News

News

Kansas Court of Appeals to mark Constitution Day with sessions on 3 campuses

The Kansas Court of Appeals will visit Bethany College, Fort Scott Community College, and Kansas State University September 17 as part of the court's observance of Constitution Day.

 It is the court's first visit to Bethany College in Lindsborg and Fort Scott Community College in Fort Scott. The Court of Appeals is a traveling court and convenes at locations across Kansas.

 At Bethany, Judge Anthony Powell will be the presiding judge on the panel. He will be joined by Judge Stephen Hill and Judge Sarah Warner. Court will convene at 9 a.m. at Wallerstedt Learning Center, 235 E Swensson Ave. Three oral arguments are scheduled.

At Fort Scott, Judge Kim Schroeder will be the presiding judge. He will be joined by Judge G. Joseph Pierron Jr. and Judge Melissa Taylor Standridge. Court will convene at 9 a.m. in the Ellis Fine Arts Center, 2108 S Horton. Three oral arguments are scheduled.

At KSU in Manhattan, Arnold-Burger will be the presiding judge. She will be joined by Judge Henry Green Jr. and Judge Michael Buser. Court will convene at 9:30 a.m. in Forum Hall in the Student Union. Four oral arguments are scheduled.

In addition to the three panels meeting at college and university campuses, two more panels of judges will hear appeals:
At the U.S. Courthouse in Wichita, where three oral arguments are scheduled.

At the Kansas Judicial Center in Topeka, which will review a summary calendar.

In all, five panels will convene in September to hear oral argument in 13 appeals and to consider 77 other appeals on summary calendars.

Congress directs federally funded educational institutions to host educational events about the U.S. Constitution on or about September 17 each year, and the Court of Appeals visits are among those events. The Constitution was signed September 17, 1787, by a majority of delegates to the Constitutional Convention.

Mary Shultz
Bench Bar Opening

There is an opening on the Douglas County bench bar committee for an "at large" member previously occupied by Jerry Levy. The term expires March 31, 2024.

Meetings are the second Tuesday of odd numbered months (Jan, Mar, May, July, Sept, Nov) at the courthouse over the noon hour.

Contact Dakota Loomis if you are interested in serving. Current Bench Bar members are as follows:

Shaye Downing (at large, term expires March 31, 2023)
Josh Seiden (at large, term expires March 31, 2020)
Sherri Loveland (at large, term expires March 31, 2021)
Cathy Theisen (at large, term expires March 31, 2022)

Mary Shultz
Kansas Court of Appeals announces August 8 swearing-in ceremony for Sarah Warner

The Kansas Court of Appeals has announced that Lawrence attorney and past president of the Law Library Board of Trustees Sarah Warner will be sworn in as that court’s 14th judge in a 2 p.m. ceremony Thursday, August 8, in the Supreme Court courtroom of the Kansas Judicial Center in Topeka.

The swearing-in ceremony will take place before an invited audience. 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.

Warner was appointed to the Court of Appeals on May 14 by Governor Laura Kelly. The appointment was confirmed May 29 by the Kansas Senate.

 Warner replaces Patrick McAnany, who retired January 14 after 15 years as a Court of Appeals judge.

Mary Shultz
New Pro Tem Judge - Juvenile Division

Kansas Legal Services attorney Paul Klepper has been selected to replace Judge Bethany Roberts who is stepping down as the Judge Pro Tem in the juvenile division.  He will take the bench on August 16, 2019.

Mary Shultz
Chief Justice Lawton Nuss to retire December 17

Chief Justice Lawton Nuss announced on July 26, 2019, that he will retire from the Supreme Court effective December 17, 2019.

Nuss has served as a justice on the Supreme Court since 2002 and as chief justice since 2010. Nuss's retirement announcement comes just two weeks after his colleague, Justice Lee Johnson, announced he will retire September 8. That announcement was made July 10. Supreme Court vacancies are filled using a merit-based nomination process that Kansans voted to add to the Kansas Constitution in 1958.

When there is a vacancy on the bench, the Supreme Court Nominating Commission reviews applications and conducts public interviews of nominees. The commission narrows the nominee pool to three names that it sends to the governor. The governor chooses one nominee to appoint.

To be eligible, a nominee must be: at least 30 years old; a lawyer admitted to practice in Kansas and engaged in the practice of law for at least 10 years, whether as a lawyer, judge, or full-time teacher at an accredited law school.

The Supreme Court Nominating Commission has nine members. There is one lawyer and one nonlawyer from each of the state’s four congressional districts, plus one lawyer who serves as chairperson. Nonlawyers are appointed by the governor. Lawyers are elected by other lawyers within their congressional districts. The chairperson is elected by lawyers statewide.

When the Supreme Court Nominating Commission reviews nominees for justice, they look at the person’s: legal and judicial experience educational background character and ethics temperament service to the community impartiality respect of colleagues.

Justices must follow the law and not be influenced by politics, special interest groups, public opinion, or their own personal beliefs. Justices demonstrate their accountability by following a Code of Judicial Conduct that establishes standards of ethical behavior. They also take an oath of office that includes swearing to support, protect, and defend the U.S. Constitution and Kansas Constitution. After a new justice serves one year on the court, he or she must stand for a retention vote in the next general election to remain in the position. If retained, the justice serves a six-year term. Chief Justice Nuss' July 26,

Mary Shultz
Retired judge reappointed to Judicial Ethics Advisory Panel

The Kansas Supreme Court reappointed former Court of Appeals Chief Judge J. Patrick Brazil to a four-year term on the Judicial Ethics Advisory Panel. Brazil, Topeka, will serve until June 30, 2023.

