Kansas Judicial System and Court System: How Does it Work?
Depending on the case type, there are specific courts that the state of Kansas relies upon to carry out justice. Let's take a look at these courts.
Kansas Supreme Court
Located in the Kansas Judicial Center, Topeka, the Kansas Supreme Court is the last resort court of the state. It handles appeals that are forwarded by the district courts. These cases are usually high-profile criminal cases. Other than that, the court also hears appeals related to unconstitutional statutes.
The supreme court in Kansas also reviews cases decided by the court of appeals. If necessary, some of these cases may be transferred to the supreme court. The supreme court also holds original jurisdiction over certain types of situations.
The supreme court also has general administrative authority over all other courts in the state. This is by a constitutional mandate. Its rules oversee appellate practice in the court of appeals and the supreme court, as well as procedures in the district courts.
The supreme court also rules aid in examining and admitting attorneys, incorporate the canons of judicial ethics (for governing the conduct of judges), and establish the code of conduct for attorneys regarding professional responsibility. Other than that, they also provide for the examination and certification of official court papers.
All employees of the court system in Kansas, except judges, fall under a personnel plan administered by the supreme court. The payroll and personnel record of each employee is maintained in the Office of Judicial Administration.
Kansas Court of Appeals
The court of appeals in Kansas is an intermediate appellate court. It hears all appeals from the district courts, as well as anything that is forwarded by the Kansas Corporation Commission. The only exceptions are appeals that are directly forwarded to the supreme court.
The court of appeals also has original jurisdiction in habeas corpus. It will hear appeals en banc, which means that all 14 of its judges will hear the case. However, it is typical for the court to operate in panels of 3. Hearings are often held in Garden City, Chanute, Olathe, Kansas City, Wichita, and Topeka.
Kansas District Courts
The Kansas Constitution paves the way for district courts in the state. These are the state’s trial courts, with original jurisdiction over most criminal and civil cases. This can range from divorce to even small claims.
The district courts are responsible for hearing most of the criminal and civil cases.
Now, Kansas is sectioned into various judicial districts. Each district has a varying number of judges. Each county has a district court and a clerk of the court office.
Other than that, the state is divided into six judicial departments, each representing a series of judicial districts. All supreme court justices, barring the chief justice, are tasked with overseeing a judicial department.
District judges are required to be lawyers. However, some counties have magistrates, who may or may not be lawyers. Each county has at least one resident judge.
There is a designated chief judge for each district. The role of the chief judge, apart from the usual responsibilities, is to oversee case assignments within the district. He/she also has supervisory authority over the administrative and clerical functions of the court.
Appeals from district courts are usually forwarded to the supreme court or the court of appeals.
Kansas Municipal Courts
Municipal courts or city courts handle violations of city ordinances within the limits of the city. This usually includes cases related to traffic offenses and other minor offenses. Thee cases are presided over without a jury.
Those convicted by the city court can appeal to the relevant district court.