Report: Bill Would Strip KS High Court of Criminal Appellate Review

stock-footage-kansas-flag-loopA bill to split the Kansas Court of Appeals into two divisions, one criminal and one civil, and strip the state Supreme Court of authority to review criminal appeals was introduced Friday, according to Gavel to Gavel.

The bill has similar features to one introduced in the Kansas legislature in 2013 that did not succeed. It comes during a period of numerous attacks on the way Kansas courts do business, the way judges are selected, and the authority of the courts themselves. This  session, a high-profile effort is under way in the legislature to eliminate merit selection of Supreme Court justices, and Gov. Sam Brownback has voiced support.

Under a new Kansas law passed in 2013, legislators dumped merit selection of Court of Appeals judges and gave the governor authority to appoint them directly with confirmation from the state Senate.

Gavel to Gavel is a publication of the National Center for State Courts, a Justice at Stake partner organization. “Attempting to convert, or make, an intermediate appellate court into effectively a non-reviewable court of last resort is not unheard of but such efforts have not fared well,” it reported.