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Supreme Court Ad Hoc Pretrial Justice Task Force



Study of district court pretrial detention practices

The Kansas Supreme Court formed an ad hoc task force in November 2018 to examine pretrial detention practices in Kansas district courts.

The task force will report its findings and recommendations to the court within 18 months.

The 15-member task force met for the first time December 13 and 14, 2018, in Topeka.

The task force will:

  • examine current pretrial detention practices for criminal defendants in Kansas district courts.

  • study alternatives to ensure public safety and encourage an accused to appear for court proceedings.

  • compare effective pretrial detention practices and detention alternatives used by other courts.

 

Presentations to the Task Force

September 12-13, 2019, meeting

The morning of September 12 was opened to any stakeholders who wished to address the members of the task force.

Presentations:

  • Rep. Stephen Owens, 74th House District, Hesston, owner of Owens Bonding Co.

  • Cal Williams, retired attorney, bail agent, Cal-Kan Bail Bonds | Notes

  • Special Deputy Greg Smith, Johnson County Sheriff's Office | Handout

  • Sheriff Jeff Easter, Sedgwick County | PowerPoint Slides

The remainder of the September 2019 meeting was spent discussing possible recommendations to include in the final task force report due next year.

 

June 14, 2019, meeting.

Presentations:

  • Kurt Level, deputy general counsel with Koch Industries Inc., spoke about the need to remove barriers to opportunity and expanding freedom through comprehensive criminal justice reform. | PowerPoint Slides

  • Timothy R. Schnacke, Executive Director of the Center for Legal and Evidence-Based Practices, spoke about pretrial justice reform efforts from around the country. | PowerPoint Slides

  • Trey Burton and Sara Veldez Hoffer from the U.S. Probation Office spoke about pretrial detention and supervision in the federal system. | PowerPoint Slides

 

March 8, 2019, meeting

Presentations:

  • Austin Spillar and Zal Shroff of the ACLU of Kansas spoke about problems associated with risk assessment tools. Spillar is a policy associate and Shroff is a staff attorney for the organization. | PowerPoint Slides

  • Jeff Clayton of the American Bail Coalition spoke on bail reform efforts across the country. He is executive director of the coalition. | PowerPoint Slides

  • Stephen Owens and Shane Rolf spoke on bail and its role in reducing failure to appear rates. Owens is the owner of Owens Bonding Inc. and represents the 74th Kansas House District. Rolf is vice president of the Kansas Bail Agents Association. | PowerPoint Slides

  • Chief Judge Karen Arnold-Burger spoke on her work since the last task force meeting and the top concerns of various stakeholders. She chairs the task force and is chief judge of the Kansas Court of Appeals. | PowerPoint Slides


December 13, 2018, meeting

Opening remarks PowerPoint slides

The chair sets forth the mission and duties of the task force, the identity of the stakeholders, and an overview of the task force's organization. | PowerPoint Slides

Presentations:

  • Dr. Edward Latessa of the University of Cincinnati gave an executive branch perspective. He is director and professor of the School of Criminal Justice at Cincinnati. | Video | PowerPoint Slides

  • Amber Widgery of the National Conference of State Legislatures gave a legislative branch perspective. She is a senior policy specialist in the Criminal Justice Program at NCSL and specializes in issues related to drug crime, capital punishment, and pretrial policy. | Video | PowerPoint Slides

  • Jeffrey Jackson of the Washburn University School of Law gave a judicial branch perspective. He is a professor of law at Washburn and teaches legal analysis, research and writing, constitutional law, constitutional history, and comparative constitutional law. | Video | PowerPoint Slides

The meeting included a panel discussion. | Audio

Panelists were:

  • Judge Brenda Stoss, Salina Municipal Court. She chaired the Supreme Court's Ad Hoc Committee on Bonding Practices, Fines, and Fees in Municipal Courts.

  • Tom Struble, administrator, Sedgwick County Criminal Justice Alternatives.

  • Robert Sullivan, director, Johnson County Department of Corrections.

  • District Judge Jared Johnson, 28th Judicial District.

  • Charles Branson, district attorney, Douglas County.

 

National resources

National Task Force on Fines, Fees, and Bail Practices Resource Center

National Center for State Courts 2017 report on trends in state courts

Pretrial Justice Center for Courts

 

Other Resources

Paper submitted to Task Force by Stakeholder/Advisor Cal Williams

Schnacke handout on model pretrial detention goals

Schnacke handout on model for laws dealing with pretrial detention

A Brief History of Bail by Timothy R. Schnacke published in The Judges' Journal Paper

Changing Bail Laws by Timothy R. Schnacke

"Model" Bail Laws: Re-Drawing the Line Between Pretrial Release and Detention by Timothy R. Schnacke

Bias In, Bias Out by Sandra G. Mayson, 128 Yale L.J. ___ (2019)

Schnacke links to longer documents

September 2019 Summary for Stakeholders

Kansas Bail Agents Association Response to September 2019 Summary



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