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Email: info@kscourts.org

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News Releases

05/22/15: Supreme Court announces decisions on cases heard in April 13 special session in Hays
05/20/15: Updates to child support guidelines open for public comment
05/11/15: Kansas Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments May 12-13 in Chanute
05/07/15: Kansas Supreme Court accepting public comment on proposed change to Rule 710
05/05/15: Kathryn Gardner to be sworn in as Court of Appeals judge May 8
05/01/15: Supreme Court stays proceedings in Cheever case
04/29/15: Shawnee County Judge Wilson to sit with Kansas Supreme Court
04/16/15: New attorneys take state and federal oaths in April 17 ceremony
03/24/15: Kathryn Gardner to be sworn in as Court of Appeals Judge on May 8
03/23/15: Supreme Court announces cases for April 13 docket at Fort Hays State University
03/23/15: Samuel J. Marsh selected to fill district magistrate judge vacancy in 11th judicial district
03/13/15: Kansas Supreme Court accepting public comment on proposed change to records rule
03/03/15: Supreme Court selects Fort Hays State University for April 13 docket
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: May 22, 2015

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

Supreme Court announces decisions on cases heard
in April 13 special session in Hays

TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court announced its decisions today for two cases the court heard in a special evening session April 13 before more than 700 people in the Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center on the Fort Hays State University campus

"These decisions demonstrate to the people of Hays and surrounding communities what is, for nearly all cases, the end of the appeals process," said Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss. "Our written decisions document the legal questions brought before our court, the laws that apply to them, and the court's rationale for deciding those questions of law."

The decisions released today involving cases heard April 13 in Hays are:

Appeal No. 109,796: City of Atwood v. Richard David Pianalto. The Kansas Supreme Court rejected Richard D. Pianalto's appeal of his conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol after a traffic stop for speeding led to his arrest. Pianalto claimed the police officer who initiated the stop was mistaken about the applicable speed limit because a traffic sign that normally posted a lower speed limit had been knocked to the ground. The high court said the officer, who acted without knowing the sign was down, could reasonably have suspected a traffic violation on that roadway.

"In this case, the officer's reliance on the false, but normally true, fact that a speed limit sign was in place was objectively reasonable," the court decided in a unanimous opinion written by Justice Dan Biles. At the time of trial, Rawlins County District Court Judge Glenn D. Schiffner found that the speed limit had been 20 miles per hour on the road where Pianalto was stopped for "more years than anyone knew." The trial evidence established that signs displaying the speed limit are normally in place on both ends of the road. "Nothing in the record indicates the officer had any reason to doubt the continuing existence of the normal condition," the Supreme Court said.

Appeal No. 102,256: State of Kansas v. Heather Page Hilton. After originally granting Heather Page Hilton's petition for review of the Court of Appeals' decision, the Kansas Supreme Court dismissed her appeal as moot. The court had granted the petition in order to resolve a specific legal question — whether both of Hilton's two consecutive probation terms could be revoked for a violation that occurred during the first term — but that question could not be resolved without first resolving a predicate legal question that the parties had not briefed or argued. That predicate legal question was whether the district court judge had power to grant consecutive probation terms. The prior Court of Appeals opinion was vacated.

These and other Supreme Court decisions are available on the Kansas judicial branch website at www.kscourts.org under Recent Published Opinions.

The court will announce when it decides the remaining case heard in the April 13 evening session.


NEWS RELEASE: May 20, 2015

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

Updates to child support guidelines open for public comment

TOPEKA—Every four years, an advisory committee reviews Kansas' child support guidelines to ensure that the roughly $35 million mothers and fathers pay in support each month is equitable for the parents and appropriate for the day-to-day essential needs of the children they support.

As a result of the most recent review, started in June 2014, child support obligations could increase by an average of about 3.5 percent across all income groups beginning January 2016.

Child support pays for housing, clothing, transportation, recreation, health care, child care, and other expenses that would have been shared by the parents had the family remained intact.

