Kansas Court Records
Kansas has a long history of supporting the public’s quest of government documents, from establishing a Supreme Court Law Library to voting for funding the collections of the Kansas State Library. Kansas court records can be found online through the Supreme Court Law Library’s volumes of books, legal documents and periodicals.
The public is most often interested in researching past opinions and rulings in civil and criminal court cases, as well as finding necessary court forms, rules and procedures when representing themselves in the court of law. Attorneys, Supreme Court justices and employees of the state’s judiciary all regularly utilize the resources available at the Supreme Court Law Library in Topeka.
History of Kansas Court Records
In 1861, the Kansas Constitution created the Supreme Court and allowed for three justices. This was increased to seven justices in 1900. The Kansas Judicial Center, which houses the Kansas Supreme Court and Kansas Supreme Court Law Library, was built in Topeka in 1978.
Kansas Court Records Availability
The Kansas Supreme Court Law Library is located in Topeka, and maintains more than 185,000 volumes and 600 periodicals. Other records held here include statutes for all states and federal codes, treatises, briefs, law reviews and opinions from appellate level cases. The library also shares resources with other libraries in the state, offering access to Kansas court records to the public. However, only members of the Kansas Judiciary and attorneys are permitted to borrow materials, so online searches are the best method to find records of interest.
Kansas court records often searched for by the public include court forms and rules, oral arguments and court dockets. Criminal and civil court records can also be found in the volumes held at the law library. Kansas statutes and published opinions, legal journals and law reviews are also of interest when researching past cases.
Main Court Information
There are currently seven justices sitting on the Kansas Supreme Court, and they are appointed by the governor. Prior to 1958, they were selected by partisan elections. This court exercises jurisdiction over civil and criminal appeals from lower courts and constitutional questions from federal courts.
Nominations for appointment are made by the Supreme Court Nominating Commission. Three candidates are selected for a seat, then this list is reviewed by the current justices and they submit their recommended justice to the governor. The governor, however, can choose any of the three candidates he wishes. Once a justice is given a seat on the court, they must withstand a retention vote after the first year of service. Each justice is given a six-year term on the court if they pass the retention vote.
The Kansas Supreme Court averages 2,000 filings per year. In 2007, there were 2,016 filings and 3,005 dispositions. In 2014, there were 1,930 filings and 3,169 dispositions.