Kansas Judicial Branch Home
Kansas Courts
Kansas Judicial Branch
CONTACT INFORMATION

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

12/16/15: Erich G. Campbell selected to fill district magistrate judge vacancy in 2nd judicial district
12/10/15: Supreme Court accepting public comment on new and proposed rules for court interpreters
12/08/15: Kansas Supreme Court forms time standards committee
11/20/15: Eleven apply for district magistrate vacancy in 2nd judicial district
11/20/15: Five apply for judge vacancy in 25th judicial district
11/12/15: Kansas Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments November 17 in Hutchinson
11/06/15: Supreme Court issues opinion in Robinson case Appeal No. 90,196: State of Kansas v. John E. Robinson Sr.
11/02/15: Supreme Court adopts updated child support guidelines
10/23/15: 2nd Judicial District Nominating Commission sends judge candidate names to governor
10/22/15: Judge Young of 28th judicial district to sit with Kansas Supreme Court October 28
10/21/15: Nominating commission seeks candidates for judge vacancy in 25th judicial district
10/16/15: Ten apply for judge vacancy in 2nd judicial district
10/16/15: Nominating commission seeks candidates for district magistrate judge vacancy in 2nd judicial district
10/01/15: UPDATED: Supreme Court announces cases for October 13 docket at Garden City High School
09/25/15: Appeal No. 105,982, State of Kansas v. Joseph M. Buser
09/23/15: New attorneys take state and federal oaths in September 25 ceremony
09/23/15: Nominating commission seeks candidates for judge vacancy in 2nd judicial district
09/18/15: Supreme Court announces cases for October 13 docket at Garden City High School
09/15/15: Kansas Court of Appeals to commemorate Constitution Day with session at KU
09/11/15: 9th Judicial District Nominating Commission sends judge candidate names to governor
09/11/15: Kansas appellate courts make unpublished opinions available online
09/10/15: Judge Frederick of 25th judicial district to sit with Kansas Supreme Court September 17
09/10/15: Judge Chambers of Reno County to sit with Kansas Supreme Court September 18
09/09/15: Judge Fowler of 5th judicial district to sit with Kansas Supreme Court September 14
09/03/15: Kansas Supreme Court launches eCourt project
08/21/15: Kansas judicial branch receives national recognition for court caseload reporting excellence
08/14/15: New date set for interviews to fill judge vacancy in 9th judicial district
08/10/15: Kansas Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments August 18 in Garden City
08/04/15: Supreme Court to conduct special evening session October 13 at Garden City High School
07/21/15: Ten apply for judge vacancy in 9th judicial district
07/21/15: Chief Judge Richard Walker to retire August 1
07/17/15: Supreme Court seeks comment on proposed rule changes for new attorney oath procedure
07/16/15: Reno County Judge Macke Dick appointed to serve on family law committee
07/10/15: Supreme Court seeks public comment on proposed changes to Rules 106 and 108
07/09/15: Johnson County judge recognized for leadership, service
07/06/15: Kansas Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments July 14-15 in Beloit
07/01/15: Electronic filing in appellate courts to be mandatory effective November 2
06/26/15: Kansas District Magistrate Judges' Association elects new officers
06/19/15: Kansas District Judges’ Association elects new officers
06/16/15: Nominating commission seeks candidates for judge vacancy in 9th judicial district
06/05/15: Chief justice wants Kansans to know state courts fully operating next week
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: December 16, 2015

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

Erich G. Campbell selected to fill district magistrate judge vacancy
in 2nd judicial district

TOPEKA—The 2nd Judicial District Nominating Commission has selected Erich G. Campbell to fill a district magistrate judge vacancy in Pottawatomie County.

The 2nd judicial district includes Jackson, Jefferson, Pottawatomie, and Wabaunsee counties.

Campbell currently is senior regular army advisor to the Kansas adjutant general. He has 29 years of active U.S. Army service and will retire in 2016. He is pursuing a Master of Criminal Justice degree at Washburn University and will graduate in 2016.

Campbell currently resides in Holton. He will begin his district magistrate judge duties after he moves to Pottawatomie County and is sworn in.

A district magistrate judge must have graduated from a high school, secondary school, or the equivalent; be a resident of Pottawatomie 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.

The 2nd Judicial District Nominating Commission interviewed candidates December 11 at the Pottawatomie County Courthouse in Westmoreland.

The 2nd Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Justice Marla J. Luckert as the nonvoting chair; J. Richard Lake, Holton; Edward W. Pugh and John D. Watt of Wamego; Charles W. Waugh of Eskridge; David G. Allen of Circleville; Norma J. Dunnaway of Perry; D. Max Fuller of Maple Hill; and Corwin K. Seamans of Manhattan.


NEWS RELEASE: December 10, 2015

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

Supreme Court accepting public comment on new and proposed rules
for court interpreters

TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court is accepting public comment until 5 p.m. Monday, February 8, 2016, on proposed and amended Supreme Court rules relating to language access in Kansas courts.

The requirements would take effect July 1, 2016.

Proposed Rule 1703, Kansas Code of Professional Responsibility for Court Interpreters, creates a mandatory code of ethics for foreign language court interpreters.

Proposed Rule 1704 requires foreign language court interpreters, before they provide court interpretation or translation services, to complete and sign a form that verifies the interpreter has received, reviewed, and agreed to adhere to the code. A judge may make an exception for signing the form in cases of emergency. However, a completed and signed form alone would not substitute for a judicial determination of interpreter qualifications or taking an interpreter's oath as required by statute.

Proposed Rule 1702 would require each judicial district to have a local language access coordinator who must:

  • maintain a list of the judicial district's court interpreters;
  • retain original signed interpreter's acknowledgment and agreement forms, copies of which are forwarded to the Office of Judicial Administration;
  • maintain familiarity with the Kansas Code of Professional Responsibility for Court Interpreters, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. §2000d et seq.), and Kansas statutes and Supreme Court rules relating to interpreters and language access;
  • receive and respond to complaints regarding alleged code violations.

Proposed amendments to Rule 107 make editorial changes and require chief judges to appoint a judicial district local language access coordinator.

Proposed amendments to Rule 1701 make editorial changes.

Proposed changes to Rules 107 and 1701, as well as proposed new rules 1702, 1703, and 1704, are available for review on the Kansas judicial branch website at www.kscourts.org under the heading What's New.


NEWS RELEASE: December 8, 2015

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

Kansas Supreme Court forms time standards committee

TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court announced today it has designated a new committee to help review and revise time standards for decisions in district and appellate court cases.

Justice Carol A. Beier
Justice Carol A. Beier

"We've pulled together a talented group of judges and lawyers with diverse experiences to tackle this job," said Justice Carol A. Beier, who will chair the committee. "Members of the committee will take a look at time standards currently in place in Kansas and examine similar standards used in other state court systems. We hope to have a comprehensive set of recommendations ready for the court by next fall."

Justice Beier will be joined on the committee by:

  • Judge Kathryn Gardner of the Kansas Court of Appeals
  • District Judge Glenn Braun of Ellis County District Court
  • District Judge Teresa Watson of Shawnee County District Court
  • District Judge Tim Dupree of Wyandotte County District Court
  • District Magistrate Judge Doug Jones of Chase County District Court
  • Lyndon Vix from Fleeson, Gooing, Coulson & Kitch in Wichita
  • Bethany Roberts from Barber Emerson in Lawrence
  • Lesley Isherwood from the Sedgwick County District Attorney's Office
  • Randall Hodgkinson from Washburn University School of Law
  • Jeff Chanay from the Kansas Attorney General's Office

By creating the time standards committee, the Supreme Court is addressing one of many areas of Kansas court operations studied by a Blue Ribbon Commission composed of Kansas residents.

The committee will have its first meeting January 22, 2016, at the Kansas Judicial Center in Topeka.

Judge Kathryn Gardner Judge Glenn Braun
Judge Kathryn Gardner
Judge Glenn Braun
Judge Teresa Watson Judge Tim Dupree Judge Doug Jones Lyndon Vix
Judge Teresa Watson
Judge Tim Dupree
Judge Doug Jones
Lyndon Vix
Bethany Roberts Lesley Isherwood Randall Hodgkinson Jeff Chanay
Bethany Roberts
Lesley Isherwood
Randall Hodgkinson
Jeff Chanay

NEWS RELEASE: November 20, 2015

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

Eleven apply for district magistrate vacancy in 2nd judicial district

TOPEKA—Eleven people applied to fill a district magistrate judge vacancy in Pottawatomie County in the 2nd judicial district.

The 2nd judicial district includes Jackson, Jefferson, Pottawatomie and Wabaunsee counties.

The applicants are:

Randy M. Barker of Topeka

Sarah S. Barr of Wamego

Steven M. Bundy of Manhattan

Erich G. Campbell of Holton

Michael L. Clark of Wamego

Eric H. Coleman of Manhattan

Tamara L. Hafenstein of Wamego

Miranda B. Johnson of Wamego

Vivien J. Olsen of St. Marys

Stephanie L. Petrie of Pottawatomie County

Hannah C. Schroller of Topeka

The 2nd Judicial District Nominating Commission will interview candidates December 11 at the Pottawatomie County Courthouse in Westmoreland.

A district magistrate judge must have graduated from a high school, secondary school, or the equivalent; be a resident of Pottawatomie 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 2nd Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Justice Marla J. Luckert as the nonvoting chair; J. Richard Lake, Holton; Edward W. Pugh and John D. Watt of Wamego; Charles W. Waugh of Eskridge; David G. Allen of Circleville; Norma J. Dunnaway of Perry; D. Max Fuller of Maple Hill; and Corwin K. Seamans of Manhattan.


NEWS RELEASE: November 20, 2015

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

Five apply for judge vacancy in 25th judicial district

TOPEKA—Five people applied to the 25th Judicial District Nominating Commission seeking to fill a judge vacancy in the 25th judicial district, which includes Finney, Greeley, Hamilton, Kearny, Scott, and Wichita counties.

The vacancy was created by the retirement of Judge Philip Vieux.

The nominating commission will convene at 9 a.m. Tuesday, December 1, in the Finney County courthouse in Garden City to interview nominees. The meeting will be open to the public.

The five candidates are:

District Magistrate Judge Ricklin R. Pierce

District Magistrate Judge Christopher D. Sanders

District Magistrate Judge Wade M. Dixon

Lara Blake Bors

Linda J. Lobmeyer

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.

Kansas law also requires the commission to submit at least two names, but not more than three, to the governor, who will choose one to appoint.

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


NEWS RELEASE: November 12, 2015

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

Kansas Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments November 17 in Hutchinson

TOPEKA—A three-judge panel of the Kansas Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, November 17, at the Reno County Courthouse, 206 West 1st Avenue, Hutchinson.

