The Kansas Court System is comprised of a Supreme Court, a Court of Appeals, then the District Courts and Municipal Courts. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the state. Municipal Courts handle local ordinance violations, and the District Courts are the trial courts established by the Constitution of Kansas.
The Supreme Court is located in Topeka and is the court of last resort. They handle appeals from lower courts and the most serious criminal cases. The Supreme Court also hears cases where a law is accused of being unconstitutional.
The Court of Appeals is the intermediate court of appeals for the state and sits either “en banc” (all the judges) or using a panel of three judges to decide on cases. Kansas’ Court of Appeals hears appeals from the State Corporation Commission and the lower courts. They hold session all over the state.
There are seven Justices that sit in the Supreme Court and 14 judges that sit on the Kansas Court of Appeals. Through an amendment to the constitution in 1900, the number of justices was increased to seven. The Governor appoints new justices into office, and they serve six-year terms.
According to The Kansas Open Records Act, the state allows public access to many court records from appellate and District Court cases. Requests for court document copies must be made in writing. They do allow online searches, but they charge a fee for District Court records. Kansas does not allow the following court records to be publicly accessed:
- adoption records
- certain criminal investigation records
- expunged criminal records
- any child in need of care and juvenile records
- grand jury proceedings
- personal information about public employees
Additionally, federal laws prohibit private or sensitive information to be contained in public court records. Things like children’s names, home addresses, corporate trade secrets, tax IDs and social security numbers must be removed from open files.
The state of Kansas Judicial Branch has a great website full of helpful links and information. To help with filing documents and evidence into a case, they have two options: e-filing and in-person. Since June 25, 2018, all attorneys are required to file briefs, motions, objections and all other court paperwork electronically to all court types for all cases. Self-represented individuals can download the forms from the website and file manually or use the e-filing system. Kansas also has a fax filing system. Users must register online before using the online system. The Kansas Judicial Branch website has guides, training, and support available to help with e-filing.
Interested in looking up Kansas court records? Try the Infotracer tool to quickly and easily gain access to hundreds of court records all over the state, including Johnson County, Sedgwick County, and Shawnee County. Per the Freedom of Information Act and the Kansas Open Records Act KSA 45-215 et. seq., private citizens are granted access to criminal court records, divorce and bankruptcy records, family court cases, and civil disputes.
Anyone may perform a court records search easily without even having a reason to do so. They don’t need any special permission and using a simple Kansas state court records name search; they can locate files they need within minutes. Except where protected by law, almost all court records will be available.
Quickly get free instant access to Kansas court records from most courts in the state. Infotracer’s extensive database includes records from Kansas district courts and municipal courts in all 31 judicial districts.
In 2012, the Kansas courts received 904,007 filings. In 2016, the number of filings decreased by 15.0% and counted 768,042 filings and had 159,642 outgoing cases
|Court Type||Incoming Caseloads|
Domestic relations caseload of Kansas at year end of 2016 has decreased by 13.0% compared to the last 5 years, in 2012 the number of incoming cases have been 39,867 but are higher than in 2015.
|Year||Domestic Relations Caseload||Total Statewide Caseload|
The number of criminal cases in Kansas courts counts to 46,656, with 21,474 felony cases and 25,182 misdemeanors accordingly.
|Year||Criminal Caseload||Misdemeanor Caseload||Felony Caseload|
Kansas’ District Courts are the general jurisdiction trial courts for the state. The state Constitution established them. These courts have original jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases in the state. They handle matters of civil lawsuits, divorce, and other domestic relations issues, probate and estate cases, guardianships, conservatorships, mental health cases, juvenile delinquency issues, and small claims matters. Many cases heard in District Court use juries; a judge resolves others. The state is divided into judicial districts. All the District Court judges vote, and one Chief Judge is chosen to oversee each district. Appeals from this court go to the Court of Appeals.
Municipal Courts in Kansas are the limited jurisdiction courts for the state. Their focus is on city and town ordinance violations. The most common type of case in Municipal Court is traffic violations. They also handle other minor offenses along with misdemeanors. Offenders may or may not be represented by an attorney. These cases are resolved by a judge and not a jury. Appeals from this court can be tried in District Court in the same district where the Municipal Court resides. Some Municipal Court judges are not lawyers, and they must be certified by the Supreme Court to hold office. They must also take a test and attend 13 hours of continuing legal education each year.