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  • 02 Jun 2020 1:59 PM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    Chief justice delivers annual State of the Judiciary report to governor, legislators

     

    TOPEKA—Chief Justice Marla Luckert today delivered a written State of the Judiciary report to the governor and the chairs of the House and Senates judiciary committees, as well as to all members of the Kansas Legislature.

    In other years, the written report is delivered simultaneous to the chief justice’s formal address to a joint session of the Kansas Senate and House of Representatives. That address, which had been scheduled in January, was cancelled due to a conflict of interest, and efforts to reschedule it later were stymied by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    Luckert, who became chief justice of the Kansas Supreme Court in December 2019, said she was disappointed she could not deliver the report in person through the formal address, but she is pleased there was so much to cover in her written report.

    “This annual report does more than tally the roughly 400,000 cases processed by Kansas courts. It documents our efforts to modernize court operations to better meet the needs of Kansans,” Luckert said. “It’s an important check-in with the executive and legislative branches of government and the people of Kansas about strides made by the Kansas judicial branch of government to better serve our communities.”

    The report is arranged in broad categories that capture the most important advancements in judicial branch operations to occur in the 18-month period between July 1, 2018, and December 31, 2019, or the 2019 fiscal and calendar years combined. It does not include the rapid change to court operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which will be reported in 2021.

    Self-help centers

    Access to and promoting justice in Kansas courts centers on actions to make it easier for people to resolve their legal concerns without infringing on statutory or constitutional rights. It ranges from self-help resources to problem-solving courts to analyzing pretrial detention practices.

    “People who represent themselves in court unintentionally strain the system because they need support and guidance normally provided by an attorney, and it can slow case processing for everyone,” Luckert said. “Judges and court employees can’t give legal advice, so any support we offer must not interpret the law or give unfair advantage to the party who does not have an attorney.”

    In 2019, there were district-court based self-help centers in five counties: Ellis, Johnson, Miami, Sedgwick, and Wyandotte. Help offered by these centers can range from providing access to computer terminals and simplified forms to volunteer attorneys giving brief legal advice.

    The Supreme Court updated its rule that guides court staff about how to provide service without giving legal advice, and its Access to Justice Committee continues to explore how to provide a consistent level of self-help service to people without attorneys through standardized forms and processes.

    Pro bono legal services

    Related to efforts to expand self-help resources, the Supreme Court made it easier for lawyers to provide free and reduced cost legal services. Through a new rule, the court established the framework for retired, inactive, and single-employer attorneys to provide no- or low-cost legal services. It also relaxed certain reporting requirements for attorneys to eliminate redundant precautionary measures that may have deterred participation.

    Dispute resolution

    The court also approved an overhaul of rules relating to dispute resolution to provide clarity and consistency about the process and to make it more accessible to people involved in legal disputes. Through its Advisory Council on Dispute Resolution, the court streamlined training and continuing education requirements, expanded ethical rules, and described how the council will investigate complaints.

    Problem-solving courts

    Kansas had 19 problem-solving courts in 15 judicial districts in 2019. These specialty courts focus on the reasons for criminal behavior through a team approach involving the judge, court staff, a social worker or mental health professional, prosecutor, and defense attorney. By addressing the reason for the criminal behavior, the person charged can avoid incarceration while getting the help he or she needs.

    Specialty courts are for people struggling with alcohol and drug addiction, behavioral and mental health problems, or problems common among veterans.

    Ad Hoc Pretrial Justice Task Force

    Near the end of 2018, the Supreme Court created a 15-member Pretrial Justice Task Force chaired by Chief Judge Karen Arnold-Burger of the Kansas Court of Appeals. Judges, defense attorneys, prosecutors, and court services and community corrections officers serve on the task force, which is charged with examining current pretrial detention practices for criminal defendants in Kansas district courts.

    The task force plans to issue its final report, including its assessment of practices and procedures used in other jurisdictions, recommendations for training, and proposed pretrial best practices by November 6, 2020.  

    eCourt centralized case management system

    In 2019, the first two judicial districts moved to the new centralized case management system that is the centerpiece of the eCourt plan to transform the way courts serve the people of Kansas.

    The 8th and the 21st judicial districts, which include Clay, Dickinson, Geary, Marion, Morris, and Riley counties, transitioned to the new system in August 2019. The rollout to all state courts, including all judicial districts, the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court, will continue in calendar year 2021.