Judges Thomas E. Malone, Stephen D. Hill and Melissa Taylor Standridge will hear oral argument in seven criminal and civil cases at dockets that convene at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The panel will also decide 16 cases without argument based on the parties' written submissions.

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

Judge Thomas E. Malone
Judge Thomas E. Malone

"Almost every month of the year, panels of Court of Appeals judges will hear cases in Wichita, Topeka, and Kansas City," he said. "We welcome the opportunity to visit other places like Hutchinson, to make our court accessible to more Kansans."

Malone said that hearing cases around the state also saves money for the parties.

"Whenever a three-judge panel visits a location where many cases from the region can be heard, attorneys representing the parties do not have to travel to Topeka," Malone said.

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 Hutchinson arose in McPherson and Reno counties. In addition to the Court of Appeals panel hearing cases this week in Hutchinson, 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 seven cases to be heard in Hutchinson are summarized as follows:

9 a.m. Tuesday, November 17, 2015

No. 112,183: State of Kansas v. Roberto S. Rincon, appeal from Reno County

In March 2012, Roberto S. Rincon was ordered to surrender all of his firearms as part of a protection from abuse order. The following day, after conducting surveillance, a Reno County Sheriff's Department detective swore an affidavit alleging that Rincon had not done so. The district court issued a search warrant for Rincon's vehicle. While executing that warrant, law enforcement discovered items believed to be related to manufacturing methamphetamine. An officer swore a second affidavit and obtained a second search warrant for the drug-related items. The continued search uncovered many drug-related items. Before trial, Rincon twice challenged the validity of the search warrants, especially the sufficiency of the underlying affidavits, but the district court rejected both challenges. After a bench trial on stipulated facts, the district court found Rincon guilty of multiple drug crimes. After conviction but before sentencing, the court filed an order clarifying that it had found that Rincon possessed a firearm in furtherance of each crime of conviction, resulting in a sentencing enhancement. After denying several posttrial motions, the court sentenced Rincon to a controlling sentence of 156 months' imprisonment. He appealed.

Issues on appeal are whether the district court erred by: denying Rincon's motions to suppress; denying Rincon's motion for a trial continuance, made three days prior to trial, so Rincon could replace appointed counsel with retained counsel; denying as untimely Rincon's posttrial motion for judgment of acquittal and motion for new trial; improperly amending its verdict to include the firearm enhancement; refusing to appoint co-counsel to help Rincon represent himself; and granting Rincon's motion to appoint new counsel.

No. 113,117: Jesse J. Atkins v. Webcon and Kansas Building Industry Workers Compensation Fund, appeal from workers' compensation board

In 2009, Jesse Atkins worked for Hutchinson-based Webcon, Inc., on a crew that traveled weekly to Oklahoma to work on a roofing project. The crew drove company vehicles to Oklahoma on Monday mornings, stayed at a hotel there during the week, and returned to Hutchinson on Fridays. During their evenings, employees were free to do what they desired. Webcon paid for the hotel rooms and meals in Oklahoma and paid employees an additional bonus for each night they were there. Late one night, after being at another hotel a few blocks away, Atkins was struck by a car and seriously injured. He subsequently filed an application for workers compensation benefits and an administrative law judge held, among other things, that Atkins' injuries arose out of and occurred in the course of his employment. The administrative law judge awarded benefits and ordered Webcon to pay medical expenses. On appeal, the workers compensation board reversed, holding that Atkins' injuries did not arise out of and occur in the course of his employment. Atkins appealed.

Issue on appeal is whether the workers compensation board erred by holding that Atkins' injury did not arise out of and in the course of his employment.

No. 113,214: State of Kansas v. Charlette Hover, aka Charlette Ann Jenkins, appeal from Reno County

After a fight involving several people, Charlette Hover was arrested and charged with aggravated battery intentionally causing great bodily harm. At trial, the sate presented witnesses who testified that Hover had hit and kicked the victim, while Hover presented witnesses who testified that she had not. During jury deliberations, the jury sent out a written question asking whether Hover would share responsibility for all the harm done to the victim if the jury found she was guilty of battery. In response, the district court judge brought the jury back into the courtroom and instructed it on the theory of aiding and abetting. The jury convicted Hover of aggravated battery resulting in bodily harm. Hover appealed.

Issue on appeal is whether the district court committed reversible error by instructing the jury on aiding and abetting.

No. 107,798: State of Kansas v. Carlos Delgado Gonzales, appeal from McPherson County

When Carlos Delgado Gonzalez was arrested for vehicular burglary, he was intoxicated, agitated, and yelling at police officers. During the required pat-down search after officers took Gonzales to jail, Gonzales threw back his head, hitting the right temple of an officer who was searching him. A jury subsequently convicted Gonzales of vehicular burglary, criminal damage to property, and battery against a law enforcement officer. Gonzales' criminal history included a 2002 Arizona juvenile adjudication for burglary, which the district court classified as a juvenile person felony. The district court set Gonzales' criminal history score at C and sentenced him accordingly. Gonzales appealed.

Issues on appeal are whether there sufficient evidence to support the conviction of battery against a law enforcement officer; whether the district court erred by failing to instruct the jury on the lesser-included offense of battery; and whether the district court erred by classifying Gonzales' Arizona juvenile adjudication as a person felony.

1:30 p.m. Tuesday, November 17, 2015

No. 113,430: Jaclan Lanam v. Promise Regional Medical Center - Hutchinson, Inc., appeal from Reno County

In 2009, Jaclan Lanam had knee replacement surgery at Promise Regional Medical Center - Hutchinson. Lanam later filed suit, claiming that a certified nurse assistant taking her from the medical center to a car at discharge negligently dropped her to the ground, causing injury. The medical center filed a motion for summary judgment due to Lanam's failure to obtain a standard of care expert. Lanam replied that the common knowledge exception applied — there was no need for an expert to explain to a jury that a reasonable person would not drop an elderly woman. The district court agreed and denied the motion. After opening arguments at trial, however, the district court granted a mistrial, holding that Lanam's opening argument, which referred to safety rules, safety requirements, and the medical center's standard of care, had violated an order in limine and transformed the case from a simple negligence case into a medical malpractice case that required expert testimony. The medical center filed a motion for dismissal, which the district court granted. Lanam appealed.

Issues on appeal are whether the district court erred by dismissing the case and by granting a mistrial?

No. 111,353: Jean Hurt, as Administratrix of The Estate of Barry L. Venters v. Scott E. Sellers, D.O., appeal from Reno County

In 2001, Barry Venters was a passenger in a car involved in a single-vehicle accident, after which he was taken to Hutchinson Hospital, where Dr. Scott Sellers treated him. Venters died in 2010 and Jean Hurt, as administratrix of Venters' estate, brought this medical malpractice action against Sellers, alleging that Sellers' treatment of Venters was negligent and resulted in Venters' paralysis. After a jury trial, the district court entered judgment in favor of Sellers based on the jury verdict that apportioned 51 percent of the fault for Venters' injuries to Venters; 43 percent to Kyle Shive, the car's driver; and 6 percent to Sellers. Venters appealed.

Issues on appeal are whether the district court improperly admitted evidence of Shive's negligence as relevant for the jury's consideration of comparing Shive's percentage of fault; and whether the district court erred by instructing the jury on comparing Venter's fault based on his duties as a patient.

No. 113,576: State of Kansas v. Trae D. Reed, appeal from Reno County

During a traffic stop, driver Trae D. Reed got out his wallet to produce identification. When asked to get out of the car, Reed explained that the driver's side door did not work, so he climbed out through the car window, placing his wallet on the roof of the car. Reed and an officer then stood at the rear of the car while the officer ran Reed's information through dispatch. After learning that Reed had a suspended driver's license, the officer arrested Reed and placed him in the patrol car. Officers interviewed other people at the scene, then took Reed's wallet off the roof of the car and searched it, finding drugs. During the booking process at the jail, the wallet was searched again, revealing more drugs. After he was charged with multiple crimes, Reed filed a motion to suppress the evidence obtained by searching his wallet. The district court granted the motion, holding that the search was not justified by safety concerns, as an effort to safeguard evidence of the offense of arrest, or as a search incident to arrest and that the inevitable discovery doctrine did not authorize admission of the evidence. The state appealed.

Issue on appeal is whether the district court erred by granting Reed's motion to suppress.


NEWS RELEASE: November 6, 2015

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

Supreme Court issues opinion in Robinson case
Appeal No. 90,196: State of Kansas v. John E. Robinson Sr.

TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court issued its decision today in the capital appeal of John E. Robinson Sr., affirming his conviction for capital murder and death sentence.

In a 415-page opinion (http://www.kscourts.org/Cases-and-Opinions/opinions/SupCt/2015/20151106/90196.pdf) written by Justice Caleb Stegall, the court discusses the issues raised on appeal by Robinson, who was convicted of multiple offenses related to the murders of six women from the mid-1980s until his arrest in June 2000.

A jury in Johnson County District Court convicted Robinson of two counts of capital murder for the murders of Suzette Marie Trouten and Izabela Lewicka as part of a common scheme or course of conduct that included the premeditated murders of Beverly J. Bonner, Sheila Faith, Debbie Faith, and Lisa Stasi. The jury sentenced Robinson to death on each capital murder conviction.

On appeal, Robinson asserted 19 general claims of reversible error, including numerous subclaims. The court upheld the conviction and death sentence for the first capital murder conviction, but reversed the second capital murder conviction because it was multiplicitous, meaning that it punished Robinson twice for the same offense and gave rise to a constitutional double jeopardy violation.

Justice Lee Johnson dissented, arguing that the prosecution failed to prove the capital murder charges and that the death penalty is unconstitutional under Section 9 of the Kansas Bill of Rights.


NEWS RELEASE: November 2, 2015

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

Supreme Court adopts updated child support guidelines

TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court has adopted updated child support guidelines that judges will use to determine parents' child support payment obligations beginning January 1, 2016.

The updated guidelines reflect changes in spending on children since the guidelines were last updated four years ago. The updates are expected to increase child support obligations by up to 3.5 percent across all income groups.

The updated guidelines will be used to determine new child support obligations after their January 1, 2016, effective date. They will not immediately affect existing support obligations, although they may be used when a parent seeks to modify an existing child support order, or the parents' financial circumstances are reviewed by the court.

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.

A 14-member advisory committee spent more than a year reviewing the guidelines and making proposed updates, which were open for public review and comment before the committee made its final recommendations to the court.

The committee includes parents who either pay or receive child support, and attorneys, judges, and tax professionals with expertise in child support.

An economist with Wichita State University helped with the review by examining data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that show trends in how parents spend money on children. The economist noted the consumer price index increased by more than 8.5 percent over the last four years.

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.

The updated child support guidelines, economist's report, and public comment results are available on the Kansas judicial branch website at www.kscourts.org under Programs.


