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  • 17 Apr 2020 4:10 PM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    The Kansas Supreme Court released the following published decisions today:

    Appeal No. 114,675: State of Kansas v. Darrell Broxton

    Archived oral argument video

    On appeal by petition, the Supreme Court affirmed Broxton's convictions in Wyandotte County District Court but vacated his sentence and remanded his case for resentencing. In an opinion written by Justice Caleb Stegall, the court held the district court did not err when it refused to give a felony-murder instruction because felony murder is not a lesser included offense of first-degree premeditated murder. The court further held when performing a jury instruction analysis, an appellate court must not continue to factual appropriateness if the instruction is not legally appropriate. Broxton also argued the district court erred when it excluded a "No Information" document filed by Florida authorities stating they lacked sufficient evidence to charge Broxton in a 1996 Florida homicide. The Supreme Court agreed with the Court of Appeals the evidence was both relevant and probative to disprove Broxton committed the Florida murder, which the State sought to admit as evidence of a prior bad act under K.S.A. 60-455 to prove identity. However, this error was harmless in light of the significant and convincing body of evidence presented at trial. The Supreme Court also held the district court erred when it scored a 1989 Florida burglary conviction as a nonperson felony. The Supreme Court changed its analysis of "comparable offenses" in State v. Wetrich, 307 Kan. 552, 561-62, 412 P.3d 984 (2018), which was decided while Broxton's case was on appeal. Under this new analysis, the Florida burglary statute used to convict Broxton is not a "comparable offense" to the Kansas analogue and must be scored as a nonperson felony. Broxton received the benefit of this change in the law because the change occurred during his direct appeal's pendency and not using a motion to correct an illegal sentence. The Supreme Court remanded Broxton's case for resentencing with the Florida burglary offense scored as a nonperson felony.

     

    Appeal No. 117,362: State of Kansas v. Bryan Richard Harris


    Archived oral argument video


    The Supreme Court reversed the decisions of the Court of Appeals and Atchison County District Court in Harris' case and remands the matter for a new trial. The Supreme Court held Harris' waiver of his right to jury trial was legally insufficient based on the district court's failure to properly inform Harris of his right and to ensure Harris understood the nature of his right. In light of this decision, the Supreme Court declined to address Harris' other claims.

    Appeal No. 117,362: State of Kansas v. Reginald Frazier

    Archived oral argument video

    The Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals and Geary County District Court decisions to deny Frazier's motion to withdraw a plea of no contest. The case is remanded with directions. As part of his plea negotiations, Frazier signed a plea agreement that, in part, purported to preclude any charges in Ohio. This provision is of uncertain enforceability. The Supreme Court holds the defendant did not understandingly sign the plea agreement when he relied on an uncertain provision that works in his favor and he justifiably believed that provision to be a certainty. Accordingly, Frazier has shown good cause and must be allowed to withdraw his plea.

     

    Appeal No. 119,665: State of Kansas v. Nicholas Corbin

    Summary calendar; no oral argument

    The Supreme Court affirmed Saline County District Court's denial of Corbin's intellectual disability claim. In 2014, Corbin pleaded no contest to murder of his 2-month old son. The district court rejected his argument he was intellectually disabled. In a 2016 appeal, the Supreme Court remanded the case to district court to reconsider its ruling because the applicable law had changed. On remand, the district court complied with the Supreme Court's direction and again denied the intellectual disability claim. In a unanimous opinion written by Justice Dan Biles, the Supreme Court affirmed the district court's ruling and held its decision was reasonable and supported by the evidence.

    Appeal No. 119,712: State of Kansas v. Sony Uk

    Archived oral argument video

    The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of Lyon County District Court after Uk appealed his conviction for murder. Uk argued the district court should have given the jury an instruction on voluntary manslaughter as a lesser included offense of first-degree murder and the district court's instruction on premeditation was insufficient. The Supreme Court held that the absence of legally sufficient provocation rendered a voluntary manslaughter instruction factually inappropriate, and that the district court did not err by issuing an unmodified instruction defining premeditation from the Pattern Jury Instructions for Kansas.

    Kansas Court of Appeals decisions released today

     


  • 17 Apr 2020 4:07 PM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    Some district courts to resume issuing marriage licenses

    Remote process will serve marriage license applicants statewide.

