes Decatur, Graham, Norton, Osborne, Phillips, and Smith counties, since his election to the bench.

He will hear oral arguments five criminal cases and then participate in the high court deliberations and opinion drafting.

Chief Judge Elliott graduated from Fort Hays State University in 1972 and then graduated from the Washburn University School of Law in 1975. He was in private practice from 1975 until he became a judge in 2001.

A native of Hill City, Judge Elliott and his wife, Kay, have three children: Nate, Pittsburg, PA; Valery Rule, Hays; and Libby Nickelson, Hill City.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 8, 2010

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss today announced the Supreme court is undertaking the first comprehensive review of the administration and efficiency of the Kansas courts since the 1974 Kansas Judicial Study Advisory Committee study that led to unification of state courts in 1977.

“For the first time in Kansas history, court-by-court caseloads will be studied by experts from the National Center for State Courts to make recommendations regarding judicial and non-judicial staffing statewide,” Nuss said. He explained, “The caseloads will be examined by both number and “weight,” which considers such things as the complexity of cases and the driving time needed to handle cases in the state’s rural areas.”

Today’s announcement followed several weeks of meetings by the justices of the Supreme Court with personnel in their judicial departments. Their meetings with judges and court staff in communities throughout the state are also believed to be the first of their kind in Kansas legal history.

There are approximately 266 judge positions and 1,589 non-judicial positions authorized for the Kansas state courts. During the fiscal year ending June 30, 2010, Kansas state courts handled 517,968 cases, which included 177,029 traffic cases. Once the weighted caseloads are examined, the National Center for State Courts will submit its findings to the Supreme Court. Nuss said that two committees of Kansas Judicial Branch personnel have been appointed by the Supreme Court to assist the National Center: one of judges and one of court staff.

Chief Justice Nuss said the new committees reflect the wide diversity of Kansas communities and judicial districts. He said the findings may suggest improvements for the Kansas court system and ways to make better use of taxpayer money.

Named to the Judicial Needs Assessment Committee are:

Hon. David King, Chief Judge,1st Judicial District, Chair
Hon. Edward Bouker, Chief Judge, 23rd Judicial District
Hon. Cheryl Rios Kingfisher, District Judge, 3rd Judicial District
Hon. Kim Cudney, Chief Judge, 12th Judicial District
Hon. R. Wayne Lampson, Chief Judge, 29th Judicial District
Hon. Daniel Creitz, District Judge, 31st Judicial District+
Hon. Thomas Foster, Chief Judge, 10th Judicial District
Hon. Jeff Goering, District Judge, 18th Judicial District
Hon. Merlin Wheeler, Chief Judge, 5th Judicial District
Hon. Robert Frederick, District Judge, 25th Judicial District
Hon. Ann Dixson, District Magistrate Judge, 16th Judicial District
Hon. Mary Thrower, District Magistrate Judge, 28th Judicial District
Hon. James Kepple, District Magistrate Judge, 24th Judicial District
Hon. Richard Smith, Chief Judge, 6th Judicial District

Named to the Staffing Needs Assessment Committee are:

Todd Heitschmidt, Court Administrator, 28th Judicial District
Lea Dawn Throckmorton, Chief Clerk, 12th Judicial District
Alice Adams, Clerk of District Court, 8th Judicial District
Angie Callahan, Clerk of the District Court, 3rd Judicial District
Kathleen Collins, Clerk of the District Court, 29th Judicial District
Vicki Mills, Clerk of the District Court, 4th Judicial District
Mary Kadel, Court Administrator, 14th Judicial District
Ellen House, Court Administrator, 18th Judicial District
John Isern, Court Administrator, 20th Judicial District
Christine Blake, Clerk of the District Court, 25th Judicial District
Pam Moses, Chief Clerk, 27th Judicial District
Kelley Grisier, Clerk of the District Court, 31st Judicial District
Donna Hoener-Queal, Chief Court Services Officer, 30th Judicial District
Lori Coleman, Court Reporter/Administrative Assistant, 21st Judicial District


Hon. Gordon Atcheson
Hon. Gordon Atcheson

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 8, 2010

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

The Kansas Court of Appeals will meet in special session Friday at 1:30 p.m. in the Supreme Court Courtroom to swear in Hon. G. Gordon Atcheson as the newest member of the 13-judge appellate court.