    “Having courts in all 105 counties operating on the same system and sharing case data will benefit courts, as well as the people who need our services,” Luckert said. “It also supports our initiatives to achieve greater standardization, efficiency, and accountability."

    As courts move to the new system, certain accounting functions, including payment processing, will move to a centralized payment center in the Office of Judicial Administration that was formed in 2019.

    Duties now managed by district courts will be done by the centralized payment center, including:

    • monthly reconciliations;
    • writing and delivering checks;
    • submitting funds to unclaimed property;
    • managing chargebacks, overages, and small refunds; and
    • credit card payment processing and reconciliation. 

    Centralized payment center staff complete these and other functions under the supervision of accountants.

    By shifting the responsibility away from district courts, court clerk staff will be able to focus on case processing.

    Other benefits to come with the change to the new case management system are standardization of processes, workshare between judicial districts, and remote access to court records.

    Workload studies

    In 2019, the judicial branch continued to examine the volume and types of work performed by courts statewide to determine the number of staff needed to do that work. These studies allow the Supreme Court to make budget and staffing decisions based on measurable data.

    The judicial branch partners with the National Center for State Courts to conduct studies that look at the workload for court services officers, workload for court clerks, and a weighted caseload for analysis for judges of district courts, administrative support staff, and court reporters.

    Personnel costs account for about 91% of the judicial branch budget, so the Supreme Court commits to ensuring a workforce structure that addresses needs throughout the state.

    Attracting and retaining an excellent workforce

    The Supreme Court continues to request funding that will allow it to pay employees and judges at market rates. Even with modest pay increases in recent fiscal years, district court judge actual pay ranked 49th out of 50 states in July 2019, and employee pay continues to be below market from 1.7% to 17.9%.

    “The Supreme Court depends on judges and employees to meet its constitutional mandate to provide a unified court system to the people of Kansas,” Luckert said. “A well-qualified, experienced workforce is a crucial component of the court system’s success.”

    Annual report

    The 2020 Annual Report of the Chief Justice of Kansas Supreme Court is available on the judicial branch website at  www.kscourts.org/Newsroom/Publications/State-of-the-Judiciary.


  • 01 Jun 2020 9:15 AM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    The Kansas Supreme Court issued the following published decision today:

    Appeal No. 120,075: State of Kansas v. Jason W. Cott

    Summary calendar; no oral argument

    Cott pleaded guilty in 2010 to two counts of premeditated murder and received concurrent sentences of 50 years without the possibility of parole. He subsequently filed a motion to withdraw his guilty pleas, which Johnson County District Court denied. He appealed directly to the Kansas Supreme Court. Justice Eric Rosen, writing for a unanimous court, affirmed the conviction and sentence. The Supreme Court held Cott failed to demonstrate manifest injustice resulting from his pleas. The Supreme Court noted it was Cott himself who proposed the plea agreement; the Supreme Court held he was not coerced into accepting the plea agreement either by his trial counsel or by his mother urging him to plead guilty. 

    Kansas Court of Appeals decisions released today


  • 01 Jun 2020 9:11 AM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    Kansas Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments by videoconference

     

    TOPEKA—Kansas Court of Appeals judges will hear one appeal by videoconference at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 2. The oral arguments will be livestreamed on YouTube.

    It is the second time during the pandemic that a Court of Appeals panel will hear oral arguments remotely and livestream them. Another panel heard an appeal in the same manner May 12.

    Ordinarily, Court of Appeals panels hear oral arguments in multiple cases each month. When the Kansas Judicial Center and other courthouses closed to in-person proceedings in mid-March to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Court of Appeals canceled its scheduled oral arguments for March and April. Most of the appeals were placed on the summary calendar, meaning they will be decided on their written records without oral argument. Parties who want to argue their cases before a panel of judges can make that request.

    "I am pleased we are able to accommodate parties who want to present their arguments by offering videoconferencing, and that we are able to livestream the proceedings so others can watch," said Court of Appeals Judge Melissa Taylor Standridge, who is the presiding judge for the June 2 docket. "Despite restrictions due to COVID-19, our court is still able to timely hear appeals, guaranteeing that people's access to justice is not hindered."

    Joining Standridge on the panel participating in Tuesday's docket are Court of Appeals Judge G. Gordon Atcheson and Senior Judge James Burgess. They and the attorneys will all appear from separate locations by videoconference.