A 14-member advisory committee spent nearly a year reviewing the guidelines and making proposed updates, which are now open for public review and comment until 8 a.m. Monday, June 22. Comment can be made through an online survey accessible from the Kansas judicial branch website at www.kscourts.org under the heading What's New.

Federal law requires states to review their child support guidelines every four years, and Kansas has reviewed and revised its guidelines nine times since they were initially established in 1989.

Reviews are by an advisory committee that has included parents who either pay or receive child support, and attorneys, judges, and tax professionals with expertise in child support. Economists are also enlisted to help with the review. Committee members are identified in a report posted on the web page where the survey is accessed, along with the economists' report, the proposed guidelines, and other useful documents.

After receiving public comment, the Kansas Supreme Court will decide whether to adopt changes to the guidelines as proposed by the advisory committee.


NEWS RELEASE: May 11, 2015

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

Kansas Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments May 12-13 in Chanute

TOPEKA—A three-judge panel of the Kansas Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments Tuesday, May 12, and Wednesday, May 13, at the Neosho County Courthouse, 102 South Lincoln, Chanute.

The hearings will take place at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 12, and at 9 a.m. Wednesday, May 13.

Judges Stephen D. Hill, Topeka; Steve Leben, Fairway; and G. Gordon Atcheson, Overland Park, will hear the cases. Leben will be the presiding judge for the hearings.

Leben said that the Court of Appeals hears cases throughout the state.

"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."

He added that hearing cases around the state saves money for the parties.

"When we have a group of cases from an area, it's certainly more economical to send three judges to a central location rather than to have the attorneys for both sides in quite a few cases come to us. That saves money for the parties being represented by these attorneys," Leben said.

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 Chanute arose in Anderson, Crawford, Greenwood, Labette, and Lyon counties. In addition to the Court of Appeals panel hearing cases this week in Chanute, 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 2014, the Court of Appeals resolved appeals in 1,861 cases, including 1,295 in which the court issued a formal written opinion.

The nine cases to be heard in Chanute are summarized as follows:

9 a.m. Tuesday May 12, 2015

No. 111,085: State of Kansas v. Artis Denton, Appeal from Lyon Co.

The defendant appeals his conviction for criminal threat, arguing that the statute under which he was prosecuted is unconstitutionally vague, that the district court did not provide proper instructions to the jury, and that the evidence wasn't sufficient to convict him.

No. 111,009: State of Kansas v. Kristina M. Arb, Appeal from Lyon Co.

The defendant appeals her conviction for distribution of Oxycodone by arguing that the district court did not provide proper instructions to the jury.

No. 110,556: State of Kansas v. Martin, Appeal from Greenwood Co.

The defendant appeals his convictions for second-degree murder and aggravated child endangerment, arguing that the district court did not provide proper instructions to the jury and that the statute on aggravated child endangerment is unconstitutionally vague.

No. 112,341: Vance v. DCCCA, Inc., Appeal from Workers Compensation Bd.

An injured worker appeals the decision of the Workers Compensation Board, which did not grant her any monetary award for a TMJ condition caused by an on-the-job injury.

1:30 p.m. Tuesday May 12, 2015

No. 111,310: State of Kansas v. Jimmie J. Dawes, Appeal from Lyon Co.

The defendant appeals his DUI conviction by arguing that the statute under which a Kansas Highway Patrol obtained a blood sample from him, while he was unconscious after an accident, is unconstitutional.

No. 111,398: State of Kansas v. Jason D. Kelsey, Appeal from Labette Co.

The defendant appeals the district court's denial of his request for DNA testing, after conviction, related to his convictions for two counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child under age 14. The defendant argues that he is entitled to the testing under a statute that provides for such testing on convictions for first-degree murder and rape because his sentence, life in prison, is so severe that the protections of this statute should be extended to him.

No. 111,642: State of Kansas v. Andrew W. Parker, Appeal from Crawford Co.

The defendant appeals his conviction for manufacturing methamphetamine and other drug offenses by arguing that the search warrant used to obtain key evidence wasn't valid and that the evidence wasn't sufficient to convict him.

9 a.m. Wednesday May 13, 2015

No. 111,745: In re Estate of Robert L. Brecheisen, Appeal from Anderson Co.