Atcheson was appointed to fill the vacancy on the Court of Appeals that was created by the April 5 death of Judge Jerry G. Elliott.

Court of Appeals Chief Judge Gary W. Rulon said Atcheson is to be sworn into office by Secretary of State Chris Biggs and will be presented to the Court in remarks by Lynn R. Johnson, of Mission Hills; Arthur Chaykin, of Leawood, and Cheryl Pilate, his wife, who also practices law. A reception in the Judicial Center atrium will immediately follow the courtroom ceremony.

Atcheson has nearly 30 years experience as an attorney, including a stint as an assistant district attorney in Sedgwick County following his graduation from the University of Kansas School of Law. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan.

He went on to practice business and commercial litigation at Hall, Turner & Pike in Wichita, followed by a short tenure at Shamberg, Johnson & Bergman as a plaintiff’s attorney. For the next 16 years, Atcheson practiced at Blake & Uhlig, P.A. in Kansas City, KS, where he engaged in employment and general litigation. He founded the Atcheson Law Office in March 2005, where he practiced until his appointment to the court.

Atcheson has been married to Pilate, a principal at an Olathe law firm, for 31 years. They have two children, Eric, 24, and Katherine, 20.


Hon. Macke Dick
Hon. Macke Dick

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 8, 2010

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

Hon. Patricia Macke Dick, chief judge of the 27th Judicial District, will sit with the state Supreme Court Monday, September 20, to hear oral arguments in seven attorney discipline proceedings on the Court’s docket.

The Supreme Court appointed Judge Macke Dick to join them in place of Chief Justice Robert E. Davis, who died August 4th. Judge Macke Dick is currently completing her 22nd year as a district judge. She has been chief judge of the 27th Judicial District, which consists of Reno County, since 2007.

She will sit with the Court throughout the day to hear oral arguments in the attorney discipline cases and then participate in the high court deliberations and opinion drafting.

Judge Macke Dick has been a District Judge in Reno County since 1989 and has served as Chief Judge since 2007. Before her election to the bench, she practiced law in the Hutchinson firm of Branine, Chalfant and Hill from 1981-1988.

Judge Macke Dick graduated from Kansas State University in with a BS degree, but received her law degree from the University of Kansas. She has been active in numerous legal organizations throughout her career, including as a member of the executive board of the Kansas District Judges Association. She also has been a member of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and Permanency Planning Committee and Juvenile Delinquency Committee.

Judge Macke Dick is married to David Dick and is the mother of three children.


Hon. Paul Miller
Hon. Paul Miller

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 8, 2010

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

Hon. Paul E. Miller, chief judge of the 21st Judicial District, will sit with the state Supreme Court Thursday, September 16th, to hear appeals in four matters on the Court’s docket.

The Supreme Court appointed Judge Miller to join them in place of Chief Justice Robert E. Davis, who died August 4th. Judge Miller is currently completing his 28th year as a district judge. He has been chief judge of the 21st Judicial District, which includes Clay and Riley counties, since 1997.

He will hear oral arguments in an adoption appeal and three criminal cases and then participate in the high court deliberations and opinion drafting.

Chief Judge Miller graduated from Kansas State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science in 1969 and then graduated from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1972. He served as an assistant Riley County Attorney from January 1973 until March 1974, then was elected Riley County Attorney in 1975, where he served two years.

In August 1977, he was appointed Special Municipal Court Judge by the City of Manhattan to handle alcohol-related offenses and began his tenure as a district judge on December 1, 1982.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 1, 2010

For more information
contact Ron Keefover
Education-Information Officer

Thirteen persons applied by the noon deadline today to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court that was created by the retirement of former Chief Justice Robert E. Davis.

