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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

08/18/16: 7th Judicial District Nominating Commission sends candidate names to governor
08/18/16: Scott County District Magistrate Judge Jim Collins to retire October 3
08/11/16: Nominating commission seeks candidates for district magistrate judge vacancy in 25th judicial district
08/11/16: Supreme Court to conduct special evening session October 4 at Hutchinson Community College
08/11/16: Nominating commission seeks candidates for district judge vacancy in 10th judicial district
07/29/16: Kansas Supreme Court issues decision in case of magistrate judge appointment
07/26/16: Judicial District Nominating Commission to convene August 17 and 18 to interview candidates for district judge
07/22/16: Kansas Supreme Court issues decision in Scott Cheever death penalty case
07/19/16: 21st Judicial District Nominating Commission sends judge candidate names to governor
07/18/16: Kansas District Judges' Association elects new officers
07/18/16: 31st Judicial District Nominating Commission picks Tod Michael Davis to fill magistrate judge vacancy in Allen County
07/15/16: Kansas District Magistrate Judges' Association elects new officers
07/12/16: Kansas Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments July 19-20 in Goodland
07/08/16: 31st Judicial District Nominating Commission to interview candidates for district magistrate judge
07/01/16: Five apply for judge vacancy in 21st judicial district
07/01/16: Electronic filing now in Kansas courts statewide
07/01/16: Nominating commission seeks candidates for judge vacancy in 7th Judicial District
07/01/16: Douglas County Chief Judge Robert Fairchild to retire
06/30/16: Judge Karen Arnold-Burger recognized for leadership, service
06/24/16: Supreme Court accepting comment on proposed rule to allow attorneys married to military personnel stationed in Kansas to temporarily practice law without taking state bar exam
06/13/16: Supreme Court appoints Sara Stratton reporter of decisions
06/13/16: 25th Judicial Nominating Commission to interview candidates for district magistrate judge
06/06/16: Kansas Court of Appeals hears first oral arguments via videoconference
05/25/16: Allen County District Magistrate Judge Thomas M. Saxton Jr. to retire July 3
05/24/16: Sedgwick County District Judge Douglas Roth to retire June 30
05/23/16: Nominating commission seeks candidates for district judge vacancy in 21st judicial district
05/23/16: Supreme Court appoints Peter Johnston to Kansas Board of Law Examiners
05/12/16: Nominating commission seeks candidates for magistrate judge vacancy in 31st judicial district
05/06/16: Kansas judicial branch awarded grant to study job classifications, employee pay
04/27/16: Judge Burgess of 18th judicial district to sit with Kansas Supreme Court May 5
04/27/16: Judge Anderson of 3rd judicial district to sit with Kansas Supreme Court May 3
04/25/16: Nominating commission seeks candidates for district magistrate judge vacancy in 25th judicial district
04/20/16: New attorneys take state and federal oaths in April 22 ceremony
04/08/16: Richard Ross, appellate reporter of decisions, to retire June 3
04/07/16: Daniel D. Creitz reappointed chief judge of 31st judicial district
04/07/16: Larry Solomon reappointed chief judge of 30th judicial district
04/07/16: Wayne Lampson reappointed chief judge of 29th judicial district
04/07/16: Rene Young reappointed chief judge of 28th judicial district
04/07/16: Patricia Macke Dick reappointed chief judge of 27th judicial district
04/07/16: Bradley Ambrosier reappointed chief judge of 26th judicial district
04/07/16: Wendel Wurst reappointed chief judge of 25th judicial district
04/07/16: Bruce Gatterman reappointed chief judge of 24th judicial district
04/07/16: James Patton reappointed chief judge of 22nd judicial district
04/07/16: Meryl Wilson reappointed chief judge of 21st judicial district
04/07/16: Mike Keeley reappointed chief judge of 20th judicial district
04/07/16: Nicholas St. Peter reappointed chief judge of 19th judicial district
04/07/16: James Fleetwood reappointed chief judge of 18th judicial district
04/07/16: Preston Pratt reappointed chief judge of 17th judicial district
04/07/16: Van Hampton reappointed chief judge of 16th judicial district
04/07/16: Glenn Schiffner reappointed chief judge of 15th judicial district
04/07/16: F. William Cullins reappointed chief judge of 14th judicial district
04/07/16: David Ricke reappointed chief judge of 13th judicial district
04/07/16: Kim Cudney reappointed chief judge of 12th judicial district
04/07/16: A.J. Wachter reappointed chief judge of 11th judicial district
04/07/16: Kevin Moriarty reappointed chief judge of 10th judicial district
04/07/16: Joe Dickinson reappointed chief judge of 9th judicial district
04/07/16: Michael Powers reappointed chief judge of 8th judicial district
04/07/16: Robert Fairchild reappointed chief judge of 7th judicial district
04/07/16: Amy Harth reappointed chief judge of 6th judicial district
04/07/16: Merlin Wheeler reappointed chief judge of 5th judicial district
04/07/16: Phillip Fromme reappointed chief judge of 4th judicial district
04/07/16: Evelyn Wilson reappointed chief judge of 3rd judicial district
04/07/16: Gary Nafziger reappointed chief judge of 2nd judicial district
04/07/16: David King reappointed chief judge of 1st judicial district
03/30/16: Supreme Court announces cases for April 12 special session at Hiawatha High School
03/28/16: Supreme Court appoints Doug Shima clerk of appellate courts
03/10/16: Supreme Court to conduct special evening session April 12 at Hiawatha High School
03/07/16: Kansas Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments March 15 in Leavenworth
02/25/16: Judge Ricke of 13th judicial district to sit with Kansas Supreme Court March 2
02/25/16: Judge Harth of 6th judicial district to sit with Kansas Supreme Court March 1
02/23/16: Supreme Court announces cases for March 9 special session at Topeka High School
02/11/16: Kansas Supreme Court issues decision in equity portion of school funding case
02/08/16: David Holt recognized for dedicated service in annual State of the Kansas Judiciary address
02/08/16: Darla Engel recognized for dedicated service in annual State of the Kansas Judiciary address
02/05/16: Tom Whitworth recognized for dedicated service in annual State of the Kansas Judiciary
02/05/16: Patty Nurnberg recognized for dedicated service in annual State of the Kansas Judiciary address
02/05/16: Sarah Mays recognized for dedicated service in annual State of the Kansas Judiciary address
02/05/16: Judge Daniel Duncan recognized for dedicated service in annual State of the Kansas Judiciary
02/05/16: Judge David Casement recognized for dedicated service in annual State of the Kansas Judiciary address
02/03/16: Supreme Court to conduct special evening session March 9 at Topeka High School
01/26/16: Judge Hornbaker of 8th judicial district to sit with Kansas Supreme Court January 28
01/22/16: Court of Appeals issues decision in case involving 2015 abortion law
01/13/16: Opening ceremony for state's first veterans treatment court
01/11/16: Chief Justice to give State of the Judiciary February 3

See the Archives for new releases dating back to 1997


NEWS RELEASE: August 18, 2016

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

7th Judicial District Nominating Commission sends candidate names to governor

TOPEKA— The 7th Judicial District Nominating Commission sent the names of three candidates for district court judge to Gov. Sam Brownback, who has 60 days to decide who will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Chief Judge Robert W. Fairchild.

The three candidates are:

  • Amy J. Hanley, who currently is assistant attorney general within the criminal litigation division with the Kansas Attorney General's Office.
  • Shon D. Qualseth, who currently is an attorney with Thompson Ramsdell Qualseth & Warner, P.A.
  • Bethany J. Roberts, who currently is an attorney with Barber Emerson, L.C.

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

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


NEWS RELEASE: August 18, 2016

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

Scott County District Magistrate Judge Jim Collins to retire October 3

TOPEKA—District Magistrate Judge Jim Collins will retire October 3 after 18 years on the bench in the 25th judicial district, composed of Finney, Greeley, Hamilton, Kearny, Scott, and Wichita counties.

District Magistrate Judge Jim Collins
District Magistrate Judge Jim Collins

"I greatly appreciate the opportunity to serve as a district magistrate judge for Kansas," Collins said. "I want to thank the nominating commission, the district court clerks, all field supervision officers, personnel with the Department for Children and Families/St. Francis, law enforcement, the Office of Judicial Administration, attorneys, and fellow judges for their professionalism and support throughout my term."

Collins' 18 years as magistrate judge cap 43 years of public service. Before he became a judge, he worked with the Neighborhood Youth Corp - Wichita Public Schools, Sedgwick County Mental Health, Judge Riddell Boys Ranch, and court services.

When reflecting on his career, Collins said he owed a special thanks to those in Scott County who supported him through four elections. He also hopes that those who appeared in court before him felt they were treated fairly and impartially.

In retirement, Collins plans to spend more time with his grandchildren, engage in outdoor recreation, travel, and try to keep up with projects within and around his family's 10-acre residence.


NEWS RELEASE: August 11, 2016

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

Nominating commission seeks candidates
for district magistrate judge vacancy in 25th judicial district

TOPEKA—The 25th Judicial District Nominating Commission is seeking candidates to fill a district magistrate judge position in Scott County that will become vacant due to the upcoming retirement of Judge James Collins.

The 25th judicial district includes Finney, Greeley, Hamilton, Kearny, Scott, and Wichita counties. The position is stationed in Scott County.

Justice Dan Biles, the Supreme Court departmental justice responsible for the 25th judicial district, said nominees can apply or be recommended, but recommendations must come on a nomination form and include the nominee's signature.

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

Applications must be accompanied by a nomination form available from the clerk of the district court office in Finney, Greeley, Hamilton, Kearny, Scott, and Wichita counties, or online at www.kscourts.org under What's New.

Completed nomination forms and supporting letters must be received by 5 p.m. (CST) Friday, September 16, 2016, by submitting the same to the commission secretary:

William I. Heydman
Heydman Law, LLC
1519 East Fulton Terrace
P.O. Box 2010
Garden City, KS 67846

The nominating commission will convene at 9 a.m. (CST) Friday, September 30, 2016, in the main courtroom of the Scott County Courthouse, Scott City, to interview candidates and elect a district magistrate judge. Interviews are open to the public.

The 25th Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Dan Biles as the nonvoting chair; Lucille R. Douglass, Gene H. Gaede, William I. Heydman, John M. Lindner, Gerald O. Schultz, and Thomas M. Walker of Garden City; Robert H. Gale Jr. and Timothy C. Kohart of Syracuse; Ralph T. Goodnight of Lakin; Ann Wiles of Leoti; Christine Cupp of Scott City; and Brian F. Reuber of Tribune.


NEWS RELEASE: August 11, 2016

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

Supreme Court to conduct special evening session
October 4 at Hutchinson Community College

TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court will conduct a special evening session at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 4, at Hutchinson Community College, as part of its ongoing outreach to familiarize Kansans with the high court, its work, and the overall role of the Kansas judiciary.

The court will be in session from 6:30 p.m. to about 8 p.m. in the B.J. Warner Recital Hall in the Stringer Fine Arts Center at 600 East 11th Avenue on the Hutchinson Community College campus.

It will be the Supreme Court's first visit to Hutchinson in the court's 155-year history and it will be the fifth time for the court to hear cases in the evening. The court's first evening session in Hays in April 2015 drew a record crowd of nearly 700 people. Since then, evening sessions in Garden City in 2015, and Topeka and Hiawatha in 2016, also drew crowds numbering in the hundreds.

The public is invited to attend the October 4 special session to observe the court as it hears oral arguments in two cases to be announced in September. After the hearing concludes, the justices will greet the public in an informal reception in a room adjacent to the recital hall.

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

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

The Supreme Court has conducted several special sessions outside its Topeka courtroom since 2011, when it marked the state sesquicentennial by convening in the historic Supreme Court courtroom in the Kansas Statehouse. From there, and through the end of 2011, the court conducted special sessions in Salina, Greensburg, and Wichita. The court has also held sessions in Overland Park in 2012, Pittsburg in 2013, Kansas City in 2014, Hays and Garden City in 2015, and Topeka and Hiawatha in 2016.


NEWS RELEASE: August 11, 2016

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

Nominating commission seeks candidates
for district judge vacancy in 10th judicial district

TOPEKA—The 10th Judicial District Nominating Commission is seeking candidates to fill a district judge vacancy that will be created when Judge Gerald T. Elliott retires in January 2017.

The 10th judicial district is composed of Johnson County.

Candidates can apply or be recommended, but recommendations must come on an application form and include the candidate's signature.

Candidates for district judge must be a lawyer admitted to practice in Kansas and have been engaged in the practice of law for at least five years, whether as a lawyer, judge, or full-time teacher at an accredited law school. If there are two or more attorneys deemed qualified by the district judicial nominating commission who reside in Johnson County, the commission will not consider nominees residing outside of the district (K.S.A. 20-2909(b)).

Nominations must be accompanied by an application form available from the clerk of the district court office in Johnson County, the clerk of the appellate courts office in the Judicial Center in Topeka, online at www.kscourts.org under What's New, or the 10th Judicial District Nominating Commission website at www.jocojnc.org/.

Completed nomination forms and supporting letters must be received no later than noon September 8, 2016, by:

Office of the District Attorney
5th Floor, Johnson County Courthouse
100 N Kansas
Olathe, KS 66061

The nominating commission will convene on a date to be announced to interview candidates. Interviews are open to the public. When interviews conclude, the commission will select three to five candidates whose names will be submitted to the governor and he will decide whom to appoint.

The 10th Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Justice Lee A. Johnson as the nonvoting chair; Vivien Jennings of Fairway; Thomas J. Bath, J. Brett Milbourn, John M. Parisi and Samuel H. Turner Sr. of Leawood; Joe W. Beveridge and Annabeth Surbaugh of Lenexa; Doug D. Brownlee of Olathe; Rick G. Guinn, Judge Kevin P. Moriarty and Greg L. Musil of Overland Park; Gregory M. Doring of Prairie Village; and Stephen M. Howe of Shawnee.


NEWS RELEASE: July 29, 2016

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

Kansas Supreme Court issues decision in case of magistrate judge appointment

TOPEKA—Controlling Kansas statute permits Governor Sam Brownback to wait until after the result of a four-way primary election on August 2 before naming an interim district magistrate judge in the 26th judicial district, according to the Supreme Court's unanimous decision filed this morning in Ambrosier v. Brownback, Case No. 115,982.

Three judges from the district brought the original mandamus action in the high court, invoking K.S.A. 2015 Supp. 25-312a. That statute sets a 90-day time limit for the governor to fill the seat on the bench. The time begins to run when the clerk of the Kansas appellate courts gives the governor notice of the vacancy.

In today's unanimous opinion written by Justice Carol A. Beier, the justices interpreted the legislature's use of the word "shall" in the statute to be directory rather than mandatory, meaning the governor has discretion to exceed the 90 days. An original action seeking a writ of mandamus cannot force a public official to engage in a discretionary act.

The court's decision relied upon its 2009 opinion in State v. Raschke, 289 Kan. 911, 914-21, 219 P.3d 481 (2009), which had extensively reviewed relevant historical caselaw and distilled a four-factor test to determine the directory/mandatory question. Each of the four factors cut in favor of the governor's position in today's case.

Justices Dan Biles and Caleb Stegall did not participate in the decision. Senior Judges Michael J. Malone and David L. Stutzman served in place of the two justices.


NEWS RELEASE: July 26, 2016

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

7th Judicial District Nominating Commission to convene August 17 and 18 to interview candidates for district judge

TOPEKA—The 7th Judicial District Nominating Commission will convene at 9 a.m. Wednesday, August 17, and Thursday, August 18, in the Douglas County Judicial and Law Enforcement Center, Lawrence, to interview candidates to fill a judge vacancy created by the retirement of Chief Judge Robert Fairchild.

Interviews are open to the public.

The candidates, all Douglas County residents, are:

  • Andrew D. Bauch, assistant district attorney with the Douglas County District Attorney's Office.
  • Gregory T. Benefiel, assistant attorney general – traffic safety resource prosecutor with the Kansas Attorney General's Office.
  • Dennis D. Depew, deputy attorney general for civil litigation with the Kansas Attorney General's Office.
  • Daniel A. Dunbar, who currently works in the Office of Chief Counsel with the Kansas Department of Administration. He also serves as a judge pro tem in Shawnee County District Court.
  • Carl A. Folsom III, assistant federal public defender with the Office of the Federal Public Defender, District of Kansas.
  • Amy J. Hanley, assistant attorney general – criminal litigation division with the Kansas Attorney General's Office.
  • Shon D. Qualseth, with Thompson Ramsdell Qualseth & Warner, P.A.
  • Bethany J. Roberts, with Barber Emerson, L.C.
  • Suzanne Valdez, with University of Kansas School of Law.

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

After the interviews, the commission will select from three to five candidates whose names will be submitted to the governor and he will have 60 days to decide whom to appoint.

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


NEWS RELEASE: July 22, 2016

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

Kansas Supreme Court issues decision in Scott Cheever death penalty case
Appeal No. 99,988: State of Kansas v. Scott D. Cheever

TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court issued its decision today in the appeal of Scott D. Cheever, affirming his capital murder conviction and death sentence.

A jury in Greenwood County convicted Cheever of one count of capital murder for the death of Sheriff Matthew Samuels, four counts of attempted capital murder for firing at other law enforcement officers, criminal possession of a firearm, and manufacture of methamphetamine. On appeal, Cheever challenged his convictions of capital murder and attempted capital murder and also challenged his death sentence.

In an opinion written by Justice Eric S. Rosen, the court rejected Cheever's two guilt-phase error claims. Turning to the penalty-phase proceeding, the court identified four errors:

  • the trial court's improper but factual comment on the role of the record on appeal;
  • the failure of the instructions to require the jury to find Cheever was over 18 years old at the time of the crime;
  • the trial court's failure to instruct the jury that mitigating circumstances need not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt; and
  • the prosecutor's improper comment on the influence of methamphetamine as a mitigator.

The court concluded that none of these errors, when considered individually, or collectively with any of the others, required the court to vacate Cheever's death sentence. The court upheld Cheever's convictions and death sentence.

