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Kansas Courts Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)



Court operations during pandemic 

Chief Justice Marla Luckert and the Kansas Supreme Court have issued a series of administrative orders to define how district and appellate courts will safely operate during the pandemic. This allows state courts to continue to provide vital services to the people of Kansas while following public health guidelines that protect judges, court staff, and the people who come into our courts.

NEW (07-01-21) Chief justice reinstates additional statutory deadlines and time limitations beginning August 2

NEW 
(05-24-21): Supreme Court issues updated COVID-19 policies and procedures

NEW
 (03-31-21): Most time limitations, deadlines in court proceedings reinstated effective April 15, 2021
Missing deadlines or statutes of limitations can cause cases to be dismissed. 

Administrative orders related to COVID-19
News releases related to COVID-19
 

Pandemic court initiatives

The Supreme Court formed two groups to examine issues related court operations during the pandemic.

Ad Hoc Jury Task Force
Ad Hoc Virtual Court Proceedings Committee
 

District court operations

For current information about a district court's operations during the pandemic, visit the court’s website. If a court website does not give you the information you need, call the court clerk. 

Find a district court
Find court forms
Judicial branch court forms (forms created since the beginning of the pandemic)
File using a district court drop box
 

Administrative Order 2121-PR-048

Administrative Order 2021-PR-048 took effect June 1, 2021. It superseded and rescinded 2020-PR-123 and 2020-PR-124

2021-PR-048 directs courts to develop and follow minimum standard health protocols to avoid exposing court users, staff, and judicial officers to COVID-19. It also directs courts to establish screening and communication protocols, including supplemental screening questions for juror questionnaires. 

The Supreme Court released guidance to help chief judges draft minimum standard health protocols. The guidance was updated August 30, 2021. 

Supreme Court Guidance for Developing Minimum Standard Health Protocols

The order also encourages courts to continue to expand their use of remote hearings to dispose of cases efficiently and safely. Remote hearings must comply with 2021-PR-021, which authorizes using two-way audio-visual communication for court proceedings. 

District courts may begin or continue to conduct jury trials, as long as the chief judge has consulted the local public health department to develop a written plan to ensure they are conducted safely based on local risk and the facilities available. Jury plans and plan amendments must be submitted to the Office of Judicial Administration. 

The order requires court personnel to follow COVID-19 related policies in conjunction with Kansas Court Personnel Rules. These personnel rules were also updated August 30, 2021. 

Kansas District and Appellate Court COVID-19 Personnel Policies
 

Deadlines and time limitations

The chief justice reinstated most statutory deadlines and time limitations effective April 15, 2021. On July 1, 2021, the chief justice reinstated more statutory deadlines and time limitations beginning August 2.
 

Speedy trial statute

During the 2021 session, the Kansas Legislature passed House Bill 2078, which temporarily suspends provisions in K.S.A. 22-3402, the speedy trial statute in the Kansas Code of Criminal Procedure. The bill was requested by the Kansas County and District Attorneys Association, and it became effective on its March 31 publication in the Kansas Register. 2021-PR-100 does not impact suspensions under K.S.A. 22-3402.statutory speedy trial deadlines under K.S.A. 22-3402 in the Code of Criminal Procedure;

Constitutional speedy trial protections remain in place. 
 

Time calculation when suspensions lift

For a deadline or time limitation suspended because of an order issued by the chief justice, on the date the order terminates, a person has the same number of days to comply with the deadline or time limitation as the person had when the deadline or time limitation was suspended.

For a deadline or time limitation that did not begin to run because of an order issued by the chief justice, on the date the order terminates, a person has the full period provided by law to comply with the deadline or time limitation.

Remote hearings                

The chief justice issued Administrative Orders 2021-PR-021 and 2021-PR-022 to authorize municipal, district, and appellate courts to use two-way audio-visual communication in proceedings. 

Administrative Order 2021-PR-021 applies to appellate and district court proceedings.

Administrative Order 2021-PR-022 applies to municipal court proceedings.
 

For attorneys

03-20-20: Chief Justice Marla Luckert's letter to the Kansas bar
03-16-20: Attorney, client protocol established for Kansas courts
 

Kansas Judicial Center open to public June 1

The Kansas Judicial Center is open to the public with minimum standard health protocols in place that require anyone who enters to:

  • answer screening questions about symptoms of or exposure to COVID-19;

  • wear a face mask or face covering in public areas of the building; and

  • maintain 6 feet of physical distance between themselves and others, unless a physical barrier provides separation, or the person and all others nearby are fully vaccinated.

 

Public health resources

Kansas Department of Health and Environment--COVID-19 Resource Center
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention--Coronavirus (COVID-19)
World Health Organization--Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak
 

Preparing for a public health emergency

NCSC: State courts are responding to the coronavirus to protect the public, while maintaining access to justice
NCSC: Preparing for a Pandemic - An Emergency Response Benchbook & Operational Guide for State Court Judges and Administrators


Fact sheets 

What you need to know about coronavirus disease
Lo que necesita saber sobre la enfermedad del coronavirus
 
Prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick
Si está enfermo, prevenga la propagación del COVID-19


Signs

Visitor alert
Alerta a los visitantes

Face mask required to enter
Se requiere mascarilla para ingresar

COVID-19 Disease and the Courts

Symptoms of coronavirus disease
Síntomas de la enfermedad del coronavirus 

Stay home if you are sick
Quédese en casa si está enfermo
 
Stop the spread of germs
Detenga la propagación de los microbios
 
Don't spread germs at work
No propague los microbios en el trabajo



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