The Supreme Court Nominating Commission will interview applicants for the position on September 27 and 28, and then submit three names to Governor Mark Parkinson for appointment.

Applying are:

Karen Arnold-Burger Judge Overland Park
Michael B. Buser Judge Overland Park
Nancy L. CaplingerJudge Topeka
Jeffery L. Carmichael Lawyer Valley Center
Robert J. Frederick Judge Lakin
Cynthia F. Grimes Lawyer Lawrence
Jeffry L. Jack Judge Parsons
Donald D. Jarrett Lawyer Leawood
Thomas E. Malone Judge Topeka
Robb W. Rumsey Judge Wichita
Kim R. Schroeder Judge Hugoton
Steven P. Smith Lawyer Wichita
Merlin G. Wheeler Judge Emporia

Members of the Nominating Commission include Anne E. Burke, chairman, Overland Park; Kerry E. McQueen, Liberal; Janet A. Juhnke, Salina; Patricia E. Riley and Dale E. Cushinberry, both of Topeka; Matthew D. Keenan, Leawood; Katherine DeBruce, Shawnee Mission; and Jay F. Fowler and Paul F. Babich, both of Wichita.


Chief Judge Rulon
Chief Judge Rulon

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 18, 2010

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Court of Appeals Chief Judge Gary W. Rulon today announced his retirement from the Court, effective at the end of his term in January, which will mark the completion of 30 years as a Kansas judge.

Chief Judge Rulon has been a member of the Court of Appeals since 1988, and has been Chief Judge since 2001. Before that, he served seven years as the Chief Judge of the two-county 5th Judicial District, which includes Chase and Lyon counties.

While Chief Judge of the 5th Judicial District, Rulon opened previously closed court records and volunteered the district to be one of four judicial districts to pilot a program allowing court proceedings to be televised. Cameras and audio recorders have since been permitted statewide at all levels of the courts on a permanent basis.

Rulon continued his open and transparent judicial philosophy as Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals and after 23 years on the Court has never declined a media request for camera or audio coverage of an appellate proceeding. “I just believe in open and transparent government if at all possible,” Chief Judge Rulon said.

While on the Court of Appeals, the Legislature authorized that Court to be expanded from seven members when Rulon was appointed to 13 positions currently funded. He said there has been a tremendous increase in appeals brought about by adoption of the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines Act and decisions of the U.S. and Kansas Supreme Courts. “Through administrative streamlining, long hours, and dedication by Court of Appeals judges and staff, I believe the Court’s dockets are now in pretty good shape,” Chief Judge Rulon said.

Among accomplishments in the legislative arena, Rulon was instrumental in enactment of a highly successful Senior Judge Program in which a limited number of retired judges are permitted to work 40 percent of the time for 25 percent of a judicial salary. Some of the retired judges have been assigned to assist the Court of Appeals with its caseload, while others are assigned to high volume district courts. One of the retired judges participating in the program is Judge J. Patrick Brazil, who also served as a Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals. Judge Brazil said the Senior Judge program is a “great way” to remain active in the legal community, while saving taxpayers money through their use, instead of appointing additional full-time judges and staffs.

“Chief Judge Rulon was right on when he promoted the Senior Judge concept to the Legislature,” Brazil said Wednesday. “That, though, is just one facet of Chief Judge Rulon’s multi-talented legal and administrative mindset. His written opinions have been equally on point, well written, clear and legally sound. We don’t keep track of Court of Appeals reversals by higher courts, but I would venture to say that reversal of an opinion authored by Chief Judge Rulon would be a very rare occurrence.”

Rulon said in his letter to Governor Mark Parkinson announcing his intention to retire that he appreciates “the efforts of the past and present legislative and executive branch leaders who have provided the resources the Court of Appeals needed to keep pace with our ever increasing caseload. Above all, I am thankful to the citizens of Kansas who have given me the opportunity to serve the public for the past thirty years. Rulon said he and his wife, Pat, are “anxious to travel, enjoy time with our two daughters’ families, which include six grandchildren, and pursue educational opportunities.”