A person who either sold or leased a trailer to another man, who died, appeals the district court's ruling enforcing an oral sales agreement and determining that the estate need not return the trailer. The person who sold or leased the trailer asks on appeal that the trailer be returned and that the estate be charged a rental fee for each day it has possessed the trailer.

No. 111,389: In re Estate of Beuford W. Rickabaugh, Appeal from Greenwood Co.

The son and heir of a deceased man appeals the district court's admission of the man's will into probate; the son also argues, in the alternative, that the will was revoked and that even if the will is to be admitted in probate, the district court misconstrued it.

Note: Reporters who want to cover the oral arguments using video, photo, or audio recording devices, as spelled out in Court Rule 1001, should contact Lisa Taylor at taylorl@kscourts.org, no later than 3 p.m. Monday, May 11.


NEWS RELEASE: May 7, 2015

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

Kansas Supreme Court accepting public comment
on proposed change to Rule 710

TOPEKA- The Kansas Supreme Court is accepting public comment until noon May 15, 2015, on a proposed rule change to allow applicants seeking admission under Supreme Court Rules 708 and 709A to apply for a temporary permit to practice law.

The proposed changes to Rule 710 are available for review on the Kansas judicial branch website at www.kscourts.org under the heading What's New.


NEWS RELEASE: May 5, 2015

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

Kathryn Gardner to be sworn in as Court of Appeals judge May 8

TOPEKA—Kathryn Gardner will be sworn in as judge of the Kansas Court of Appeals at 2 p.m. Friday, May 8, in the Supreme Court courtroom in the Kansas Judicial Center, Topeka.

Court of Appeals Chief Judge Thomas Malone will preside over the ceremony.

The public can access a live webcast of the ceremony by following the Watch Supreme Court Live! link in the right-hand column of the Kansas Judicial Branch website at www.kscourts.org.

Gardner was nominated to the Court of Appeals by Gov. Sam Brownback on January 29 and her nomination was confirmed by the Kansas Senate on March 11.

Prior to her nomination, Gardner was a chambers law clerk to the Honorable Sam A. Crow, a judge with the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, a position she held twice. In between, she was in private practice with the Martin Pringle law firm, where she became a partner. Her practice included litigating employment discrimination and other cases in state and federal court. She began her legal career as a research attorney for Judge Joe Haley Swinehart of the Kansas Court of Appeals, then served as an assistant attorney general in the civil division.

While a lawyer, Gardner was active in many professional, civic, and community activities. She chaired the Kansas Bar Association's committees on law related education and legal issues affecting the elderly. She also served as editor of Law Wise, an educational periodical for teachers and students published by the association.

Gardner was appointed to the U.S. District Court civil justice reform act committee and federal practices handbook committee. She presented many continuing legal education courses to attorneys and business leaders, and she served on the Wichita Bar Association board of governors. She currently serves as president of the Sam A. Crow American Inn of Court and has served on its executive committee for 12 years.

Gardner has been an adjunct professor at the Washburn University School of Law, where she taught writing for law practice and trial advocacy. She also has published articles in the Kansas Bar Association Journal, the National Inns of Court Bencher, and other publications.

She graduated magna cum laude from Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. She taught English and French at Washburn Rural High School for two years before attending the University of Kansas School of Law, where she earned her law degree.

Gardner and her husband, Timothy, have been married for more than 36 years. They have three grown daughters and two granddaughters. She continues to be active in many community and church organizations in Topeka.


NEWS RELEASE: May 1, 2015

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

Supreme Court stays proceedings in Cheever case

TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court this week stayed its proceedings in a death penalty case involving Scott D. Cheever pending the outcome of the United States Supreme Court's review of three cases that present a similar legal issue.

At the request of the Kansas attorney general, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review Kansas Supreme Court decisions in death penalty cases involving Jonathan Carr, Reginald Carr, and Sidney Gleason. The U.S. Supreme Court will review whether failing to instruct jurors that a defendant's mitigating circumstances need not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt violates the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution requiring the penalties to be vacated and the defendant to be resentenced.

