State’s Supreme Court chief calls for changes to judicial allotment

Kansas’ chief Supreme Court justice called for the Legislature to establish 22 new judicial positions or repeal a law that requires at least one district court judge live in each of the state’s 105 counties.

Chief Justice Lawton Nuss made his request in the annual state of the judiciary report that was delivered to legislators Thursday.

He wrote that a caseload study shows that “while Kansas has enough judges, some are not placed where they are most needed.”

“This is partially due to a 30-year-old statue that absolutely requires at least one judge to reside in, and have a principal office in, each county — regardless of the existing demands of the legal market there,” Nuss said in the report.

Or, he added, “the Legislature can instead create and fund the 22 judicial positions and accompanying staff needed to meet judicial needs in the underserved areas identified (by the study).”