Justice Lee A. Johnson dissented on two issues. First, Justice Johnson reiterated his belief that the death penalty violates the prohibition against cruel or unusual punishment in § 9 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights—a view he explained at length in State v. Robinson, 303 Kan. 11, 357, 363 P.3d 875 (2005) (Johnson, J., dissenting). Second, he departed from the majority's view that the mitigating circumstances instructional error was harmless. Justice Johnson would have vacated Cheever's sentence and remanded.


NEWS RELEASE: July 19, 2016

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

21st Judicial District Nominating Commission sends judge candidate names to governor

TOPEKA—The 21st Judicial District Nominating Commission sent the names of three candidates for district court judge to Gov. Sam Brownback, who has 60 days to decide who will fill a vacancy created when Judge David L. Stutzman stepped down June 3 to accept a senior judge assignment.

The three candidates are:

  • Grant Bannister of Manhattan, who is a law partner with Knopp & Bannister, P.A.
  • Kendra Spaeth Lewison of Manhattan, who is assistant county attorney with the Riley County Attorney's Office.
  • Phylemon Chuen-Man Yau of Manhattan, who is a public defender with the North Central Regional Office of the State Board of Indigents' Defense Services.

Kansas law requires that a judge reside in the district at the time of swearing-in and while holding office, be at least 30 years old, be admitted to practice law in Kansas, and have actively practiced law for at least five years.

The 21st judicial district includes Clay and Riley counties.

The 21st Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Justice Marla J. Luckert as the nonvoting chair; William J. Bahr, James W. Morrison, Derrick L. Roberson, Richard H. Seaton Jr., and Johanna D. Lyle of Manhattan; Kyle C. Bauer and Steven C. McMahan of Clay Center; and Steven L. Hargrave of Randolph.


NEWS RELEASE: July 18, 2016

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

Kansas District Judges' Association elects new officers

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

Judge Patricia Macke Dick was elected president of the association. She is chief judge of the 27th judicial district, a one-county district composed of Reno County, where she has served as judge since January 1989.

Macke Dick is a native of Plainville and a graduate of Kansas State University and the University of Kansas School of Law. She serves on the Chief Judges Council and on the Kansas Judicial Council's Family Law Advisory Committee. She also is liaison to the board of the Kansas Bar Association for the KDJA and to the Kansas Bar Foundation as the representative of the Kansas Women Attorneys Association.

As president of KDJA, Macke Dick looks forward to continuing to support the judicial branch of government and serve Kansas district judges throughout the state.

Other Officers Elected

Judge Robert J. Frederick was elected vice president. He is a judge in the 25th judicial district, composed of Finney, Greeley, Hamilton, Kearny, Scott and Wichita counties.

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

Judge Bruce Gatterman was elected treasurer. He is chief judge of the 24th judicial district, composed of Edwards, Hodgeman, Lane, Ness, Pawnee and Rush counties.

Outgoing president is Judge Michael F. Powers, chief judge of the 8th judicial district, composed of Dickinson, Geary, Marion and Morris counties.

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

Judge Pactricia Macke Dick Judge Robert Frederick Judge James Fleetwood Judge Bruce Gatterman
Judge Pactricia Macke Dick
Judge Robert Frederick
Judge James Fleetwood
Judge Bruce Gatterman

NEWS RELEASE: July 18, 2016

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

31st Judicial District Nominating Commission picks Tod Michael Davis to fill magistrate judge vacancy in Allen County

TOPEKA—The 31st Judicial District Nominating Commission has selected Tod Michael Davis to fill a magistrate judge vacancy in Allen County.

The commission conducted public interviews of applicants for the position Friday, July 15, in Iola.

Davis, of Chanute, currently is assistant public defender with the Southeast Kansas Public Defender Office. His new position as magistrate judge will be effective upon his swearing in.

The 31st judicial district includes Allen, Neosho, Wilson and Woodson counties. The vacancy was created by the July 3 retirement of District Magistrate Judge Thomas M. Saxton Jr.

Kansas law requires that a magistrate judge be a resident of the county at the time of swearing-in and while serving; be at least 30 years old; have graduated from a high school, secondary school, or the equivalent; and either be a lawyer admitted to practice in Kansas or pass an examination given by the Supreme Court and become certified within 18 months.

The 31st Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Justice Lee A. Johnson as the nonvoting chair; John K. Chenoweth of Fredonia; James M. Immel and Ryan Sparks of Iola; Richard K. Pringle and Timothy E. Brazil of Chanute; Rochelle R. Chronister of Neodesha; Nick C. Hay of Yates Center; and James G. Keath of Stark.


NEWS RELEASE: July 15, 2016

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

Kansas District Magistrate Judges' Association elects new officers

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

District Magistrate Judge Kenton Gleason was elected president of the association. He has been a district magistrate judge in Hodgeman County since January 2009. Hodgeman County is in the 24th judicial district with Edwards, Lane, Ness, Pawnee and Rush counties.

Before he became a district magistrate judge, Gleason was the county attorney for Hodgeman County from 2005 to 2009. Prior to that, he was in private law practice.

Gleason is a graduate of Kansas State University in 1991 and University of Kansas School of Law in 1994. He currently serves on the District Judges Manual Committee, District Magistrate Judges Certification Committee, and the 24th Judicial District Juvenile Services/Community Corrections Advisory Board. He was a special administrative law judge for Kansas Workers Compensation Court. He is a member and past president of the Jetmore/Hanston Lions Club and a past director of Dodge City Roundup and a member of the Knights of Columbus.

Other Officers Elected

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

District Magistrate Judge Philip J. Moore is second vice president. He is from Clark County in the 20th judicial district.

District Magistrate Judge Rustin C. Martin is third vice president. He is from Comanche County in the 16th judicial district.

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

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

Outgoing president is District Magistrate Judge Guy R. Steier. He is from Cloud County in the 12th judicial district.

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

District Magistrate Judge Kenton Gleason District Magistrate Judge Taylor J. Wine District Magistrate Judge Philip J. Moore
District Magistrate Judge Kenton Gleason
District Magistrate Judge Taylor J. Wine
District Magistrate Judge Philip J. Moore
District Magistrate Judge Rustin C. Martin District Magistrate Judge Roseanna K. Mathis District Magistrate Judge Debra S. Anderson
District Magistrate Judge Rustin C. Martin
District Magistrate Judge Roseanna K. Mathis
District Magistrate Judge Debra S. Anderson

NEWS RELEASE: June 19, 2015

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

Kansas District Judges' Association elects new officers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Officers Elected

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEWS RELEASE: July 12, 2016

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
Public Information Director
785-296-4872
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Kansas Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments July 19-20 in Goodland

TOPEKA—A three-judge panel of the Kansas Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments July 19 and 20, at the Sherman County Courthouse, 813 Broadway, Goodland.

Judges G. Joseph Pierron, Jr., Lawrence; Patrick D. McAnany, Overland Park; and Steve Leben, Fairway, will hear oral argument in seven civil and criminal cases at dockets that convene at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 19, and at 9 a.m. Wednesday, July 20. The three-judge panel will also decide 10 cases without argument based on the parties' written submissions.

After each docket session, the judges will be available to answer questions from the public about the court and court procedures.

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

Kansas Court of Appeals Judge Steve Leben
Kansas Court of Appeals Judge Steve Leben

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

Leben added that in addition to making the court accessible to more Kansans, hearing cases around the state saves money for the parties.

Oral Arguments

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

The appeals to be heard in Goodland arose in Finney, Haskell, Ness and Norton counties. In addition to the Court of Appeals panel hearing cases this week in Goodland, other three-judge panels of the Court of Appeals will be hearing cases in Wichita, Topeka and Kansas City. All hearings are open to the public.

There are 14 judges on the Court of Appeals, and the judges sit in three-judge panels to decide cases. In fiscal year 2015, the Court of Appeals resolved appeals in 1,978 cases, including 1,340 in which the court issued a formal written opinion.

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

9 a.m. Tuesday, July 19, 2016

No. 113,883: State of Kansas v. James Lee Foster, appeal from Norton County

A jury convicted James Foster of burglary of a dwelling and theft, after he allegedly stole two laptops from a rented room in a house. On appeal, Foster argues the district court erred when it bound him over for trial on the burglary charges, arguing the state had failed to show that he had entered the dwelling without authority because he had the homeowner's permission to be in the house generally and a rented room in a house is not a separate dwelling. He also contends there was insufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to convict him of burglary because the state failed to present evidence that he lacked authority to enter the room or that he had the intent to commit a theft. Finally, he asserts the district court abused its discretion when it allowed the state to amend the complaint at trial.

No. 113,468: State of Kansas v. Loren Malik Wiseman, appeal from Finney County

In December 2014, a man approached Loren Wiseman and his girlfriend while they were in their car in a parking lot and began demanding Wiseman fight him and threatening to harm them. Wiseman pulled out a gun, warned the man to leave, and counted down twice before he shot the man, who died from his injuries. The state charged Wiseman with first-degree, premeditated murder, but Wiseman claimed that he was immune from prosecution because he had acted in self-defense. The district court agreed and dismissed the charges. The court also concluded that even if Wiseman was not immune, the state could only charge him with second-degree murder because it had failed to present sufficient evidence of premeditation to support a first-degree-murder charge. The state appeals, arguing that Wiseman was not immune from prosecution and that there was sufficient evidence of premeditation.

No. 113,292: State of Kansas v. Junior Sanchez, appeal from Seward County

A jury convicted Junior Sanchez on one count of conspiracy to commit aggravated battery after he reportedly called friends over to his house to attack two people. The court imposed a 41-month sentence. On appeal, he raises five challenges. He contends that the district court erred by dismissing a potential juror for cause and that the court failed to follow proper procedures to make sure that the prosecutor wasn't using peremptory challenges (which allow jurors to be excluded without a specific reason) to eliminate the potential jurors who were Hispanic. He also argues that there was insufficient evidence supporting the conviction, prosecutorial misconduct occurred when the state misrepresented significant facts during closing argument, and the district court violated his constitutional rights by giving him a sentence greater than the minimum guidelines without presenting aggravating facts to the jury for a finding.

1:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 19, 2016

No. 113,563: Douglas R. Peters v. Deseret Cattle Feeders, LLC, appeal from Haskell County

Douglas Peters worked for Hitch Feeders, a cattle feeding operation. In 2010, Deseret Cattle Feeders, LLC, purchased Hitch Feeders. Peters claims that in meetings leading up to the closing of the sale, Deseret represented to Hitch Feeders' employees that if they would stay on and work at the feed yard, their employment would be secure. Also, according to Peters, Deseret indicated there would be no layoffs and that the employees would continue to be employed by Deseret as long as they continued to perform their jobs. Peters said that Hitch Feeders offered a severance package if the employees chose not to work for Deseret. Peters took the job offer from Deseret and did not take advantage of the severance package. In June 2011, Peters was terminated by Deseret due to a reduction in workforce. Peters sued Deseret for breach of an employment contract and under a legal theory called promissory estoppel (under which a promise may be enforced, even without a contract, where a party has been harmed by reasonably relying on that promise). The district court granted summary judgment to Deseret. On appeal, Peters claims (1) that the district court erred in finding that no employment contract was formed and that he was an "at-will" employee and (2) that the district court erred in ruling against him on the promissory estoppel claim because he relied on representations by Deseret of secure employment when he rejected Hitch Feeder's severance offer.

No. 114,745: Dahir Dirshe v. Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. and Chartis Casualty Company, Appeal from Workers Compensation Appeals Board

Dahir Dirshe was injured on the job working for Cargill Meat Solutions and applied for workers' compensation. Dirshe argued that, as a result of his injury, he had experienced total wage loss and total task loss—making him eligible to receive work-disability benefits in the amount of $130,000. But the Workers Compensation Appeals Board found that Dirshe was fired for cause, so his wage loss was not attributable to his injury and he was therefore not eligible to receive work disability. Second, the board determined that Dirshe's functional impairment rating was 18 percent. The 18 percent was an average of two independent physicians' opinions of 17 percent and 19 percent. Based on this rating, the board awarded Dirshe $24,906.47. Dirshe appeals, arguing that the board's findings that he was fired for cause and that his functional impairment rating was only 18 percent (rather than 19 percent) were not supported by substantial evidence.

9 a.m. Wednesday, July 20, 2016

No. 115,028: St. Catherine Hospital v. Ovidio Alvarez and Bianca Alvarez, appeal from Finney County

St. Catherine Hospital in Garden City sued Bianca Alvarez for medical costs incurred for the treatment of her ex-husband, Ovidio Alvarez. The district court entered summary judgment in favor of St. Catherine. On appeal, Bianca argues she is not liable for the debt because the couple was separated, though not divorced, at the time of Ovidio's treatment. Based on an 1873 Kansas Supreme Court case, she argues that the doctrine of necessities (which generally requires that a person pay for necessary care provided to his or her spouse) does not apply when a couple is separated and one of the partners has left the marital home for an unjustifiable reason. St. Catherine Hospital argues that because the couple was still legally married at the time of the treatment, Bianca is still liable and that the exception set out in the 1873 court decision is no longer good law.

No. 113,851: Lonnie Cline and Joe Cline v. Gary Peterson, appeal from Ness County

In 1996, Jim Cline sold 600 acres of farmland to Gary Peterson, but Jim retained the right to live on the property until his death. In 2006, Gary wrote Jim a letter describing the terms of an agreement that they had reached over the phone: (1) they would split 50-50 any proceeds from the mineral rights in the 600 acres; (2) Jim "may" leave his half of the mineral rights to his children; and (3) the homestead and the 250 acres surrounding it still belonged to Jim. Jim died in 2010. In 2012, Gary first obtained some oil and gas leases on the 600 acres. Jim's children now seek to enforce the 2006 letter against Gary, claiming Gary owes them 50 percent of the proceeds of the oil and gas leases and must give them the homestead and the 250 acres surrounding it. A Ness County jury found in favor of Jim's children, and Gary appealed. Gary argues primarily that the 2006 letter isn't an enforceable contract and that even if it is, Jim's children can't enforce it because they weren't parties to the alleged contract and weren't intended beneficiaries of it. Gary also argues that the judgment against him violates due process because it only vaguely describes the land that he has to give to Jim's children as "the 250 acres, more or less, surrounding the homestead," without any further legal description.


NEWS RELEASE: July 8, 2016

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contact Lisa Taylor
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UPDATED: 31st Judicial District Nominating Commission to interview candidates for district magistrate judge

TOPEKA—The 31st Judicial District Nominating Commission will convene at 9:30 a.m. Friday, July 15, at the Allen County Courthouse, 1 North Washington, Iola, to interview candidates and appoint a district magistrate judge to fill a vacancy in Allen County.

Interviews are open to the public.

The 31st judicial district includes Allen, Neosho, Wilson and Woodson counties. The vacancy was created by the July 3 retirement of District Magistrate Judge Thomas M. Saxton Jr.

Candidates for the vacancy are:

  • John Philip Crawford of Kansas City, who is a sole practitioner
  • Zelda Fay Schlotterbeck of Yates Center, who is Woodson County Attorney and a part-time contract attorney for YoungWilliams Child Support Enforcement
  • Aimee Margaree Daniels of Chanute, a California-licensed attorney who is executive director of CASA in the 31st judicial district
  • Wade Hampton Bowie II of Chesterfield, MI, who is former Allen County attorney and former assistant prosecuting attorney in St. Clair County Prosecutor's Office, Port Huron, Michigan
  • Robert Wayne Lattin of Independence, who is a solo practitioner with Lattin Law Offices, Chartered
  • Tod Michael Davis of Chanute, who is assistant public defender with the Southeast Kansas Public Defender Office
  • Patricia Ann Miklos (aka Patti Boyd) of Moran, who is municipal court judge for Moran, Bronson, Gas, Savonburg, Humboldt and LaHarpe
  • Jennifer J. Friend of Fredonia, who is a legal secretary with Chenowith Law Office
  • Michael Wayne Luttrell of Iola, a court services officer with the 31st judicial district

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

The 31st Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Justice Lee A. Johnson as the nonvoting chair; John K. Chenoweth of Fredonia; James M. Immel and Ryan Sparks of Iola; Richard K. Pringle and Timothy E. Brazil of Chanute; Rochelle R. Chronister of Neodesha; Nick C. Hay of Yates Center; and James G. Keath of Stark.


NEWS RELEASE: July 1, 2016

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contact Lisa Taylor
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Five apply for judge vacancy in 21st judicial district

TOPEKA— Five candidates applied to the 21st Judicial District Nominating Commission seeking to fill a judge vacancy in the 21st judicial district, which includes Clay and Riley counties.

The vacancy was created when District Court Judge David L. Stutzman stepped down June 3 to accept a senior judge assignment.

The nominating commission will convene at 8:30 a.m. Monday, July 18, 2016, in the Riley County Courthouse, 100 Courthouse Plaza, Manhattan, to interview nominees. Interviews are open to the public.

The five candidates listed below are all attorneys in Manhattan:

Grant Bannister
Sheila Hochhauser
Kendra Lewison
Dan McCulley
Phil Yau

Kansas law requires that a judge be a resident of the 21st judicial district at the time of taking the oath and maintain that residency while holding office, have actively practiced law as a judge, attorney or full-time teacher at an accredited law school for at least five years, and be admitted to practice law in Kansas.

Kansas law also requires the commission to submit three to five names to the governor, who will choose one to appoint.

The 21st Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Justice Marla J. Luckert as the nonvoting chair; William J. Bahr, James W. Morrison, Derrick L. Roberson, Richard H. Seaton Jr., and Johanna D. Lyle of Manhattan; Kyle C. Bauer and Steven C. McMahan of Clay Center; and Steven L. Hargrave of Randolph.


NEWS RELEASE: July 1, 2016

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
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Electronic filing now in Kansas courts statewide

TOPEKA—It's official. All state courts in Kansas are now able to receive electronically filed court documents.