     

    TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court announced today that its Office of Judicial Administration worked with judicial districts to create a process that will allow some district courts to resume issuing marriage licenses while courts remain closed to in-person contact due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “The demand for marriage licenses continues even as we honor our state’s stay at home order,” said Chief Justice Marla Luckert. “To meet this demand, our courts developed a process that allows a couple to get a marriage license without in-person contact with court staff, which is consistent with our efforts to protect the health of court workers, judges, and the people who need our services.”

    New process starts Monday in select locations

    Luckert said that 10 courts will issue marriage licenses using the new process, and they will begin accepting applications Monday. Applicants must call a court to begin the process.

    “This new process depends on phone, email, and U.S. mail to replace what previously was done in person in the clerk of court office,” Luckert said. “We encourage applicants to be patient with district staff who will be working to meet this need while continuing to operate at reduced staffing in compliance with public health recommendations.”

    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 choose from six other 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, 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. 

    Courts on limited operations due to COVID-19 pandemic

    The Supreme Court issued an administrative order placing state courts on emergency operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and subsequent orders provided additional guidance to courts, attorneys, and court users.

    Administrative Order 2020-PR-016, issued March 18, instructed courts statewide to cease regular operations to minimize or eliminate in-person contact that could put court workers, judges, and the public at risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19. It specified which functions must be performed by courts and it directed courts to identify essential personnel needed to carry out these functions.

    Administrative Order 2020-PR-32, issued April 3, amended Order 2020-PR-016 to clarify that courts continue to perform essential functions and may also perform functions not deemed essential as local resources and circumstances allow.


  • 17 Apr 2020 4:06 PM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    Chief Judge Robinson has signed Administrative Order 2020-6 regarding public and media access to telephone and video conferences held during the COVID-19 emergency. 

  • 13 Apr 2020 1:11 PM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    The court is pleased to announce the publication of the 2019/2020 Supplement to the 2018 edition of the Rules of Practice and Procedure for the District and Bankruptcy Court of the United States District Court for the District of Kansas. Except where otherwise noted, the effective date for the District Court rules is April 15, 2020, while the effective date for the Bankruptcy Court rules is March 17, 2020.  For more information, please read the cover letter from Chief Judge Robinson.

  • 10 Apr 2020 10:54 AM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    Appeal Nos. 118,673, 118,674, and 118,675: State of Kansas v. Kevin Coil Coleman


    Archived oral argument video


    Coleman appealed Saline County District Court's decision to revoke his probation after the Legislature amended the probation revocation statute. The amended statute allows a trial court to revoke probation without first imposing graduated sanctions in cases where the court originally granted probation as a downward disposition. Coleman argued the trial court erred by revoking his probation without first giving him graduated sanctions. A majority of the Court of Appeals held the trial court could not revoke Coleman's probation without first imposing intermediate sanctions. The Supreme Court affirms, holding the amendment does not apply to probationers such as Coleman whose offenses were committed before the amendment's effective date.

     

    Kansas Court of Appeals decisions released today


  • 10 Apr 2020 8:39 AM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    KANSAS DISTRICT COURT

    AMENDED NOTICE TO ALL ATTORNEYS PRACTICING CRIMINAL LAW

    April 9, 2020


    Chambers of

    Shawnee County Courthouse

    Officers:

    NANCY E. PARRISH

    Division Fourteen

    NORMA DUNNAWAY

    District Judge

    Topeka, Kansas   66603-3922

    Administrative Assistant

    (785)  251-6290

    MIRANDA CUMMINGS

    Fax   (785)   251-4917

    Official Court Reporter

    AMENDED NOTICE TO ALL ATTORNEYS PRACTICING CRIMINAL LAW

    April 9, 2020

    Due to the outbreak of COVID 19 and the Kansas Supreme Court’s emergency order issued on March 18, 2020 (2020PR16) restricting operations to critical functions in the District Court and the Supreme Court Order Amending 2020PR16 (2020PR32), 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 June 1, 2020.
    • 2.                  Essential functions of the court shall include: first appearances; determination of probable cause; issuing warrants; setting appearance bonds; conducting inquisitions and any other matters that require expeditious hearing.
    • 3.                  Hearings set during this time of restricted operations will be continued generally until further notice unless a video conference is scheduled.

    Pursuant to the Supreme Court Administrative Order 2020 PR 32, nonessential functions may be performed in a manner consistent with the Supreme Court Order as local resources and circumstances allow.  No hearing related to a nonessential function may be conducted except by two-way telephonic or electronic audio-visual communication.

