The Kansas Court of Appeals is the second highest court in the state, after the Supreme Court. It is located in Topeka and is the intermediate appellate court. Appeals that come in from District Courts and the State Corporation Commission are appealed to this court. The only exceptions are those that go directly to the Supreme Court.
The Court of Appeals is not a trial court. Usually, a panel of three judges sit to review trials to make sure no laws were broken, and justice was served. Sometimes the Court of Appeals sits en banc (which means all the judges sit in). They review the entire case including briefs and oral arguments prepared by both sides and make a decision called an “opinion.” Only two of the three need to agree to be a majority. These opinions may overturn the original verdict or require a new trial. The Court of Appeals may hold sessions anywhere in the state. Regular hearings are scheduled in Hays, Garden City, Wichita, Chanute, Kansas City, Olathe, and Topeka.
Cases that are reviewed in the Court of Appeals may be appealed to the Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court agrees to review very few cases per year.
Judges that sit on the Court of Appeals are appointed by the Governor, but then they must be approved in a majority vote in the Senate. The Governor chooses from three candidates who are provided by the Supreme Court Nominating Commission. Each judge serves a four-year term, and they may be kept for successive terms by public vote. The Kansas Supreme Court selects one judge to act as Chief Judge. This judge has special administrative duties such as assigning other judges to panels, determining where the sessions will be held and handing out cases to each panel.