"This is a significant milestone in our plan to modernize court operations and we achieved it through careful planning, modest financial investment and the determination of court personnel statewide," said Chief Justice Lawton Nuss. "This accomplishment also comes on the heels of another milestone. In May, our district courts surpassed the 1-million mark for documents processed that were filed electronically."

Currently, electronic filing is required in the appellate courts – Supreme Court and Court of Appeals – as well as in 12 district courts composed of 45 counties. The remaining district courts accept electronic filing but currently do not require it. More are expected to make electronic filing mandatory in coming months.

District courts that require efiling are:

2nd: Jackson, Jefferson, Pottawatomie and Wabaunsee counties
6th: Bourbon, Linn and Miami counties
7th: Douglas County
8th: Dickinson, Geary, Marion and Morris counties
12th: Cloud, Jewell, Lincoln, Mitchell, Republic and Washington counties
16th: Clark, Comanche, Ford, Gray, Kiowa and Meade counties
21st: Clay and Riley counties
23rd: Ellis, Gove, Rooks and Trego counties
25th: Finney, Greeley, Hamilton, Kearny, Scott and Wichita counties
26th: Grant, Haskell, Morton, Seward, Stanton and Stevens counties
27th: Reno County (civil only)
28th: Ottawa and Saline counties

Electronic filing is also required in Johnson County, using a system they developed in-house several years ago.

Lawyers in good standing who are licensed in Kansas may electronically file in any state court. Self-represented parties who are not lawyers must file paper documents in all courts.

Kansas district courts process more than 400,000 cases a year and the switch to electronic filing means court workers are no longer required to manage paper files. This reduces paper, mailing and file storage costs for both courts and lawyers. It also reduces opportunities for error from misfiled documents or incorrect data entry.

Electronic filing is a necessary component for the judicial branch's eCourt project, which will bring all courts onto a common case management platform that will allow easier access to court records and enable cross-district information sharing. An eCourt steering committee and its subcommittees are developing a list of requirements for document and case management systems that will be included in a request for proposals later this year.


NEWS RELEASE: July 1, 2016

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
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Nominating commission seeks candidates for judge vacancy in 7th Judicial District

TOPEKA—The 7th Judicial District Nominating Commission is seeking candidates to fill a judge vacancy in Douglas County that will be created by the retirement of Chief Judge Robert Fairchild.

Justice Eric Rosen, the Supreme Court departmental justice responsible for the 7th Judicial District, said candidates can apply by completing a nomination form and including up to five letters of recommendation.

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

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

The nomination form is available from the clerk's office in the Douglas County District Court. The form is also available from the clerk of the appellate courts at the Kansas Judicial Center in Topeka and on the Kansas judicial branch website at www.kscourts.org under What's New.

Completed nomination forms and supporting letters must be submitted no later than noon Monday, July 25, to:

Elizabeth S. Cateforis
University of Kansas School of Law
1535 West 15th Street, Room 409
Lawrence, KS 66045

The nominating commission will convene at 9 a.m. Wednesday, August 17, and Thursday, August 18, in the Douglas County Judicial and Law Enforcement Center, Lawrence, to interview nominees. The meeting will be open to the public.

Kansas law requires the commission to select from three to five candidates whose names will be submitted to the governor and he will decide whom to appoint.

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


NEWS RELEASE: July 1, 2016

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Douglas County Chief Judge Robert Fairchild to retire

TOPEKA—Douglas County District Court Chief Judge Robert Fairchild will retire September 9 after 20 years on the bench in the 7th judicial district.

Douglas County Chief Judge Robert Fairchild
Douglas County Chief Judge Robert Fairchild

"It has been a great honor and privilege to serve as district judge for the 7th judicial district," Fairchild said. "I am grateful to the people of Douglas County for their support and trust, and it has been a joy to serve with dedicated, caring judges throughout my tenure on the bench. I am especially grateful for the support of my wife, family and friends."

Fairchild was appointed district judge in 1996 and chief judge in 2002. Before he became a judge, he had a private law practice in Lawrence for 23 years. He graduated from the University of Kansas School of Law and has served as an adjunct professor for the school, regularly teaching alternative dispute resolution. He also taught a criminal law section in 2005.

After he retires, Fairchild will accept a role as senior judge with the Kansas judicial branch, which will allow him to work on an as-needed basis in district and appellate courts.

"I look forward to the new challenges that will face me as a senior judge," Fairchild said. "I also look forward to spending more time with my family."

Fairchild is a member of the Commission on Judicial Qualifications, the body charged with helping the Supreme Court exercise its authority in judicial disciplinary matters. He is a past member of Kansas Supreme Court's Advisory Council on Dispute Resolution from 1999 to 2006 and served six years as chair. He also is a former member of the Kansas Board of Examiners of Court Reporters and the Supreme Court Education Committee.


NEWS RELEASE: June 30, 2016

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Judge Karen Arnold-Burger recognized for leadership, service

TOPEKA—Kansas Court of Appeals Judge Karen Arnold-Burger has been recognized by the Kansas District Judges Association for demonstrating extraordinary leadership and service.

Arnold-Burger was given the Community Outreach and Education Award by the association at a statewide conference for judges in June. The award was presented to Arnold-Burger by Lawton Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court and a law school classmate of Arnold-Burger.

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

"I am honored to present this award on behalf the Kansas District Judges Association to my esteemed colleague, Judge Arnold-Burger," Nuss said. "Her enduring enthusiasm reaching out to the people of Kansas to explain the importance of fair and impartial courts, the cornerstone of our American democracy, is inspiring."

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

Arnold-Burger was selected to receive the award for her work with the National Association of Women Judges "Informed Voters — Fair Judges" project, a nonpartisan voter education program designed to increase the public's knowledge of fair and impartial courts.

Kansas Court of Appeals Judge Karen Arnold-Burger
Kansas Court of Appeals Judge Karen Arnold-Burger

"I am deeply honored to receive this recognition for doing something I feel so strongly about," said Arnold-Burger. "National surveys show that most Americans lack a basic understanding of civics and the workings of our three, equally strong branches of government. I find that people are eager to learn about the role of the judicial branch in our democracy and that motivates me to speak to groups all across Kansans."

Over the last three years, Arnold-Burger has traveled across Kansas speaking to community, civic and professional groups about the role of courts in our democracy, as well as attempts to politicize courts. She also volunteers time to a Kansas Informed Voters Project, as well as the national project affiliated with her professional association.

The National Association of Women Judges launched the "Informed Voters - Fair Judges" project in 2014 to highlight the role of courts in American society with the goal of helping voters understand their role in ensuring fairness and justice for all who enter the legal system.

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

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

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

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


NEWS RELEASE: June 24, 2016

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
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Supreme Court accepting comment on proposed rule to allow attorneys married to military
personnel stationed in Kansas to temporarily practice law without taking state bar exam

TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court is accepting public comment on a proposed rule that will allow attorneys who are spouses of military service members stationed in Kansas to temporarily practice law without taking the state-administered uniform bar exam.

Comment will be accepted at rulenotice@kscourts.org until 5 p.m. Sunday, July 24.

"Spouses of military personnel often make tremendous career sacrifices to support their loved ones in uniform," said Chief Justice Lawton Nuss. "As a Marine Corps veteran myself, I'm especially glad the Kansas Board of Law Examiners made this proposal so our state can further demonstrate its support of the men and women who pledge their lives in service to our country."

As proposed, Rule 712A will allow an attorney who has been admitted to practice law in another state or the District of Columbia, and who is married to a military service member stationed in Kansas, to be admitted to practice law in Kansas without a written examination.

The applicant must have an active law license in at least one state or U.S. territory, must meet all applicable requirements, and must not be subject to a pending disciplinary investigation, or ever been suspended or disbarred from the practice of law.

An applicant who meets all criteria in the proposed rule will be granted a temporary restricted license to practice in Kansas as long as the person remains married to the military service member stationed in Kansas, remains a resident of Kansas, and continues to be employed as an attorney and supervised by an active Kansas attorney in good standing.

If the rule is adopted by the Kansas Supreme Court, Rules 704, 707, 708, 720 and 721 will be amended to accommodate the provisions in proposed Rule 712A. Those amendments are also open for public comment.

Proposed rule 712A and proposed amended rules 704, 707, 708, 720 and 721 are available on the Kansas judicial branch website at www.kscourts.org under What's New.

Rule 712A was proposed by the 10-member Kansas Board of Law Examiners composed of judges and lawyers. The board has been investigating the possible adoption of this proposed rule since 2014.

In addition to managing and grading a twice-yearly bar examination and hearings on applicants' character and fitness to practice law, the board makes recommendations to the Supreme Court on policies and procedures related to bar admission.

As of June 2016, 18 jurisdictions have adopted a similar rule or waiver to allow military spouses to be admitted to practice law in some capacity. Kansas is one of 14 jurisdictions that has either a proposed rule pending or is currently investigating possible admission of military spouses.


NEWS RELEASE: June 13, 2016

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
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785-296-4872
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Supreme Court appoints Sara Stratton reporter of decisions

TOPEKA-The Kansas Supreme Court announced that it has appointed Sara Stratton to the constitutional office of reporter of appellate decisions effective June 6. She replaces Richard Ross, who retired June 3 after 40 years of service.

"Sara has been with the reporter's office a number of years and during that time she has demonstrated to the court that she has the skills we need in a reporter of decisions," said Chief Justice Lawton Nuss.

"She's articulate and thorough, and she will do well leading that office."

The reporter of decisions is responsible for preparing court opinions for publication in books known as case reporters. This may include editing opinions for accuracy; standardizing format and style; proofreading for grammatical, typographical and factual errors; drafting headnotes and syllabuses; preparing tables of cases, indexes and digests; and publishing the opinions in an official format.

Sara Stratton
Sara Stratton

"I'm honored by the Supreme Court's faith in me and in my abilities, and I will do my best to ensure a smooth transition for the appellate courts and the people working in the reporter's office," Stratton said.

Stratton has worked for the appellate reporter's office for 27 years. Her past experience includes working with Crews Auction Company and as a trust officer the former First National Bank in Topeka.  

Stratton graduated from Southern Methodist University with a bachelor's degree in business administration and from Washburn University School of Law. She is a member of the Topeka Bar Association and the Women Attorneys Association. She is originally from Marshall, Missouri.

 


NEWS RELEASE: June 13, 2016

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

25th Judicial Nominating Commission
to interview candidates for district magistrate judge

TOPEKA—The 25th Judicial District Nominating Commission will convene at 9 a.m. (MST) Tuesday, June 28, at the Hamilton County Courthouse, 219 North Main, Syracuse, to interview candidates and appoint a district magistrate judge to fill a vacancy in Hamilton County.

Interviews are open to the public.

The 25th judicial district includes Finney, Greeley, Hamilton, Kearny, Scott, and Wichita counties.

Applicants for the vacancy are:

  • Meghan M. Houtsma, Syracuse, who currently is with Syracuse Dairy, LLC. She is a graduate of Washburn University School of Law
  • Harry Edward Frock, Garden City, who currently is assistant public defender in the Western Regional Public Defender office in Garden City. He is a graduate of the University of Tulsa College of Law.
  • Christopher James Velez, Garden City, who currently has a private law practice in Garden City. He is a graduate of Washburn University School of Law.

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

The 25th Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Justice Dan Biles as the nonvoting chair; Lucille R. Douglas, Gene H. Gaede, William I. Heydman, John M. Lindner, Gerald O. Schultz, and Thomas M. Walker of Garden City; Robert H. Gale Jr. and Timothy C. Kohart of Syracuse; Ralph T. Goodnight of Lakin; Ann Wiles of Leoti; Christine Cupp of Scott City; and Brian F. Reuber of Tribune.


NEWS RELEASE: June 6, 2016

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
Public Information Director
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Kansas Court of Appeals hears first oral arguments via videoconference

TOPEKA—The Kansas Court of Appeals heard its first oral arguments by videoconference when a three-judge panel convened May 17 in a conference room in the Kansas Judicial Center in Topeka to hear attorneys in Liberal and Johnson, both in southwest Kansas, assert their legal points via Skype.

The attorneys represented parties in a Morton County District Court civil case brought by Abner and Janiese Delay against Great Plains Custom Application Inc. and Bailey Flying Service Inc.

"We were really pleased with how well the videoconference worked for the court and for the two attorneys appearing before us," said Thomas Malone, chief judge of the Court of Appeals and the presiding judge for the hearing. "The process and technology hold great promise for conducting more hearings by videoconference."  

A good deal of thought and preparation preceded the oral argument by videoconference. The Kansas Court of Appeals Videoconferencing Committee previously developed a pilot project to use videoconferencing in lieu of personal appearances for some appellate court cases under specific circumstances. The committee reviewed available technology, its use by Kansas government agencies, and related procedural issues.

The May 17 oral argument was made possible because the attorneys agreed to appear by videoconference, which is consistent with a guidance from the Blue Ribbon Commission that was discussed in the Recommendations for Videoconferencing in Kansas Courts.

"We would never require a party to appear by video if he or she really wants to appear in person," Malone said, "but many attorneys will recognize they are able to effectively represent their clients by video while also saving time and money otherwise spent traveling to and from an in-person hearing."

Malone said the next steps are to conduct more videoconference hearings to gain experience and explore options for conducting the videoconferences in the Court of Appeals courtroom in the Kansas Judicial Center.

"Even hearings conducted by videoconference are open to the public, so we need to provide a more expansive venue than our conference room," Malone said.

Conducting some appellate-level oral arguments by videoconference was a recommendation of the Blue Ribbon Commission, which convened in 2010 to identify ways court operations could be improved and modernized.


NEWS RELEASE: May 25, 2016

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

Allen County District Magistrate Judge Thomas M. Saxton Jr. to retire July 3

TOPEKA—District Magistrate Judge Thomas M. Saxton Jr. will retire July 3 after 27 years on the bench in the 31st judicial district, composed of Allen, Neosho, Wilson and Woodson counties.

Judge Thomas M. Saxton Jr.
Judge Thomas M. Saxton Jr.

"It has been my pleasure to be a member of the Kansas judiciary these last 27 years, and I hope I have served the people of Kansas well," Saxton said. "I have been truly blessed to have the greatest court clerks, the best attorneys, great fellow judges, wonderful law enforcement officers, and loads of great friends throughout the 31st judicial district."

Saxton was appointed district magistrate judge in Allen County in 1989 and has served as municipal judge in Iola since 1991. He is a past president of the Kansas District Magistrate Judges Association and was a recipient of its Outstanding Magistrate Judge Award. He is a longtime member of the Supreme Court Task Force on Permanency Planning for Juveniles and of the 31st Judicial District Community Corrections/Juvenile Corrections Advisory Board. He also is a member of the 31st Judicial District CASA.

When reflecting on his years on the bench, Saxton said highlights included presiding over hundreds of adoptions, missing only one day of work due to illness, and sharing the stage at a state judges' conference with former-Governor Bill Graves, former-Chief Justice Kay McFarland and former Allen County District Judge John W. White, who was president of the Kansas District Judges Association at the time.

In retirement, Saxton said he plans to learn to sleep past 5 a.m., to fix 27 years' worth of neglected things, and spend more time at the Lake of the Ozarks. He does not plan to put on another tie.


NEWS RELEASE: May 24, 2016

For more information
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Sedgwick County District Judge Douglas Roth to retire June 30

Judge Douglas R. Roth
Judge Douglas R. Roth

TOPEKA—Judge Douglas R. Roth has announced he will retire on June 30, after serving 16 years on the bench in the 18th judicial district, which is composed of Sedgwick County.

Roth was elected to the district court in November 2000. He has served in the civil, family law and criminal departments, including two years as the judicial district’s drug court judge.

Prior to serving on the bench, Roth practiced civil and criminal law, including 11 years as the chief deputy district attorney in Wichita. During his career, he served on several community boards and legal committees, and he has participated in legal training for attorneys. He served on the Sedgwick County Community Corrections Board in the 1990s, including several years as its chair.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve 16 years as a member of the Kansas judicial branch," Roth said. "I will miss the people I have met and served, and the challenges I have faced. After 38 years as an attorney and then a judge, my retirement will be an adjustment. However, I am looking forward to spending the extra time with my wife and visiting my son in Colorado.”

In retirement, Judge Roth and his wife, Brenda, will increase their volunteer work with several of their favorite charities. They look forward to more golf, Colorado hiking, and travel to locations on their bucket list.

Roth was born in Hays, graduated from the University of Notre Dame and from Washburn University School of Law.


NEWS RELEASE: May 23, 2016

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
Public Information Director
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Nominating commission seeks candidates
for district judge vacancy in 21st judicial district

TOPEKA—The 21st Judicial District Nominating Commission is seeking candidates to fill a district judge vacancy that will be created when Judge David L. Stutzman steps down June 3 to accept a senior judge assignment.

The 21st judicial district includes Clay and Riley counties.

Justice Marla J. Luckert, the Supreme Court departmental justice responsible for the 21st judicial district, said candidates can apply or be recommended, but recommendations must come on a nomination form and include the candidate's signature.

Candidates for district judge must be a lawyer admitted to practice in Kansas and have been engaged in the practice of law for at least five years, whether as a lawyer, judge, or full-time teacher at an accredited law school. The candidate also must be a resident of the 21st judicial district at the time of taking office and maintain that residency while holding office.

Applications must be accompanied by a nomination form available from the clerk of the district court office in Clay and Riley counties, the clerk of the appellate courts office in the Judicial Center in Topeka, or online at www.kscourts.org under What's New.

Completed nomination forms and supporting letters must be received no later than noon July 1, 2016, by:

William J. Bahr
801 Poyntz Avenue
Manhattan, KS 66502

The nominating commission will convene at 8:30 a.m. Monday, July 18, 2016, at the Riley County Courthouse, 100 Courthouse Plaza, Manhattan, to interview candidates. Interviews are open to the public. When the interviews conclude, the commission will select three to five candidates whose names will be submitted to the governor and he will decide whom to appoint.

The 21st Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Justice Marla J. Luckert as the nonvoting chair; William J. Bahr, James W. Morrison, Derrick L. Roberson, Richard H. Seaton Jr., and Johanna D. Lyle of Manhattan; Kyle C. Bauer and Steven C. McMahan of Clay Center; and Steven L. Hargrave of Randolph.


