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  • 16 Dec 2020 8:40 AM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    Chief justice signs new administrative order continuing suspension of deadlines, time limitations

     

    TOPEKA—Chief Justice Marla Luckert issued a new administrative order today continuing to suspend statutes of limitation, statutory time standards, deadlines, and time limitations started under earlier orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Luckert's action to issue Administrative Order 2020-PR-130 follows the State Finance Council's December 11, 2020, decision extending the COVID-19 state of disaster emergency from December 16 through January 10, 2021.

    Luckert said the health and safety of jurors, witnesses, litigants, members of the public, law enforcement officials, court employees, and judges drove her decision to continue the suspensions.

      

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


  • 09 Dec 2020 2:32 PM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    The Court issued Administrative Order 2020-13 suspending all in-person civil and criminal jury trials, and all in-person hearings and bench trials scheduled to commence between now and February 15, 2021. Any existing grand jury may meet subject to the discretion of the U.S. Attorney and the Court. Emergency in-person hearings may be conducted if determined necessary by the presiding Judicial Officer.  Emergencies may include initial appearances for someone who has been arrested, and detention hearings, when a virtual hearing is not possible.  Other terms of Amended Order 2020-11 remain in effect

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

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

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  • 04 Dec 2020 10:20 AM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    Appeal No. 112,322: State of Kansas v. Guadalupe Ochoa-Lara

    Summary calendar; no oral argument

    In an identity theft case remanded from the U.S. Supreme Court after holding a state prosecution for identity theft was not preempted by federal immigration law, the Kansas Supreme Court considered the underlying question of whether Ochoa-Lara's convictions for two counts of identity theft were multiplicitous and thus violated the double jeopardy clause of the U.S. Constitution. The State had split the charge into two based on a change in the statute enacted during the time period in which the conduct happened. The Kansas Supreme Court held Ochoa-Lara failed to object in Johnson County District Court and thus failed to preserve the issue for appellate review. Ochoa-Lara also failed to cite any of the exceptions that would allow a court to consider an issue raised for the first time on appeal. Ochoa-Lara's convictions were affirmed.


    Appeal No. 118,361: State of Kansas v. Samuel Vonachen.

    Archived oral argument video

    The Kansas Supreme Court affirmed Vonachen's convictions in Reno County of two counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted first-degree murder, and one count of aggravated arson. He burned down his family home while his parents and young sister were sleeping inside. His mother and sister died from the fire; his father survived. In a unanimous opinion written by Justice Dan Biles, the court rejected Vanachen's various constitutional claims. As to the certification to try him as an adult, the court held the district court properly authorized Vonachen's adult prosecution.

    Appeal No. 119,302: State of Kansas v. Gregory Lynn Gales

    Summary calendar; no oral argument 

    The Kansas Supreme Court vacated Gales' Edwards County sentence for a 2001 second-degree murder conviction and remanded for resentencing. When the original sentence was imposed, a California burglary from Gales' youth was counted as a "person" crime for the purposes of applying Kansas sentencing guidelines, which resulted in a longer sentence than if the burglary was considered a "nonperson" crime. The statute for determining which classification to apply to a prior crime required the sentencing court to determine the most comparable Kansas offense. In a unanimous opinion written by Justice Dan Biles, the court held the California burglary must be considered a "nonperson" crime in Gales' case, since the California statute was equally comparable to both "person" and "nonperson" versions of burglary in Kansas.

    Appeal No. 121,832: State of Kansas v. Phillip R. Parks

    Summary calendar; no oral argument 

    The Kansas Supreme Court rejected Parks' challenge to a life prison sentence he received in 1997 in Reno County for murdering his wife in 1978. In a unanimous opinion written by Justice Dan Biles, the court held the sentence was consistent with the statutory requirements existing at the time of the crime.


  • 02 Dec 2020 12:11 PM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court today issued four administrative orders regarding policies and procedures related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    "The Supreme Court manages the state court system's pandemic response through policies and procedures set out in administrative order," said Chief Justice Marla Luckert. "Today's orders are to provide minor updates, reaffirm what's still relevant from prior orders, and rescind what is obsolete to make it easier for court users to find and follow current policies and procedures."