    The case on the June 2 docket is:

    Appeal No. 121,249: Raymond Kamila v. University of Kansas

    The appeal involves a dispute over the extent to which the university can discipline students for off-campus conduct. Kamila was expelled from KU in 2017 after a disciplinary hearing panel found he violated multiple provisions of the student code when he made unwanted advances and sent harassing messages to two female students. Kamila now claims that the university acted outside the scope of its jurisdiction because most of his conduct occurred either off campus or online.

    In a previous case, a separate panel of this court held the student code dealt only with conduct occurring either on campus or at university-sponsored events, and thus it lacked the authority to discipline a student for his off-campus behavior. See Yeasin v. University of Kansas, 51 Kan. App. 2d 939, 360 P.3d 423 (2015). The university has since updated its student code to apply to off-campus conduct that affects the on-campus safety of its members; therefore, this appeal asks whether that updated language is enough to grant the university jurisdiction over Kamila's off-campus and online conduct.


  • 29 May 2020 8:51 AM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    Kansas Supreme Court Docket for June 5, 2020

     

    The Supreme Court's June 5 docket will be by videoconference. Justices and attorneys arguing the case will all appear by video.

    This will be the Supreme Court’s second docket entirely by videoconference. The first was April 11 when the court heard Kelly v LCC et al on an expedited schedule that included a Saturday morning oral argument.

    The Supreme Court has livestreamed oral arguments online since 2012. The livestream for the June 5 docket will be on the Kansas Supreme Court YouTube channel.

    9 a.m. • Friday, June 5

    Appeal No. 120,209: State of Kansas v. Sergio Angel Arrizabalaga

    Saline County: (Petition for Review) A Kansas Highway Patrol trooper stopped Arrizabalaga, who was driving a rented van, and later discovered a large amount of marijuana inside. Arrizabalaga was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of drug paraphernalia, and no drug tax stamp. Prior to trial, he moved to suppress evidence on the grounds the officer did not have probable cause to stop the van and did not have reasonable suspicion to detain him for 24 minutes before calling for a drug-detecting dog. The district court denied the motion. A month later, Arrizabalaga again moved to suppress the evidence. In this second motion, he argued the length of his detention was too long and his statements were not voluntary. The district court granted the motion by finding the officer did not diligently and reasonably pursue the purpose of the stop. The State filed an interlocutory appeal. A majority of the Court of Appeals panel affirmed the district court’s decision; however, a dissenting judge held the detention was reasonable. Issues on review are whether: 1) the district court erred in granting the motion to suppress; 2) the officer was as diligent as possible in obtaining a drug-detecting dog search; and 3) the officer reasonably pursued the purpose of the stop.


  • 29 May 2020 8:09 AM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    Chief justice issues five administrative orders affecting court operations during pandemic

    TOPEKA—Chief Justice Marla Luckert has issued five administrative orders to give updated direction to Kansas courts and court users as courts continue to gradually conduct more in-person proceedings and increase the number and types of service delivered to the people of Kansas.


    “We want people coming into our courthouses and courtrooms to know we are taking appropriate measures to protect their health,” Luckert said.

    One order provides clarity about public health directives courts must follow, and others renew the suspension of certain deadlines and time limitations while courts work toward resuming full operations.

    “By temporarily suspending some deadlines and time limitations, we uphold the legal and constitutional rights afforded all of us while our courts manage case processing consistent with public health guidelines,” Luckert said.

    New administrative orders

    Administrative Order 2020-PR-054 applies to Kansas district and appellate courts. It requires courts to comply with orders of the chief justice and the governor; COVID-19 safety directives from the Office of Judicial Administration; and public health guidance from state and local health officials and OSHA.

    The order requires courts that remain closed to the public to meet certain conditions before allowing walk-in visitors, including seeking guidance from the local public health official about how to return to in-person hearings based on local risk and the courthouse facility. The chief judge must assure compliance with health recommendations, have a plan for screening people entering a courtroom or court office, and provide court contact information should someone be denied entry due to health concerns.

    The order directs that all hearings should be conducted remotely, if possible. It prohibits most in-person proceedings that require more than 10 people in a courtroom, and it requires that all persons in a courtroom be at least 6 feet apart.

    The order allows jury trials to proceed if it's required to preserve a person's constitutional right to a speedy trial and the court has presented its departmental justice a plan that:

    • allows for voir dire, or jury selection, involving jury panels numbering no more than 12 at a time;
    • uses a location that provides for social distancing;
    • designates how and where sidebar conversations will occur;
    • specifies how exhibits will be handled between attorneys, court staff, and jurors;
    • provides a videostream of the proceedings for public viewing, if necessary; and
    • specifies how the jury will be managed to meet social distancing requirements, addresses jurors' ability to hear and see witnesses and exhibits, and identifies where jurors will deliberate, including how they will leave for and return from deliberation.