NEWS RELEASE: October 23, 2015

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

2nd Judicial District Nominating Commission sends judge candidate names to governor

TOPEKA—The 2nd 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 unexpected death of District Court Judge Micheal A. Ireland.

The three candidates are:

Christopher T. Etzel, Havensville, who has a private law practice in Onaga and is City Attorney and City Prosecutor for the City of Onaga.

Norbert C. Marek Jr., Westmoreland, who is Wabaunsee County Attorney.

Shawna R. Miller, Holton, who has a private law practice in Holton, is Jackson County Attorney, and is municipal judge in the City of Hoyt and the City of Mayetta.

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

The 2nd judicial district is made up of Jackson, Jefferson, Pottawatomie, and Wabaunsee counties.

The 2nd Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Justice Marla J. Luckert as the nonvoting chair; and J. Richard Lake, Holton; Edward W. Pugh, Wamego; John D. Watt, Wamego; Charles W. Waugh, Eskridge; David G. Allen, Circleville; Norma J. Dunnaway, Perry; D. Max Fuller, Maple Hill; and Corwin K. Seamans, Manhattan.


NEWS RELEASE: October 22, 2015

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

Judge Young of 28th judicial district to sit with Kansas Supreme Court October 28

TOPEKA—Chief Judge Rene Young of the 28th 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, October 28.

After hearing oral arguments, Young 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 that Chief Judge Young is taking time from her duties in the 28th 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."

Since January 2015, Young has served as chief judge of the 28th judicial district, which is made up of Saline and Ottawa counties. She has been a district court judge since 2006.

Chief Judge Rene Young
Chief Judge Rene Young

"I look forward to the opportunity to sit with the Kansas Supreme Court," Young said. "I consider it an honor to serve in this capacity."

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

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 Young will hear is the last one scheduled on the Supreme Court's 9 a.m. docket Wednesday, October 28:

Appeal No. 109,367: Carol Einsel v. Rodney Einsel, et al.

Comanche County: (Petition for Review) Carol and Rodney Einsel divorced in 1994 and the Ellis County District Court awarded Carol 40 percent of a remainder interest in certain real estate that Rodney had received by inheritance during the marriage. Carol later filed a partition action in Comanche County alleging that the award entitled her to 40 percent of Rodney's interest in the real property as opposed to a money judgment for the value of the real estate. The district court denied Carol's request for partition. Carol appealed to the Court of Appeals, claiming the district court erred in interpreting the Ellis County award. The Court of Appeals agreed and reversed and remanded the case with directions to the district court to grant Carol relief on her claim for partition as set forth in her petition. The Supreme Court granted Rodney's petition for review.

The issues on review are whether the district court's ruling that Carol received a monetary judgment in the 1994 divorce, not an ownership interest in real estate Rodney acquired from his father's estate, is supported by the evidence and whether the Court of Appeals erred in reversing the district court judgment. The Supreme Court will also review whether the Court of Appeals must be reversed to save Rodney's right to present defenses under K.S.A. 60-1003(d) and to correct an error in fractional property shares alleged in Carol's petition.


NEWS RELEASE: October 21, 2015

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

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

TOPEKA—The 25th Judicial District Nominating Commission is seeking candidates to fill a judge vacancy created by the August retirement of Judge Philip Vieux.

The 25th judicial district is made up of Finney, Greeley, Hamilton, Kearny, Scott, and Wichita counties.

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.

"The process for selecting judges is transparent with the intent to find the most qualified candidates in the district. If a community member knows someone ideally suited for the job, he or she should encourage that person to apply, or volunteer to recommend him or her," Biles 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.

Recommendations must be accompanied by a nomination form available from the clerk's office in the district courts in Finney (Garden City), Greeley (Tribune), Hamilton (Syracuse), Kearny (Lakin), Scott (Scott City), and Wichita (Leoti) counties. The form is also available on the Kansas Judicial Branch website at www.kscourts.org under the heading "What's New."

Completed nomination forms and supporting letters must be delivered by noon (Central Standard Time) Friday, November 20, to:

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

The nominating commission will convene to interview nominees at 9 a.m. Tuesday, December 1, in the Finney County courthouse, 425 N 8th Street, Garden City. If necessary, interviews will continue December 2 at the same location. Interviews are open to the public.

Kansas law requires the commission to submit at least two names, but not more than three, to the governor, who will choose one to appoint.

Notice of this vacancy will be sent to active members of the Kansas bar by the chair of the commission. Nominees who currently reside outside the 25th judicial district should review K.S.A. 20-2909(b).

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


NEWS RELEASE: October 16, 2015

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

Ten apply for judge vacancy in 2nd judicial district

TOPEKA— Ten candidates applied to the 2nd Judicial District Nominating Commission seeking to fill a judge vacancy in the 2nd judicial district, which includes Jackson, Jefferson, Pottawatomie, and Wabaunsee counties.

The vacancy was created by the unexpected death of District Court Judge Micheal A. Ireland.

The nominating commission will convene at 10 a.m. Thursday, October 22, in the Jackson County Courthouse in Holton to interview nominees. The meeting will be open to the public.

The 10 candidates are:

Randy M. Barker, Topeka, who has a private law practice in Holton and is a part-time attorney for the Prairie Band Potawatomi Child Support Services program.

Chris A. Clements, Andover, who has a private law practice in Wichita.

Lee J. Davidson, Topeka, who is assistant attorney general in the criminal litigation division of the Office of the Kansas Attorney General.

Christopher T. Etzel, Havensville, who has a private law practice in Onaga and is City Attorney and City Prosecutor for the City of Onaga.

Zachary A. King, Hoyt, who is an attorney with Butler & Associates, P.A., in Topeka.

Norbert C. Marek Jr., Westmoreland, who is Wabaunsee County Attorney.

Shawna R. Miller, Holton, who has a private law practice in Holton, is Jackson County Attorney, and is municipal judge in the City of Hoyt and the City of Mayetta.

Alexandria S. Morrissey, Holton, who has a private law practice, is Assistant Jackson County Counselor, and is municipal judge in Wetmore and Corning.

Thomas Britt Nichols, Wamego, who is director of asset recovery for the Kansas Department of Labor.

Vivien J. Olsen, St. Marys, who is general counsel for the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation.

Kansas law requires that a judge be a resident of Jackson County at the time of taking the oath and maintain residency in Jackson County 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 at least two names, but not more than three, to the governor, who will choose one to appoint.

The 2nd Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Justice Marla J. Luckert as the nonvoting chair; and J. Richard Lake, Holton; Edward W. Pugh, Wamego; John D. Watt, Wamego; Charles W. Waugh, Eskridge; David G. Allen, Circleville; Norma J. Dunnaway, Perry; D. Max Fuller, Maple Hill; and Corwin K. Seamans, Manhattan.


NEWS RELEASE: October 16, 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 2nd judicial district

TOPEKA—The 2nd Judicial District Nominating Commission is seeking candidates to fill a district magistrate judge vacancy in Pottawatomie County.

The 2nd judicial district includes Jackson, Jefferson, Pottawatomie, and Wabaunsee counties.

Justice Marla J. Luckert, the Supreme Court departmental justice responsible for the 2nd 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 Pottawatomie 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 Jackson, Jefferson, Pottawatomie, or Wabaunsee 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 by the J. Richard Lake, Commission Secretary; 110 West 5th Street; Holton, KS 66436; by noon Friday, November 20, 2015.

The nominating commission will convene at 10 a.m. Friday, December 11, 2015, at the Pottawatomie County Courthouse, in Westmoreland, to interview candidates and appoint a district magistrate judge. Interviews are open to the public.

The 2nd Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Justice Marla J. Luckert as the nonvoting chair; J. Richard Lake, Holton; Edward W. Pugh and John D. Watt of Wamego; Charles W. Waugh of Eskridge; David G. Allen of Circleville; Norma J. Dunnaway of Perry; D. Max Fuller of Maple Hill; and Corwin K. Seamans of Manhattan.


NEWS RELEASE: October 1, 2015

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

(Updated to reflect change in docket to include Appeal No. 109,995: State of Kansas v. Dontae M. Pattersoninstead of Appeal No. 109,634: City of Dodge City v. Orie J. Webb, which could not proceed due to a scheduling conflict.)

TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court announced an amended docket of three cases it will hear October 13 at Garden City High School, 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 Garden City in the court’s 154-year history and it will be only the second time for the court to hear cases in the evening. The court’s first evening session was in April in Hays and it drew a record crowd of nearly 700 people.

The court will be in session from 6:30 p.m. to about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 13, in the auditorium of the Garden City High School at 2720 Buffalo Way.

The docket was amended includes the following cases:

Appeal No. 108,963: Betty A. Born, et al v. Sharon L. Born and Todd J. Born, et al. This is a review of a Court of Appeals decision of a case that originated in Sedgwick County that seeks to resolve ownership interest in a family-owned business after one of the family member/owners died.

Appeal No. 109,995: State of Kansas v. Dontae M. Patterson. Patterson was charged with various drug offenses, criminal possession of a firearm by a felon, and receipt of criminal proceeds after Wichita police searched his vehicle parked in the driveway of premises police had a warrant to search. Issue on appeal is whether the Court of Appeals erred in holding that the vehicle could be searched because it was parked in the driveway of the premises police had a warrant to search.

Appeal No. 110, 415: State of Kansas v. Charles C. Logsdon. Logsdon appeals a Reno County conviction for first-degree murder and other charges for which he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 50 years. Questions before the court are whether there was sufficient evidence presented at trial to convict him, and whether the district court committed errors when it denied his motion for mistrial, when it imposed a hard-50 sentence, and when it instructed the jury on the law regarding aiding and abetting.

Summaries of the cases and briefs filed by the attorneys involved are available online by following the Garden City 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 commons area outside the auditorium.

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.

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.”

Garden City High School is the court’s ninth 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 in 2015.




NEWS RELEASE: September 25, 2015

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

Appeal No. 105,982, State of Kansas v. Joseph M. Buser

TOPEKA—Today the Kansas Supreme Court reaffirmed its July 1, 2015, order in this appeal declaring K.S.A. 2014 Supp. 20-3301 unconstitutional. That statute imposes deadlines for all state court decisions. Regarding appeals to the Supreme Court, K.S.A. 2014 Supp. 20-3301(c) directs all counsel to submit a joint request to the Supreme Court once the deadline has run, asking that a decision be entered "without further delay."

On July 1, the court held the statute violates the separation of powers doctrine embedded in the Kansas Constitution and relieved attorneys of any purported duty to comply with its terms. The Attorney General filed a motion on behalf of the state asking the court to withdraw the order because the county attorney handling the case for the state had not filed a response to the motion that resulted in the court's decision. In an order signed by Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss, the court held the attorney general's motion for the state was unable to show the July1 order should be withdrawn and, accordingly, denied the motion.