The penalty phase instructions in the Cheever case pending in state court present a similar legal issue, so the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the Carr and Gleason cases could determine future proceedings in the Cheever case.

Both the prosecution and defense in the Cheever case agreed it was appropriate to stay that appeal pending resolution of the instruction issue by the U.S. Supreme Court in one or all of the cases pending before it.


NEWS RELEASE: April 29, 2015

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

Shawnee County Judge Wilson to sit with Kansas Supreme Court

TOPEKA—Shawnee County District Court Judge Evelyn Z. Wilson has been appointed to sit with the Supreme Court Monday, May 4, to hear oral arguments in the first case on the court's 9 a.m. docket.

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

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

"I'm pleased that Judge Wilson is taking time from her duties in Shawnee County District Court to sit with the Supreme Court," said Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss. "I have known her professionally for more than 25 years, and I look forward to her contributions."

Wilson, who currently serves as chief judge of the Third Judicial District, has been a district court judge since 2004. She said she is eager to sit with the state's highest court.

Judge Evelyn Wilson
Judge Evelyn Wilson

"I am honored by the opportunity to sit with the Kansas Supreme Court," Wilson said. "I look forward to the excitement of oral arguments, the challenge of researching the case, and interesting deliberations with the other justices."

Before taking the bench in 2004, Wilson practiced law for 19 years, first in northwest Kansas, then in Topeka. She is a published author and former adjunct professor of law at Washburn University.

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 Wilson will hear is scheduled at 9 a.m. Monday, May 4:

Appeal No. 110,835: State of Kansas v. David Scott Morrison

Johnson County: (Petition for Review) David Scott Morrison was ousted from his position on the Prairie Village City Council after a full trial. The ouster was based on his allowing Kelley Mallone to sleep at City Hall over a four-day period. The district judge found that Morrison had violated K.S.A. 60-1205(1) and (2)—specifically that Morrison willfully engaged in misconduct while in office and willfully neglected to perform a duty enjoined upon an official by law.

Morrison appealed to the Kansas Court of Appeals. On appeal, Morrison asserted three claims of error: (1) The district court misapplied K.S.A. 60-1205 when it found that the undisputed facts of this case justified Morrison's ouster; (2) jury instruction and verdict form errors; and (3) that ouster requires a violation of state law, which was not found in this case. The court found in Morrison's favor on the first claim of error and did not reach Morrison's final two claims. Specifically, the Court of Appeals found that the undisputed facts of this case did not, as a matter of law, satisfy the criteria for judicial ouster contained in K.S.A. 60-1205 and reversed the lower court's decision and remand with directions that judgment be entered in Morrison's favor, thus reinstating him to his public office. The Supreme Court granted the state's petition for review.

Issues on review are whether the Court of Appeals panel's definition of misconduct or neglect was based on the plain language of K.S.A. 60-1205, and whether violations of the city's ethics code can result in ouster, and whether the panel disregarded the standard of review in ouster cases and used an incorrect standard in determining the sufficiency of evidence.


NEWS RELEASE: April 16, 2015

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

New attorneys take state and federal oaths in April 17 ceremony

TOPEKA — Successful applicants to the February 2015 Kansas Bar Examination will be sworn in as Kansas attorneys Friday, April 17, at a 10 a.m. ceremony in the Supreme Court courtroom in the Kansas Judicial Center in Topeka.

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

Heather Smith, clerk of the Kansas Supreme Court, will administer the state oath and Ingrid Campbell, chief deputy clerk of the U.S. District Court, will administer the federal oath.

Terry L. Mann and Kevin F. Mitchelson, 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: March 24, 2015

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

Kathryn Gardner to be sworn in as Court of Appeals Judge on May 8

TOPEKA—The Kansas Court of Appeals announced today that Kathryn Gardner will be sworn in as that court's 14th judge in a 2 p.m. ceremony Friday, May 8, in the Supreme Court courtroom of the Kansas Judicial Center in Topeka.

"We look forward to Kathryn joining the Court of Appeals and to working with her in the years to come," said Chief Judge Thomas E. Malone, who will preside over the swearing-in ceremony.