    Administrative Order 2020-PR-055 renews the suspension of certain deadlines and time standards, including applicable statutory speedy trial provisions, for any municipal court closed or continuing trials because of COVID-19. The suspensions remain in effect until the court reopens and can reasonably place the case on its calendar, or until further order. The suspensions do not apply when a person is held in custody.

    The order also continues to authorize courts to conduct hearings by two-way telephone conference or videoconference communication to the extent it is permitted by the United States and Kansas Constitutions.

    Administrative Order 2020-PR-056 authorizes courts to conduct hearings by two-way telephone conference or videoconference communication. The authorization applies to criminal, juvenile offender, civil, probate, child in need of care, and other proceedings. It includes all pretrial, trial, and post-trial proceedings, including plea, criminal sentencing, probation revocation, show cause, or any other proceeding. It encourages judges and litigants to use remote proceedings whenever possible and especially when a person involved in the case expresses health concerns.

    The order requires remote proceedings to allow for confidential communication, and that the proceedings be publicly available during the proceeding or by recording afterward.

    The order remains in effect until further order of the chief justice or until it expires under terms specified in House Substitute for Senate Bill 102, which is 150 days following the expiration of a declared state of disaster emergency.

    Administrative Order 2020-PR-057 suspends all statutory deadlines and time limitations to bring a defendant to trial. The suspension remains in effect until further order or it expires under provisions in House Substitute for Senate Bill 102.

    Administrative Order 2020-PR-058 suspends statutes of limitations, statutory time standards, or deadlines that apply to conducting or processing judicial proceedings. Under the order, no action may be dismissed for lack of prosecution or failure to meet a deadline, except when a judge, appellate judicial officer, or hearing officer exempts a case from the suspension.

    The order does not affect deadlines or time limitations to bring a criminal defendant to trial, as those are suspended by Administrative Order 2020-PR-057.

    The suspensions under this order remain in effect until further order or they expire under provisions in House Substitute for Senate Bill 102.

    Court operations during pandemic

    For all court actions related to the pandemic, visit Kansas courts response to COVID-19.


  • 15 May 2020 11:16 AM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    The Kansas Supreme Court released the following published decision today, May 15, 2020

     

    Appeal No. 119,911: State of Kansas v. Willie E. Morris

    Summary calendar; no oral argument

    A Sedgwick County jury convicted Morris of premeditated first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated battery, and conspiracy to commit distribution of a controlled substance. The district court sentenced him to a hard-50 year life sentence plus 280 months to run consecutively. Justice Eric Rosen, writing for a unanimous Kansas Supreme Court, affirmed the convictions. The court held the district court did not err in declining Morris' request for a jury instruction on voluntary intoxication because the evidence showed only that Morris had consumed drugs and alcohol before the crimes, not that he was so intoxicated he lacked the ability to form an intent. The court also held the district court did not err in admitting gruesome photographs of the victim's body. The court found the photographs were relevant and admissible to show the manner and violent nature of the victim's death and corroborate witness testimony. Finally, the court rejected Morris' claim of cumulative error as Morris had failed to demonstrate the existence of any trial errors.


    Kansas Court of Appeals decisions released today


  • 14 May 2020 12:59 PM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    Kansas will offer Uniform Bar Exam July 28-29

    TOPEKA – Today, after considering the National Conference of Bar Examiners May 5, 2020, announcement that it will make a Uniform Bar Examination available for July, the Kansas Supreme Court affirmed its April, 17, 2020, plan to administer the examination on July 28 and 29.


    The deadline to inform Kansas bar admissions administrators of whether a qualified applicant intends to sit for the July exam is June 10.

    More information on the setup of the exam's physical location and its administration will be sent to applicants before that deadline.

    As the Supreme Court announced in April, those qualified applicants who do not choose to take the exam in July will be given an opportunity to take it in September, without the necessity of an additional application submission or fee payment.