NEWS RELEASE: May 23, 2016

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
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Supreme Court appoints Peter Johnston to Kansas Board of Law Examiners Court also
reappoints Carol Park and names Donald Peterson vice chair

TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court announced today that it has appointed Peter Scott Johnston of Salina to the Kansas Board of Law Examiners for a five-year term that starts July 1, 2016.

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

"I have known Mr. Johnston nearly 20 years, and he will make a terrific addition to this hard-working board that ensures applicants who want to be licensed attorneys in Kansas meet the qualifications established by the Supreme Court," said Chief Justice Lawton Nuss. "We appreciate his commitment to his profession and we look forward to his contributions."

Johnston will replace Kenneth L. Cole, an attorney from Russell, who has served on the board since 2005 and has reached the maximum term of service permitted by Court rule.

In addition to Johnston's appointment, the court announced that it reappointed Carol M. Park to serve another five-year term starting July 1. Park is with Schwartz & Park LLP of Hays.

The court also announced that Donald N. Peterson II will begin serving July 1 as vice chair. Peterson has served on the board since 2009 and is with Withers, Gough, Pike, Pfaff & Peterson LLC of Wichita.

The 10-member Kansas Board of Law Examiners is composed of judges and lawyers. It manages and grades a twice-yearly bar examination and conducts hearings on applicants' character and fitness to practice law. It also makes recommendations to the Supreme Court on policies and procedures related to bar admission.

Peter Johnston Carol Park Donald Peterson
Peter Johnston
Carol Park
Donald Peterson II

NEWS RELEASE: May 12, 2016

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contact Lisa Taylor
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Nominating commission seeks candidates for magistrate judge vacancy
in 31st judicial district

TOPEKA—The 31st Judicial District Nominating Commission is seeking candidates to fill a magistrate judge vacancy in the 31st judicial district, sitting in Allen County, although the incumbent may be given assignments anywhere in the district.

The 31st judicial district includes Allen, Neosho, Wilson and Woodson counties.

Justice Lee Johnson, the Supreme Court departmental justice responsible for the 31st judicial district, said nominees can apply or be recommended, but recommendations must come on a nomination form and include the nominee's signature.

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

Recommendations must be accompanied by a nomination form available from the clerk's office in each of the district's courts in Allen, Neosho, Wilson and Woodson counties. The form is also available from the clerk of the appellate courts at the Kansas Judicial Center in Topeka and on the Kansas judicial branch website at http://www.kscourts.org under What's New.

Completed nomination forms and supporting letters must be submitted by noon, Monday, June 13, to:

Hon. Lee A. Johnson
Kansas Supreme Court
301 SW 10th Avenue
Topeka, KS 66612-1507

The nominating commission will convene after the application period closes to interview candidates. A date for that meeting is not yet set, but interviews are open to the public.

The 31st Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Justice Lee A. Johnson as the nonvoting chair; John K. Chenoweth and Patrick J. Martin of Fredonia; James M. Immel and Thomas R. Williams of Iola; Richard K. Pringle of Chanute; Rochelle R. Chronister of Neodesha; Nick C. Hay of Yates Center; and James G. Keath of Stark.


NEWS RELEASE: May 6, 2016

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
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Kansas judicial branch awarded grant to study job classifications, employee pay

TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court announced today it has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the State Justice Institute to contract with the National Center for State Courts to conduct job classification and compensation analyses for 1,600 judicial branch employees.

In announcing the grant, Chief Justice Lawton Nuss noted that court operations have changed considerably since the current judicial branch pay plan was approved by the Kansas Legislature in 2000.

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

"Our courts continue to make more and better use of technology to process cases. That has changed how we do business and the skills our employees must have," Nuss said. "This study will ensure we have up-to-date job classifications that accurately reflect the type and scope of work performed, as well as propose rates of pay that are proper for each."

The first part of the project will cover job classifications and compensation for employees who work in district courts across the state. The second part will look at appellate court job classifications and compensation. The third part will review compensation for district magistrate judge positions.

The analyses will include surveying court workers on the types of work they perform and then weighing those tasks against well-defined factors to determine the best salary and position match.

Nuss noted that by the time the grant project is complete, all state courts in Kansas will be accepting court filings electronically. Also, court services officers have already transitioned to mandatory automated evidence-based risk assessment tools that have created new job duties and new training and certification requirements.

"This will be the first time that pay for non-judge court employees will be compared to pay for similar positions in other cities, counties and states," Nuss said. "Through this objective analysis, we will gain a clearer understanding of where our state courts stand when it comes to attracting and retaining qualified employees."

Consultants with the National Center for State Courts have conducted similar studies for other court systems, including some in nearby states of Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Minnesota.

This will also be the first compensation study of the district magistrate judge position since it was created by statute in 1976. Magistrate judges conduct preliminary hearings in felony cases; they try misdemeanor, traffic, and cigarette or tobacco cases; and exercise limited civil authority. Their jurisdiction is limited compared to district judge positions, and incumbents are not required to be lawyers, although many are.

The National Center for State Courts surveys and semiannually reports on pay for judges, but their reports do not include a direct equivalent to Kansas' district magistrate judge position. Kansas ranks next to last among the states for district judge pay and 45th in pay for justices on its Supreme Court.


NEWS RELEASE: April 27, 2016

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
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Judge Burgess of 18th judicial district to sit with Kansas Supreme Court May 5

TOPEKA — Judge Ben Burgess of the 18th judicial district has been appointed to sit with the Kansas Supreme Court to hear oral arguments in one case on the court's 9 a.m. docket Thursday, May 5.

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

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

"I am pleased that Judge Burgess is taking time from his duties in the 18th judicial district to sit with the Supreme Court," said Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss. "It's a great help to our court and we look forward to his contributions deliberating this case."

Burgess has served as district judge in the 18th judicial district since 2003. Before becoming a judge, he served as assistant Reno County attorney, assistant U.S. attorney, and U.S. Attorney for Kansas. He also had a private law practice for a time, was director of ethics and business conduct for Koch Industries, Inc., and served on the Kansas Parole Board. He is a graduate of Kansas Wesleyan University and Washburn University School of Law.

Judge Ben Burgess
Judge Ben Burgess

"I am flattered and truly honored to have this opportunity to sit with our state's highest court and with Chief Justice Nuss, a fellow Salinan," Burgess said. "It promises to be an experience I'll remember for the rest of my life."

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

The case Burgess will hear is the first one scheduled on the Supreme Court's 9 a.m. docket Thursday, May 5:

Appeal No. 110,179: Rachel K. Platt v. Kansas State University

Riley County: (Petition for Review) Platt was hired as a probationary employee by the Kansas State University. Platt complained to her supervisor about the air quality in her office after she suffered various physical symptoms. Shortly before her status as a probationary employee was scheduled to expire, the University terminated Platt, citing excessive absences as the reason for the termination. Platt filed a lawsuit in district court, asserting that she was wrongfully terminated from her employment in retaliation for having a potential claim under the Kansas Workers Compensation Act. The University filed a motion to dismiss the suit for failure to state a claim (governmental immunity) and lack of subject matter jurisdiction (failure to exhaust administrative remedies). The district court granted the motion to dismiss solely on Platt's failure to exhaust administrative remedies. Platt appealed to the Kansas Court of Appeals. The court reversed and remanded the district court's decision — concluding that the district court erred in dismissing the matter for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The Supreme Court granted the University's petition for review.

Issues on review are whether the Court of Appeals erred: 1) in concluding that a state agency's decision to terminate an employee is not an agency action; 2) by rewriting and limiting the statutory definition of "agency action"; 3) by not following the Kansas Judicial Review Act's plain language that requires Platt to plead and prove exhaustion of administrative remedies; 4) by relying on the Kansas Civil Service Act board hearing, which both parties agreed had no applicability here, and a University policy that was not at issue in Platt's termination; and, 5) by fundamentally misunderstanding that Platt must still seek judicial review under the Kansas Judicial Review Act within 30 days of an agency action.


NEWS RELEASE: April 27, 2016

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

Judge Anderson of 3rd judicial district to sit with
Kansas Supreme Court May 3

TOPEKA — Judge Richard Anderson of the 3rd judicial district has been appointed to sit with the Kansas Supreme Court to hear oral arguments in one case on the court's 9 a.m. docket Tuesday, May 3.

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

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

"I am pleased that Judge Anderson is taking time from his duties in the 3rd judicial district to sit with the Supreme Court," said Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss. "It's a great help to our court and we look forward to his contributions deliberating this case."

Anderson has been a district judge since 1999 and he has presided over all types of cases in the trial court. Before he became a judge, Anderson had a private law practice in Topeka for 18 years. He is a graduate of Washburn University School of Law, and he has a bachelor's and a master's degree from the University of Nebraska-Kearney.

Judge Richard Anderson
Judge Richard Anderson

"I am honored to be asked to serve with the Supreme Court for this case," Anderson said. "The Supreme Court has a very important responsibility in our system of justice, and I look forward to this experience."

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

The case Anderson will hear is the first one scheduled on the Supreme Court's 9 a.m. docket Tuesday, May 3:

Appeal No. No. 111,651: Steckline Communications v. Journal Broadcast Group of Kansas, Inc.

Sedgwick County: (Petition for Review) Steckline Communications, Inc., owns and operates a business known as Mid America Ag Network (MAAN), which produces and distributes news and information programming for broadcast over various radio stations. Steckline acquired MAAN's name, image, and business assets in 2005. Journal Broadcast owns six radio stations. Steckline provided content to some of these stations pursuant to the terms of a settlement agreement entered into by Journal and MAAN in 2003. Steckline filed a breach of contract action against Journal for damages caused by Journal's termination of the settlement agreement. The district court dismissed the case on the grounds that Steckline lacked standing to bring such a suit. Issues on review are whether Steckline has standing and was properly assigned MANN's rights in the settlement agreement and whether the district court erred in denying Steckline's motion for partial summary judgment on the issue of Journal's liability for breach of contract.


NEWS RELEASE: April 25, 2016

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

Nominating commission seeks candidates
for district magistrate judge vacancy in 25th judicial district

TOPEKA—The 25th Judicial District Nominating Commission is seeking candidates to fill a district magistrate judge vacancy in Hamilton County.

The 25th judicial district includes Finney, Greeley, Hamilton, Kearny, Scott, and Wichita counties. The position is stationed in Hamilton County.

Justice Dan Biles, the Supreme Court departmental justice responsible for the 25th judicial district, said nominees can apply or be recommended, but recommendations must come on a nomination form and include the nominee's signature.

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

Applications must be accompanied by a nomination form available from the clerk of the district court office in Finney, Greeley, Hamilton, Kearny, Scott, and Wichita counties, or online at www.kscourts.org under What's New.

Completed nomination forms and supporting letters must be received by noon (CST) Friday, June 10, by:

William I. Heydman
Heydman Law, LLC
1519 East Fulton Terrace
P.O. Box 2010
Garden City, KS 67846

The nominating commission will convene at 9 a.m. (MST) Tuesday, June 28, 2016, at the Hamilton County Courthouse, 219 North Main, in Syracuse, to interview candidates and appoint a district magistrate judge. Interviews are open to the public.

The 25th Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Dan Biles as the nonvoting chair; Lucille R. Douglas, Gene H. Gaede, William I. Heydman, John M. Lindner, Gerald O. Schultz, and Thomas M. Walker of Garden City; Robert H. Gale Jr. and Timothy C. Kohart of Syracuse; Ralph T. Goodnight of Lakin; Ann Wiles of Leoti; Christine Cupp of Scott City; and Brian F. Reuber of Tribune.


NEWS RELEASE: April 20, 2016

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
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New attorneys take state and federal oaths in April 22 ceremony

TOPEKA — Successful applicants to the February 2016 Kansas bar examination will be sworn in as Kansas attorneys in one of two ceremonies at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Friday, April 22, in the Supreme Court courtroom at the Kansas Judicial Center, 301 SW 10th Avenue, in Topeka.

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

Doug Shima, clerk of the Kansas Supreme Court, will administer the state oath and Megan Garrett, deputy clerk for the U.S. District Court, will administer the federal oath.

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

List of attorneys.


NEWS RELEASE: April 8, 2016

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
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785-296-4872
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Richard Ross, appellate reporter of decisions, to retire June 3

TOPEKA — After more than 40 years with the Kansas judicial branch, Richard Ross will hang up his editing pencil June 3 and retire from his job as the Supreme Court's official reporter, a position he has had since the court was still located in the Statehouse.

Ross says what he will miss most are the people.

Richard Ross
Richard Ross

"The judicial branch has been a great place to work," he said. "Everyone is professional and works hard. It's also a very friendly environment."

Ross was hired as second assistant to the official reporter in 1975, right after he graduated law school. Eighteen months later, in January 1978, he was named the official reporter by then Chief Justice Alfred Schroeder.

At just 28 years old, Ross is pretty sure he was the youngest reporter ever appointed, although he said he hasn't done the research to prove it. However, when he answered the call from the reporter of decisions for the U.S. Supreme Court to help develop a professional organization for reporters, he said, "I was easily the youngest person in the room." He is the last charter member to still belong to the Association of Reporters of Judicial Decisions.

When he published his first Kansas Reports, a bound volume of Supreme Court decisions, he dedicated it to his predecessor, William A. Dumars, to recognize him for publishing 60 volumes — 163 through 222 — which Ross deemed "a record accomplishment, since no previous Supreme Court Reporter published more than 36 volumes."

When Ross retires June 3, he will have published 81 volumes of the Kansas Reports and started volume 82. Volumes bearing Ross' name number 223 through 303. He can also take credit for 51 volumes of Kansas Court of Appeals Reports, numbered 2 through 52.

Chief Justice Lawton Nuss said that Ross exemplifies what it means to be a constitutional officer, a person who holds a position established by the Kansas Constitution.

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

"He has done an outstanding job for more than 40 years making sure the thousands of appellate courts' opinions are consistent in legal citation, style and clarity," he said.

Ross has worked for 57 Supreme Court justices and Court of Appeals judges, including eight chief justices and eight chief judges. He also can say he worked in both the Statehouse and the Kansas Judicial Center, where the appellate courts moved in September 1978.

Ross was present for the cornerstone ceremony in 1976 and he visited the building site many times during its construction, with a specific interest in watching progress on the Justice statue in the building's atrium. It was being carved from marble harvested from Cararra, Italy, a place he visited on a 10-week backpack trip across Europe before he started law school.

His longstanding interest in art led him to form many connections in the art community, especially after he started the Mulvane Art Fair in Topeka in 1993. Those connections were helpful when he was approached by Chief Justice Nuss to help make improvements to the conference room where the Supreme Court justices meet to discuss cases and to welcome guests.

"I was asked to find art by Kansas artists, so I made a few contacts," Ross said.

One contact he made was with the Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery in Lindsborg, which has offered paintings on two-year loans at no cost. Other galleries and artists have offered pieces on loan as well.

"He did a superb job helping us transform our conference room into one we are proud to share with visitors, all at no cost to the taxpayer." Nuss said. "We are going to miss Richard, but we wish him the very best."


NEWS RELEASE: April 7, 2016

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

Daniel D. Creitz reappointed chief judge of 31st judicial district

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss announced today the Supreme Court has reappointed Judge Daniel D. Creitz to a two-year term as chief judge of the 31st judicial district, effective February 1, 2016, to December 31, 2017.

Creitz has served as a district judge in the 31st judicial district since May 2002. He presides over cases in Allen, Neosho, Wilson, and Woodson counties.

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

"We are glad that Judge Creitz agreed to serve another two years as chief judge, providing continuity in capable leadership in the 31st judicial district," said Lawton R. Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.

Judge Daniel D. Creitz
Judge Daniel D. Creitz

"I am honored to serve another term as chief judge and humbly accept this reappointment," Creitz said. "I am grateful to be of service to the people of my district doing work I love."

Creitz is a native of Iola and graduated from Iola High School, Allen County College, Emporia State University, and Washburn University School of Law.

Each of Kansas' 31 judicial districts has a chief judge who, in addition to his or her judicial responsibilities, has general control over case assignments within the district, as well as general supervisory authority over the administrative and clerical functions of the court.



NEWS RELEASE: April 7, 2016

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

Larry Solomon reappointed chief judge of 30th judicial district

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss announced today the Supreme Court has reappointed Judge Larry T. Solomon to a two-year term as chief judge of the 30th judicial district, effective February 1, 2016, to December 31, 2017.

Solomon has served as district judge in the 30th judicial district since 1989. He presides over cases primarily in Kingman and Harper Counties, and hears conflict cases in Sumner, Pratt, and Barber counties.

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

"We are glad that Judge Solomon agreed to serve another two years as chief judge, providing continuity in capable leadership in the 30th judicial district," said Lawton R. Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.

Judge Larry T. Solomon
Judge Larry T. Solomon

"I am honored that the Supreme Court has enough confidence in me to appoint me to another term as chief judge of the 30th judicial district," Solomon said. "I will continue to work on behalf of the judges, court staff and residents of this district to ensure fair, efficient operation of courts in Kingman, Harper, Barber, Pratt and Sumner counties."

Solomon is a native of Wichita and graduated from Wichita State University and Washburn University School of Law. After graduating from law school, he joined Paul Wunsch and Bob Wunsch in their law practice in Kingman.

Each of Kansas' 31 judicial districts has a chief judge who, in addition to his or her judicial responsibilities, has general control over case assignments within the district, as well as general supervisory authority over the administrative and clerical functions of the court.



NEWS RELEASE: April 7, 2016

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

Wayne Lampson reappointed chief judge of 29th judicial district

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss announced today the Supreme Court has reappointed Judge Wayne Lampson to a two-year term as chief judge of the 29th judicial district, effective February 1, 2016, to December 31, 2017.

Lampson has served as a district judge in the 29th judicial district since 1995. He presides over cases in Wyandotte County.