    Administrative Order 2020-PR-123

    2020-PR-123 reduces the number of orders judicial officers, employees, and court users must consult for current COVID-19 district and appellate court operations policies and procedures. The order:

    • incorporates and updates still-relevant portions of several prior administrative orders;
      clarifies that courts should consider virtual courtrooms standards and guidance when posted on the judicial branch website;
    • clarifies guidance related to court-initiated livestreams; and
    • permits judicial branch employees to resume saliva testing for moderate- or high-risk probation clients if authorized by the chief judge of the judicial district.

    Administrative Orders 2020-PR-122, 2020-PR-124, and 2020-PR-125

    2020-PR-123 is complemented by:

    • 2020-PR-122, which rescinds obsolete administrative orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic;
    • 2020-PR-124, which amends 2020-PR-094 requiring masks in district and appellate courts; and
    • 2020-PR-125, which sets out visitor policies for the Kansas Judicial Center.
    The orders issued today do not rescind or amend orders of the chief justice suspending statutory time limitations or requirements, including those in K.S.A. 2019 Supp. 22-3402.

    The Supreme Court also issued updated Supreme Court Mandates and Guidance Regarding Resuming Jury Proceedings. The updates clarify mandate (A)(20) regarding public access to livestreams. 


  • 24 Nov 2020 4:26 PM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)
    1.     Tuesday morning Traffic Dockets at 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. are cancelled through December 31, 2020. Afternoon traffic hearings and trials will be held as scheduled.
     
    The month of January will be used to catch up on cases originally scheduled during the last half of November and December. The District Attorney’s Office will do all it can to resolve cases.  Retained and appointed defense attorneys should contact the DA’s office and do all they can to resolve cases without the necessity of court appearances. The Judge and attorneys, both prosecutor and defense, will be available Tuesday mornings on Traffic Docket days to resolve any cases that can be disposed of by agreement.
     
    2.   We will continue to hold DUI dockets as scheduled.  Again, the District Attorney’s Office and defense attorneys should do all they can to resolve cases without the necessity of court appearances or bringing clients into the courthouse.
     
    3.   All previously scheduled jail time is postponed effective immediately and will be rescheduled after January 8, 2021.  The Amended Administrative Order setting this out was provided previously.  Individuals are being directed to call the court to reschedule their time.


  • 20 Nov 2020 8:57 AM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    Supreme Court temporary rule makes it easier for self-represented parties to file documents during pandemic

     

    TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court adopted a temporary rule today to help people who represent themselves in court by allowing them to file documents in a case by mail, fax, or drop box during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The intent of the temporary rule to is to establish procedures that increase access to justice while protecting the health and safety of court users, staff, and judicial officers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “Through this temporary rule, we expand the options available to self-represented parties to file documents in district courts,” said Chief Justice Marla Luckert. “If a courthouse must close to walk-in service as a result of the pandemic, this rule gives options to filing in person, increasing that person’s access to justice.”

    Temporary Rule: Filing in a District Court by a Self-Represented Litigant includes provisions that:

    • allow self-represented litigants to file by fax or mail in all district courts; by courthouse drop box, if available in the county; or in person, if the courthouse is currently open to walk-in service;

    • identifies how the filing date will be determined;

    • specifies how filing fees may be paid;

    • explains how a document may be filed under seal as well as how to request to seal a document;

    • emphasizes the self-represented litigant filer’s obligation to redact personally identifiable information;

    • requires the self-represented litigant filing a new case to also submit a case filing cover sheet; and

    • requires the court clerk office to provide a phone number for self-represented litigants to seek help from court staff under Rule 1402.

    The temporary rule takes effect December 7, 2020, and it remains in effect until rescinded by the Supreme Court.


  • 13 Nov 2020 2:29 PM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    CLICK HERE TO VIEW ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER 2020-13

    DISTRICT COURT OF SHAWNEE COUNTY KANSAS THIRD JUDICIAL DISTRICT

    Amended Administrative Order 2020-13

    TEMPORARY SUSPENSION OF JAIL SENTENCES FOR OUT-OF-CUSTODY DEFENDANTS

    The Shawnee County Department of Corrections is experiencing an increase in COVID cases, and the corresponding need for testing and quarantine. All persons ordered to report to the jail to serve previously scheduled jail sentences during the time frame of November 12, 2020 through January 8, 2021 are subject to this Order.