NEWS RELEASE: September 23, 2015

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

New attorneys take state and federal oaths in September 25 ceremony

TOPEKA — Successful applicants to the July 2015 Kansas bar examination will be sworn in as Kansas attorneys at a 10 a.m. ceremony Friday, September 25, at the Topeka Performing Arts Center, 214 SE 8th Street, Topeka.

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

Heather Smith, clerk of the Kansas Supreme Court, will administer the state oath and Rachel Lyle, pro se law clerk of the U.S. District Court, will administer the federal oath.

Kevin F. Mitchelson and David R. Cooper, respectively the chair and a member of the Kansas Board of Law Examiners, will present the new attorneys to the court.

Of the 109 applicants tested in the July 2015 Kansas bar exam, 83 successfully passed, 82 were eligible to be admitted, and 67 plan to be present to be sworn in.

List of attorneys.


NEWS RELEASE: September 23, 2015

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

Nominating commission seeks candidates
for judge vacancy in 2nd judicial district

TOPEKA—The 2nd Judicial District Nominating Commission is seeking candidates to fill a judge vacancy in the 2nd judicial district, which includes Jackson, Jefferson, Pottawatomie, and Wabaunsee counties.

The vacancy was created by the death of District Court Judge Micheal A. Ireland.

Justice Marla Luckert, the Supreme Court departmental justice responsible for the 2nd judicial district, said nominees can apply or be recommended, but recommendations must come on a nomination form and include the nominee’s signature.

“Selecting judges 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, or volunteer to recommend him or her,” Luckert said.

Kansas law requires that a judge be a resident of Jackson County at the time of taking the oath and maintain residency in Jackson County 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.

Recommendations must be accompanied by a nomination form available from the clerk’s office in each of the district’s courts: Jackson County District Court in Holton; Jefferson County District Court in Oskaloosa; Pottawatomie County District Court in Westmoreland; and Wabaunsee County District Court in Alma. The form is also available from the clerk of the appellate courts at the 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, Wednesday, October 14, 2015, to:

J. Richard Lake
Commission Secretary
110 W. 5th Street
Holton, KS 66436 

The nominating commission will convene at 10 a.m. Thursday, October 22, in the Jackson County Courthouse in Holton to interview nominees. The meeting will be open to the public.
Kansas law requires the commission to submit at least two names, but not more than three, to the governor, who will choose one to appoint.

Notice of this vacancy was mailed to every active attorney in this judicial district by the chairman of the commission.

The 2nd Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Justice Marla J. Luckert as the nonvoting chair; and J. Richard Lake, Holton; Edward W. Pugh, Wamego; John D. Watt, Wamego; Charles W. Waugh, Eskridge; David G. Allen, Circleville; Norma J. Dunnaway, Perry; D. Max Fuller, Maple Hill; and Corwin K. Seamans, Manhattan.

 


NEWS RELEASE: September 18, 2015

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

Supreme Court announces cases for October 13 docket
at Garden City High School

TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court announced the three cases it will hear October 13 at Garden City High School, 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 Garden City in the court’s 154-year history and it will be only the second time for the court to hear cases in the evening. The court’s first evening session was in April in Hays and it drew a record crowd of nearly 700 people.

The court will be in session from 6:30 p.m. to about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 13, in the auditorium of the Garden City High School at 2720 Buffalo Way.

The docket includes:

Appeal No. 108,963: Betty A. Born, et al v. Sharon L. Born and Todd J. Born, et al. This is a petition for review of a case that originated in Sedgwick County that seeks to resolve ownership interest in a family-owned business after one of the family member/owners died.

Appeal No. 109,634: City of Dodge City v. Orie J. Webb.Webb was convicted of driving under the influence in Ford County. The question before the court is whether Webb was improperly coerced into submitting to a breath test in violation of his constitutional and statutory rights under the implied consent law.

Appeal No. 110, 415: State of Kansas v. Charles C. Logsdon. Logsdon appeals a Reno County conviction for first-degree murder and other charges for which he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 50 years. Questions before the court are whether there was sufficient evidence presented at trial to convict him, and whether the district court committed errors when it denied his motion for mistrial, when it imposed a hard-50 sentence, and when it instructed the jury on the law regarding aiding and abetting.

Summaries of the cases and briefs filed by the attorneys involved are available online by following the Garden City 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 commons area outside the auditorium.

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.

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.”

Garden City High School is the court’s ninth 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 in 2015.




NEWS RELEASE: September 15, 2015

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

Kansas Court of Appeals to commemorate Constitution Day with session at KU

LAWRENCE—A three-judge panel of the Kansas Court of Appeals will hear five cases September 22 at the Kansas Union at the University of Kansas as part of the court’s observance of Constitution Day.

The court will hear cases at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 2 p.m. in Alderson Auditorium.

Judges Patrick D. McAnany and Michael B. Buser of Overland Park, and Judge Steve Leben of Fairway, will hear the cases. Leben has been designated the presiding judge for the hearings.

Judge Steve Leben
Judge Steve Leben

“The cases we will hear at KU were chosen because we think they present interesting constitutional issues for students,” Leben said. “The constitutional rights we all share are tested daily in America’s courts in cases like these.”

Several of the cases involve disputes about a defendant’s rights under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Fourth Amendment guarantees our freedom from “unreasonable searches and seizures” and provides that search warrants be issued only on “probable cause.” Under what courts call the exclusionary rule, evidence that was obtained illegally—in violation of the Fourth Amendment—is generally excluded from the trial, although there is an exception to that rule when police officers had a reasonable, good-faith belief they were acting legally.

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

After each session, the judges will be available to talk to students. Also, the University of Kansas School of Law will host a one-hour “Ask the Judges” open forum for students and the public at 12:30 p.m. in Alderson Auditorium. The judges will provide some background about the United States Constitution and the court system and will answer questions.

The Kansas Court of Appeals hears cases throughout the state, with monthly hearing dockets regularly scheduled in Topeka, Wichita, and Kansas City. During 2015, the court has also had hearings in Beloit, Chanute, Garden City, Lawrence, Overland Park, and Paola, and it will have hearings in Hutchinson in November. 

As part of its observance of Constitution Day, which commemorates the signing of the United States Constitution by a majority of delegates to the Constitutional Convention on September 17, 1787, the Kansas Court of Appeals schedules September dockets at Kansas colleges and universities. In addition to the panel at KU, the court this year will have three-judge panels hearing cases at Wichita State University and Kansas State University.

There are 14 judges on the Kansas Court of Appeals. In 2014, the court resolved appeals in 1,861 cases, including 1,295 in which the court issued a formal written opinion.

The five cases to be heard at KU are:

9 a.m.

State of Kansas v. Michelle Canfield, Appeal from Shawnee County

Police entered Michelle Canfield’s Topeka home uninvited to arrest her on a warrant that called for her arrest. They found methamphetamine on her person, and she was convicted of a possession charge. She appeals the district court’s denial of her motion to suppress the evidence found on her that day. She alleges that no recognized exception to the requirement for a search warrant authorized the police to enter her home when a man answered the door and said he wasn’t sure whether she was at home. The State of Kansas contends that the officers had authority to enter the home both because they had been called to check on the welfare of Canfield’s children and because they had probable cause to believe that Canfield—for whom they had an arrest warrant—was in the home.

State of Kansas v. Cornelious Jones, Appeal from Labette County

After police in Parsons made a traffic stop, a passenger in the car ran away on foot. Officers arrested him, took a cell phone from his pocket, and then looked on the phone for texts without obtaining a search warrant. The information found led to charges against Cornelious Jones for possession and intent to sell illegal drugs. The district court ruled that the warrantless cell-phone search was illegal under a 2014 United States Supreme Court ruling, Riley v. California, which determined that the data on a cell phone of a person arrested cannot be searched without a warrant. The State of Kansas has appealed. It concedes that the search was illegal but argues that the evidence found should still be allowed in the case against Jones because the search occurred before the Riley decision and the officers acted in good faith.

10:30 a.m.

State of Kansas v. Justin Rice, Appeal from Shawnee County

After Justin Rice pled guilty to several crimes committed in Topeka, including solicitation to commit aggravated robbery, the district court found that the crimes involved the “use” of a deadly weapon, which made Rice subject to a requirement that he register under the Kansas Offender Registration Act. Rice claims on appeal that the district court violated his constitutional right to a jury trial under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution. He cites a 2000 United States Supreme Court case, Apprendi v. New Jersey, which said that “any fact that increases the penalty for a crime beyond the prescribed statutory maximum must be submitted to a jury, and proved beyond a reasonable doubt.” The state argues that offender registration is for public safety, not part of a defendant’s punishment.

2 p.m.

State of Kansas v. David Wasylk, Appeal from Lyon County

In a case from Emporia, David Wasylk was convicted of four counts of manufacture of methamphetamine and several other drug offenses based on evidence found in a residence by officers who had a search warrant. The district court found that the search warrant shouldn’t have been issued because the information in it came primarily from a single informant without sufficient corroboration. But the district court allowed the evidence to be used against Wasylk anyway because the court found that the officers acted in good faith. On appeal, along with several other issues, the defendant claims that the good-faith exception to the rule that normally excludes illegally obtained evidence should not have been applied.

State of Kansas v. Tiffany C. Hubbard, Appeal from Douglas County

Lawrence resident Tiffany Hubbard appeals her conviction for distribution of cocaine and other offenses. The charges were based on four drug buys and evidence found in her home. At trial, as proof that she lived there, the state presented her license to operate an in-home daycare facility. Hubbard contends that this evidence was irrelevant and prejudicial to her, leading the jury to convict on weak and circumstantial evidence because of concern that children were present when drug transactions may have taken place. She also argues that the prosecuting attorney made improper and prejudicial statements to the jury in closing argument; that the district court violated her constitutional right under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution to present a complete defense in her jury trial (she wasn’t allowed to present some negative information about a witness who was cooperating with the state); and that the district court violated her constitutional right to be present at her own trial by holding a pretrial hearing without her presence.


NEWS RELEASE: September 11, 2015

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

9th Judicial District Nominating Commission sends judge candidate names to governor

TOPEKA—The 9th Judicial District Nominating Commission sent the names of two candidates for district court judge to Gov. Sam Brownback, who has 60 days to decide who will fill the vacancy created by the August 1 retirement of Chief Judge Richard B. Walker.

The two candidates are Harold F. Shorn II and Marilyn M. Wilder.

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

The 9th judicial district is made up of Harvey and McPherson counties.

The 9th Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Justice Carol A. Beier as the nonvoting chair; William E. Gusenius, Lindsborg; Ronnie L. Krehbiel, Burrton; Thomas A. Adrian, John S. Robb, and George Rogers of Newton; and Michael L. Androes, Harris G. Terry, and Robert W. Wise of McPherson.