    Audio-visual conference hearings via Zoom will be scheduled for the following types of hearings for defendants who are in the Shawnee County Correctional Facility: pleas, sentencings with PSI’s which don’t require victims or witnesses, show causes that do not require witnesses, and bond issues.  If the defendant requests release from custody, defense counsel should verify the defendant’s proposed housing, employment, etc.  The schedule for hearings will be:

    Mondays - Divisions 9 and 11

    Wednesdays - Divisions 1 and 13

    Fridays – Divisions 12 and 14

    Tuesdays – Division 7 (Misdemeanor hearings) 

    In order to provide time for all participants to be ready for the hearings by downloading the Zoom App as well as other preparations for the hearing, the majority of the hearings won’t begin until the week of April 20th.  However, there may be some hearings scheduled by individual divisions prior to that date in order to provide some test runs or if there are urgent issues.

    Defense counsel will be allotted 15 minutes prior to 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 Order for nonessential functions.

    • 4.                  Counsel do not need to file Motions for Continuance for hearings that have been (or will be) cancelled due to the Supreme Court Orders.
    • 5.                  Emergency issues will be handled by the Duty Judge and/or the Backup Duty Judge.
    • 6.                  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 April and May is as follows:
    • April 6-10                  Judge Parrish                        Division 14
    • April 13-17               Judge Geier               Division 1
    • April 20-24               Judge Ossmann         Division 9
    • April 27-May 1         Judge Rios                 Division 11
    • May 4-8                     Judge Ebberts           Division 12
    • May 11-15                 Judge Debenham      Division 13
    • May 18-22                 Judge Parrish                        Division 14
    • May 25-29                 Judge Geier               Division 1

    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.  Requests for modification of bond should be made through email.  Response to those requests should be made within 48 hours excluding weekends.  The assigned judge then will make a decision and notify counsel or set a hearing.  Bond emails, responses, and the court’s ruling will be filed by the judge so that there is a record of the arguments and the court’s decision.

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

    *The amendments and additions to the Notice dated March 19, 2020, are underlined.

    View Full Notice Here - Amended Notice to All Attorneys Practicing Criminal Law (2).pdf

  • 09 Apr 2020 8:49 AM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

    Supreme Court issues orders affecting attorney registration and continuing legal education requirements

     

    TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court issued three administrative orders today that change deadlines and other requirements for annual attorney registration and continuing legal education reporting.

    “The social distancing needed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 created unexpected challenges for attorneys who were nearing the deadline to complete their annual continuing education,” said Justice Carol Beier, the Supreme Court liaison for continuing education. “With these orders, the Supreme Court is extending the deadline to complete and report the required education and to relax limits in place for education provided by prerecorded content.”

    Administrative Order 2020-RL-033: Order Modifying Continuing Legal Education Attendance and Reporting Deadlines and Waiving Limitation on Prerecorded Programming

    Administrative Order 2020-RL-033 extends until September 30, 2020, the reporting deadline for continuing legal education that is required by Supreme Court rule to be completed between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020. An attorney unable to complete the education within the compliance period is automatically granted an extension until September 30.

    The order also waives a limit on continuing education hours delivered by prerecorded programs. Kansas Continuing Legal Education will consider provider applications received after the date of the order through September 30 that seek accreditation for prerecorded programming of more than six hours. Provider applications submitted before the date of the order will not be reconsidered for additional credit hours.  

    The annual report of continuing education typically sent to active attorneys in August will instead be sent in October 2020.

    Administrative Order 2020-RL-034: Order Modifying Deadline for Continuing Legal Education Annual Fee and Late Fee

    Administrative Order 2020-RL-034 extends until September 30 the deadline for attorneys to pay the annual continuing legal education registration fee. Payments must be received or postmarked by September 30. If payment is made after the deadline, the attorney must pay a $50 late fee.

    Attorneys who fail to meet the minimum requirements set out in Supreme Court rules for continuing legal education, or who fail to pay the annual fee and any applicable late fee, may be suspended from practicing law.

    Administrative Order 2020-RL-035: Order Modifying Deadlines for Annual Attorney Registration and Fee and Related Late Fee

    Administrative Order 2020-RL-035 extends until September 30 the deadline for annual attorney registration for the 2020-2021 licensing period. The annual registration fee must also be paid by September 30.

    Attorneys who fail to register and pay the annual registration fee and any applicable late fee may be suspended from practicing law.

    “The Supreme Court extended the annual registration deadline to September 30 as a courtesy to attorneys who are used to registering on the same timeline that they report their continuing legal education,” Beier said. “It’s also to acknowledge the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on livelihoods, including for some attorneys.”

    Kansas Courts Response to COVID-19


  • 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.



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