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Judicial Evaluation Committee releases review of appellate justices and judges

Monday, August 8, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Meg Wickham
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Gloria Flentje
(316) 523-1132

For Immediate Release August 8, 2016

 Judicial Evaluation Committee releases review of appellate  justices and judges

 The Kansas Judicial Evaluation Committee today released the findings of a survey it conducted concerning the performance of the Justices of the Kansas Supreme Court and Judges of the Kansas Court of Appeals. Detailed results from the survey, as well as biographies for the justices and judges, are available on the website:

 “This information will be useful to voters in the upcoming judicial retention elections on November 8th. Five of the seven Kansas Supreme Court justices are standing for retention this year, as well as six Court of Appeals judges.” according to Gloria Farha Flentje, Wichita, Committee Chair.

 “Our democracy works best when voters can make informed decisions,” said Flentje. “These evaluations are an important tool for Kansans to use when weighing the retention of our justices and judges. Without such a review, voters have little or no information on which to cast an informed ballot.”

 The Kansas Judicial Evaluation Committee (KJEC) is a non-partisan coalition dedicated to an impartial judiciary and an informed citizenry. Earlier this summer, the group conducted an independent survey regarding the performance and retention of the appellate justices and judges standing for retention. The survey was sent to all licensed attorneys, law professors, and judges in Kansas – more than 11,000 people. To ensure that the results were meaningful, KJEC asked that individuals only evaluate those justices or judges they have appeared before or worked with previously.

 “At more than 1200 responses the survey provides significant and meaningful information about the quality of judicial performance. Most Kansas attorneys and judges do not routinely interact with the appellate courts, but those who do know the work, writings, and demeanor of the justices and judges well, “ said Flentje.

 “The majority of those responding to the survey ‘strongly’ or ‘somewhat’ recommended the retention of all five Supreme Court Justices and all six Court of Appeals Judges in November,” Flentje said.

 “These evaluations are based on surveys completed by attorneys who have practiced before the justices and judges, as well as law professors and other legal experts who review those courts’ decisions professionally,” said Flentje. “The responses give voters more information to use when assessing the justices and judges that make up another independent branch of our government.” Additional information about the Kansas courts may be found at

 In November, voters will be asked whether to retain Justices Lawton Nuss, Marla Luckert, Carol Beier, Dan Biles, and Caleb Stegall for another term, as well as Court of Appeals Judges Steve Leben, G. Joseph Pierron Jr., David Bruns, G. Gordon Atcheson, Karen Arnold-Burger, and Kathryn Gardner.

 The Kansas Judicial Evaluation Committee members are:

 Gloria Farha Flentje, Chairperson

Ashley All, Open Kansas Initiative

James Concannon, Attorney and Professor of Law at Washburn University

Joe Colantuono, Attorney

Brandi Fisher, Executive Director of Mainstream Coalition

Janine Cox, Attorney, Appellate Defender Office

Martha Garcia, Member at Large

Carol Gilliam Green, Retired Clerk of the Kansas Appellate Courts

Benet Magnuson, Attorney and Executive Director of Kansas Appleseed

Allison Marker, Kansas Bar Association

Larry McClain, Retired District Judge

Janis McMillen, League of Women Voters

David Morantz, Attorney and Board Member of Mainstream Coalition

Ron Keefover, Sunshine Coalition for Open Government

Steve Obermeier, Johnson County District Attorney’s Office and Kansas County and District Attorneys Association

Thomas C. (Tim) Owens, Attorney Emeritus, Kansas Legal Services

Sarah Bootes Shattuck, Attorney

Jordan Yochim, Executive Director of the Kansas Bar Association