NEWS RELEASE: September 11, 2015

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

Kansas appellate courts make unpublished opinions available online

TOPEKA—Beginning today, the Kansas Supreme Court and Court of Appeals will make unpublished opinions available online, making it possible for the first time for the public to access them using the Internet.

Previously, only published opinions from the two courts were posted online. That practice began in 1996 and earned the judicial branch recognition from the American Association of Law Libraries.

“This is one small change of many that Kansans should expect in coming years as our courts continue to move toward even greater transparency through our use of technology,” said Lawton R. Nuss, chief justice of the Supreme Court.

The unpublished opinions will be available on the judicial branch website at www.kscourts.org under the Cases & Opinions tab at the top of the home page. Unpublished opinions may be posted at any time during the day they are released, which is typically on Fridays.

Published opinions are posted online within about an hour of the time they are released, which is usually around 9:30 a.m. on Fridays. They are also accessible under the Cases & Opinions tab on the judicial branch home page.

A “published” opinion is one that’s included in a bound volume of either the Kansas Reports, for Supreme Court opinions, or the Kansas Court of Appeals Reports, for Court of Appeals opinions. The opinions in the bound volumes are considered the final official versions and may be cited in legal documents and proceedings for their precedential value.

An “unpublished” opinion is one that does not decide a new point of law or set binding precedent. Unpublished opinions are not included in the bound volumes of either the Kansas Reports or Kansas Court of Appeals Reports.

Before being offered online, a person who wanted an unpublished opinion had to request it from the clerk of the appellate court’s office or the Supreme Court Law Library.


NEWS RELEASE: September 10, 2015

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

Judge Frederick of 25th judicial district to sit with Kansas Supreme Court September 17

TOPEKA—Judge Robert J. Frederick of the 25th 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, September 17.

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

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

“I am delighted that Judge Frederick is taking time from his duties in the 25th 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.”

Since 2001, Frederick has served as a district judge in the 25th judicial district, where he currently presides over cases in Finney, Wichita and Scott counties. The 25th judicial district is made up of Finney, Greeley, Hamilton, Kearny, Scott and Wichita counties.

Judge Robert J. Frederick
Judge Robert J. Frederick

“I was honored to receive the invitation to sit with the Kansas Supreme Court,” Frederick said. “It’s a rare opportunity for trial court judges to sit with the state’s highest court, and I am eager to participate at such a high level.”

Frederick graduated from the University of Kansas and Washburn University School of Law. He has been a member of the Kansas Judicial Council's Family Law Advisory Committee since 2006 and a member of the Kansas Supreme Court Judicial Needs Assessment Committee since 2010.

Before becoming a judge, Frederick served as Kearny County Attorney, Deerfield City Attorney, and as an attorney for U.S.D. 215 in Lakin. He also had a general trial practice in Lakin from 1976 to 2001.

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 Frederick will hear is scheduled at 9 a.m. Thursday, September 17:

Appeal No. 108, 817: George M. Garcia v. Charles D. Ball

Wyandotte County: (Civil Appeal) Garcia obtained a default judgment against his former attorney, Charles Ball, when Ball failed to file an answer to Garcia's lawsuit for more than four months. Ball then asked the district court to set aside the default judgment, claiming that his failure to answer the suit had been caused by excusable neglect. The district court granted that motion. Garcia appealed, contending that the district court abused its discretion because Ball did not provide any factual basis to support his excusable-neglect claim. A Court of Appeals panel reversed the district court's judgment setting aside the default judgment. The court specifically concluded that a district court could not grant relief from judgment based on excusable neglect when the party seeking relief has failed either to explain what facts constituted excusable neglect or to provide any evidence to support that claim.

Ball filed a petition for review, seeking review of the Court of Appeals' reversal of the district court's judgment. Garcia filed a cross-petition for review, seeking review of the district court's decision to dismiss his legal malpractice suit against Ball based on the "exoneration rule."

The Supreme Court granted both the petition for review and the cross-petition for review.

The issue on review on Ball’s petition is whether a failure of "excusable neglect," under K.S.A. 60-260(b)(1) would preclude the district court's exercise of discretion in setting aside the default judgment for . . . . "any other reason justifying relief from the operation of the judgment . . ." or inadvertence, pursuant to K.S.A. 60-260(b)(6)?

The issues on review from Garcia’s cross-petition are whether the "exoneration rule" requires the plaintiff to be found innocent of the criminal charges or merely requires him to obtain post-conviction relief prior to being able to sue his attorney for malpractice resulting in wrongful imprisonment, and whether the statute of limitations began on the date of the malpractice, or on the date he obtained post-conviction relief.


NEWS RELEASE: September 10, 2015

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

Judge Chambers of Reno County to sit with Kansas Supreme Court September 18

TOPEKA—Judge Timothy J. Chambers of the Reno County District Court has been appointed to sit with the Kansas Supreme Court to hear an attorney discipline case on the court’s 9 a.m. docket Friday, September 18.

After hearing the case, Chambers 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 that Judge Chambers is taking time from his duties in the 27th 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.”

Chambers has served as a district judge in Reno County since 2001.

Judge Timothy Chambers
Judge Timothy J. Chambers

“I look forward to the opportunity to sit with the Supreme Court,” Chambers said. “I consider it an honor to have been asked to serve in this capacity.”

Before he became a judge, Chambers served as Reno County Attorney and District Attorney from 1983 to 2001. In 1991, he was named Kansas Prosecutor of the Year.

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 Chambers will hear is the last one scheduled on the 9 a.m. docket Friday, September 18:

Appeal No. 113,578: In re Wendell Betts

Original Proceeding Related to Attorney Discipline: (Two-year suspension) This disciplinary proceeding arises out of a domestic dispute between Betts and his wife; convictions for driving under the influence; possession of marijuana; possession of drug paraphernalia; transporting an open container of alcohol; and, violating probation. Betts has not attempted to practice law since his arrest in July 2013. The Supreme Court suspended his license to practice law September 18, 2013, for failing to complete the required continuing legal education requirement. The hearing panel found violations of the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct. The hearing panel found as an aggravating factor that Betts has been disciplined on five prior occasions. The panel did find mitigating factors. The panel recommended that Betts’ license to practice law be suspended for two years, that he be required to undergo a Rule 219 hearing prior to consideration of a petition for reinstatement, and that he meet certain conditions. Betts has not taken exceptions.


NEWS RELEASE: September 9, 2015

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

Judge Fowler of 5th judicial district to sit with Kansas
Supreme Court September 14

TOPEKA—Judge W. Lee Fowler of the 5th judicial district has been appointed to sit with the Kansas Supreme Court to hear oral arguments in two cases on the court's 9 a.m. docket Monday, September 14.

After hearing oral arguments, Fowler 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 that Judge Fowler is taking time from his duties in the 5th 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 these two cases."

Fowler has served as a district judge since 1997 in the 5th judicial district, where he presides over cases in Lyon and Chase counties.

Judge W. Lee Fowler
Judge W. Lee Fowler

"It is an honor to be asked to sit with the Supreme Court," Fowler said. "It's also a privilege to serve as a member of the Kansas judiciary and that privilege is enhanced with this opportunity to sit with the Supreme Court."

Fowler is a Parsons native. He graduated from Emporia State University and Washburn University School of Law. He has served on the Kansas Sentencing Commission since 2013 and currently is vice chairman.

Fowler created a drug court in Emporia in 2004 and has presided over it since that time. He served as Chase County Attorney from 1985 to 1993, and later as defense counsel in private practice.

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 cases Fowler will hear are scheduled at 9 a.m. Monday, September 14:

Appeal No. 109,292: State of Kansas v. Charles E. Shelly

Brown County: (Criminal Appeal) Shelly entered a no contest plea to one count each of unlawful distribution of a drug precursor and unlawful possession of a drug precursor. He was sentenced to serve 56 months in prison for the unlawful distribution count and a concurrent 49 month sentence for the unlawful possession count. The district court advised Shelly he had the right to appeal his sentence but no notice of appeal was filed. On the day Shelly was sentenced, the Supreme Court released it opinion in State v. Snellings, 294 Kan. 149, 273 P.3d 739 (2012), holding that possession of drug precursors and possession of drug paraphernalia are identical crimes. Shelly, while in prison, became aware of the Snellings decision and filed a pro se K.S.A. 60-1507 motion, arguing that his sentence should be modified under Snellings. The district court held that Snellings applied to count two, possession of a drug precursor, but not to count one, distribution of a drug precursor. Accordingly, the district court reduced Shelly's sentence.

Shelly appealed his conviction and sentence to the Court of Appeals, which remanded the case to the district court to determine whether Shelly met the exceptions to the requirement of filing a timely notice of appeal. The district court found that Shelly did not. Shelly appealed and the Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's determination. The Supreme Court granted Shelly's petition for review.

The issue on review is whether the Court of Appeals erred by affirming the district court's decision finding Shelly's appeal does not meet any of the exceptions to filing a timely notice of appeal.

Appeal No. 109,506: State of Kansas v. Cara N. Perry

Brown County: (Criminal Appeal) Perry entered a no contest plea to one count each of unlawful distribution of a drug precursor and unlawful possession of a drug precursor. She was sentenced to serve 54 months in prison for the unlawful distribution count and a concurrent 49 months for the unlawful possession count. The district court advised Perry that she had the right to appeal her sentence but no notice of appeal was filed.

On the day that Perry was sentenced, the Supreme Court released it opinion in State v. Snellings, 294 Kan. 149, 273 P.3d 739 (2012), holding that possession of drug precursors and possession of drug paraphernalia are identical crimes. Perry filed a pro se K.S.A. 60-1507 motion, arguing that she should have been sentenced under the provisions of K.S.A. 2011 Supp. 21-5710(b). The district court held that Snellings applied to count two, possession of a drug precursor, but not to count one, distribution of a drug precursor. Accordingly, the district court reduced Perry's sentence.

Perry appealed her conviction and sentence to the Court of Appeals, which remanded the case to the district court to determine whether Perry's 60-1507 motion should have been construed as a direct appeal of her sentence. The district court found that Perry did not satisfy any of the exceptions. The Court of Appeals found that Perry's challenge was property converted to a timely direct appeal. The Supreme Court granted the State's petition for review.

The issue on review is whether the district court erred in finding that Perry was not entitled to file a belated appeal.



NEWS RELEASE: September 3, 2015

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

Kansas Supreme Court launches eCourt project

TOPEKA—State courts are one step closer in their transition to a centralized electronic court environment with the Supreme Court’s launch of its Kansas eCourt project today.

The eCourt project will focus on merging 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.