    Effective immediately, all previously-ordered jail sentences in the Shawnee County jail for out-of-custody defendants shall be postponed until after January 8, 2021. Any persons ordered by the court to serve a jail sentence between November 12, 2020 and January 8, 2021, should not report to the jail.

    Any persons ordered to serve their sentence anytime between the dates of  

    November 12, 2020 through January 8, 2021 are hereby ordered to contact Shawnee County District Court, Division 7, at 785-251-6310, to reschedule the court-ordered jail sentence. You must contact Division 7 during regular business hours, and within 72 hours of your previously-ordered duty to report. If you are represented by an attorney, you should contact your attorney about your rescheduled court-ordered jail sentence.

    Failure to contact Division 7 within this time frame will result in an automatic rescheduling of the jail sentence. Rescheduled jail time can be found on the Shawnee County District Court's web site, shawneecourt.org, by clicking on Search Court Records or by contacting the Clerk's office at 785-251-6714. Failure to serve the court ordered sentence will result in a warrant for failure to comply with this Order.

    Richard D. Anderson Chief Judge




  • 13 Nov 2020 9:45 AM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    Appeal No. 120,824: State of Kansas v. Gianni Massimo Daino 

    Archived oral argument video

    The Kansas Supreme Court reversed Johnson County District Court's ruling on Daino's motion to suppress. In that motion, Daino argued police unlawfully entered and searched his apartment without a warrant and without his consent. The State opposed the motion, arguing Daino consented to police entry nonverbally by opening his apartment door wider and gesturing for officers to enter after they asked to do so. The district court granted the motion to suppress. On review, the Supreme Court reiterated that valid consent requires a showing, under the totality of the circumstances, that an individual expressed unequivocal, specific, free, and intelligent consent; that the individual gave consent in the absence of duress or coercion; and that the individual was not merely acquiescing to lawful authority. The Supreme Court held an individual's nonverbal conduct can be relevant in determining whether this standard has been met because an individual may express valid consent through words, acts, or conduct. Accordingly, the Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case to district court.


  • 06 Nov 2020 2:17 PM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    Appeal No. 117,301: In the matter of the Parentage of M.F. 

    Archived oral argument video

    The Kansas Supreme Court reversed a Butler County District Court decision to deny a petition to establish parentage filed by the former same-sex partner of a biological mother who conceived through artificial insemination. At the time of conception, throughout the pregnancy, and at the time of the birth of the child, the women were involved in a romantic relationship. The relationship ended after the birth. The Supreme Court decided on a 6-1 vote that the Kansas Parentage Act allowed the partner of the biological mother to establish a presumption of parentage, even though she never entered into a written or oral coparenting agreement with the biological mother. In order to obtain ultimate court recognition of the partner’s parentage, evidence must be presented that the biological mother consented at the time of the birth to share her due process right to care, custody, and control of the child. The Supreme Court returned the case to the district court for further proceedings governed by the legal standards set forth in today's opinion.

    Appeal No. 117,496: State of Kansas v. Brian Josh Lutz

    Summary calendar; no oral argument

    The Kansas Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeals and the decision of Shawnee County District Court to deny Lutz's motion to suppress evidence. Lutz argued the officers involved in his traffic stop detained occupants of the vehicle longer than lawfully permitted to accommodate a planned drug dog investigation of the vehicle. The Supreme Court held the actions of the officers here, including calling for a drug dog, did not measurably extend the duration of the traffic stop beyond the time necessary to achieve the stop's basic objective of processing the observed traffic violation. As such, the district court did not err in denying the motion to suppress. 

    Appeal No. 119,536: In the Matter of the Parentage of W.L. and G.L.