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

"We are glad that Judge Lampson agreed to serve another two years as chief judge, providing continuity in capable leadership in the 29th judicial district," said Lawton R. Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.

Judge Wayne Lampson
Judge Wayne Lampson

"I am honored to continue serving as chief judge for the 29th judicial district," Lampson said. "I look forward to working with all members of the court to better serve the people of Kansas."

Lampson is a native of Kansas and graduated from Emporia State University and the University of Tulsa School of Law. Before being appointed to the bench, Lampson served as the Wyandotte County counselor, worked in both the district attorney's office and the city attorney's office, and was in private practice in Wyandotte County.

Each of Kansas' 31 judicial districts has a chief judge who, in addition to his or her judicial responsibilities, has general control over case assignments within the district, as well as general supervisory authority over the administrative and clerical functions of the court.



NEWS RELEASE: April 7, 2016

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

Rene Young reappointed chief judge of 28th judicial district

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss announced today the Supreme Court has reappointed Judge Rene Young to a two-year term as chief judge of the 28th judicial district, effective February 1, 2016, to December 31, 2017.

Young has served as a district judge in the 28th judicial district since 2006. She presides over cases in Saline and Ottawa counties.

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

"We are glad that Judge Young agreed to serve another two years as chief judge, providing continuity in capable leadership in the 28th judicial district," said Lawton R. Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.

Judge Rene Young
Judge Rene Young

"I appreciate the Supreme Court's confidence in me to continue serving as chief judge in the 28th judicial district," Young said.

Before becoming a judge, Young practiced law in Salina for 20 years. She is a graduate of Washburn University School of Law. Before law school, she worked as a registered nurse in the intensive care unit at Asbury Hospital.

Each of Kansas' 31 judicial districts has a chief judge who, in addition to his or her judicial responsibilities, has general control over case assignments within the district, as well as general supervisory authority over the administrative and clerical functions of the court.



NEWS RELEASE: April 7, 2016

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

Patricia Macke Dick reappointed chief judge of 27th judicial district

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss announced today the Supreme Court has reappointed Judge Patricia Macke Dick to a two-year term as chief judge of the 27th judicial district, effective February 1, 2016, to December 31, 2017.

Macke Dick has served as district judge in the 27th judicial district since 1989. The 27th judicial district consists of Reno County.

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

"We are glad that Judge Macke Dick agreed to serve another two years as chief judge, providing continuity in capable leadership in the 27th judicial district," said Lawton R. Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.

Judge Patricia Macke Dick
Judge Patricia Macke Dick

"I appreciate the confidence in me Chief Justice Nuss has shown by appointing me to serve another term," Macke Dick said. "I will do so with dedication to maintaining the quality of the courts in Reno County and all of Kansas."

Macke Dick is a native of Plainville and a graduate of Kansas State University and the University of Kansas School of Law.

Each of Kansas' 31 judicial districts has a chief judge who, in addition to his or her judicial responsibilities, has general control over case assignments within the district, as well as general supervisory authority over the administrative and clerical functions of the court.



NEWS RELEASE: April 7, 2016

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

Bradley Ambrosier reappointed chief judge of 26th judicial district

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss announced today the Supreme Court has reappointed Judge Bradley Ambrosier to a two-year term as chief judge of the 26th judicial district, effective February 1, 2016, to December 31, 2017.

Ambrosier has served as district judge in the 26th judicial district since 2009. He presides over cases in Grant, Haskell, Morton, Seward, Stanton, and Stevens counties.

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

"We are glad that Judge Ambrosier agreed to serve another two years as chief judge, providing continuity in capable leadership in the 26th judicial district," said Lawton R. Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.

Judge Bradley Ambrosier
Judge Bradley Ambrosier

"It is an honor and privilege to serve as chief judge. Our current judges and judicial staff are incredibly hard working, dedicated people who make the job of chief judge very easy," Ambrosier said. "The people of this judicial district are very fortunate to have such wonderful people working so hard to provide justice to all in this district."

Judge Ambrosier is a native of Hill City. He graduated from Norton Community High School, Kansas State University and Washburn University School of Law. Before becoming a judge, he was a partner in the firm of Yoxall, Antrim, Yoxall, and Ambrosier until 1999. Then he became a partner in Graybill, Witcher, and Ambrosier in Elkhart.

Each of Kansas' 31 judicial districts has a chief judge who, in addition to his or her judicial responsibilities, has general control over case assignments within the district, as well as general supervisory authority over the administrative and clerical functions of the court.



NEWS RELEASE: April 7, 2016

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

Wendel Wurst reappointed chief judge of 25th judicial district

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss announced today the Supreme Court has reappointed Judge Wendel W. Wurst to a two-year term as chief judge of the 25th judicial district, effective February 1, 2016, to December 31, 2017.

Wurst has served as district judge in the 25th judicial district since 2009. He presides over cases in Finney, Kearny, Hamilton, Greeley, Wichita, and Scott counties.

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

"We are glad that Judge Wurst agreed to serve another two years as chief judge, providing continuity in capable leadership in the 25th judicial district," said Lawton R. Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.

Judge Wendel W. Wurst
Judge Wendel W. Wurst

"I know most chief judges throughout the state and I am honored to be counted among such fine public servants," Wurst said. "Frankly, the chief judge position is a tedious, thankless job made easier by the leadership of the Supreme Court and our district's departmental justice, Dan Biles, and by the incredible help from knowledgeable folks at the Office of Judicial Administration. The judicial system in Kansas, despite all our challenges, continues to serve Kansans well and I am proud to be a part of it."

Wurst is a native of Sterling and graduated from Kansas State University and Kansas University School of Law. He enjoyed a diverse, general law practice in Garden City for 29 years before becoming a judge.

Each of Kansas' 31 judicial districts has a chief judge who, in addition to his or her judicial responsibilities, has general control over case assignments within the district, as well as general supervisory authority over the administrative and clerical functions of the court.



NEWS RELEASE: April 7, 2016

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

Bruce Gatterman reappointed chief judge of 24th judicial district

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss announced today the Supreme Court has reappointed Judge Bruce Gatterman to a two-year term as chief judge of the 24th judicial district, effective February 1, 2016, to December 31, 2017.

Gatterman has served as district judge in the 24th judicial district since 2003. He presides over cases in Edwards, Hodgeman, Lane, Ness, Pawnee, and Rush counties.

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

"We are glad that Judge Gatterman agreed to serve another two years as chief judge, providing continuity in capable leadership in the 24th judicial district," said Lawton R. Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.

Judge Bruce Gatterman
Judge Bruce Gatterman

"I am pleased to accept my reappointment as chief judge," Gatterman said. "I look forward to continuing a positive working relationship with the Kansas Supreme Court, and I welcome the opportunity to provide administrative and judicial service for the 24th judicial district."

Gatterman is a native of Lewis, Kansas, and a long-time resident of Larned. He graduated from Kansas State University and Washburn University School of Law.

Each of Kansas' 31 judicial districts has a chief judge who, in addition to his or her judicial responsibilities, has general control over case assignments within the district, as well as general supervisory authority over the administrative and clerical functions of the court.



NEWS RELEASE: April 7, 2016

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

James Patton reappointed chief judge of 22nd judicial district

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss announced today the Supreme Court has reappointed Judge James Patton to a two-year term as chief judge of the 22nd judicial district, effective February 1, 2016, to December 31, 2017.

Patton has served as district judge in the 22nd judicial district since January 1995. He presides over cases in Doniphan, Brown, Nemaha, and Marshall counties.

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

"We are glad that Judge Patton agreed to serve another two years as chief judge, providing continuity in capable leadership in the 22nd judicial district," said Lawton R. Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.

Judge James Patton
Judge James Patton

"I appreciate the opportunity to serve the people of the 22nd judicial district during this time of transition to electronic filing in our courts," Patton said. "I look forward to working with the Kansas Supreme Court, our valuable and dedicated employees, and the county commissions to implement the new system and to continue to provide prompt, efficient, and fair service to the people of this district."

Patton is a native of Hiawatha and graduated from Hiawatha High School, Kansas State University, and Washburn University School of Law. He retired from the Kansas Army National Guard, where he served in the 2/130 FA BN and the Judge Advocate General Corps.

Each of Kansas' 31 judicial districts has a chief judge who, in addition to his or her judicial responsibilities, has general control over case assignments within the district, as well as general supervisory authority over the administrative and clerical functions of the court.



NEWS RELEASE: April 7, 2016

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

Meryl Wilson reappointed chief judge of 21st judicial district

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss announced today the Supreme Court has reappointed Judge Meryl D. Wilson to a two-year term as chief judge of the 21st judicial district, effective February 1, 2016, to December 31, 2017.

Wilson has served as district judge in the 21st judicial district since April 1997. He presides over cases in Clay and Riley counties.

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

"We are glad that Judge Wilson agreed to serve another two years as chief judge, providing continuity in capable leadership in the 21st judicial district," said Lawton R. Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.

Judge Meryl D. Wilson
Judge Meryl D. Wilson

"It is my honor to serve as chief judge and I am pleased by the Supreme Court's continued confidence in me," Wilson said. "And I am especially proud to continue serving the people of my district."

Wilson is a graduate of Kansas State University and Washburn University School of Law. He had a private law practice in Manhattan from 1974 until 1997, when he became a judge. He attended the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada, and has served as president of the Kansas District Judges Association. Before he was a judge, Wilson was a Big 8 basketball official from 1983 to 1994.

Each of Kansas' 31 judicial districts has a chief judge who, in addition to his or her judicial responsibilities, has general control over case assignments within the district, as well as general supervisory authority over the administrative and clerical functions of the court.



NEWS RELEASE: April 7, 2016

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

Mike Keeley reappointed chief judge of 20th judicial district

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss announced today the Supreme Court has reappointed Judge Mike Keeley to a two-year term as chief judge of the 20th judicial district, effective February 1, 2016, to December 31, 2017.

Keeley has served as district judge in the 20th judicial district since January 1993. He presides over cases in Barton, Ellsworth, Rice, Russell, and Stafford counties.

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

"We are glad that Judge Keeley agreed to serve another two years as chief judge, providing continuity in capable leadership in the 20th judicial district," said Lawton R. Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.

Judge Mike Keeley
Judge Mike Keeley

"I want to thank all the individuals I work with on a daily basis in my duties as chief judge," Keeley said. "The amount of time our court personnel, county commissioners, law enforcement, and all others spend doing their day-to-day jobs is greatly appreciated. Their combined efforts allow for an efficient and productive judicial system."

Keeley is a native of Larned. He graduated from Washburn University School of Law.

Each of Kansas' 31 judicial districts has a chief judge who, in addition to his or her judicial responsibilities, has general control over case assignments within the district, as well as general supervisory authority over the administrative and clerical functions of the court.



NEWS RELEASE: April 7, 2016

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

Nicholas St. Peter reappointed chief judge of 19th judicial district

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss announced today the Supreme Court has reappointed Judge Nicholas M. St. Peter to a two-year term as chief judge of the 19th judicial district, effective February 1, 2016, to December 31, 2017.

St. Peter has served as district judge in the 19th judicial district since 2004. He presides over cases in Cowley County.

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

"We are glad that Judge St. Peter agreed to serve another two years as chief judge, providing continuity in capable leadership in the 19th judicial district," said Lawton R. Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.

Judge Nicholas M. St. Peter
Judge Nicholas M. St. Peter

"I am honored to serve as chief judge and I appreciate the help and support I receive from my fellow judges and staff in our district," St. Peter said. "I also feel fortunate to have support from the Supreme Court and the Office of Judicial Administration."

St. Peter is a native of Winfield and graduated from Fort Hays State University and Washburn University School of Law.

Each of Kansas' 31 judicial districts has a chief judge who, in addition to his or her judicial responsibilities, has general control over case assignments within the district, as well as general supervisory authority over the administrative and clerical functions of the court.



NEWS RELEASE: April 7, 2016

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

James Fleetwood reappointed chief judge of 18th judicial district

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss announced today the Supreme Court has reappointed Judge James Fleetwood to a two-year term as chief judge of the 18th judicial district, effective February 1, 2016, to December 31, 2017.

Fleetwood has served as district judge in the 18th judicial district since 2009. He presides over cases in Sedgwick County.

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

"We are glad that Judge Fleetwood agreed to serve another two years as chief judge, providing continuity in capable leadership in the 18th judicial district," said Lawton R. Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.

Judge James Fleetwood
Judge James Fleetwood

"During the last seven years as chief judge, the 18th judicial district has been a leader in technology development for the court and efficiency in effectively managing personnel," Fleetwood said. "I am grateful for the opportunity to continue directing these efforts. I appreciate the support of the local judges and the Supreme Court."

Fleetwood is a long-term resident of Kansas and graduated from the Washburn University School of Law. He had an active law career in private and corporate practice before he was elected to the bench in 1997.

Each of Kansas' 31 judicial districts has a chief judge who, in addition to his or her judicial responsibilities, has general control over case assignments within the district, as well as general supervisory authority over the administrative and clerical functions of the court.



NEWS RELEASE: April 7, 2016

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

Preston Pratt reappointed chief judge of 17th judicial district

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss announced today the Supreme Court has reappointed Judge Preston Pratt to a two-year term as chief judge of the 17th judicial district, effective February 1, 2016, to December 31, 2017.

Pratt has served as district judge in the 17th judicial district since 2011. He presides over cases in Decatur, Norton, Phillips, Smith, Graham, and Osborne counties.

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

"We are glad that Judge Pratt agreed to serve another two years as chief judge, providing continuity in capable leadership in the 17th judicial district," said Lawton R. Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.

Judge Preston Pratt
Judge Preston Pratt

"I am honored to continue to serve the people of the 17th judicial district as their chief judge," said Pratt.

Pratt is a native of Oakley and graduated from Oakley High School, the University of Kansas, and the University of Kansas School of Law.

Each of Kansas' 31 judicial districts has a chief judge who, in addition to his or her judicial responsibilities, has general control over case assignments within the district, as well as general supervisory authority over the administrative and clerical functions of the court.



NEWS RELEASE: April 7, 2016

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

Van Hampton reappointed chief judge of 16th judicial district

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss announced today the Supreme Court has reappointed Judge Van Hampton to a two-year term as chief judge of the 16th judicial district, effective February 1, 2016, to December 31, 2017.

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

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

"We are glad that Judge Hampton agreed to serve another two years as chief judge, providing continuity in capable leadership in the 16th judicial district," said Lawton R. Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.

Judge Van Hampton
Judge Van Hampton

"I am pleased for the opportunity to continue serving as chief judge," Hampton said. "It is my privilege to work in this district with some of the finest judges, staff, and clerks, as well as with some of the best attorneys in the state. We have a culture of mutual respect and professionalism in our pursuit of justice here, and it is my intention to continue that tradition."

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

Each of Kansas' 31 judicial districts has a chief judge who, in addition to his or her judicial responsibilities, has general control over case assignments within the district, as well as general supervisory authority over the administrative and clerical functions of the court.



NEWS RELEASE: April 7, 2016

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

Glenn Schiffner reappointed chief judge of 15th judicial district

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss announced today the Supreme Court has reappointed Judge Glenn Schiffner to a two-year term as chief judge of the 15th judicial district, effective February 1, 2016, to December 31, 2017.

Schiffner has served as district judge in the 15th judicial district since 1993. He presides over cases in Thomas, Sherman, Logan, Sheridan, Rawlins, Cheyenne, and Wallace counties.

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

"We are glad that Judge Schiffner agreed to serve another two years as chief judge, providing continuity in capable leadership in the 15th judicial district," said Lawton R. Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.

Judge Glenn Schiffner
Judge Glenn Schiffner

"I am pleased to be afforded the opportunity to continue performing the duties of chief judge of the 15th judicial district," Schiffner said.

Schiffner is a native of Colby and graduated from Kansas State University and Washburn University School of Law School.

Each of Kansas' 31 judicial districts has a chief judge who, in addition to his or her judicial responsibilities, has general control over case assignments within the district, as well as general supervisory authority over the administrative and clerical functions of the court.



NEWS RELEASE: April 7, 2016

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

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

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss announced today the Supreme Court has reappointed Judge F. William Cullins to a two-year term as chief judge of the 14th judicial district, effective February 1, 2016, to December 31, 2017.

Cullins has served as district judge in the 14th judicial district since 2006. He presides over cases in Chautauqua and Montgomery counties.

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

"We are glad that Judge Cullins agreed to serve another two years as chief judge, providing continuity in capable leadership in the 14th judicial district," said Lawton R. Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.

Judge F. William Cullins
Judge F. William Cullins

"I am honored to serve another term as chief judge," Cullins said. "I appreciate the Supreme Court's faith in me and I look forward to meeting the challenges the job presents."

Cullins is a native of Caney. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Law. Before becoming a judge, he was Montgomery County attorney, Coffeyville city prosecutor, and he worked in a private law practice.

Each of Kansas' 31 judicial districts has a chief judge who, in addition to his or her judicial responsibilities, has general control over case assignments within the district, as well as general supervisory authority over the administrative and clerical functions of the court.



NEWS RELEASE: April 7, 2016

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

David Ricke reappointed chief judge of 13th judicial district

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss announced today the Supreme Court has reappointed Judge David Ricke to a two-year term as chief judge of the 13th judicial district, effective February 1, 2016, to December 31, 2017.

Ricke has served as district judge in the 13th judicial district since 2004. He presides over cases in Butler, Greenwood, and Elk counties.

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

"We are glad that Judge Ricke agreed to serve another two years as chief judge, providing continuity in capable leadership in the 13th judicial district," said Lawton R. Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.

Judge David Ricke
Judge David Ricke

"I am grateful for the opportunity to continue as chief judge and to work with this district's outstanding employees who serve the people of this state with dedication and distinction," Ricke said. We face many challenges, which we see as opportunities to improve our local court system and make it the best that it can be."

Ricke has lived in Rose Hill for 30 years. He is a graduate of Wichita State University and the University of Kansas School of Law.

Each of Kansas' 31 judicial districts has a chief judge who, in addition to his or her judicial responsibilities, has general control over case assignments within the district, as well as general supervisory authority over the administrative and clerical functions of the court.