Gardner was appointed to the Court of Appeals on January 29 by Governor Sam Brownback. The appointment was confirmed March 11 by the Kansas Senate.

"I am honored and humbled to take a seat on the Court of Appeals bench," Gardner said. "I look forward to working with my new colleagues and to serving the State of Kansas in this new role."

Currently, Gardner works as a law clerk to U.S. District Senior Judge Sam Crow. She replaces Caleb Stegall, who now serves on the Kansas Supreme Court.


NEWS RELEASE: March 23, 2015

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

Supreme Court announces cases for April 13 docket at Fort Hays State University

TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court announced the three cases it will hear April 13 at Fort Hays State University, its next destination in 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 Hays in the court's 154-year history. It is also believed to be the first time the court will hear cases in the evening.

The court will be in session from 6:30 p.m. to about 8:30 p.m. Monday, April 13, in the Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center located in Sheridan Hall on the Fort Hays State University campus at 600 Park Street in Hays.

The docket includes:

Appeal No. 102,256 and 102,257: State of Kansas v. Heather Page Hilton, on a petition for review of a case that originated in Ellis County.

Appeal No. 109,796: City of Atwood v. Richard David Pianalto, on a petition for review of a case that originated in Rawlins County.

Appeal No. 105,183: State of Kansas v. Steve Kelly Moyer, on a criminal appeal of a case that originated in Sherman County.

Summaries of the cases and briefs filed by the attorneys involved are available online by following the Hays 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 hearing concludes, the justices will greet the public in an informal reception.

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

  • 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.
  • Do not bring food or drink.
  • Members of the audience 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 in the hallway outside the auditorium is also discouraged.

    A live stream of the special session will be available on the Internet by selecting the Watch Supreme Court Live! link on the judicial branch home page at www.kscourts.org.

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

    "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."

    Fort Hays State University is the court's eighth 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 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 and Kansas City in 2014.




    NEWS RELEASE: March 23, 2015

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

    Samuel J. Marsh selected to fill district magistrate judge vacancy
    in 11th judicial district

    TOPEKA—The 11th Judicial District Nominating Commission has selected Samuel J. Marsh 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.

    Marsh, of Columbus, is a private attorney. He will begin his new duties on his swearing-in, which is not yet scheduled.

    The 11th Judicial District Nominating Commission interviewed candidates March 20 at the Cherokee County Courthouse in 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 and Charles W. Sweeton, Baxter Springs; and John W. Lehman, Girard.


    NEWS RELEASE: March 13, 2015

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

    Kansas Supreme Court accepting public comment on proposed change to records rule

    TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court is accepting public comment until April 12, 2015, on a proposed rule change to clarify how district courts treat personally identifiable information in marriage licensing documents that the courts maintain.

    The proposed changes to Rule 106 are available for review on the Kansas judicial branch website at www.kscourts.org under the heading What's New.


    NEWS RELEASE: March 3, 2015

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

    Supreme Court selects Fort Hays State University for April 13 docket

    TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court announced today it has selected Fort Hays State University as the next destination in its 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 Hays in the court's 154-year history. It is also believed to be the first time the court will hear cases in the evening.

    The court will be in session from 6:30 p.m. to about 8:30 p.m. Monday, April 13, in the Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center located in Sheridan Hall on the Fort Hays State University campus at 600 Park Street in Hays.

    The public is invited to attend the proceedings and observe the court as it hears oral arguments in three criminal cases. After the hearing concludes, the justices will greet the public in an informal reception.

    "Community visits are a great way for the people of Kansas to get to know us — who we are what we do — and to learn about the judiciary's role in our society," said Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss. "We encourage anyone who's ever been curious about Supreme Court proceedings to come. We have provided live webcasts of our courtroom sessions in Topeka since 2012, but people tell us there's nothing like seeing proceedings in person."

    In 2011, the court convened outside its Topeka courtroom in the Kansas Judicial Center to mark the state's sesquicentennial. Its first stop was 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 and Kansas City in 2014.


    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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.