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

“Courts have used technology to improve day-to-day business operations, but it has been at a district or county level, essentially creating standalone digital environments,” said Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss. “This initiative to centralize most of our court records and processes will allow us to share information across district and county lines, where we can make the most effective use of our limited staff and fiscal resources. It also strengthens the unification of our state’s courts the people of Kansas asked for in their constitution more than 40 years ago.”

To prepare for this move to centralized case management, electronic filing was introduced in some district courts in 2009. Electronic filing allows lawyers and court employees to file and store court documents electronically in the nearly half a million cases courts process each year.

Currently, more than half of the state’s judicial districts are using electronic filing and the 7th judicial district in Douglas County requires it. Electronic filing in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals will be mandatory starting November 2.

Now that electronic filing is nearly fully in place, the courts are ready to move to the electronic court environment that is one goal of the eCourt project.

Justice Dan Biles
Justice Dan Biles

 “While technology is the foundation of this project, the transition to a more centralized case management system will require a fair amount of standardization across judicial districts,” said Justice Dan Biles, who is chair of the eCourt steering committee. “Our subcommittees on infrastructure, requirements, and rules will examine needs of individual courts, the legal community, the public, and others to establish baseline requirements for the eCourt environment.”

Funding for the eCourt project is through the Electronic Filing and Case Management Fund established by the 2014 Legislature, which directed that the first $3.1 million received in docket fee revenue for fiscal years 2015, 2016, and 2017 be deposited into the fund. In fiscal year 2018 and subsequent years, the first $1 million in docket fee revenue is directed into the fund.

In 2015, the Legislature extended by one year the requirement that $3.1 million be deposited into the fund and authorized the judicial branch to use revenue deposited in fiscal years 2015 and 2016 to fill gaps in its general expenditures.



NEWS RELEASE: August 21, 2015

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

Kansas judicial branch receives national recognition
for court caseload reporting excellence

TOPEKA—For a third time since 2009, the Kansas judicial branch has been recognized by the National Center for State Courts for reporting excellence in providing detailed and publishable court caseload data.

This year's national recognition was for reporting excellence for six continuous years.

Kansas received two excellence awards from the Court Statistics Project in 2009 in recognition of its reporting in two categories — civil and juvenile caseload statistics. Since then, Kansas has continued to report detailed case type data in all five categories that conform to the definitions and case counting rules in the State Court Guide to Statistical Reporting.

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

"I'm proud that Kansas was recognized for its efforts to collect and publish caseload data in a manner that gives it utility beyond our state," said Lawton R. Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court. "This allows us to see how Kansas compares to other states in number and types of cases processed and their outcomes."

The Kansas judicial branch collects data about nearly half a million court cases handled each year by district courts across Kansas, as well as by the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. The data are published in an annual report available on the judicial branch website at www.kscourts.org.

The data are also published on the Court Statistics Project website at www.courtstatistics.org to allow for national and cross-state analysis of case data to give court officials information essential to efficient and effective management of fair and impartial courts.

The Court Statistics Project is a joint effort by the National Center for State Courts and the Conference of State Court Administrators, an organization composed of state court administrators from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S territories.

When considering award candidates, the Court Statistics Project evaluates the following criteria:

  • number of case types reported
  • number of status categories, case characteristics, and manners of disposition reported
  • publishability/quality of data reported
  • improvements from past reporting years
  • sustained excellent reporting
  • overall support and investment in improving caseload reporting

Kansas, like other state court systems, has long published its own data. But it didn't always directly compare to other states because of differences in court structure, case definitions and counting practices, court rules, statutes, or terminology. Adhering to the statistical reporting standards established by the Court Statistics Project ensures comparability of all data reported to the project.



NEWS RELEASE: August 14, 2015

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

New date set for interviews to fill judge vacancy in 9th judicial district

TOPEKA—The 9th Judicial District Nominating Commission will convene at 9 a.m. Friday, September 11, in the Harvey County Courthouse in Newton to interview nominees to fill a judge vacancy created by the August 1 retirement of Chief Judge Richard B. Walker.

The meeting is open to the public.

The 10 candidates are:

  • JoAn Lindfors
  • Gregory Nye
  • Marilyn Wilder
  • Michael Llamas
  • Gary Price
  • Joy Williams
  • Mary McDonald
  • Harold Schorn
  • David Yoder
  • Trinity J. Muth

A judge must reside in the district, be at least 30 years old, be admitted to practice law in Kansas, and have actively practiced law for at least five years.

Kansas law requires the commission to submit at least two names, but not more than three, to the governor, who will choose whom to appoint.

The 9th judicial district is made up of Harvey and McPherson counties.

The 9th Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Justice Carol A. Beier as the nonvoting chair; William E. Gusenius, Lindsborg; Ronnie L. Krehbiel, Burrton; Thomas A. Adrian, John S. Robb, and George Rogers of Newton; and Michael L. Androes, Harris G. Terry, and Robert W. Wise of McPherson.


NEWS RELEASE: August 10, 2015

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

Kansas Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments August 18 in Garden City

TOPEKA—A three-judge panel of the Kansas Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, August 18, at the Finney County Courthouse, 425 North 8th Street, Garden City.

Judges G. Joseph Pierron Jr., David E. Bruns, and Kim R. Schroeder will hear oral argument in seven criminal and civil cases at dockets that convene at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The panel will also decide 11 cases without argument based on the parties' written submissions.

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

"Nearly every month, panels of Court of Appeals judges will hear cases in Wichita, Topeka, and the Kansas City area," he said. "We welcome the opportunity to visit other places, like Garden City. It makes our court more accessible to Kansans."

Pierron said that hearing cases around the state also saves money for the parties.

"When a three-judge panel visits a location where many cases from a region can be heard, the attorneys representing the parties do not have to travel to Topeka," Pierron said.

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 Garden City arose in Ellis, Ellsworth, Ford, Logan, Trego, and Sherman counties. In addition to the Court of Appeals panel hearing cases this week in Garden City, 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 seven cases to be heard in Garden City are summarized as follows:

9 a.m. Tuesday August 18, 2015

No. 111,962: Kenneth E. Wilson v. State of Kansas, appeal from Osborne County

Kenneth E. Wilson challenges his 2009 conviction for first-degree murder and other crimes in a habeas corpus action on the grounds his trial lawyer provided constitutionally inadequate representation for failing to seek the pretrial exclusion of some evidence against him.

No. 111,808: In the Matter of the Marriage of Courtney L. Schmeidler and Brian D. Schmeidler, appeal from Ellis County

The Ellis County District Court granted the couple a divorce, determining child custody and support, and approving the parties' property settlement agreement. Less than five months later, Courtney filed a motion to modify the child support, which the district court granted. Brian appeals, arguing that the district court's decision constitutes an improper modification of the parties' property settlement agreement. In the alternative, Brian argues that the district court abused its discretion in granting Courtney's motion to modify child support.

No. 111,827: Danker & Danker Public Relations v. Brenda McCants d/b/a Blending Moments, appeal from Sherman County

Danker filed a petition against McCants alleging McCants was personally liable for the unpaid balance for work Danker had done for McCants. The Sherman County District Court granted McCants' motion for summary judgment, finding she was not personally liable as a matter of law. Danker appeals, arguing McCants is personally liable because she never disclosed to Danker that she was acting as an agent for a limited liability company. Danker contends McCants acted in her capacity as president of Blending Moments, which is a trademarked name. Because trademarks do not provide the same personal liability shield as an LLC does, Danker argues McCants is not protected by the shield of a limited liability company.

No. 113,244: Erick Wade Harbacek, #49146, v. Daniel Schnurr, et al., appeal from Ellsworth County

Eric Harbacek appeals the district court's summary denial of his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Harbacek claims the Kansas Department of Corrections incorrectly computed his conditional release date in contravention of ex post facto laws. He contends the loss of 90 days good time was not a punishment available to the Department of Corrections and violated ex post facto laws. The Department of Corrections argues Harbacek's conditional release was properly and legally computed.

1:30 p.m. Tuesday August 18, 2015

No. 110,841: In the Matter of the Guardianship and Conservatorship of Rosa Lee Raney, appeal from Trego County

Carl Raney appeals the Trego County District Court's decision not to remove Wayne Raney as the conservator for his elderly mother, Rosa Lee Raney. Carl alleges that Wayne violated multiple fiduciary duties while serving as conservator of his mother's estate, and the district court abused its discretion in finding that while Wayne had failed to strictly comply with the rules established by K.S.A. 59-3069, his compliance was not fatal.

No. 110,046: State of Kansas v. David Darrel Williams, appeal from Ellis County

David Williams appeals his conviction of distribution of methamphetamine. On September 13, 2012, an undercover officer and a confidential informant picked up Williams in the undercover officer's unmarked vehicle and purchased methamphetamine from him. Another officer located down the street listened to and recorded the parties' conversations. At trial, the confidential informant was unavailable to testify. Over Williams' objection, the Ellis County District Court played the recording for the jury, which included statements from the unavailable confidential informant. Williams argues on appeal that permitting the jury to hear the recording violated his Sixth Amendment right to be confronted with the witnesses against him. Williams also argues that the district court erred by using his prior convictions to increase his sentence without requiring the state to prove such convictions beyond a reasonable doubt.

No. 112,067: State of Kansas v. Ricardo Barnhardt, appeal from Ford County

This is a direct appeal of Barnhart's convictions of two counts aggravated battery, one count felony endangering a child and one count of misdemeanor battery out of Ford County. The charges arose out of a domestic dispute between Barnhart and his girlfriend who was 38 weeks pregnant. On appeal, Barnhart is arguing: (1) there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction; (2) his fundamental rights were violated when the jury was mistakenly allowed to listen to an unredacted videotape, (3) his defense counsel provided insufficient representation and (4) the prosecutor committed prosecutorial misconduct by playing the unredacted videotape for the jury.

No. 113,288: In the Matter of the Estate of Earlene F. Brenner, deceased, appeal from Sherman County

Beverly Goodman, daughter of Earlene F. Brenner, filed a petition for issuance of letters of administration approximately seven months after Brenner's death. The Sherman County District Court denied the petition by finding Beverly's claims of a last will and testament were untimely and also that Brenner's estate lacked substantial assets to administer. Goodman argues the appellate court should hold that proof of assets is not a prerequisite to issuing letters of administration. Brenner's son Danny argues the petition was untimely as a claim against the estate and that the district court correctly determined that a lack of assets prevented administering any estate.

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, August 17.


NEWS RELEASE: August 4, 2015

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

Supreme Court to conduct special evening session October 13 at Garden City High School

TOPEKA The Kansas Supreme Court announced today it has selected Garden City High School 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 Garden City in the court’s 154-year history, and it will be the second time the court will hear cases in the evening. The court’s first evening session was in April in Hays and it drew a record crowd of nearly 700 people.