NEWS RELEASE: April 7, 2016

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

Kim Cudney reappointed chief judge of 12th judicial district

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss announced today the Supreme Court has reappointed Judge Kim W. Cudney to a two-year term as chief judge of the 12th judicial district, effective February 1, 2016, to December 31, 2017.

Cudney has served as district judge in the 12th judicial district since 2006. She presides over cases in Cloud, Jewell, Lincoln, Mitchell, Republic, and Washington counties.

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

"We are glad that Judge Cudney agreed to serve another two years as chief judge, providing continuity in capable leadership in the 12th judicial district," said Lawton R. Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.

Judge Kim W. Cudney
Judge Kim W. Cudney

"It is an honor to serve as chief district judge for the 12th judicial district," Cudney said. "We strive to provide access to justice to all individuals and business entities that are in need of the court's services."

Cudney is a native of Greenleaf and graduated from Kansas State University and Washburn University School of Law. She served as a research attorney for the Kansas Supreme Court and the U.S. District Court. She had a private law practice in Washington, Kansas, where she also served as county attorney before becoming a judge.

Each of Kansas' 31 judicial districts has a chief judge who, in addition to his or her judicial responsibilities, has general control over case assignments within the district, as well as general supervisory authority over the administrative and clerical functions of the court.



NEWS RELEASE: April 7, 2016

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

A.J. Wachter reappointed chief judge of 11th judicial district

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss announced today the Supreme Court has reappointed Judge A.J. Wachter to a two-year term as chief judge of the 11th judicial district, effective February 1, 2016, to December 31, 2017.

Wachter has served as district judge in the 11th judicial district since 2002. He presides over cases in Crawford, Cherokee, and Labette counties.

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

"We are glad that Judge Wachter agreed to serve another two years as chief judge, providing continuity in capable leadership in the 11th judicial district," said Lawton R. Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.

Judge A.J. Wachter
Judge A.J. Wachter

"I appreciate the Supreme Court's reappointment of me as chief judge of the 11th judicial district," Wachter said. "I will make every effort to ensure their vote of confidence in me was not misplaced."

Wachter is a native of Pittsburg and graduated from St. Mary's High School, Kansas State College of Pittsburg, and Washburn University School of Law.

Each of Kansas' 31 judicial districts has a chief judge who, in addition to his or her judicial responsibilities, has general control over case assignments within the district, as well as general supervisory authority over the administrative and clerical functions of the court.



NEWS RELEASE: April 7, 2016

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

Kevin Moriarty reappointed chief judge of 10th judicial district

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss announced today the Supreme Court has reappointed Judge Kevin Moriarty to a two-year term as chief judge of the 10th judicial district, effective February 1, 2016, to December 31, 2017.

Moriarty has served as district judge in the 10th judicial district since 2004. He presides over criminal cases, and previously served as a civil judge, in Johnson County.

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

"We are glad that Judge Moriarty agreed to serve another two years as chief judge, providing continuity in capable leadership in the 10th judicial district," said Lawton R. Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.

Judge Kevin Moriarty
Judge Kevin Moriarty

"It is an honor and privilege to serve as chief judge for the 10th judicial district. I am fortunate to have an excellent group of judges and staff to work with each day. They are all true public servants who work very hard to serve our district," Moriarty said.

Moriarty is a native of Topeka and graduated from Washburn University and the Washburn University School of Law. He also earned a Master's in Public Administration from University of Kansas.

Each of Kansas' 31 judicial districts has a chief judge who, in addition to his or her judicial responsibilities, has general control over case assignments within the district, as well as general supervisory authority over the administrative and clerical functions of the court.



NEWS RELEASE: April 7, 2016

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

Joe Dickinson reappointed chief judge of 9th judicial district

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss announced today the Supreme Court has reappointed Judge Joe Dickinson to a two-year term as chief judge of the 9th judicial district, effective February 1, 2016, to December 31, 2017.

Dickinson has served as district judge in the 9th judicial district since 2002. He presides over cases in Harvey and McPherson counties.

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

"We are glad that Judge Dickinson agreed to serve another two years as chief judge, providing continuity in capable leadership in the 9th judicial district," said Lawton R. Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.

Judge Joe Dickinson
Judge Joe Dickinson

"I am honored to accept the Supreme Court's reappointment," Dickinson said. "I look forward to serving the interests of justice and striving to improve our legal system in these challenging times."

Dickinson is a native of Hoyt and he graduated from Washburn University and Washburn University School of Law. Before entering law school, he worked as a psychologist for the Menninger Foundation. After law school, he worked in a Newton law practice and as a solo practitioner.

Each of Kansas' 31 judicial districts has a chief judge who, in addition to his or her judicial responsibilities, has general control over case assignments within the district, as well as general supervisory authority over the administrative and clerical functions of the court.



NEWS RELEASE: April 7, 2016

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

Michael Powers reappointed chief judge of 8th judicial district

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss announced today the Supreme Court has reappointed Judge Michael Powers to a two-year term as chief judge of the 8th judicial district, effective February 1, 2016, to December 31, 2017.

Powers has served as district judge in the 8th judicial district since 1991. He presides over cases in Geary, Dickinson, Marion, and Morris counties.

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

"We are glad that Judge Powers agreed to serve another two years as chief judge, providing continuity in capable leadership in the 8th judicial district," said Lawton R. Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.

Judge Michael Powers
Judge Michael Powers

"I have enjoyed serving as chief judge of the 8th judicial district, which has outstanding judges, clerks, probation officers and support staff, who are dedicated to serving the public even in the most challenging times," Powers said. "I look forward to continuing to work with them and the great people in the four counties of this district."

Powers is a native of Yates Center and graduated from Emporia State University and the University Of Kansas School Of Law. He practiced law in Council Grove and was Morris County attorney before becoming a district judge.

Each of Kansas' 31 judicial districts has a chief judge who, in addition to his or her judicial responsibilities, has general control over case assignments within the district, as well as general supervisory authority over the administrative and clerical functions of the court.



NEWS RELEASE: April 7, 2016

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

Robert Fairchild reappointed chief judge of 7th judicial district

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss announced today the Supreme Court has reappointed Judge Robert Fairchild to a two-year term as chief judge of the 7th judicial district, effective February 1, 2016, to December 31, 2017.

Fairchild has served as district judge in the 7th judicial district since 1996 and as chief judge since 2002. He presides over cases in Douglas County.

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

"We are glad that Judge Fairchild agreed to serve another two years as chief judge, providing continuity in capable leadership in the 7th judicial district," said Lawton R. Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.

Judge Robert Fairchild
Judge Robert Fairchild

"I am pleased to be asked to serve an additional term as chief judge for the 7th judicial district," Fairchild said. "I am fortunate to work with great judicial colleagues and an excellent court staff."

Fairchild is a native of Prairie Village and graduated from Texas Tech University and the University Of Kansas School Of Law. He practiced law in Lawrence for 23 years before becoming a district judge.

Each of Kansas' 31 judicial districts has a chief judge who, in addition to his or her judicial responsibilities, has general control over case assignments within the district, as well as general supervisory authority over the administrative and clerical functions of the court.



NEWS RELEASE: April 7, 2016

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

Amy Harth reappointed chief judge of 6th judicial district

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss announced today the Supreme Court has reappointed Judge Amy Harth to a two-year term as chief judge of the 6th judicial district, effective February 1, 2016, to December 31, 2017.

Harth has served as district judge in the 6th judicial district since 2004. The 6th judicial district includes Bourbon, Linn, and Miami counties.

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

"We are glad that Judge Harth agreed to serve another two years as chief judge, providing continuity in capable leadership in the 6th judicial district," said Lawton R. Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.

Judge Amy Harth
Judge Amy Harth

"I am honored by the Supreme Court's faith in me and I look forward to continuing to work with the judges and court staff of our judicial district to serve our communities," Harth said.

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

Each of Kansas' 31 judicial districts has a chief judge who, in addition to his or her judicial responsibilities, has general control over case assignments within the district, as well as general supervisory authority over the administrative and clerical functions of the court.



NEWS RELEASE: April 7, 2016

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

Merlin Wheeler reappointed chief judge of 5th judicial district

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss announced today the Supreme Court has reappointed Judge Merlin Wheeler to a two-year term as chief judge of the 5th judicial district, effective February 1, 2016, to December 31, 2017.

Wheeler has served as district judge in the 5th judicial district since 1990 and as chief judge since 1998. He presides over cases in Lyon and Chase counties.

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

"We are glad that Judge Wheeler agreed to serve another two years as chief judge, providing continuity in capable leadership in the 5th judicial district," said Lawton R. Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.

Judge Merlin Wheeler
Judge Merlin Wheeler

"I appreciate the continuing support of the Supreme Court and fellow judges represented by this appointment," Wheeler said. "Our goal has always been to efficiently, effectively provide dispute resolution services needed by the people of Kansas and we look forward to continuing to do so in the coming months and years, even when faced with expected and unexpected challenges."

Wheeler is a graduate of Emporia State University and Washburn University School of Law. He served as city attorney for Emporia and was in private practice there. He has served as an assigned judge for both the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.

Each of Kansas' 31 judicial districts has a chief judge who, in addition to his or her judicial responsibilities, has general control over case assignments within the district, as well as general supervisory authority over the administrative and clerical functions of the court.



NEWS RELEASE: April 7, 2016

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

Phillip Fromme reappointed chief judge of 4th judicial district

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss announced today the Supreme Court has reappointed Judge Phillip Fromme to a two-year term as chief judge of the 4th judicial district, effective February 1, 2016, to December 31, 2017.

Fromme has served as district judge in the 4th judicial district since 1996. He presides over cases in Anderson, Coffey, Franklin, and Osage counties.

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

"We are glad that Judge Fromme agreed to serve another two years as chief judge, providing continuity in capable leadership in the 4th judicial district," said Lawton R. Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.

Judge Phillip Fromme
Judge Phillip Fromme

"I appreciate the confidence shown in me by the Supreme Court, and the employees and judges of the 4th judicial district," Fromme said "I look forward to serving the people of my district for another two years."

Fromme lives in Burlington and is a graduate of Washburn University and Washburn University School of Law.

Each of Kansas' 31 judicial districts has a chief judge who, in addition to his or her judicial responsibilities, has general control over case assignments within the district, as well as general supervisory authority over the administrative and clerical functions of the court.



NEWS RELEASE: April 7, 2016

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

Evelyn Wilson reappointed chief judge of 3rd judicial district

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss announced today the Supreme Court has reappointed Judge Evelyn Wilson to a two-year term as chief judge of the 3rd judicial district, effective February 1, 2016, to December 31, 2017.

Wilson has served as a district judge in the 3rd judicial district since 2004. She presides over cases in Shawnee County.

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

"We are glad that Chief Judge Wilson agreed to serve another two years as chief judge, providing continuity in capable leadership in the 3rd judicial district," said Lawton R. Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.

Judge Evelyn Wilson
Judge Evelyn Wilson

"I look forward to serving another term as chief judge of the 3rd judicial district," Wilson said. "I appreciate the confidence the Supreme Court has shown me by this appointment, and I appreciate the support I've received from the other judges in my district."

Wilson is from Smith Center and a graduate of Bethany College and Washburn Law School. She practiced law in northwest Kansas and Topeka before becoming a judge.

Each of Kansas' 31 judicial districts has a chief judge who, in addition to his or her judicial responsibilities, has general control over case assignments within the district, as well as general supervisory authority over the administrative and clerical functions of the court.



NEWS RELEASE: April 7, 2016

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

Gary Nafziger reappointed chief judge of 2nd judicial district

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss announced today the Supreme Court has reappointed Judge Gary Nafziger to a two-year term as chief judge of the 2nd judicial district, effective February 1, 2016, to December 31, 2017.

Nafziger has served as a district judge in the 2nd judicial district since 1982. He presides over cases in Jefferson, Jackson, Wabaunsee, and Pottawatomie counties.

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

"We are glad that Judge Nafziger agreed to serve another two years as chief judge, providing continuity in capable leadership in the 2nd judicial district," said Lawton R. Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.

Judge Gary Nafziger
Judge Gary Nafziger

"I am honored for the opportunity to serve as chief judge and I look forward to working with the Supreme Court and everyone within the 2nd judicial district," Nafziger said.

Each of Kansas' 31 judicial districts has a chief judge who, in addition to his or her judicial responsibilities, has general control over case assignments within the district, as well as general supervisory authority over the administrative and clerical functions of the court.




NEWS RELEASE: April 7, 2016

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

David King reappointed chief judge of 1st judicial district

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss announced today the Supreme Court has reappointed Judge David King to a two-year term as chief judge of the 1st judicial district, effective February 1, 2016, to December 31, 2017.

King has served as district judge in the 1st judicial district since 1986. He presides over cases in Leavenworth and Atchison counties.

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

"We are glad that Judge King agreed to serve another two years as chief judge, providing continuity in capable leadership in the 1st judicial district," said Lawton R. Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.

Judge David King
Judge David King

"I am honored to be reappointed to serve another term as chief judge of the 1st judicial district," King said. "I am committed to ensuring fair and timely disposition of the court's work, as are all the judges and court personnel in our district."

Each of Kansas' 31 judicial districts has a chief judge who, in addition to his or her judicial responsibilities, has general control over case assignments within the district, as well as general supervisory authority over the administrative and clerical functions of the court.




NEWS RELEASE: March 30, 2016

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

Supreme Court announces cases for April 12 special session
at Hiawatha High School

TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court announced the two cases it will hear April 12 at Hiawatha High School, the next destination in the court's ongoing outreach to familiarize Kansans with the high court, its work, and the overall role of the Kansas judiciary.

It will be the Supreme Court's first visit to Hiawatha in the court's 155-year history and it will be the fourth time for the court to hear cases in the evening. The court's first evening session was in April 2015 in Hays and it drew a record crowd of nearly 700 people. Crowds numbering in the hundreds came to subsequent evening sessions in Garden City in fall 2015 and Topeka in March.

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

"The Supreme Court extends a personal invitation to the people of Hiawatha and surrounding communities to come see the court in action," said Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss. "We've provided live webcasts of our courtroom sessions in Topeka since 2012, but people tell us there's nothing like seeing proceedings in person."

The court will be in session from 6:30 p.m. to about 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 12, in the auditorium of Hiawatha High School at 600 Red Hawk Drive in Hiawatha.

The docket includes:

Appeal No. 111,375: State of Kansas v. Luther Johnson. Johnson appeals his convictions and sentence for first-degree murder and aggravated burglary in Wyandotte County District Court. He contends the district court erroneously omitted jury instructions, excluded relevant evidence, denied his motions for continuance and new trial, and imposed an unconstitutional sentence.

Appeal No. 109,864: Willis L. Armstrong and Stephanie J. Prohaska v. Bromley Quarry & Asphalt, Inc., et al. In this Atchison County case, Armstrong and Prohaska seek to resolve their claim that Bromley Quarry & Asphalt trespassed and mined rock from their part of the quarry without permission. Bromley stipulated to mining some rock between 2009 and 2011, but denies moving other rock. The parties also disagree on damages owed.

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

The public is invited to attend the proceedings and observe the court as it hears oral arguments. After the session concludes, the justices will greet the public in an informal reception in the Hiawatha High School commons area.

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

  • Do not bring food or drink.
  • Do not bring large bags, large purses, backpacks, computer cases, or briefcases.
  • Do not bring knives, pepper spray, firearms, or weapons.
  • Do not bring electronic devices like laptop computers, handheld games, personal digital assistants, or tablets. If you have to carry a cell phone, it must be turned off or its ringer silenced, and it must be stored out of sight while court is in session.

Audience members are prohibited from talking during oral arguments because it interferes with the attorneys' remarks and questions asked by the justices. If someone arrives after proceedings start, or must leave the auditorium before it ends, he or she should be as quiet as possible entering and exiting the auditorium. Talking immediately outside the auditorium is also discouraged.

Hiawatha High School is the court's 11th destination since 2011, when the court convened outside of the Kansas Judicial Center to mark the state sesquicentennial. Stops in 2011 included the historic Supreme Court courtroom in the Capitol, and locations in Salina, Greensburg, and Wichita. The court visited Overland Park in 2012, Pittsburg in 2013, Kansas City in 2014, Hays and Garden City in 2015, and Topeka in March 2016.


NEWS RELEASE: March 28, 2016

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

Supreme Court appoints Doug Shima clerk of appellate courts

TOPEKA — The Kansas Supreme Court announced today that it has appointed Douglas T. Shima to be clerk of the appellate courts at the judicial center in Topeka effective March 28.

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

Shima has served as the interim appellate clerk since the middle of January, and he has been with the judicial branch since 1995.

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

"Over the last few months, Mr. Shima has demonstrated both proficiency and enthusiasm performing the duties of the appellate clerk in an evolving work environment," said Chief Justice Lawton Nuss. "We believe his experience and tenacity will be valuable as we continue to move all of our state courts toward a fully integrated, electronic court environment through our eCourt project."

When complete, the eCourt project will merge electronic document filing already used in most Kansas courts with a centralized case management system, uniting all court case information and business processes on a single platform. Electronic case filing in the appellate courts became mandatory November 2, 2015.

Douglas T.  Shima
Douglas T. Shima

"During my 20 years with the courts, I have seen firsthand the judiciary's commitment to the law and to justice for the people of Kansas, so I am especially honored to serve as clerk of the appellate courts," Shima said. "I am also grateful that I work with a great team of dedicated staff who strive to provide exceptionally professional service to any and all who come into contact with the appellate clerk's office."

Shima has been with the appellate courts since 1995, first as a research attorney for the Court of Appeals and then as chambers counsel for Judge G. Joseph Pierron Jr., who sits on the Court of Appeals. He graduated from Washburn University School of Law, where he served as Washburn Law Journal staff, received the Order of the Barristers Award from the Washburn Moot Court Council, and received American Jurisprudence Awards for legal research and writing, and in constitutional law.