Before Rulon’s appointment to the bench, he was in private practice of law in Emporia for 8 years, served as an attorney in Central Staff of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, and lectured at Emporia State University.

Rulon is a graduate of the National Judicial College at the University of Nevada, a member of the Council of Chief Judges of the State courts of Appeal and the Kansas Bar Association. He has been a member and vice chairman of the Kansas Sentencing committee, a past coordinator for the Kansas Bar Continuing Legal Education Seminars on Title Insurance and Federal Practice, past faculty member of Trial Tactics & Techniques Seminars, and a speaker at the National Conference on Court Delay Reduction.


Chief Justice Davis
Chief Justice Davis

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 3, 2010

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Education-Information Officer

Chief Justice Robert E. Davis today announced his retirement from the Supreme Court after 17 years service on the state’s highest court. He has been Chief Justice since January 2009.

In a letter he submitted to Governor Mark Parkinson announcing his retirement, Chief Justice Davis cited medical issues as prompting his decision to retire. He has been on medical leave this spring and summer, but continued to work on Court administrative matters and his caseload as his health and treatment regimen permitted.

Chief Justice Davis, 70, has been a member of the Supreme Court since 1993. Before his appointment to the Supreme Court, he served eight years on the State Court of Appeals and before that as a judge of the Leavenworth County District Court. He also served a term as Leavenworth County Attorney.

Davis said in his letter to the Governor he is grateful to have been a part of the many accomplishments and court improvements over the years that have led to a national recognition of the Kansas courts as a leader in court reform and administering justice fairly without unnecessary delay.

“I cannot say enough about how proud I am of the dedicated Kansas judges and non-judicial employees who have worked hand-in-hand to administer justice in a timely and fair manner, often under extremely adverse economic conditions,” Chief Justice Davis said in the letter.

“I have truly loved my judicial career in this dedicated court system, and will miss working with the district courts and with my colleagues on the Kansas Supreme Court, whose members without doubt comprise one of the best appellate courts in the country. I wish them and everyone in the courts all the best,” he wrote.

Chief Justice Davis participated in thousands of decisions during his tenure on the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals. While on the Supreme Court, he authored 351 majority opinions, 21 dissents, and six concurring opinions.

Justice Lawton R. Nuss, as next most tenured justice on the high court, assumes the position of Chief Justice pursuant to the Kansas Constitution. He has been acting on behalf of Chief Justice Davis during the medical leave. The vacancy on the Court will be filled through the merit selection process with nominations made by the Supreme Court Nominating Commission and appointment by the Governor.

Justice Nuss said Chief Justice Davis will be genuinely missed on the Court. "He has been the gentleman's gentleman throughout his career. I have never met a more gracious and humble person, who also is as skilled and learned in the law as Chief Justice Davis."

"He has an innate ability to cut to the chase of the legal issues before him, and then the knowledge and skills to write flowing and well-reasoned opinions. He always has a broad smile for every living creature, and is a true friend to all of us. Kansas is losing a learned jurist and consummate public servant. His work on the Court and his good cheer in the system will be truly missed with his retirement," Justice Nuss said.

Chief Justice Davis engaged in private practice in Leavenworth from 1967 to 1984, when he was appointed associate district judge. While in private practice he served as Leavenworth County attorney from 1981 to 1984. He also served as a magistrate judge in Leavenworth County from 1969 to 1976. After serving as an associate district judge for two years, Chief Justice Davis was appointed to the Kansas Court of Appeals in 1986, where he served until appointment to the Supreme Court in 1993.

In addition to service with the Kansas courts, Chief Justice Davis served as a member of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps, including as trial counsel in the Republic of Korea and as government appellate counsel in Washington D.C. from 1964 to 1967. He received a BA degree from Creighton University, Omaha, and a law degree from Georgetown University Law School, Washington, D.C.

Justice Davis has been active in numerous civic and professional organizations throughout his career.