  • 12 May 2020 2:59 PM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    Kansas District Court 

    NOTICE TO ALL ATTORNEYS PRACTICING CRIMINAL LAW

    May 12, 2020

    Due to the outbreak of COVID 19 and the Kansas Supreme Court’s Administrative Order 2020-PR-45 issued on May 1, 2020, the 3rd Judicial District Criminal Department has established the following:

    • 1.                  All criminal jury trials are continued until further notice but in any event will not begin prior to July 6, 2020.
    • 2.                  Since the courthouse remains closed to the public, hearings set during this time of restricted operations will be continued generally until further notice unless a video conference is scheduled.

    Pursuant to Supreme Court Administrative Order 2020-PR-45, essential or nonessential functions are authorized to be heard by two-way telephonic or electronic audio-visual communication. This Order includes all criminal proceedings, specifically pleas, criminal sentencings, probation revocations, show causes, or any other proceedings.

    Audio-visual conference hearings via Zoom will be scheduled for the following types of hearings for defendants who are in the Shawnee County Department of Corrections: pleas, sentencing, show cause, bond issues, and any other pretrial, bench trial, or post-trial proceedings.  If the defendant requests release from custody, defense counsel should verify the defendant’s proposed housing, employment, etc.  The schedule for hearings will be as follows or as otherwise set by the division:

    Mondays - Divisions 9 and 11

    Wednesdays - Divisions 1 and 13

    Fridays – Divisions 12 and 14

    Tuesdays – Division 7 (Misdemeanor hearings) 

    In addition, audio-visual conference hearings via Zoom will be scheduled for defendants who are out of custody for the same type of hearings listed above for in custody defendants.  However, the hearings scheduled for out of custody defendants will not be limited to the schedule listed above for in custody defendants. 

    Defense counsel will be allotted up to 15 minutes prior at the beginning of the hearing to talk with their client.  If more time is needed, the defense counsel should independently schedule time with their client in advance of the hearing.

    Defendants will be questioned at the beginning of the audio-visual conference if they are willing to waive their personal appearance.  Counsel will need to explain to their clients prior to the hearing that they will be questioned about waiving their personal appearance (except for bond hearings).  If a defendant is not willing to waive his or her personal appearance, the hearing will need to be rescheduled until further notice since in person hearings are not currently allowed under the Supreme Court Orders. Defense counsel is responsible for filing defendant’s written waiver of their personal appearance. 

    Zoom hearings will be streamed to YouTube simultaneous to the hearings so that the public can observe the proceedings.  However, the YouTube recording will be erased immediately following the hearing.   Individuals watching on YouTube are not allowed to photograph or record proceedings as the official record will be made by the court reporter. 

    • 3.                  Counsel do not need to file Motions for Continuance for hearings that have been (or will be) cancelled due to the Supreme Court Orders.
    • 4.                  Emergency issues will be handled by the Duty Judge and/or the Backup Duty Judge.
    • 5.                  First Appearances will be heard by the Duty Judge (Judge Moylan or her designee) and the Backup Duty Judge will deal with emergency issues such as bond resets, warrant recalls, etc.  The schedule for the Backup Duty Judges through June is as follows:
    • May 11-15                 Judge Debenham     Division 13
    • May 18-22                 Judge Parrish            Division 14
    • May 25-29                 Judge Geier              Division 1
    • June 1-5                     Judge Ossmann       Division 9
    • June 8-12                   Judge Rios                Division 11
    • June15-19                 Judge Ebberts           Division 12
    • June 22-26                Judge Debenham     Division 13
    • June 29-July 2           Judge Parrish            Division 14

    Modification of Bond – If the State and defense counsel agree to a modification of bond, the backup duty judge will handle the bond reset process.  If counsel do not agree, the bond issue will be referred to the assigned division.  As of May 12, 2020, the court suspended DCR 3.317, Motions in Criminal Cases.  Timelines as set out in Supreme Court Rule 133 will be followed which provides that responses be filed no later than 7 days after service of a motion or as otherwise provided by the court.

    • 6.                  New cases on first appearance will be set 60 days out on either a criminal docket or CAD.
    • 7.                  The court is granting a 30 day automatic extension of all motion deadlines currently set in May.  If other extensions are needed, counsel should file a motion. 

    Download Original Notice below:

    Notice to All Practicing Criminal Law Attorneys.pdf


  • 12 May 2020 11:06 AM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    Eight more district courts to process marriage licenses

     

    TOPEKA—Eight more district courts will resume issuing marriage licenses using a process that doesn't require in-person contact.

    District courts in Barton, Leavenworth, Lyon, Miami, Pawnee, Reno, Saline, and Thomas counties will begin processing new marriage license applications starting Wednesday, May 13.

    Applicants must call a court to begin the process.