He was a Court of Appeals judge from 1985 to 1995 and was chief judge from 1995 to 2001, when he retired. Before becoming an appellate judge, he was a district judge in Greenwood County in the 13th Judicial District.

The Judicial Ethics Advisory Panel provides advisory opinions to judges who ask whether a future course of action would violate the Code of Judicial Conduct. All members of the Judicial Ethics Advisory Panel are retired justices or judges.

The advisory opinions are public and are published by the Clerk of the Appellate Courts on the Kansas judicial branch website.

Mary Shultz
Five appointed to Kansas Continuing Legal Education Commission

The Kansas Supreme Court appointed three new members to the Kansas Continuing Legal Education Commission and reappointed two others.

The commission oversees continuing legal education requirements for lawyers licensed to practice in Kansas. Attorneys must earn a minimum of 12 credit hours each year.

New members are:

Aida Alaka, Topeka

Susan Norton, Wichita

Meredith Schnug, Lawrence

Reappointed are: Jennifer Cocking, Topeka Charles Peckham, Atwood They will serve through June 30, 2022.

Alaka is a law professor at Washburn University School of Law in Topeka. Norton is director of adult learning at Wichita State University.

Schnug is a clinical associate law professor at the University of Kansas School of Law in Lawrence. Cocking is vice president and associate general counsel for Capitol Federal Savings Bank in Topeka.

Peckham is a lawyer and owner of Brown, Creighton & Peckham in Atwood.

Other members of the commission are Joslyn Kusiak, Independence; David Moses, Wichita; Megan Walawender, Kansas City, Mo.; and Chief Judge Wendel Wurst, Garden City.

Mary Shultz
Supreme Court Nominating Commission accepting nominations for upcoming court vacancy

The Supreme Court Nominating Commission is seeking nominations to fill a vacancy on the Kansas Supreme Court created by the September 8 retirement of Justice Lee Johnson.

Johnson's retirement triggers a merit-based nomination process that Kansans voted to add to the Kansas Constitution in 1958. When there is a vacancy on the bench, the Supreme Court Nominating Commission reviews applications and conducts public interviews of nominees. The commission narrows the nominee pool to three names that it sends to the governor. The governor chooses one nominee to appoint.

To be eligible, a nominee must be: at least 30 years old; a lawyer admitted to practice in Kansas and engaged in the practice of law for at least 10 years, whether as a lawyer, judge, or full-time teacher at an accredited law school.

The nomination form is available online at www.kscourts.org under “What’s New” or from the clerk of the appellate courts in the Kansas Judicial Center in Topeka. Only nominations submitted on the nomination form will be accepted. An original and one copy of the nomination must be received by the clerk of the appellate courts' office by noon, Tuesday, September 3, 2019.

Nominations may be hand delivered or submitted by mail to: Douglas T. Shima Clerk of the Appellate Courts Kansas Judicial Center 301 SW 10th Ave., Room 107 Topeka KS 66612-1507 Nominations will not be accepted by fax or email.

The nominating commission will announce when it will convene to interview nominees. Interviews are open to the public.

The Supreme Court Nominating Commission has nine members. There is one lawyer and one nonlawyer from each of the state’s four congressional districts, plus one lawyer who serves as chairperson. Nonlawyers are appointed by the governor. Lawyers are elected by other lawyers within their congressional districts. The chairperson is elected by lawyers statewide.

When the Supreme Court Nominating Commission reviews nominees for the Supreme Court, they look at the person’s: legal and judicial experience educational background character and ethics temperament service to the community impartiality respect of colleagues Justices must follow the law and not be influenced by politics, special interest groups, public opinion, or their own personal beliefs. Justices demonstrate their accountability by following a Code of Judicial Conduct that establishes standards of ethical behavior. They also take an oath of office that includes swearing to support, protect, and defend the U.S. Constitution and Kansas Constitution. After a new justice serves one year on the court, he or she must stand for a retention vote in the next general election to remain in the position. If retained, the justice serves a six-year term.

Mary Shultz
Douglas County CASA names new executive director

On July 24, 2019, the board of directors of Douglas County Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA, has named Erick Vaughn as the nonprofit’s new executive director.

According to a news release from the organization, Vaughn’s career began with the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, which is now the Kansas Department for Children and Families. He has served as executive director of the Kansas Head Start Association and recently worked as director of strategic initiatives for DCCCA, according to the release.

CASA advocates for abused and neglected children in need of care and under the protection of the court system, according to the release.

Demand for trained CASA volunteers has outpaced the program’s capacity over the past five years, resulting in an average of 80 children waiting to be assigned a CASA at any given time, the release says.

Vaughn will replace longtime CASA director Diana Frederick, who retired in June. He will start his position Monday.

Mary Shultz
New Case Management System for District Courts

The District Courts of Kansas are implementing a new case management system over the next several months. They have contracted with Tyler Technologies (Odyssey) which requires a new wallet account. JULY 29, 2019 will be the first day you are able to create this wallet account. If you are eFiling documents that require a fee in these first six (6) courts (Clay, Dickinson, Geary, Marion, Morris, Riley) you MUST create the additional payment account by going to the “Admin” tab within eFlex. Instructions for creating this payment account can be found at http://www.kscourts.org/Cases-and-Opinions/E-filing/default.asp under the document titled “Odyssey TOGA Wallet Account Instructions”. Clay, Dickinson, Geary, Marion, Morris and Riley will NOT be accepting any eFiling documents from Tuesday, July 31st at 5:00 p.m. thru Sunday, August 4th. The Efiling system will not be available for these counties during this time period.

-Supreme Court Rule 111: Form of Pleadings and Other Documents were updated on June 14, 2019.

-The 8th and 21st judicial districts are scheduled to go-live on the new centralized case management system August 5.

Mary Shultz