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  • 06 Apr 2020 8:31 AM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    The Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) will re-open on April 6, 2020.  However, OAH’s physical office remains closed to the public through at least April 19, 2020, to reduce the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).  Phones will be answered, and mail will be received daily. 

    All prehearing conferences and hearings will be held as scheduled unless OAH specifically notifies you that your proceeding has been cancelled or rescheduled.   

    No filings may be hand-delivered to OAH at this time.  To ensure access to OAH, filings may be submitted in one of four ways:

    1. E-Filing System.  Use the e-filing system if you are already approved to utilize the e-filing system for your appeal.  If you are not an approved e-filer, you may access the e-filing system by completing the E-filing Terms of Use Agreement. This Agreement is located at the “Resources” tab on the OAH website.  The e-filing system is the most effective way for parties to verify that their filings have been received by OAH and to receive prompt notice of filings and orders in your appeal.
    1. File by email.  Use TemporaryFilingOAH@ks.gov to send filings to OAH.  This is a temporary email address to send filings to OAH during the COVID-19 emergency.  Do not send questions or general correspondence to this email address as OAH will not respond. 
    1. Fax.  File by fax at 785-296-4848.
    1. Mail or third-party delivery services.  Filings may be sent to OAH through U.S. mail or other letter/parcel delivery services such as FedEx or UPS.  OAH’s address is 1020 S. Kansas Avenue, Topeka, KS  66612.


  • 03 Apr 2020 1:22 PM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    Read the notice here: Scan0014.pdf

  • 03 Apr 2020 12:34 PM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    Supreme Court issues two new administrative orders in its COVID-19 pandemic response

     

    TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court today issued two new administrative orders to add direction to courts and clarity to court users about how courts function during the COVID-19 pandemic response.

     

    “The need to reduce in-person contact as much as possible is paramount to our state’s COVID-19 response,” said Chief Justice Marla Luckert. “These orders clarify points in the judicial branch’s actions to reduce or eliminate in-person contact with court staff and judges to protect the health of our workforce and the health of people who need our services.”

     

    Administrative Order 2020-PR-031: Order Suspending Certain Deadlines and Time Limitations in Kansas Municipal Courts Due to the COVID-19 Emergency

     

    This order applies to municipal courts some of the same provisions regarding state court operations and deadlines as outlined in Administrative Order 2020-PR-016 and continued in 2020-PR-32. It authorizes municipal courts to conduct hearings by videoconference and suspends deadlines and time limitations related to speedy trial and arraignment while the order is in effect.

     

    Administrative Order 2020-PR-032: Order Amending 2020-PR-016

     

    Administrative Order 2020-PR-016 named the essential functions state courts are required by state statute to perform and outlined how these can be accomplished without face-to-face contact, whether by telephone conference or videoconference.

     

    Administrative Order 2020-PR-032 modifies Administrative Order 2020-PR-016 by: 

    • renaming emergency operations as essential functions;
    • clarifying that litigation conduct is not limited when it does not involve a judge or court employee;
    • encouraging parties to meet deadlines that do not require in-person proceedings;
    • confirming state courts must have staffing necessary to carry out essential functions and nonessential functions may be performed as local resources and circumstances allow;
    • clarifying that hearings related to nonessential functions may occur, but only by telephone conference or videoconference;
    • clarifying that court staff, whether working in a courthouse or from home, may perform both essential and nonessential functions; and
    • clarifying that courts continue to accept electronic filings in all case types and explaining that processing of filings related to nonessential functions may be delayed depending on staffing levels and demands of essential functions. 

    2020 House Substitute for Senate Bill 102

     

    Today's administrative order clarifies that provisions in 2020 House Substitute for Senate Bill 102 became effective March 19, 2020, when it was published in the Kansas Register. It permits the chief justice to issue an order suspending all statutory deadlines and time limitations to bring a defendant to trial until further order of the chief justice.

    Essential court functions

     

    Essential functions are outlined in the Administrative Order 2020-PR-32, and generally include: 

    • determining probable cause for persons arrested without a warrant;
    • first appearances;
    • bond hearings;
    • warrants for adults and juveniles;
    • juvenile detention hearings;
    • care and treatment emergency orders;
    • protection from abuse and protection from stalking temporary orders;
    • child in need of care hearings and orders;
    • commitment of sexually violent predators; and
    • isolation and quarantine hearings and orders. 

    For a complete list of judicial branch actions to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, visit Kansas Courts Response to COVID-19.