    Archived oral argument video

    The Kansas Supreme Court reversed a Crawford County District Court decision to deny a petition to establish parentage filed by the former same-sex partner of a biological mother who conceived through artificial insemination. At the time of conception, throughout the pregnancy, and at the time of the birth of the child, the women were involved in a romantic relationship. The relationship ended after the birth. The Supreme Court decided on a 6-1 vote that the Kansas Parentage Act allowed the partner of the biological mother to establish a presumption of parentage, even though she never entered into a written or oral coparenting agreement with the biological mother. In order to obtain ultimate court recognition of the partner’s parentage, evidence must be presented that the biological mother consented at the time of the birth to share her due process right to care, custody, and control of the child. The Supreme Court returned the case to the district court for further proceedings governed by the legal standards set forth in today's opinion.


  • 06 Nov 2020 2:06 PM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    Pretrial Justice Task Force delivers report to Supreme Court

     

    TOPEKA—After two years of rigorous study and collecting input from a wide range of experts and stakeholders, the Ad Hoc Pretrial Justice Task Force delivered its final report to the Kansas Supreme Court today.

    The 84-page Report to the Kansas Supreme Court makes 19 wide-ranging recommendations that include educating courts and the public about liberty as a basic tenet of our criminal justice system, considering amendments to existing laws to allow more options for pretrial supervision, and encouraging the assistance of counsel at the very first hearing before a judge.

    Chief Judge Karen Arnold-Burger of the Kansas Court of Appeals served as chair of the task force. She said the report reflects the many voices of persons who participated in the review, whether as a member of the task force, an expert, or a stakeholder group.

    “Everyone involved was deeply committed to thoroughly reviewing pretrial release from all perspectives to identify how Kansas judges can make informed decisions that respect our constitutional freedoms, uphold public safety, and fulfill the objective of getting people to show up for court,” she said. “The report reflects the ideals and concerns shared by all involved.”

    Arnold-Burger noted research shows that, at any given moment, a little over half of the people in Kansas jails are there solely awaiting trial, unable or unwilling to post the monetary bond required for their release.

    “Money bond is one tool judges use to reduce risk of flight, or to ensure the accused appears in court, but other options could be considered,” Arnold-Burger said. “One is pretrial supervision with no-contact conditions, or drug and alcohol testing, which are designed to protect individual and public safety and to encourage the defendant to appear in court as scheduled.”

    Task force recommendations

    The task force grouped its recommendations in categories based on where they apply in the process, from before arrest to trial. For example, the “general” category covers the need for education about the presumption of innocence and pretrial detention as the exception, as well as the need to collect data to measure the effectiveness of any changes in practice.

    The “pre-charge” category discusses issuing notices to appear rather than arresting people for misdemeanor offenses, connecting people who have mental health or substance abuse issues to needed support before arrest or to treatment as part of a diversion program.

    The “release decision” category discusses the need for uniform pretrial procedures, increased and earlier access to appointed counsel, and piloting more than one pretrial risk assessment approach, after which participating courts would recommend one to use statewide.

    The “post-charge” category discusses the need for post-charge procedures to ensure timely review of release conditions, an option for offenders to voluntarily report after missing a court date to avoid unnecessary arrest, text messages to remind people of their court dates, and several options related to pretrial supervision.

    Each recommendation includes an explanation of the rationale behind it, costs and funding associated with each, what it would take to implement, and a summary of stakeholder concerns.

    Ad Hoc Pretrial Justice Task force formation and charge

    The Ad Hoc Pretrial Justice Task Force was formed in November 2018 to examine current pretrial detention practices for criminal defendants in Kansas district courts, as well as alternatives to pretrial detention used to ensure public safety and encourage the accused to appear for court proceedings.

    The task force was also directed to compare Kansas practices to effective pretrial detention practices and detention alternatives identified by other courts, and to use those comparisons to develop best practices for Kansas district courts.

    The task force’s 15 members include judges, defense attorneys, prosecutors, and supervision officers.

    Chief justice receives report, thanks task force

    Chief Justice Marla Luckert received the report on behalf of the Supreme Court and thanked the task force and others for their contributions.

    “Best practices for pretrial release and alternatives to detention continue to be a point of state and national discussion, so I’m glad we initiated this comprehensive review when we did,” Luckert said. “This report provides a good foundation for policy discussions as we consider the best ways to manage pretrial concerns in Kansas courts. I appreciate the enormous amount of time and effort put into this report and all the people who played a role in it.”

    ____________________________________

    Executive summary of Report to the Kansas Supreme Court



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