The court will be in session from 6:30 p.m. to about 8 p.m. Tuesday, October 13, in the auditorium of the Garden City High School at 2720 Buffalo Way.

The public is invited to attend the proceedings and observe the court as it hears oral arguments in cases it will announce prior to October. 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 — who we are, what we do — and to get reacquainted with 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.  Although we provide live webcasts of all our Topeka courtroom sessions, people tell us there’s nothing like seeing proceedings in person.”

To mark the state’s sesquicentennial in 2011, the court convened outside its Topeka courtroom for the first time in Kansas history. 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, Kansas City in 2014 and Hays in April 2015.



NEWS RELEASE: July 21, 2015

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

Ten apply for judge vacancy in 9th judicial district

TOPEKA—Ten candidates applied to the 9th Judicial District Nominating Commission seeking to fill a judge vacancy created by the August 1 retirement of Chief Judge Richard B. Walker.

The 9th judicial district is made up of Harvey and McPherson counties.

The nominating commission will convene at 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 28, in the Harvey County Courthouse in Newton to interview nominees. The meeting will be open to the public.

The 10 candidates are:

  • JoAn Lindfors
  • Gregory Nye
  • Marilyn Wilder
  • Michael Llamas
  • Gary Price
  • Joy Williams
  • Mary McDonald
  • Harold Schorn
  • David Yoder
  • Trinity J. Muth

A judge must reside in the district, be at least 30 years old, be admitted to practice law in Kansas, and have actively practiced law for at least five years.

Kansas law requires the commission to submit at least two names, but not more than three, to the governor, who will choose who to appoint.

The 9th Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Justice Carol A. Beier as the nonvoting chair; William E. Gusenius, Lindsborg; Ronnie L. Krehbiel, Burrton; Thomas A. Adrian, John S. Robb, and George Rogers of Newton; and Michael L. Androes, Harris G. Terry, and Robert W. Wise of McPherson.


NEWS RELEASE: July 21, 2015

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

Chief Judge Richard Walker to retire August 1

TOPEKA—Chief Judge Richard B. Walker will retire August 1, after serving nearly 31 years on the bench in the 9th Judicial District composed of Harvey and McPherson counties.

Chief Judge Richard B. Walker
Chief Judge Richard B. Walker

"It was a great honor to be selected for this position three decades ago, and I have tried to do my best to honor the public trust placed in me," Walker said. "I have had tremendous support from the appellate courts, my fellow judges around the state, and members of the bar who have practiced here. I particularly want to thank court staff in the 9th for their great work and commitment in very stressful times."

Walker has accepted a position as senior judge serving on the Kansas Court of Appeals.

Walker was appointed district court judge in December 1984 by then-governor John Carlin. He has handled the full range of civil, criminal, juvenile, and probate cases, and has been chief judge the last 13 years. He has been assigned to help the Court of Appeals several times and the Kansas Supreme Court once.

Walker has served on several Supreme Court committees, including Alternative Dispute Resolution and Access to Justice. For 12 years he was a Supreme Court appointee to the Kansas Sentencing Commission. At the national level, Walker served for more than a decade as an advisor to the American Law Institute's Model Penal Code revision project. He also has spoken on behalf of sentencing reform in several states for the Vera Institute of Justice.

Before he became a judge, Walker practiced law in Newton, was the chief legislative assistant to Senator James Pearson in Washington, D.C., and spent four years on the Kansas Adult Authority, predecessor to the Kansas Parole Board. He also served three terms in the Kansas House of Representatives.

Walker was born in Newton, and he graduated from Bethel College and the University of Kansas School of Law. He will continue to reside in Newton.


NEWS RELEASE: July 17, 2015

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

Supreme Court seeks comment on proposed rule changes
for new attorney oath procedure

TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court is accepting comment on proposed changes to Rules 708, 709A, and 712 to allow new attorneys to take their oaths following one procedure, regardless of whether they are admitted under Rule 708, 709, 709A, or 712.

The court will accept comment by email to glarkin@kscourts.org until 5 p.m. Monday, August 17.  

Currently, there are two procedures for new attorneys to take the oath, and the procedure the new attorney follows is dictated by the rule that applies to their admittance. The proposed changes are to establish one procedure for all the rules.

Proposed changes to Rules 708, 709A, and 712 are available for review on the Kansas judicial branch website at www.kscourts.org under the heading What's New.


NEWS RELEASE: July 16, 2015

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

Reno County Judge Macke Dick appointed to serve on family law committee

TOPEKA—The Kansas Judicial Council has appointed Reno County Judge Patricia Macke Dick to serve on the Family Law Advisory Committee, an advisory group that monitors family law and conducts studies specific to that area.

Macke Dick is chief judge of the 27th judicial district, a one-county district that consists of Reno County.

The Kansas Judicial Council works to improve the administration of justice in Kansas by continuously studying the judicial system and related areas of law, and by recommending changes when they are appropriate. It has several advisory committees that focus on particular areas of law.

For the 2015 legislative session, the Family Law Advisory Committee drafted Senate Bill 105, which was passed by the Kansas Legislature to incorporate the 2008 Uniform Interstate Family Support Act into existing Kansas law.  

The Family Law Advisory Committee is made up of judges, lawyers, elected officials, and legal academics who are recognized as having expertise in the area of family law. 

Macke Dick has served as district judge in Reno County District Court in the 27th judicial district since January 1989. Currently, she is chief judge of the district.

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 president-elect of the Kansas District Judges Association. She also serves on the Chief Judges Council.


NEWS RELEASE: July 10, 2015

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

Supreme Court seeks public comment on proposed changes to Rules 106 and 108

TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court is accepting public comment until 5 p.m. Sunday, August 9, on proposed changes to Rules 106 and 108 governing disclosure, reproduction and destruction of certain marriage records kept by district courts.

The proposed changes to Rule 106 are to establish a limited record that provides public information about marriage license applications, while providing protection for the personally identifiable information the documents contain. The changes will also establish criteria all district courts will follow when handling documents used to apply for a marriage license, as well as the license itself.

The proposed changes to Rule 106 include modifications made in response to comments the court received after an earlier draft of the rule changes were opened for public comment in March.

Proposed changes to Rule 108 are to add reference to, and establish standards for, how district courts will handle the confidential cover sheet and uniform marriage license application developed to provide a mechanism for consistent protection of marriage license applicants’ personally identifiable information. 

The proposed changes to Rules 106 and 108 have no effect on how the Kansas Department of Health and Environment manages vital records under the Uniform Vital Statistics Act. People who meet eligibility requirements will still be able to get copies of marriage records from KDHE under the provisions of that act.

Proposed changes to Rules 106 and 108 are available for review on the Kansas judicial branch website at www.kscourts.org under the heading What’s New.


NEWS RELEASE: July 9, 2015

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

Johnson County judge recognized for leadership, service

TOPEKA—Retired Johnson County District Court Judge Stephen R. Tatum was recognized by his peers at a recent judges' conference for demonstrating extraordinary leadership and service.

Tatum was given the Community Outreach and Education Award by the Kansas District Judges' Association at a statewide conference for judges last month in Overland Park. The award was presented to Tatum by Lawton Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court.

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.

Judge Stephen R. Tatum
Retired District Court Judge
Stephen R. Tatum

"There are so many judges deserving of this award that I'm humbled and grateful to be selected to receive it," Tatum said.

Although Tatum retired from his judge position with Johnson County District Court in 2013, he continues to work as a temporary judge in the criminal courts and to serve on the Johnson County Criminal Justice Advisory Council and on the Johnson County Bar Association board of directors.

Tatum served eight years on the domestic violence court that he launched in 1996. The collaborative effort involved the court, community corrections, a domestic violence shelter, the district attorney's office, and the sheriff. This occurred at about the same time Kansas passed a law that required law enforcement to make an arrest if there was evidence of domestic violence, rather than on the victim's request that the perpetrator be charged.

"We focused on victim support and education. We made sure that victims of domestic violence were made aware of resources available in the community," Tatum said.

Domestic violence victims appearing in court were assigned a victim's assistant to appear with them and victims were allowed to speak during the proceedings. This gave the judge more information on which to base decisions for establishing bond and to issue no-contact orders.

Another of Tatum's achievements is his involvement in the program Changing Lives Through Literature, which was made a condition of some offenders' probation. A probationer who participates in the program meets weekly with a group of other probationers, a probation officer, a judge, and a retired professor who acts as facilitator. During two-hour meetings over the course of seven weeks, the probationers discuss literature they are assigned to read.

"When probationers start talking about their lives in relationship to the stories they are reading, it expands their world view," Tatum said. "They begin to see how they fit into the world, and they learn how others work through their problems. Soon, they start making better choices."

Also among Tatum's achievements is his involvement with Habitat for Humanity, where he volunteered for 10 years. Under the banner of the Johnson County Bar Association, Tatum recruited lawyer and judge volunteers from the association's membership. For four weekends in September and October, the volunteers would help build or paint houses, or clean brush from around houses.

"When you're accustomed to working at a desk, a little physical labor goes a long way," Tatum said. "Despite the demands of the work, though, we always had good participation by lawyers and judges in our group. It was a great way to be of service and to connect with the community."

Tatum served as judge for the Johnson County District Court from 1994 to 2013 and as chief judge from 2004 to 2010. Before he became a judge, he was a corporate attorney and assistant district attorney in Sedgwick and Johnson counties. He is a graduate of the Washburn University School of Law.


NEWS RELEASE: July 6, 2015

For more information
contact Lisa Taylor
Public Information Director
785-296-4872

Kansas Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments July 14-15 in Beloit

TOPEKA—A three-judge panel of the Kansas Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments Tuesday, July 14, and Wednesday, July 15, at the Mitchell County Courthouse, 115 S. Hersey, Beloit.

The hearings will take place at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 14, and at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 15.

Judges G. Gordon Atcheson, Michael B. Buser, and Kathryn A. Gardner will hear oral argument in 11 criminal and civil cases over the two days hearings are scheduled. The panel will also decide 10 cases without argument based on the parties' written submissions.

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

"Almost every month, panels of Court of Appeals judges hear cases in Wichita, Topeka, and Kansas City," he said. "We appreciate the opportunity to visit other places, like Beloit, where we can make our court and this part of the judicial process accessible to the more Kansans."

Atcheson said that hearing cases around the state also saves money for the parties.

"It's typically more cost-efficient having a three-judge panel visit a location where many regional cases can be heard than having all the attorneys travel to Topeka for court arguments, " Atcheson said.

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 Beloit arose in Cloud, Dickinson, Geary, Osborne, Ottawa, and Riley counties. In addition to the Court of Appeals panel hearing cases this week in Beloit, 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 11 cases to be heard in Beloit are summarized as follows:

9:30 a.m. Tuesday July 14, 2015

No. 111,962: Kenneth E. Wilson v. State of Kansas, appeal from Osborne County

Kenneth E. Wilson challenges his 2009 conviction for first-degree murder and other crimes in a habeas corpus action on the grounds his trial lawyer provided constitutionally inadequate representation for failing to seek the pretrial exclusion of some evidence against him.