Justice Nuss, the next Chief Justice, has been a member of the Supreme Court since 2002, following 20 years of private practice in a wide range of legal issues and proceedings in the Salina firm of Clark, Mize & Linville.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 9, 2010

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Education-Information Officer

Applications for the district judge vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Jan Leuenberger in the 3rd Judicial District closed today at noon. Eight applications were received.

James E. “Jeb” Benfer – Attorney in private practice
Rebecca W. Crotty – Judge, Kansas Court of Tax Appeals
Barry K. Disney – Assistant Attorney General
Steven R. Ebberts – Judge, Topeka Municipal Court
Carl William Ossmann – Attorney, Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services
Steven M. Roth – Magistrate Judge in Pottawatomie County
Brian Vazquez – Attorney, Kansas Health Policy Authority
Gary C. West – Attorney, Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence

Interviews will be conducted at the Shawnee County Courthouse at 9:00 a.m. on July 19, 2010. Interviews are open to the public.

Lawyer members of the Third Judicial District Nominating Commission:
Lee R. Barnett, Terry E. Beck, and Mary D. Feighny
Non-lawyer members of the Commission:
Toby L. McCullough, Mary M. Thomas, and C. Patrick Woods
Chairman: Justice Marla J. Luckert


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 14, 2010

For more information
contact Ron Keefover,
Education-Information Officer

A nominating commission charged with naming candidates to fill a district judge vacancy in the 3rd Judicial District has issued a request for assistance from the public.

The 3rd Judicial District is comprised of Shawnee County.

The six-member commission is responsible for submitting the names of two or three nominees to the Governor for the vacancy which will be created when Shawnee County District Judge Jan Leuenberger retires effective August 2. He has been a district judge since October 1995.

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

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

Applicants are requested to complete questionnaires for the position. The completed forms should be returned to Justice Luckert, Kansas Supreme Court, 301 SW 10th Ave., Room 315, Topeka, KS 66612 no later than noon, July 9, 2010. The forms are available in the office of the clerk of the district court in the Shawnee County Courthouse and are online at www.kscourts.org.

The nominating commission will convene at 9:00 a.m., July 19, in the Shawnee County Courthouse to interview the suggested nominees. The meeting will be open to the public; however, the commission has the authority to adjourn to executive session to discuss personal traits of the suggested nominees.

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

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

The 3rd Judicial District Nominating Commission includes Justice Luckert as the nonvoting chair and Terry E. Beck, Mary M. Thomas, Mary D. Feighny, and C. Patrick Woods from Topeka; Lee R. Barnett, Wakarusa; and Toby L. McCullough, Rossville.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 28, 2010

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Education-Information Officer

The Supreme Court Nominating Commission today nominated three persons to fill a vacancy on the Court of Appeals that was created by the April death of Judge Jerry G. Elliott, Lawrence.

Nominated were Overland Park Municipal Court Presiding Judge Karen Arnold-Burger; G. Gordon Atcheson, an Overland Park attorney in private practice; and Shawnee County District Judge David E. Bruns. Gov. Mark Parkinson will have 60 days in which to select one of the three.

Eighteen judges and attorneys submitted applications for the vacancy. The Nominating Commission conducted interviews Thursday and today and submitted the names to the governor earlier this afternoon.

Judge Arnold-Burger has been Presiding Judge for the City of Overland Park Municipal Court since 1996, and a judge of that court since 1991. Upon being admitted to practice in 1981, she served as a labor relations attorney for a year with Shell Oil Co., Houston, TX, and then was appointed Assistant City Attorney in Overland Park in 1982, where she rose to First Assistant City Attorney in 1989 before leaving that office to serve as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Kansas City, KS. She served as Assistant U.S. Attorney from 1989 until her appointment as municipal judge in 1991.

She completed both her undergraduate and law school degrees with honors from the University of Kansas.

Atcheson began his law practice in the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s office in 1981 upon completion of law school at the University of Kansas in May of that year. Before that, he received a BA degree with honors from the University of Michigan.

