The District Courts in Kansas are the original jurisdiction courts over all civil and criminal matters in the state. The state is divided into 31 judicial districts covering multiple counties. The state has 105 counties. The Constitution created these courts. Each district has a different number of judges based on population and need. There is at least one District Court in each county along with an office of the clerk of the court for filings. A Supreme Court justice oversees each district.
The types of cases handled by District Courts are criminal cases, civil lawsuits, mental illness cases, juvenile matters, domestic relations and divorce cases, damage suits, estates, guardianships, conservatorships, probate cases, and small claims. Some of these cases are tried using a jury, and with others, a judge decides the verdict.
Appeals from this court go to the Court of Appeals and sometimes the Supreme Court.
Access to District Court records is available online and in person at the court clerk’s office.
To qualify to be a judge in District Court, a person must first be a lawyer. In some counties, they have Magistrate judges which may or may not be attorneys. If they are not a lawyer, their jurisdiction will be limited. However, there is at least one resident judge per county. The Supreme Court appoints one judge per district to serve as the Chief Judge. This person will have administrative duties over the district along with his or her duties as a judge. A Chief Judge may assign cases and have other supervisory authority over other members of the court.
For the past year tallied, Kansas courts saw 405,362 total cases. Of those, 167,114 were civil cases, and 36,373 were criminal cases. The remaining 201,875 were for traffic violations, juvenile issues, and small claims.