Kansas Supreme Court to Hold Session at THS

Supreme Court announces cases for March 9 special session

at Topeka High School


The Kansas Supreme Court announced the two cases it will hear March 9 at Topeka High School, its next destination in the court's ongoing outreach to familiarize Kansans with the high court, its work, and the overall role of the Kansas judiciary.


It will be the Supreme Court’s first visit to Topeka High School in the court’s 155-year history and it will be the third time for the court to hear cases in the evening. The court’s first evening session was in April 2015 in Hays and it drew a record crowd of nearly 700 people. About 500 people showed up for the court's second evening session in October 2015 in Garden City.


“The Supreme Court extends a personal invitation to the people of Topeka and surrounding communities to come see the court in action,” said Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss. “Even though we routinely hear cases in Topeka, most people have never watched a court session because it conflicts with their work schedules. This opportunity is for you.” 


The court will be in session from 6:30 p.m. to about 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 9, in the auditorium of Topeka High School at 800 SW 10th Avenue in Topeka.  


The docket includes:


Appeal No. 110,610: Ron Keiswetter, et al v. State of Kansas. This is a case that originated in Norton County that seeks to establish that the state was negligent, and is therefore liable, for the death of Helen Keiswetter, who sustained injuries when she was barricaded in a closet by Christopher Zorn, a minimum security inmate at Norton Correctional Facility who entered Keiswetter's home after walking away from a work detail.


Appeal No. 111,398: State of Kansas v. Spencer Gifts, LLC. This is a case that originated in Johnson County that seeks to establish that the district court misapplied the speedy trial provision to a limited liability company. Spencer Gifts was charged with class B misdemeanors of promotion of obscenity harmful to minors. In response to a summons from the prosecution, Spencer Gifts' counsel appeared in court in 2010 and entered a not guilty plea on behalf of the company. In 2014, Spencer Gifts filed a motion to dismiss the case because its right to a speedy trial had been violated and the district court judge agreed. The state argues the speedy trial provision does not apply to a limited liability company. The issue whether Spencer Gifts was promoting obscenity harmful to minors is not a subject of this appeal.


Summaries of the cases and briefs filed by the attorneys involved are available online by following the Topeka Supreme Court Docket link under What’s New on the Kansas judicial branch website at www.kscourts.org. 


The public is invited to attend the proceedings and observe the court as it hears oral arguments. After the session concludes, the justices will greet the public in an informal reception in the Topeka High School cafeteria.


Anyone who wants to attend the special session should plan to arrive at the school before 6 p.m. to allow time to get through security screening. Court security offers these guidelines to ease the process:


  • Do not bring food or drink.
  • Do not bring large bags, large purses, backpacks, computer cases, or briefcases.
  • Do not bring knives, pepper spray, firearms, or weapons.
  • Do not bring electronic devices like laptop computers, handheld games, personal digital assistants, or tablets. If you have to carry a cell phone, it must be turned off or its ringer silenced, and it must be stored out of sight while court is in session.
    Audience members are prohibited from talking during oral arguments because it interferes with the attorneys’ remarks and questions asked by the justices. If someone arrives after proceedings start, or must leave the auditorium before it ends, he or she should be as quiet as possible entering and exiting the auditorium. Talking immediately outside the auditorium is also discouraged.
    “Anyone who’s ever been curious about Supreme Court proceedings should come,” said Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss. “We’ve provided live webcasts of our courtroom sessions in Topeka since 2012, but people tell us there’s nothing like seeing proceedings in person.”
    Topeka High School is the court’s tenth destination since 2011, when the court convened outside of the Kansas Judicial Center to mark the state sesquicentennial. Its first stop was the historic Supreme Court courtroom in the Capitol. From there, the court conducted special sessions in Salina, Greensburg, and Wichita. The court visited Overland Park in 2012, Pittsburg in 2013, Kansas City in 2014, and Hays and Garden City in 2015.

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