He joined the law firm of Hall, Turner & Pike in Wichita after leaving the district attorney’s office in 1983. He remained with that firm until 1987 when he joined the firm of Shamberg, Johnson & Bergman. In 1989, he left that firm and began a private practice with the firm of Blake & Uhlig, where he remained until February 2005, when he founded the firm of The Atcheson Law Office, Westwood, where he currently practices.

Judge Bruns has been a Shawnee County District Court judge since 1999, and before that was in private practice with the Topeka firm of Goodell, Stratton, Edmonds & Palmer since 1984, when he was graduated from the Washburn University School of Law. He is a 1981 graduate of the University of Kansas with a BS in Secondary Education, with distinction.

The Supreme Court Nominating Commission is chaired by lawyer Anne E. Burke of Overland Park. Others on the Commission include: First Congressional District, Kerry E. McQueen of Liberal (lawyer member) and Dr. Janet A. Juhnke of Salina (lay member); Second Congressional District, Patricia E. Riley of Topeka (lawyer member) and Dale E. Cushinberry (lay member); Third Congressional District, Matthew D. Keenan of Leawood (lawyer member) and Katherine DeBruce of Shawnee Mission (lay member); and Fourth Congressional District, Jay F. Fowler of Wichita (lawyer member) and Paul F. Babich of Wichita (lay member).


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 12, 2010

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contact Ron Keefover,
Education-Information Officer

Eighteen attorneys, including three judges, applied by the noon Wednesday deadline for the vacant position on the Court of Appeals created by the April 5 death of Hon. Jerry G. Elliott, Lawrence.

The Supreme Court Nominating Commission will convene May 27-28 to conduct interviews, after which the list will be narrowed to three names that will be submitted to the Governor, who will make the appointment.

Those applying include: Judge Karen Arnold-Burger, Overland Park; G. Gordon Atcheson, also of Overland Park; James A.D. Bartle, Lawrence; Terri L. Bezek, Topeka; Judge David E. Bruns, Topeka; Jeffery L. Carmichael, Valley Center; Henry R. Cox, Shawnee; Sharon L. Dickgrafe, Wichita; Jim D. Garner, Lawrence; T. Richard Harmon, Topeka; Randall L. Hodgkinson, Topeka; Deborah L. Hughes, Lawrence; Laura L. Ice, Wichita; Bruce W. Kent, Manhattan; Kip A. Kubin, Leawood; Judge Guy R. Steier, Clyde; Teresa L. Watson, Topeka, and Michael P. Whalen, Wichita.

The Supreme Court Nominating Commission is chaired by lawyer Anne E. Burke of Overland Park. Others on the Commission include: First Congressional District, Kerry E. McQueen of Liberal (lawyer member) and Dr. Janet A. Juhnke of Salina (lay member); Second Congressional District, Patricia E. Riley of Topeka (lawyer member) and Dale E. Cushinberry (lay member); Third Congressional District, Matthew D. Keenan of Leawood (lawyer member) and Katherine DeBruce of Shawnee Mission (lay member); and Fourth Congressional District, Jay F. Fowler of Wichita (lawyer member) and Paul F. Babich of Wichita (lay member).

Members of the public are encouraged to comment on the qualifications of any of the applicants by writing to Anne E. Burke, c/o Carol G. Green, Clerk of the Appellate Courts, 301 S.W. 10th Avenue, Topeka, Kansas. All written comments will be distributed to the full Commission for their review.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 13, 2010

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contact Ron Keefover,
Education-Information Officer

The state Supreme Court today released an interim report on its plan to implement electronic filing of court papers as part of its on-going efforts to save time and money and further efficiency in the Kansas Courts.

The Supreme Court set February 15, 2010, as the deadline for comments on the interim report, which may be found online at www.kscourts.org by following the link under “What’s New.”

Persons wishing to comment on the interim report may do so via email from the Electronic Filings web pages at /http://www.kscourts.org/Rules-Procedures-Forms/Electronic-Filing/default.asp or by writing to Electronic Filings Comments in care of the Office of Judicial Administration, 301 SW 10th Ave., Topeka, KS. All comments must be received no later than February 15, 2010.