  • 03 Apr 2020 10:17 AM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

     

    The Kansas Supreme Court released the following published decisions today:


     

    Appeal Nos. 115,293, 115,294, 115,295, and 115,305: State of Kansas v. Jacqueline L. Coleman

    Archived oral argument video

    The Supreme Court today resolved a sentencing issue in a consolidated appeal brought by Coleman, who questioned how Sedgwick County District Court scored a 1992 involuntary manslaughter conviction in her criminal history when sentencing her after she was convicted in a series of thefts. The Supreme Court held the district court appropriately scored the 1992 crime as a person felony. The legal issues turned on how to interpret changes the Legislature made to the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines Act.

     

     

    Appeal No. 120,436: In the Matter of the Joint Application of Westar Energy Inc. and Kansas Gas and Electric Co.

    Archived oral argument video

    In an opinion written by Justice Caleb Stegall, the Supreme Court held the residential distributed generation (RS-DG) rate design proposed by Westar and Kansas Gas and Electric violates K.S.A. 66-117d. This decision reverses the Court of Appeals, where the panel held K.S.A. 66-117d conflicted with and was thus superseded by a more recent statute: K.S.A. 66-1265(e). The Supreme Court disagreed, holding K.S.A. 66-117d and K.S.A. 66-1265(e) do not conflict based on the plain language statutes. K.S.A. 66-117d focuses on the price of goods and services sold by the utilities while K.S.A. 66-1265(e) addresses rate structure rather than price. Thus, K.S.A. 66-117d remains in full effect and prevents utility companies from charging customers producing their own energy more than they charge other customers based on that distinction. Because the proposed RS-DG rate design uses a customer's production of renewable energy as a basis for charging more for the same goods and services than customers who do not produce their own energy, the RS-DG rate design violates K.S.A. 66-117d.

     

    Kansas Court of Appeals decisions released today

     


  • 31 Mar 2020 2:16 PM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    Court Issues Administrative Order to Allow Criminal Defendants to Appear Remotely

    On March 27, Congress passed and the President signed the CARES Act which provides economic relief for individuals and businesses; and, authorizes the use of video and telephone conferencing, under certain circumstances with the consent of the defendant, for various criminal events during the course of the COVID-19 emergency. The District of Kansas adopted Administrative Order 2020-4 to allow for these provisions to take effect. The CARES Act consent form is posted on our public website under criminal forms.

    Kansas City
    500 State Ave.
    Kansas City, KS 66101
    913-735-2200

    Topeka
    444 S.E. Quincy.
    Topeka, KS 66683
    785-338-5400 

    Wichita
    401 N. Market
    Wichita, KS 67202
    316-315-4200


  • 31 Mar 2020 8:17 AM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    Supreme Court issues administrative order to allow file-stamped copies when docketing an appeal

     

    TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court today issued Administrative Order 2020-RL-027 to temporarily allow file-stamped copies of documents to be used when docketing an appeal instead of certified copies normally required under Supreme Court Rule 2.04.

    “The appellate courts continue to process cases, even though we are on emergency operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Chief Justice Marla Luckert. “By allowing file-stamped copies of documents to be used to docket appeals, we are making it easier for the parties and for district courts that would provide those certified copies.”

    All state courts have been on emergency operations since the Supreme Court issued Administrative Order 2020-PR-016 March 18. The administrative order lists emergency operations that courts must perform while the order is in place.

    All courts continue to accept filings in all case types, but priority is given to filings in matters that are on the list of emergency operations. Courts process filings in matters not considered emergency operations as time and staffing allow.

    “Kansas courts continue to serve the people of Kansas, even though we had to restrict services to protect the health of our judges, our employees, and the people who come into our courthouses,” Luckert said. “We are taking actions to make it easier to process cases until we can resume normal operations. Temporarily allowing file-stamped copies to be used to docket an appeal is one example.”

    The Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals encourage parties to continue to meet filing deadlines, even while Administrative Order 2020-PR-016 is in place.

    “It’s better to keep cases moving, even at a slower pace, than to stop them until the need for restricted operations has passed,” Luckert said.

    ______ 

    Kansas courts response to COVID-19


  • 27 Mar 2020 4:19 PM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    The Kansas Supreme Court released the following published decision today:

     

     

    Appeal No. 119,492: State of Kansas v. Efrain Gonzalez Jr.

    Archived oral argument video

    The Supreme Court rejected challenges made by Gonzalez to his Wyandotte County convictions for felony murder, attempted aggravated robbery, and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery. On November 27, 2016, a passenger in a car Gonzalez was driving shot and killed Louis Scherzer outside a bar in Kansas City, Kansas The central question on appeal was whether sufficient evidence existed to prove intent to commit a robbery. Justice Dan Biles wrote the Supreme Court's unanimous opinion.

