News

News

IMPORTANT NOTICE - No new misdemeanors will be assigned to Divisions 2 and 4

The current protocol going forward will be as follows:
 
Any misdemeanor currently in Division 2 or 4 will be called at whatever hearing date is already next scheduled.
 
For any misdemeanor that does not already have a trial date (so if it is set for another status/trial setting date or some other non-dispositive setting), the case will be called in Division 2 or 4 at that time, the defendant will be informed that the case is being reassigned to Pro Tem and be given a date for that next hearing (likely the Wednesday of the week following).  
 
For any misdemeanor presently set for anticipated plea, the case will remain in Division 2 or 4 for plea/sentencing. If no plea resolution is achieved on that date, the case will be reassigned to Pro Tem at that time.
 
For any misdemeanor with a present date for a probation violation ("PV") hearing due to a pending allegation, the case will be called for the date set. If the PV can be resolved at that time, the disposition will be pronounced and the case will thereafter be reassigned to Pro Tem. If a PV is pending but no hearing date has been set, the case will be reassigned whenever the defendant next appears in Division 2 or 4 for status.
 
For any misdemeanor case where the person is on probation but no pending PV allegation exists, the case will remain in Division 2 or 4  If the person successfully completes probation, the case can be terminated at the appropriate time. If a probation violation is alleged before probation ends, the case will be reassigned to Pro Tem at that time. Same rule applies for currently pending diversions.
 
For any misdemeanor that already has a trial date, when the case is called for status conference, if the defendant wants to go to trial, the case will proceed to trial in Division 2 or 4.
 
If at that status conference there are other cases scheduled to proceed to trial on the same date, the Court will hear any requests for continuance of any cases that can’t proceed to trial (meaning if the Court has to call in two venire panels and try the cases consecutively or ask for another judge to hear the other case or cases). Those cases that can’t be heard at their presently scheduled trial date will be reassigned to Pro Tem.
 
For cases with pending motion hearing dates, unless a party requests and the Court approves transfer of the case to Pro Tem prior to the hearing date, those motions will be heard in Division 2 or 4 and thereafter transferred to Pro Tem (unless the trial date is already set, in which case the matter will remain in Division 2 or 4 unless there is a request to transfer).
 
This procedure is intended to 1) avoid confusion among defendants and attorneys as to court dates and 2) serve to address any speedy trial concerns for either side and 3) give the Pro Tem Division a chance to sort out its protocols without having a batch assignment dropped onto its docket.
 
Once Pro Tem has been up and running for a month or so and if they decide that a batch reassignment would work, the Court may revisit how to proceed.

Mary Shultz
NOTICE OF AMENDMENT OF LOCAL RULES OF PRACTICE OF THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

The United States District Court for the District of Kansas gives notice of the amendment of local rule CR44.1. See the Proposed Amended Rule  and the Amended Rule with Revisions Incorporated. 

Interested persons, whether or not members of the bar, may submit comments addressed to the Clerk at any of the record offices or by email at ksd_clerks_kansascity@ksd.uscourts.gov.

All comments must be in writing and, to receive consideration by the Court, must be received by the Clerk on or before 5:00 p.m., February 9, 2018.

Mary Shultz
Official Court Holiday

District Court Offices and the Law Library will be closed on Monday, January 15, in observance of Martin Luther King Day.

Mary Shultz
Proposed Amendments to Supreme Court Rules 119 and 122

The Kansas Supreme Court announced on December 22 that it will require attorneys to begin electronically filing documents in all state courts effective June 25, 2018, and that it is taking public comment until 5 p.m. Monday, January 22, 2018, on rule amendments that advance the efiling requirement.  

Proposed amended rules are available on the Kansas judicial branch website at http://wwwkscourts.orgunder What's New.

Comment will be accepted by email to publiccomments@kscourts.org with either Rule 119 or Rule 122 in the subject line.  Commenters must address address each proposed amended rule individually rather than combine comments for both rules in a single e-mail.

Comments must be sent to publiccomments@kscourts.org

Mary Shultz
NEW PROSECUTOR-LED DIVERSION PROGRAM COMING IN 2018

District Attorney Charles Branson hopes to launch a new pre-trial prosecutor led diversion program in 2018.  Branson started work on the project in early 2017 as part of an effort to find meaningful alternatives to the repeated incarceration of women in the county jail.  

The new pre-trial diversion program is aimed at non-violent repeat female offenders. The goal is to offer a program that will allow for quick release from jail to a suite of support services that will address issues of substance abuse, mental health, housing and employment.  If the program is completed, pending charges are dismissed with prejudice.  If the participant is not successful or does not wish to participate, the criminal case would proceed as normal.

In July, the District Attorney’s office was awarded a Technical Assistance Grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).  BJA has partnered with the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys and the Center for Court Innovation to assist the District Attorney’s Office with implementing the new program.

The District Attorney’s office has partnered with DCCCA and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office’s Reentry program. Those agencies were exploring the creation of a substance abuse disorder treatment program and a social detoxification program.  “The partnership made sense,” Branson said.  “We are all trying to accomplish the same goals, diverting these women from the criminal justice system in a meaningful way that hopefully prevents or delays their return to jail,” Branson continued.

In addition to DCCCA and Reentry, Bert Nash, Douglas County Administration, the Lawrence Douglas County Housing Authority, Friends of Recovery and Douglas County Adult Services are also participating with the creation of the new program.

The program is different from most pre-trial diversion programs because prior convictions may not bar participation in the program.  “Not all convictions are the same.  Just because someone has a prior conviction does not mean they are excluded from consideration in a program like this.  There will be some convictions that will certainly preclude participation such as prior violent felonies,” Branson said. “However, prior minor offenses such as a drug offense or theft are going to be expected in our target population,” Branson concluded.

Mary Shultz
KU Mock Trial Looking For Attorney Volunteers

KU Mock Trial is hosting the Jayhawk Invitational on January 27-28th and is looking for attorneys to volunteer as competition judges. Over 250 college students will be competing in the tournament with two rounds each day, a morning session and an afternoon session.
 
Attorneys can select which round (or rounds) work best for their schedule. To volunteer,simply click this link and quickly fill out this online application. Or attorneys can send an email offering to volunteer to Alice Craig at alice.craig@ku.edu.
 
The KU Mock Trial Team is nationally ranked and working in partnership with the KU Law School to foster undergraduate students' interest in practicing law. 

Mary Shultz