He is a member of the Sam A. Crow American Inn of Court and is its current secretary/treasurer. He also is a member of the Kansas Bar Association and the Topeka Bar Association, which awarded him the Outstanding Young Lawyer Award in 1997 and the Hon. E. Newton Vickers Professionalism Award in 2014.

Shima is a longtime volunteer for Meals on Wheels of Shawnee County, where he currently organizes two corporate routes. He is a past president of the organization's board of directors, and he was given the Reuter Award for Distinguished Service to Meals on Wheels in 2013.

Shima and his wife, Michelle, live in Topeka with their daughter and two sons.

In addition to processing cases for the appellate courts, the clerk's office is responsible for conducting bar examinations, keeping records of admissions to the Kansas bar, and attorney registration. The clerk is also secretary for the Commission on Judicial Qualifications, the Client Protection Fund Commission, the Kansas Board of Law Examiners, and the Supreme Court Nominating Commission.

The clerk's office also conducts elections for lawyer members of the Supreme Court Nominating Commission and elections for lawyer members of the District Judicial Nominating Commissions in 17 of the state's 31 judicial districts.

The clerk of the appellate courts is responsible for conducting certified court reporter examinations, granting certificates of eligibility for certified court reporters, and registering certified court reporters.


NEWS RELEASE: March 10, 2016

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

Supreme Court to conduct special evening session April 12 at Hiawatha High School

TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court will conduct a special evening session at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 12, at Hiawatha High School as part of its ongoing outreach to familiarize Kansans with the high court, its work, and the overall role of the Kansas judiciary.

The court will be in session from 6:30 p.m. to about 8 p.m. in the auditorium of Hiawatha High School at 600 Red Hawk Drive in Hiawatha.

It will be the Supreme Court's first visit to Hiawatha in the court's 155-year history and it will be the fourth time for the court to hear cases in the evening. The court's first evening session was in April 2015 in Hays and it drew a record crowd of nearly 700 people. An evening session in Garden City in October 2015 drew about 500 people. A third evening March 9 in Topeka also drew a crowd numbering in the hundreds.

The public is invited to attend the April 12 special session to observe the court as it hears oral arguments in two cases to be announced prior to April. After the hearing concludes, the justices will greet the public in an informal reception in the school's commons area.

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

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

The Supreme Court's has conducted several special sessions outside its Topeka courtroom since 2011 and they regularly draw crowds numbering in the hundreds.

In 2011, the court marked the state sesquicentennial by convening in a special session in the historic Supreme Court courtroom in the Kansas Statehouse. From there, and through the end of 2011, the court conducted special sessions in Salina, Greensburg, and Wichita. The court held sessions in Overland Park in 2012, Pittsburg in 2013, Kansas City in 2014, Hays in April 2015, and Garden City in October 2015.


NEWS RELEASE: March 7, 2016

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

Kansas Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments March 15 in Leavenworth

TOPEKA—A three-judge panel of the Kansas Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments Tuesday, March 15, at the University of Saint Mary DePaul Library, 4100 S. 4th Street, Leavenworth.

Judges Karen Arnold-Burger, Henry W. Green Jr. and Steve Leben will hear oral argument in six criminal cases at dockets that convene at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The panel will also decide 12 cases without argument based on the parties' written submissions.

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

Judge Karen Arnold-Burger
Judge Karen Arnold-Burger

"We look forward to the opportunity to visit a place as rich in Kansas history as Leavenworth. An integral part of that history is the University of St. Mary. We plan to meet with students to discuss the work of the Kansas courts and to discuss the role fair and impartial courts play in our democracy," Arnold-Burger said.

Arnold-Burger added that in addition to making the court accessible to more Kansans, hearing cases around the state saves money for the parties.

Oral Arguments

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

The appeals to be heard in Leavenworth arose in Wyandotte and Johnson counties. In addition to the Court of Appeals panel hearing cases this week in Leavenworth, other three-judge panels of the Court of Appeals will be hearing cases in Wichita and Topeka. All hearings are open to the public.

There are 14 judges on the Court of Appeals, and the judges sit in three-judge panels to decide cases. In fiscal year 2015, the Court of Appeals resolved appeals in 1,978 cases, including 1,340 in which the court issued a formal written opinion.

The six cases to be heard in Leavenworth are summarized as follows:

9 a.m. Tuesday, March 15, 2016

No. 113,071 State of Kansas v. Choncey Allen Stamps, appeal from Wyandotte County

A jury convicted Stamps of interfering with law enforcement, felon in possession of a firearm, and possession of cocaine. On appeal, Stamps argues that his convictions must be reversed for three reasons. First, Stamps argues that the trial court erroneously allowed inadmissible hearsay into evidence, which resulted in reversible error because it violated his Sixth Amendment right to confront his accusers. Second, Stamps argues that the trial court erred when it denied his motion to suppress the cocaine seized from his car because the police illegally seized and searched his car. Third, Stamps argues that the state violated his due process rights by failing to disclose exculpatory evidence in violation of the United States Supreme Court's holding in Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 83 S. Ct. 1194, 10 L. Ed. 2d 215 (1963).

9:45 a.m. Tuesday, March 15, 2016

No. 113,211 State of Kansas v. Ian Woolverton, appeal from Johnson County

In August 2014, police responded to a domestic disturbance in a Johnson County home. After interviewing those involved, police arrested Ian Woolverton for misdemeanor domestic battery. Woolverton was found guilty of the charge after trying his case before a judge. Woolverton appealed his conviction, arguing that he was denied the right to a jury trial. He argues that misdemeanor domestic battery is a serious offense and that, because of this, he had a constitutional right to a jury trial, which he did not waive. The state argues, however, that because misdemeanor domestic battery is not punishable by more than six months in prison, both Kansas Supreme Court and United States Supreme Court precedent hold that it is a petty offense, that is not guaranteed the right to a jury trial under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution or Section 5 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights. Woolverton also argues that he did not knowingly and intelligently waive his statutory right to jury trial and asks the court to remand his case for a new trial.

10:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 15, 2016

No. 113,175 State of Kansas v. Jesse Stephen Steffens, appeal from Johnson County

Steffens pled guilty to two counts of felony theft. At sentencing, the district court ordered Steffens to serve 34 months in prison and to pay restitution for some of the stolen goods. Specifically, the district court found that the amount of restitution owed was $62,076.80, but ordered repayment of only $2,400 with the caveat that the prisoner review board could increase that amount at the time of Steffens release from prison if it found that Steffens' financial circumstances had changed and he was able to pay more. Steffens now appeals arguing that (1) the sentence was illegal because it authorized the prisoner review board to increase the amount of restitution; and (2) the district court abused its discretion when it ordered Steffens to pay $2,400 in restitution because Steffens did not have the financial means to pay even that limited amount.

1:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 15, 2016

No. 113,434 State of Kansas v. Jacky R. Lasseter, appeal from Wyandotte County

In 2012, J.L. told her counselor that Jacky Lasseter had touched her private area in 2007 when she was 9. A jury ultimately convicted Lasseter of aggravated indecent liberties with a child under age 14. During the trial, Lasseter's attorney sought to cross-examine J.L.'s mother about why J.L. was in counseling, including about past issues of parental drug abuse and domestic violence and J.L.'s conviction for shoplifting. The district court determined that J.L.'s reasons for being in counseling were not relevant to the case and limited Lasseter's attorney from asking about them. On appeal, Lasseter argues that the district court's ruling violated his fundamental right to present a defense because his attorney was prevented from exploring J.L.'s motivation to fabricate allegations of sexual abuse. The state contends that the district court's ruling did not prevent Lasseter from establishing his theory of defense that J.L. fabricated the allegations.

2:15 p.m. Tuesday, March 15, 2016

No. 112,573 State of Kansas v. Daniel Barlett, appeal from Wyandotte County

When Daniel "Devil Boy" Barlett's musical group broke up, tensions between him and the group's cofounder, Chad "Creepy Face" Ford, ran high. One morning, people from each side of this dispute fought outside the municipal courthouse, with the altercation bubbling over into a low-speed car chase. After Barlett and a cousin joined the chase, gunfire was exchanged, and Barlett's cousin shot and killed Ford. At trial, Barlett asked that the district court instruct the jury on self-defense and add language to the instruction on aiding and abetting his cousin, but the district court denied these requests. Later, during jury deliberations, Barlett asked for a mistrial when a video failed to play correctly, but the district court determined that the playback error did not prejudice him. The jury convicted him of criminal discharge of a firearm. On appeal, Barlett argues that the district court decided the jury instruction and mistrial issues incorrectly. He also contends that the district court needed to give an additional jury instruction and that the prosecutor committed misconduct by misstating the law during closing arguments.

3 p.m. Tuesday, March 15, 2016

No. 112,589 State of Kansas v. Jamond Miller, appeal from Wyandotte County

Jamond Miller appeals his jury trial convictions for one count of aggravated robbery and one count of aggravated battery. On appeal, Miller raises two issues involving the jury instructions. First, Miller argues that the trial court failed to instruct the jury with the applicable definition of "knowingly" committing the aggravated battery. The state concedes the trial court's error but argues it was harmless. Second, Miller contends that the trial court failed to give the lesser included offense instruction of reckless aggravated battery. And finally, Miller maintains that the trial court erred in using his criminal history to increase his sentence without proving it to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt.


NEWS RELEASE: February 25, 2016

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

Judge Ricke of 13th judicial district to sit with Kansas Supreme Court March 2

TOPEKA — Chief Judge David A. Ricke of the 13th judicial district has been appointed to sit with the Kansas Supreme Court to hear oral arguments in one case on the court's 9 a.m. docket Wednesday, March 2.

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

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

"I am pleased that Chief Judge Ricke is taking time from his duties in the 13th judicial district to sit with the Supreme Court," said Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss. "It's a great help to our court and we look forward to his contributions deliberating this case."

Ricke has served as district judge in the 13th judicial district since 2004. He presides over cases in Butler, Greenwood, and Elk counties.

Judge David A. Ricke
Judge David A. Ricke

"I am truly honored to have this opportunity to sit with our state's highest court," Ricke said. "I look forward to what promises to be a very interesting experience, as well as to the challenges presented by the case."

Ricke has lived in Rose Hill for 30 years. He is a graduate of Wichita State University and the University of Kansas School of Law.

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

The case Ricke will hear is the first one scheduled on the Supreme Court's 9 a.m. docket Wednesday, March 2:

Appeal No. 113,732: Doug Garber Construction, Inc. v. Michael S. King, in his capacity as Secretary of Transportation

Douglas County: (Civil Appeal) The Kansas Department of Transportation undertook a highway improvement project that necessitated acquiring a .51 acre tract owed by Doug Garber Construction, Inc. The court-appointed appraisers awarded $105,000 to Garber Construction and the secretary paid the appraisers' award to the district court clerk. In discovery, Garber produced an expert report that concluded the value of the land was between $1,795,600 and $3,352,825. Berniece Garber, president of Garber Construction also intended to offer her opinion testimony as to value. Ms. Garber gave her opinion that the value of the parcel was between $40 million and $347 million. The district court, at trial, prohibited Garber Construction's opinion testimony, other than opinion testimony on the value of the parcel based on a 2012 contract for the sale of the parcel—which valued it at $750,000. The case went to trial and the jury found the property worth $112,000 at the time of taking. Garber Construction appeals. Issues on appeal are whether the district court erred in not allowing the plaintiff's expert to testify and whether the district court erred in limiting the testimony of Berniece Garber as to what she believed was the value of the property.


NEWS RELEASE: February 25, 2016

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

Judge Harth of 6th judicial district to sit with Kansas Supreme Court March 1

TOPEKA — Chief Judge Amy Harth of the 6th judicial district has been appointed to sit with the Kansas Supreme Court to hear oral arguments in one case on the court's 9 a.m. docket Tuesday, March 1.

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

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

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

"I am so glad Chief Judge Harth is taking time from her duties in the 6th judicial district to sit with the Supreme Court," said Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss. "It's a great help to our court and we look forward to her contributions deliberating this case."

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

Chief Judge Harth
Chief Judge Amy Harth

"Our Supreme Court has a tremendous responsibility to the people of Kansas and I am honored to be appointed to help decide this important matter," Harth said. "I look forward to the experience of sitting with the court."

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

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

The case Harth will hear is the first one scheduled on the Supreme Court's 9 a.m. docket Tuesday, March 1:

Appeal No. 110,656: Byron T. Wiechman v. Mark Huddleston

Sedgwick County: (Petition for Review) Wiechman filed a petition with the district court alleging personal injuries stemming from a car accident. In accordance with local practice, Wiechman notified the district court that the case had been settled and would not proceed. The district court then entered an administrative order dismissing the case. The proposed settlement was not completed and Wiechman never received a settlement check. Wiechman filed a motion to set aside the court's order of dismissal and for reinstatement of his personal injury case. The district court granted Wiechman's motion to set aside the dismissal over Huddleston's objection. Huddleston sought an interlocutory appeal. The Court of Appeals found that it did not have jurisdiction to hear the appeal of a non-final order. The court further found that since Huddleston did not take steps to certify the issue for interlocutory appeal, the appeal had to be dismissed. The Supreme Court granted Huddleston's petition for review. Issues on review are whether the appellate panel's decision: 1) directly conflicts with controlling Kansas Supreme Court cases that recognize the jurisdictional exception; 2) improperly expanded this court's opinion in the Park City case and errantly applied that analysis to this case; and, 3) directly conflicts with the decision of another appellate panel that applied the jurisdictional exception after the Park City case was decided.


NEWS RELEASE: February 23, 2016

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

Supreme Court announces cases for March 9 special session
at Topeka High School

TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court announced the two cases it will hear March 9 at Topeka High School, its next destination in the court's ongoing outreach to familiarize Kansans with the high court, its work, and the overall role of the Kansas judiciary.

It will be the Supreme Court's first visit to Topeka High School in the court's 155-year history and it will be the third time for the court to hear cases in the evening. The court's first evening session was in April 2015 in Hays and it drew a record crowd of nearly 700 people. About 500 people showed up for the court's second evening session in October 2015 in Garden City.

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

"The Supreme Court extends a personal invitation to the people of Topeka and surrounding communities to come see the court in action," said Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss. "Even though we routinely hear cases in Topeka, most people have never watched a court session because it conflicts with their work schedules. This opportunity is for you."

The court will be in session from 6:30 p.m. to about 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 9, in the auditorium of Topeka High School at 800 SW 10th Avenue in Topeka.

The docket includes:

Appeal No. 110,610: Ron Keiswetter, et al v. State of Kansas. This is a case that originated in Norton County that seeks to establish that the state was negligent, and is therefore liable, for the death of Helen Keiswetter, who sustained injuries when she was barricaded in a closet by Christopher Zorn, a minimum security inmate at Norton Correctional Facility who entered Keiswetter's home after walking away from a work detail.

Appeal No. 111,398: State of Kansas v. Spencer Gifts, LLC. This is a case that originated in Johnson County that seeks to establish that the district court misapplied the speedy trial provision to a limited liability company. Spencer Gifts was charged with class B misdemeanors of promotion of obscenity harmful to minors. In response to a summons from the prosecution, Spencer Gifts' counsel appeared in court in 2010 and entered a not guilty plea on behalf of the company. In 2014, Spencer Gifts filed a motion to dismiss the case because its right to a speedy trial had been violated and the district court judge agreed. The state argues the speedy trial provision does not apply to a limited liability company. The issue whether Spencer Gifts was promoting obscenity harmful to minors is not a subject of this appeal.

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

The public is invited to attend the proceedings and observe the court as it hears oral arguments. After the session concludes, the justices will greet the public in an informal reception in the Topeka High School cafeteria.

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

  • Do not bring food or drink.
  • Do not bring large bags, large purses, backpacks, computer cases, or briefcases.
  • Do not bring knives, pepper spray, firearms, or weapons.
  • Do not bring electronic devices like laptop computers, handheld games, personal digital assistants, or tablets. If you have to carry a cell phone, it must be turned off or its ringer silenced, and it must be stored out of sight while court is in session.

Audience members are prohibited from talking during oral arguments because it interferes with the attorneys' remarks and questions asked by the justices. If someone arrives after proceedings start, or must leave the auditorium before it ends, he or she should be as quiet as possible entering and exiting the auditorium. Talking immediately outside the auditorium is also discouraged.

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

Topeka High School is the court's tenth destination since 2011, when the court convened outside of the Kansas Judicial Center to mark the state sesquicentennial. Its first stop was the historic Supreme Court courtroom in the Capitol. From there, the court conducted special sessions in Salina, Greensburg, and Wichita. The court visited Overland Park in 2012, Pittsburg in 2013, Kansas City in 2014, and Hays and Garden City in 2015.


NEWS RELEASE: February 11, 2016

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

Kansas Supreme Court issues decision in equity portion of school funding case
No. 113,267: Luke Gannon, et al v. State of Kansas, et al

TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court today issued its decision in Gannon v. State of Kansas, a dispute over K-12 public education financing. The high court affirmed the ruling of a three-judge district court panel that the state had failed to correct unconstitutional inequities in Kansas' school funding system. The court stayed the issuance of its mandate until June 30, 2016, effectively extending the time for the state to correct the inequities. The court also dismissed from the suit State Treasurer Ron Estes and former Secretary of Administration Jim Clark and denied the plaintiffs' request for attorney fees.

The plaintiffs are four school districts that sued the state in November 2010. Each district lost funding beginning in fiscal year 2009 after the Legislature eliminated capital outlay state aid and reduced appropriations for base state aid per pupil and supplemental general state aid. The school districts claimed these actions violated the education article of the people's Constitution—Article 6—which requires the Legislature to "make suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of the state."

In a decision issued March 7, 2014, the Supreme Court clarified that Article 6 contains both adequacy and equity components. In other words, the Legislature must provide enough funds to ensure public school students receive a constitutionally adequate education and must distribute those funds in a way that does not result in unreasonable wealth-based disparities among districts. Today's decision addresses only the school districts' equity claims; their adequacy claims are currently on hold.