    Kansas Court of Appeals decisions released today


  • 23 Mar 2020 10:55 AM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    Governor Laura Kelly directed that all executive branch offices, including OAH, will be closed from March 23 to April 5, 2020, to reduce the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).  All hearings and prehearing conferences scheduled during this two week period are cancelled and will be rescheduled.  OAH tentatively is scheduled to reopen on April 6, 2020.

    To ensure access to OAH during this time, documents and exhibits may be submitted in one of three ways:

    1. Use the e-filing system if you are an approved e-filer.  If you are not an approved e-filer, you may access the e-filing system by completing the E-filing Terms of Use Agreement. This Agreement is located at the “Resources” tab on the OAH website.
    2. Use TemporaryFilingOAH@ks.gov to send documents and exhibits to OAH.  This temporary email address will be monitored by OAH staff while OAH is closed.
    3. File by fax at 785-296-4848.

    Cheryl L. Whelan
    Director & Administrative Law Judge
    Office of Administrative Hearings
    1020 S. Kansas Avenue
    Topeka, KS  66612
    Phone (785) 296-2433
    Fax (785) 296-4848

    Cheryl.Whelan@ks.gov


  • 18 Mar 2020 7:15 PM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    State courts on emergency operations until further order

     

    TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court today issued Administrative Order 2020-PR-016 directing all district and appellate courts to cease all but emergency operations until further order.

    The only exception is jury trials that are currently under way. They may proceed to conclusion, but no other criminal or civil jury trials will be scheduled until further order.

    The Supreme Court anticipates the order to remain in effect for at least two weeks, at which time it will be reevaluated. 

    “This is an extraordinary measure to match the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Chief Justice Marla Luckert. “We have a duty to protect the people who come into our courthouses and courtrooms, as well as our employees and judges. This action allows courts to fulfill core functions while reducing in-person contact.”

    Emergency operations are outlined in the Administrative Order, and generally include:

    • determining probable cause for persons arrested without a warrant;
    • first appearances;
    • bond hearings;
    • warrants for adults and juveniles;
    • juvenile detention hearings;
    • care and treatment emergency orders;
    • protection from abuse and protection from stalking temporary orders;
    • child in need of care hearings and orders;
    • considering petitions to waive notice for abortions by minors;
    • commitment of sexually violent predators; and
    • isolation and quarantine hearings and orders.

    Referenced in the Administrative Order is 2020 House Substitute for Senate Bill 102. On its publication, the court’s Administrative Order will have the effect of suspending until further order all statutes of limitations and statutory time standards or deadlines that apply to conducting or processing judicial proceedings.

    During the effective dates of the order, no action will be dismissed for lack of prosecution.

    People who have business with a court are urged to try completing that business online, by phone, or by mail. If that’s not possible, the person can call the court for direction. A limited number of staff will be available to answer questions.

    Chief judges of district courts are charged with identifying essential personnel—both judges and employees—needed to fulfill emergency operations.

    The Administrative Order also applies to appellate courts, including the Supreme Court. Emergency operations for the appellate courts include:

    • Appeals, motions, or original actions arising from the emergency operations of the district court;
    • Any other appeal, motion, or original action requiring expeditious resolution.

    “It is through our collective action that we will slow COVID-19’s spread,” Luckert said. “The courts will continue to serve the people of Kansas, but in a way that protects all of us.”


  • 16 Mar 2020 6:14 PM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    Attorney, client protocol established for Kansas courts

    TOPEKA—Attorneys and their clients who have symptoms of COVID-19, have been exposed to the virus, or are covered by the Kansas Department of Health's recommendations for quarantine and isolation of travelers are advised to follow protocols established by the Kansas judicial branch.

    Persons entering any Kansas courthouse may be asked screening questions consistent with public health guidelines. Admission may be denied for public health concerns. These individuals will be encouraged to visit a courtroom or court offices at another time or use a different method of conducting business.

    Attorneys should ask their clients to follow these rules. If a judge determines a proceeding must proceed, individuals may be required to wear masks.

    Postings inside courthouses will provide telephone or email contact information for court personnel. Contact information for district courts also is available online.

    Attorneys, members of the public, and law enforcement officers appearing in courtrooms should follow the same hand foam and handwashing procedures as court employees. That includes frequently washing hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds or using alcohol-based hand cleaners. If sheriff's deputies or inmates in their custody have a fever or are coughing, they should wear masks while in the courthouses.

     

    If any inmate is confirmed to have COVID-19, the court will coordinate with the sheriff, defense counsel, and the prosecutor to arrange for video appearances or continuances of court proceedings.


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