    Ten courts have been processing marriage licenses using this new process since April 20.

    Courts that will issue marriage licenses

    People who live in Johnson, Sedgwick, Shawnee, or Wyandotte county will get their marriage licenses through the district court in their county:

    People who live in other counties will now be able to choose from 14 court locations to get a marriage license:

    Courts will receive applications by encrypted email or mail

    Marriage license paperwork requires the applicant to provide a photo identification that includes personally identifiable information, such as date of birth, Social Security number, or driver’s license number. To protect this information, courts will begin an encrypted email exchange with the applicant through which the applicant will return completed paperwork.

    If an applicant does not have email, courts will also send and receive paperwork by U.S. mail.

    Fulfilling the oath requirement

    Marriage license applicants previously were required to appear in person in the clerk of court’s office to swear an oath that includes affirming:

    • they are of lawful age to marry or have necessary consent to marry;
    • are not related in degrees prohibited by law; and
    • no legal reason exists why they should not marry.

    Under the new process, applicants will make this affirmation on paper.

    Prior marriage license applications will not be processed

    If a person submitted a marriage license application before courts closed to in-person contact on March 18, and the marriage license was not issued, the person will need to submit a new application to a court issuing marriage licenses using this new process. This applies even if the earlier application was submitted to a court that will now issue marriage licenses, and it is to ensure all requirements are met. 

    State courts slowly expanding operations 

    On May 1 the chief justice issued six new administrative orders to provide updated direction to state courts and court users as the state slowly reopens following a plan outlined by the governor April 30.

    Under these orders, courts will gradually increase the number and types of service delivered to the people of Kansas.

    State courts have been operating in a limited capacity since March 18 under earlier Supreme Court orders issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Courts initially were restricted to only essential functions, but they were later permitted to perform additional functions to the extent local resources and circumstances allowed.

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


  • 08 May 2020 11:21 AM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    Kansas Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments by videoconference

     

    TOPEKA—For the first time in its history, Kansas Court of Appeals judges will appear remotely to hear oral argument by videoconference at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 12. The oral arguments will be livestreamed on YouTube.

    "Kansas courts are committed to delivering timely justice, especially during challenging times such as we are experiencing now," said Karen Arnold-Burger, chief judge of the Court of Appeals. "We decide many cases on their written record, but some attorneys want the opportunity to argue their cases before the court, and oral argument by videoconference allows us to accommodate them."

    The Court of Appeals has allowed attorneys to appear for oral argument by videoconference since 2016, but the sessions weren't livestreamed and the three-judge panels sat together in the court’s courtroom in the Kansas Judicial Center.

    This time, with the Kansas Judicial Center currently closed to in-person contact to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the judges and attorneys will all appear from separate locations by videoconference.

    Access to the May 12 oral argument livestream will be through the Court of Appeals YouTube channel.

    The Court of Appeals canceled its March and April oral arguments and, unless parties objected, placed cases on a summary calendar. The court's regular May and June dockets will be summary calendars only. These cases are decided on their written record without oral argument.

    The Kansas Supreme Court had its first remote videoconference oral argument April 11 when justices heard a case filed by Governor Laura Kelly against the Legislative Coordinating Council on an expedited schedule that included a Saturday morning oral argument. The Supreme Court has livestreamed oral arguments online from its Topeka courtroom since 2012.

    The Court of Appeals is a traveling court that meets to hear cases at locations throughout the state. While oral arguments are always open to the public, they are not livestreamed.

    The Court of Appeals panel participating in Tuesday's hearing are Judge Steve Leben, who will preside over the hearing, and Judges Anthony J. Powell and Kim R. Schroeder.

    The case to be heard May 12 docket is:

    Appeal No. 120,068: Thoroughbred Associates LLC et al. v. Kansas City Royalty Co. LLC et al.

    The appeal involves a dispute over revenues from natural gas wells in Comanche County between two businesses, Thoroughbred Associates and Kansas City Royalty. Thoroughbred Associates operated a group of gas wells it organized into a single unit, sharing profits with each of several lease owners. Kansas City Royalty claims its lease with Thoroughbred was included in the single unit; if so, it would be entitled to a share of profits from those gas wells.

    In an earlier appeal, the Supreme Court determined language in Kansas City Royalty's lease prevented it from being included in the unit. This appeal relates to a claim that the parties agreed—after that lease had been entered into—to include the Kansas City Royalty lease in the larger combined unit of gas wells.


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