No. 111,440: State of Kansas v. Lee Roy Cada, appeal from Cloud County

Lee Roy Cada is appealing his conviction for aggravated criminal sodomy, claiming multiple trial errors including improper limits on his lawyer's questioning of a witness, improper closing argument by the prosecutor, and defective jury instructions.

No. 111,899: Robert Feight v. Moly Manufacturing, Inc., appeal from Cloud County

Robert Feight is appealing a jury verdict in a personal injury action in which he alleged Moly Manufacturing sold a defective hydraulic cattle chute. Feight suffered facial injuries while using the chute. He contends the jury instructions were improper and the jury verdict for Moly Manufacturing was contrary to the evidence.

No. 111,913: State of Kansas v. James H. Young Sr., appeal from Cloud County

James H. Young, Sr., appeals jury verdicts finding him guilty of several drug offenses. He contends the district court's instructions to the jury were defective and the court improperly permitted a Mitchell County resident to serve as a juror in a Cloud County case, among other errors.

1:30 p.m. Tuesday July 14, 2015

No. 112,805: State of Kansas v. Frank Crudo, appeal from Geary County

The state appeals a ruling of the district court suppressing evidence against Frank Crudo in a prosecution for possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute and related drug offenses. The district court found law enforcement officers unconstitutionally stopped Crudo's truck and camper because the license tag was not sufficiently lighted and then impermissibly searched the vehicles. The state contends the stop and the search were proper.

No. 112,184: State of Kansas v. Aliyah Stephens, appeal from Riley County

Aliyah Stephens waived her right to a jury trial and was tried by the district court on agreed facts for possession of marijuana and convicted. On appeal, Stephens argues her conviction should be set aside because the district court did not sufficiently advise her about her jury trial right and because making a second offense for possession of marijuana a felony amounts to cruel and unusual punishment violating the Kansas Constitution and the United States Constitution.

No. 112,897: State of Kansas v. Tony Toliver, appeal from Riley County

Tony Toliver appeals his conviction for possession of marijuana on the grounds that law enforcement officers and his parole officer entered and searched his home without a warrant or reasonable suspicion. The state contends Toliver consented to such searches in his parole agreement. The district court ruled in favor of the state.

No. 112,520: David and Annjaneen Jones v. Corey Jones and Casey Jones, appeal from Dickinson County

Brothers Corey Jones and Casey Jones appeal from the district court's ruling granting their cousin David Jones and his wife ownership of about 43 acres of pasture land by adverse possession. An uncle of the Joneses left the land to Corey and Casey on his death. But David and his wife had used the land to graze their cattle for more than 15 years and then asserted their claim for adverse possession.

9:30 a.m. Wednesday July 15, 2015

No. 113,130: State of Kansas v. Dominic Parry, appeal from Clay County

The state appeals the ruling of the district court suppressing marijuana seized from Dominic Parry's apartment. The district court found the search to be unconstitutional because the police entered the apartment without a search warrant or valid consent. The state contends the doctrines of inevitable discovery and exigent circumstances permitted the search and, in turn, the use of the evidence in Parry's prosecution for possession of marijuana.

No. 113,192: Marriage of Carlson, appeal from Ottawa County

In this divorce action, Michael S. Carlson appeals the district court's rulings on child custody arrangements and child support payments.

No. 112,071: State of Kansas v. Barnes, appeal from Clay County

The state appeals the order of the district court finding insufficient evidence to bind Jeffrey Barnes over on a felony charge of aggravated intimidation of a witness. The State contends it established probable cause to try Barnes. Barnes allegedly made a threatening gesture to an informant for the Alcohol Beverage Control Division who had purchased cigarettes at a club despite being underage.

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, July 13.


NEWS RELEASE: July 1, 2015

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

Electronic filing in appellate courts to be mandatory effective November 2

TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court announced today that it has a project underway to expand attorneys' use of electronic filing in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals with the intent that it will become mandatory effective November 2, 2015.

"This is an important step toward more modern courts that allow attorneys to electronically file their documents from anywhere, saving them both time and money," said Lawton R. Nuss, chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court. "In our experience, many attorneys who bring cases to the appellate courts are open to using electronic filing, especially when they discover how easy it is."

Since April, the clerk of the appellate court's office has encouraged more attorneys in certain judicial districts to file new criminal cases electronically, focusing on cases with the Office of the Appellate Defender and county and district attorneys. Private attorneys in those judicial districts are also encouraged to file electronically in criminal cases that do not require paying a fee.

The appellate clerk's office is also seeking willing parties in specific judicial districts to convert cases that originated on paper into electronically filed ones. Stipulations are that the cases originate in specific judicial districts and that all parties agree to the change. By mid-July, electronic filing in the appellate courts will be open to criminal cases from all judicial districts.

In August, electronic filing will be opened to civil cases. In mid-August, the KanPay online payment feature will be fully integrated into the appellate e-filing system, allowing any electronic filer to begin to file cases that have a required fee. Between August and the end of October, e-filing will be open to attorneys for all case types, including those that require electronic payment. This period of voluntary use will allow attorneys to get accustomed to e-filing before it becomes mandatory November 2.

Last year, more than 200 new criminal cases were electronically filed by appellate defenders and county or district attorney offices in three of the state's busiest judicial districts. About 2,800 cases are filed with the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals each year. Since 2013, the appellate courts have processed more than 16,000 electronic submissions in the appellate e-filing system.

Nuss encourages attorneys who now have, or will have in the future, cases before the appellate courts to get registered to use the Kansas Court Electronic Filing system and take advantage of web-based training to learn how to use it. Instructions for registering and links to online training are available on the judicial branch website at http://www.kscourts.org/Cases-and-Opinions/E-filing/default.asp.

The mandate for electronic filing in the appellate courts does not affect electronic filing in district courts. The statewide e-filing rollout in district courts will continue into next year.


NEWS RELEASE: June 26, 2015

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 week elected officers to serve the organization in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

District Magistrate Judge Guy R. Steier was elected president of the association. He has been a district magistrate judge in Cloud County since February 2005. Cloud County is in the 12th judicial district with Jewell, Lincoln, Mitchell, Republic, and Washington counties.

Before he became a district magistrate judge, Steier was in a private law practice with Gantenbein & Frasier and with Frasier & Steier, both in Beloit. Prior to that, he was a research attorney for Judge Corwin C. Spencer of the Kansas Court of Appeals.

Steier is a graduate of Washburn University and Washburn University School of Law in 1982. He served a term on the Kansas Supreme Court Judicial Education Advisory Committee and currently serves on the Governor's Behavioral Health Services Advisory Committee, 12th Judicial District Juvenile Services/Community Corrections Advisory Board, 12th Judicial District Supervised Visitation and Exchange Services board, and the Executive Board of the Coronado Area Council, Boy Scouts of America. He is a member and past president of the Clyde Lions Club and a member of the Clyde Community Development Resource Committee and 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 Marty K. Clark is second vice president. He is from Russell County in the 20th judicial district.

District Magistrate Judge Philip J. Moore is third vice president. He is from Clark 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 Sheila P. Hochhauser is from Riley County in the 21st judicial district.

The new officers were elected at a statewide conference for judges conducted June 18 and 19 in Overland Park.

District Magistrate Judge Guy R. Steier District Magistrate Judge Taylor J. Wine District Magistrate Judge Marty K. Clark
District Magistrate Judge Guy R. Steier
District Magistrate Judge Taylor J. Wine
District Magistrate Judge Marty K. Clark
District Magistrate Judge Philip J. Moore District Magistrate Judge Roseanna K. Mathis District Magistrate Judge Debra S. Anderson
District Magistrate Judge Philip J. Moore
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: June 16, 2015

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

Nominating commission seeks candidates
for judge vacancy in 9th judicial district

TOPEKA—The 9th Judicial District Nominating Commission is seeking candidates to fill a judge vacancy created by the upcoming retirement of Chief Judge Richard B. Walker.

The 9th judicial district is made up of Harvey and McPherson counties.

Justice Carol A. Beier, the Supreme Court departmental justice responsible for the 9th judicial district, said nominees can apply or be recommended, but recommendations must come on a nomination form and include the nominee's signature.

"Selecting judges is an open process to find the most qualified candidates in the district. If a community member knows someone ideally suited for the job, he or she should encourage that person to apply, or volunteer to recommend him or her," Beier 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.

Recommendations must be accompanied by a nomination form available from the clerk's office in the district courts in Harvey (Newton) and McPherson (McPherson) counties.

Completed nomination forms and supporting letters must be delivered to Office of the Clerk of Appellate Courts, Attn: Julie Meyer, 301 SW 10th Ave., Topeka, KS 66612-1507, by noon Tuesday, July 14.

The nominating commission will convene at 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 28, in the Harvey County Courthouse in Newton to interview nominees. The meeting will be open to the public.

Kansas law requires the commission to submit at least two names, but not more than three, to the governor, who will choose one to appoint.

Notice of this vacancy was sent to every active member of the Kansas bar by the chair of the commission. Nominees who currently reside outside the 9th judicial district should review K.S.A. 20-2909(b).

The 9th Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Justice Carol A. Beier as the nonvoting chair; William E. Gusenius, Lindsborg; Ronnie L. Krehbiel, Burrton; Thomas A. Adrian, John S. Robb, and George Rogers of Newton; and Michael L. Androes, Harris G. Terry, and Robert W. Wise of McPherson.


NEWS RELEASE: June 5, 2015

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

Chief justice wants Kansans to know state courts fully operating next week

TOPEKA — Chief Justice Lawton Nuss wants to get the message to all Kansans that even if state offices close or operate with reduced staff beginning Monday, all state courts will nevertheless be open — staffed and conducting business as usual.

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

"With all the news stories about the state government budget and the possibility of thousands of state employees being furloughed, I don't want any Kansans to be confused about their courts," Nuss said. "It might be easy for someone to conclude that the courts are also closed and to miss an important hearing or notice to appear for jury duty."

The reason Nuss knows all courts will be open is because the judicial branch budget was in House Bill 2005, which was separate from the budget legislation that applies to all other state government.

"As of last Monday, the House and Senate had reached agreement on House Bill 2005. And yesterday afternoon the governor signed it." Nuss said. "Within minutes we notified all state courts in our 105 counties that we will now be able to continue to provide uninterrupted service to nearly 3 million Kansans. Today I simply want to ensure that as many Kansans as possible get that same news."

State courts in the judicial branch of government include the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and district courts in every county statewide.


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
    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.