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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

02/27/15: 11 apply for district magistrate vacancy in 11th judicial district
02/23/15: Stephanie Bunten named new budget and fiscal officer for judicial branch
02/13/15: Kansas Supreme Court reappoints two to Chief Judges' Council
02/12/15: Kansas district court judge named co-chair of national judicial voter education project
01/29/15: Court of Appeals Judge Karen Arnold-Burger wins national award
01/28/15: Nominating commission seeks candidates for district magistrate judge vacancy in 11th Judicial District
01/08/15: F. William Cullins new chief judge of 14th judicial district
01/07/15: Van Hampton new chief judge of 16th judicial district
01/07/15: Amy Harth new chief judge of 6th judicial district
01/06/15: Chief Justice to give State of the Judiciary January 21

See the Archives for new releases dating back to 1997


NEWS RELEASE: February 27, 2015

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

11 apply for district magistrate vacancy in 11th judicial district

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

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

The applicants are:

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

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

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

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

John David Gutierrez of Joplin, Missouri — private attorney.

Robert Wayne Lattin of Independence, Kansas — private attorney.

Samuel J. Marsh of Columbus — private attorney.

Douglas Roper Steele of Galena — private attorney.

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

Christopher J. Velez of Garden City — private attorney.

Jeffrey Joseph Williams of Baxter Springs — private attorney.

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

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

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


NEWS RELEASE: February 23, 2015

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

Stephanie Bunten named new budget and fiscal officer for judicial branch

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

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

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

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

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

Stephanie Bunten
Stephanie Bunten

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

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

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


NEWS RELEASE: February 13, 2015

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

Kansas Supreme Court reappoints two to Chief Judges' Council

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

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

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

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

Chief Judge Pactricia Macke Dick
Judge Pactricia Macke Dick

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

Chief Judge David Ricke
Judge David Ricke

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

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

Chief Judge Edward E. Bouker of the 23rd judicial district, who has served since 1993 as district judge presiding over cases in Ellis, Gove, Rooks and Trego counties.

Chief Judge Kim W. Cudney of the 12th judicial district, who has served since November 2006 as district judge presiding over cases in Cloud, Jewell, Lincoln, Mitchell, Republic and Washington counties.

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

Chief Judge Nicholas M. St. Peter of the 19th judicial district, who has served since October 2004 as district judge presiding over cases in Cowley County.

Chief Judge Wendel W. Wurst of the 25th judicial district, who has served since October 2009 as district judge presiding over cases in Finney, Kearny, Hamilton, Greeley, Wichita and Scott counties.


NEWS RELEASE: February 12, 2015

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

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

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

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

Judge Cheryl Kingfisher
Judge Cheryl Kingfisher

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NEWS RELEASE: January 29, 2015

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

Court of Appeals Judge Karen Arnold-Burger wins national award

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

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

Judge Karen Arnold-Burger
Judge Karen Arnold-Burger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NEWS RELEASE: January 28, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NEWS RELEASE: January 8, 2015

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

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

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

The 14th judicial district includes Chautauqua and Montgomery counties.

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

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

Chief Judge Cullins
Chief Judge Cullins

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

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

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




NEWS RELEASE: January 7, 2015

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

Van Hampton new chief judge of 16th judicial district

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

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

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

Chief Judge Hampton
Chief Judge Hampton

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

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

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

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


NEWS RELEASE: January 7, 2015

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

Amy Harth new chief judge of 6th judicial distric

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

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

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

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

Chief Judge Harth
Chief Judge Harth

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

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

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







NEWS RELEASE: January 6, 2015

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

Chief Justice to give State of the Judiciary January 21

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

TOPEKA—Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss will give his State of the Kansas Judiciary address at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 21, from the courtroom of the Supreme Court in the Kansas Judicial Center, Topeka.

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

Chief Justice Nuss’ State of the Judiciary address is the second in Kansas’ 154-year history to be delivered from the courtroom of the Supreme Court.

Nuss decided to speak from the courtroom in part to make it available via webcast to address the public’s interest in the impact of state revenue shortfalls on the Judicial Branch budget.

Kansas law requires Nuss, as chief justice of the Supreme Court, to provide a written report at the beginning of the legislative session to the governor and to the judiciary committees of both houses of the Legislature. The written report will be delivered in addition to his State of the Kansas Judiciary address.

The public can access a live webcast of the State of the Judiciary address by following the Watch Supreme Court Live! link in the right-hand column of the Kansas Judicial Branch website at www.kscourts.org. The address will be recorded for viewing afterward by anyone unable to attend in person or watch it live online.


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