In its March 2014 decision, the Supreme Court concluded the Legislature created unconstitutional funding disparities among districts when it withheld capital outlay state aid payments and reduced supplemental general state aid payments owed to certain districts in fiscal years 2010, 2011, and 2012. The court returned the case to Shawnee County District Court and ordered the three-judge panel to review any legislative response for compliance with the people's Constitution.

During its 2015 session, the Legislature amended the school funding system for fiscal year 2015 by revising the formulas for capital outlay state aid and supplemental general state aid. These changes resulted in a loss of about $54 million to lower-property wealth districts receiving the aid, while wealthier districts without need of the aid lost no funding. For fiscal years 2016 and 2017, the Legislature repealed the existing system and enacted a block grant funding system that essentially froze school funding at 2015 levels.

The district court panel determined this 2015 legislation did not cure the unconstitutional inequities, and the Supreme Court affirmed that ruling today. The court determined that the legislative reductions actually increased wealth-based disparities among districts because they widened the gap between those districts receiving the aid and those without a need for it.

The court retained jurisdiction to review any legislation enacted in response to its ruling.

Note to media: Documents related to this case are available online at
http://www.kscourts.org/kansas-courts/supreme-court/Cases_of_interest/Cases/113267/default.asp.


NEWS RELEASE: February 8, 2016

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

David Holt recognized for dedicated service in annual State of the Kansas Judiciary
address

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss recognized Court Reporter David Holt in his State of the Kansas Judiciary address delivered February 3 in the Supreme Court courtroom in Topeka to an audience of Kansas legislators, judicial branch employees and key constituent groups.

"The judicial branch is fortunate to employ so many faithful professionals who have dedicated their entire careers to providing Kansans fair and impartial courts," said Nuss. "It is my pleasure to recognize a few, like David Holt, who is just one example of the state's many judicial branch employees committed to public service."

Holt has been a court reporter in Sedgwick County for 43 years.

David Holt
David Holt

"Chief Justice Nuss' recognition of my 43 years as an official court reporter in the state of Kansas by extending an invitation to hear his State of the Judiciary address on February 3 was greatly appreciated and indeed a very high honor. Being seated next to Mrs. Nuss during the Chief's interesting and very informative address was an additional honor." said Holt.

The Kansas judicial branch is made up of one Supreme Court, one Court of Appeals, and more than 100 district courts. Its courts employ more than 250 judges and 1,600 court administrators, court clerks, court reporters, court services officers, and other support staff in communities all across Kansas. Together, they process nearly 400,000 cases a year such as criminal, civil, juvenile, probate, child in need of care, domestic, traffic, and adoptions.

A video recording of the Chief Justice's 2016 State of the Kansas Judiciary is available online at www.kscourts.org/court-administration/publications.asp.


NEWS RELEASE: February 8, 2016

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

Darla Engel recognized for dedicated service in annual State of the Kansas Judiciary
address

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss recognized Clerk of the District Court Darla Engel in his State of the Kansas Judiciary address delivered February 3 in the Supreme Court courtroom in Topeka to an audience of Kansas legislators, judicial branch employees and key constituent groups.

"The judicial branch is fortunate to employ so many faithful professionals who have dedicated their entire careers to providing Kansans fair and impartial courts," said Nuss. "It is my pleasure to recognize a few, like Darla Engel, who is just one example of the state's many judicial branch employees committed to public service."

Engel has been a clerk of the district court in Norton County for 39 years.

Darla Engel
Darla Engel

"Attending the State of Kansas Judiciary address and the recognition for 39 years of service to the State of Kansas Judicial Branch is a privilege. Reflecting on all the changes in those years and the variety of judicial and non-judicial staff I have worked with makes it clear to me that the Judicial Branch has employed dedicated and hardworking employees. It is an honor to be recognized as a member of this group," said Engel.

The Kansas judicial branch is made up of one Supreme Court, one Court of Appeals, and more than 100 district courts. Its courts employ more than 250 judges and 1,600 court administrators, court clerks, court reporters, court services officers, and other support staff in communities all across Kansas. Together, they process nearly 400,000 cases a year such as criminal, civil, juvenile, probate, child in need of care, domestic, traffic, and adoptions.

A video recording of the Chief Justice's 2016 State of the Kansas Judiciary is available online at www.kscourts.org/court-administration/publications.asp.


NEWS RELEASE: February 5, 2016

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

Tom Whitworth recognized for dedicated service in annual State of the Kansas Judiciary
address

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss recognized Probation Officer Tom Whitworth in his State of the Kansas Judiciary address delivered February 3 in the Supreme Court courtroom in Topeka to an audience of Kansas legislators, judicial branch employees and key constituent groups.

"The judicial branch is fortunate to employ so many faithful professionals who have dedicated their entire careers to providing Kansans fair and impartial courts," said Nuss. "It is my pleasure to recognize a few, like Tom Whitworth, who is just one example of the state's many judicial branch employees committed to public service."

Whitworth, an Army veteran, has been a probation officer in Johnson County and is part of the new Veterans Treatment Court for the 10th judicial district.

Tom Whitworth
Tom Whitworth

"I have been a Kansas court services officer in Johnson County for 17 years. My caseload has been primarily domestic violence offenses. During that time I have worked with Safehome, and served on several Community Violence Action Council committees. I am presently the community supervision officer for Veterans Treatment Court. I consider this to be a highlight of my career, and I feel very privileged to do so," said Whitworth.

The Kansas judicial branch is made up of one Supreme Court, one Court of Appeals, and more than 100 district courts. Its courts employ more than 250 judges and 1,600 court administrators, court clerks, court reporters, court services officers, and other support staff in communities all across Kansas. Together, they process nearly 400,000 cases a year such as criminal, civil, juvenile, probate, child in need of care, domestic, traffic, and adoptions.

A video recording of the Chief Justice's 2016 State of the Kansas Judiciary is available online at www.kscourts.org/court-administration/publications.asp.


NEWS RELEASE: February 5, 2016

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

Patty Nurnberg recognized for dedicated service in annual State of the Kansas Judiciary
address

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss recognized Administrative Assistant Patty Nurnberg in his State of the Kansas Judiciary address delivered February 3 in the Supreme Court courtroom in Topeka to an audience of Kansas legislators, judicial branch employees and key constituent groups.

"The judicial branch is fortunate to employ so many faithful professionals who have dedicated their entire careers to providing Kansans fair and impartial courts," said Nuss. "It is my pleasure to recognize a few, like Patty Nurnberg, who is just one example of the state's many judicial branch employees committed to public service."

Nurnberg has been an administrative assistant for 32 years in the 5th judicial district, composed of Chase and Lyon counties.

Patty Nurnberg
Patty Nurnberg

"It has been my privilege and pleasure to have worked with so many hardworking people in the 5th judicial district for so many years. In spite of furloughs, denial of COLA, and staff shortages, all of our personnel – clerks, probation officers, court reporters, administrative staff, and judges – have served the public with dedication and integrity. Working 18 years in the Chase County District Court and 13 years in the Lyon County District Court has been an honor for me," said Nurnberg.

The Kansas judicial branch is made up of one Supreme Court, one Court of Appeals, and more than 100 district courts. Its courts employ more than 250 judges and 1,600 court administrators, court clerks, court reporters, court services officers, and other support staff in communities all across Kansas. Together, they process nearly 400,000 cases a year such as criminal, civil, juvenile, probate, child in need of care, domestic, traffic, and adoptions.

A video recording of the Chief Justice's 2016 State of the Kansas Judiciary is available online at www.kscourts.org/court-administration/publications.asp.


NEWS RELEASE: February 5, 2016

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

Sarah Mays recognized for dedicated service in annual State of the Kansas Judiciary
address

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss recognized Chief Court Services Officer Sarah Mays in his State of the Kansas Judiciary address delivered February 3 in the Supreme Court courtroom in Topeka to an audience of Kansas legislators, judicial branch employees and key constituent groups.

"The judicial branch is fortunate to employ so many faithful professionals who have dedicated their entire careers to providing Kansans fair and impartial courts," said Nuss. "It is my pleasure to recognize a few, like Sarah Mays, who is just one example of the state's many judicial branch employees committed to public service."

Mays has been a court services officer in Shawnee County for 39 years.

Sarah Mays
Sarah Mays

"I became a probation officer because I wanted to make a difference in the lives of children and families involved in the juvenile justice system. I hope I have done that. As a longtime judicial branch employee, I'd like the public to know probation officers are dedicated public servants who assist in keeping our communities safe and in equipping offenders with the skills to become productive law abiding citizens. We are proud to be part of the judicial branch and of the contributions we all make in our communities and the State." said Mays.

The Kansas judicial branch is made up of one Supreme Court, one Court of Appeals, and more than 100 district courts. Its courts employ more than 250 judges and 1,600 court administrators, court clerks, court reporters, court services officers, and other support staff in communities all across Kansas. Together, they process nearly 400,000 cases a year such as criminal, civil, juvenile, probate, child in need of care, domestic, traffic, and adoptions.

A video recording of the Chief Justice's 2016 State of the Kansas Judiciary is available online at www.kscourts.org/court-administration/publications.asp.


NEWS RELEASE: February 5, 2016

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

Judge Daniel Duncan recognized for dedicated service in annual State of the Kansas
Judiciary

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss recognized District Judge Daniel Duncan in his State of the Kansas Judiciary address delivered February 3 in the Supreme Court courtroom in Topeka to an audience of Kansas legislators, judicial branch employees and key constituent groups. "The judicial branch is fortunate to employ so many faithful professionals who have dedicated entire careers to providing Kansans fair and impartial courts," said Nuss. "It is my pleasure to recognize a few, like Judge Daniel Duncan, who is just one example of the state's many judges committed to public service."

Duncan has been a district judge in the 29th judicial district, composed of Wyandotte County, for 27 years.

Judge Daniel Duncan
Judge Daniel Duncan

"It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the citizens of Wyandotte County as one of their judges for the last 27 years. I am thankful for the opportunity to be of service to the community and grateful for the trust in my abilities they have displayed by returning me to office for seven terms." said Duncan.

The Kansas judicial branch is made up of one Supreme Court, one Court of Appeals, and more than 100 district courts. Its courts employ more than 250 judges and 1,600 court administrators, court clerks, court reporters, court services officers, and other support staff in communities all across Kansas. Together, they process nearly half a million criminal, civil and traffic cases a year.

A video recording of the 2016 State of the Kansas Judiciary is available online at www.kscourts.org/court-administration/publications.asp.


NEWS RELEASE: February 5, 2016

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

Judge David Casement recognized for dedicated service in annual State of the Kansas
Judiciary address

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss recognized District Magistrate Judge David Casement in his State of the Kansas Judiciary address delivered February 3 in the Supreme Court courtroom in Topeka to an audience of Kansas legislators, judicial branch employees and key constituent groups.

"The judicial branch is fortunate to employ so many faithful professionals who have dedicated their entire careers to providing Kansans fair and impartial courts," said Nuss. "It is my pleasure to recognize a few, like Judge David Casement, who is just one example of the state's many judges committed to public service."

Casement has been a district magistrate judge in the 14th judicial district, composed of Chautauqua and Montgomery counties, for 24 years.

Judge David Casement
Judge David Casement

"It has been a privilege to serve the citizens of the 14th judicial district for over 24 years and it was an honor to be recognized by the Chief Justice for that service. The Kansas judicial branch employs hundreds of equally deserving judges and support staff and they all deserve and appreciate an occasional pat on the back," said Casement.

The Kansas judicial branch is made up of one Supreme Court, one Court of Appeals, and more than 100 district courts. Its courts employ more than 250 judges and 1,600 court administrators, court clerks, court reporters, court services officers, and other support staff in communities all across Kansas. Together, they process nearly 400,000 cases a year such as criminal, civil, juvenile, probate, child in need of care, domestic, traffic, and adoptions.

A video recording of the Chief Justice's 2016 State of the Kansas Judiciary is available online at www.kscourts.org/court-administration/publications.asp.


NEWS RELEASE: February 3, 2016

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

Supreme Court to conduct special evening session March 9 at Topeka High School

TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court announced today it will conduct a special evening session at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 9, at Topeka High School as part of its ongoing outreach to familiarize Kansans with the high court, its work, and the overall role of the Kansas judiciary.

The court will be in session from 6:30 p.m. to about 8 p.m. in the auditorium of Topeka High School at 800 SW 10th Avenue in Topeka.

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

"The Supreme Court has conducted special sessions in communities all across Kansas, but this is our first evening session in Topeka," said Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss. "We chose Topeka High School for its historical significance in our community, although we would be honored to visit any of the Topeka area high schools."

The public is invited to attend the special session to observe the court as it hears oral arguments in cases to be announced prior to March. After the hearing concludes, the justices will greet the public in an informal reception in the school's cafeteria.

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

The Supreme Court's has conducted several special sessions outside its Topeka courtroom since 2011 and the sessions regularly draw crowds numbering in the hundreds. The court's first evening session in Hays in spring 2015 drew an estimated 700 people, and a crowd estimated to number 500 attended an evening session in Garden City in October 2015.

In 2011, the court marked the state sesquicentennial by convening in a special session in the historic Supreme Court courtroom in the Kansas Statehouse. From there, and through the end of 2011, the court conducted special sessions in Salina, Greensburg, and Wichita. The court held sessions in Overland Park in 2012, Pittsburg in 2013, Kansas City in 2014, Hays in April 2015, and Garden City in October 2015.


NEWS RELEASE: January 26, 2016

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

Judge Hornbaker of 8th judicial district to sit with Kansas Supreme Court January 28

TOPEKA — Judge Steven L. Hornbaker of the 8th judicial district has been appointed to sit with the Kansas Supreme Court to hear oral arguments in one case on the court's 9 a.m. docket Thursday, January 28.

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

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

"I am pleased that Judge Hornbaker is taking time from his duties in the 8th judicial district to sit with the Supreme Court," said Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss. "It's a great help to our court and we look forward to his contributions deliberating this case."

Hornbaker has been a judge for 16 years in the 8th judicial district, which is made up of Dickinson, Geary, Marion, and Morris counties.

Judge Steven L. Hornbaker
Judge Steven L. Hornbaker

"I am honored to be asked to sit with the Supreme Court to hear this important case," Hornbaker said. "I have great respect for our Supreme Court and am thrilled to have this opportunity."

Before becoming a judge, Hornbaker practiced law in Junction City for 27 years. He is a graduate of Washburn University School of Law School, and he has been married to his wife, Sue, for 38 years. They have one son, Andy.

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

The case Hornbaker will hear is the first one scheduled on the Supreme Court's 9 a.m. docket Thursday, January 28:

Appeal No. 112,008: Sierra Club v. Susan Mosier, M.D., in her official capacity as Secretary of Kansas Department of Health and Environment, et al.

Kansas Department of Health and Environment: This is an administrative appeal from orders made in response to Sunflower Electric Cooperative's application for a permit to construct a generating unit in Holcomb. Sierra Club now seeks a review of the supplemental administrative order issued by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment that would authorize Sunflower to build an 895-megawatt coal-fired electric generating unit and associated equipment in Holcomb. At KDHE's request, the appeal was transferred to the Kansas Supreme Court for direct review.

Issues on appeal are whether KDHE may issue a permit without: 1) ensuring that it will comply with all existing national ambient air quality standards; 2) adequate emissions limits for hazardous air pollutants; and, 3) emissions limits for greenhouse gases.


NEWS RELEASE: January 22, 2016

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

Court of Appeals issues decision in case involving 2015 abortion law

TOPEKA—An equally divided Kansas Court of Appeals issued its decision today in the appeal from a temporary injunction granted by a Shawnee County district judge barring the enforcement of a law passed by the 2015 Kansas Legislature that places restrictions on a procedure commonly used in second-term abortions.

The plaintiffs, Herbert C. Hodes, M.D., and Traci Lynn Nauser, M.D., sought to prevent the new law from taking effect July 1, 2015.

When an appellate court is equally divided, the judgment of the lower court is affirmed. In this case, seven appellate judges voted in favor of affirming the district court's order and seven voted in favor of reversing it. As a result, the district court's order granting the temporary injunction is affirmed.

In granting the temporary injunction, the district court ruled, for the first time in a Kansas court, that the Kansas Constitution provides a right to an abortion independent of the right found in the United States Constitution. The district court also ruled that the plaintiffs established a substantial likelihood of success on their claim that the new law violates their patients' right to abortion protected by the Kansas Constitution.

The Court of Appeals heard the case en banc, meaning that all 14 judges on the court participated in deciding the appeal. In today's ruling, the equally divided appellate court upheld the district court's temporary injunction.

In an opinion authored by Judge Steve Leben, six judges agreed with the district court that the Kansas Constitution provides the same protection for abortion rights as the United States Constitution. These judges also found there is a substantial likelihood that the new Kansas law is unconstitutional, so the district court properly granted the temporary injunction. In a concurring opinion, Judge G. Gordon Atcheson also agreed that the district court's temporary injunction should be upheld.

In an opinion authored by Chief Judge Thomas E. Malone, seven judges would find that the Kansas Constitution does not provide an independent state-law right to an abortion. These judges would set aside the temporary injunction granted by the district court.

Note to media: All documents filed in this case are available on the court's website at http://www.kscourts.org/kansas-courts/supreme-court/Cases_of_interest/Cases/114153/default.asp


NEWS RELEASE: January 11, 2016

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

Chief Justice to give State of the Judiciary February 3

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss will give his State of the Kansas Judiciary address at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 3, from the courtroom of the Supreme Court in the Kansas Judicial Center, Topeka.

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

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

Chief Justice Nuss' State of the Judiciary address is the third in Kansas' 155-year history to be delivered from the courtroom of the Supreme Court.

Nuss speaks from the courtroom in part to make it available via webcast to address the public's interest in the state's courts and their role providing important services to individuals and businesses all across Kansas.

The public can access a live webcast of the State of the Judiciary address by following the Watch Supreme Court Live! link in the right-hand column of the Kansas judicial branch website at www.kscourts.org. A recording of the address will be available online for playback by anyone unable to watch the address live.