KSN News sits down with new Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – KSN News sat down with Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Marla Luckert on Tuesday. Luckert talked about the current events of the Kansas judiciary system, and the changes she wants to implement.

Luckert has been in her new position since December 2019. During her 17 years of experience in the Supreme Court, she has rotated through several administrative roles and has become familiar with the aspects of the court’s operation.

The main change Luckert hopes to fulfill while Chief Justice is providing more specialty area services to Kansans. This includes modernizing the court’s records and files systems.

“You can be at home and check on your court dates,” Luckert said. “Just have more information to you if you do have a case that’s in process.”

“This would help records be more available to the public,” Luckert said.

Luckert hopes to establish a treat court system that would help prevent offenders from repeating the same crimes.

Through grants, the courts will provide the offender with a treatment provider and volunteer mentors that will help them with life skills, addiction issues, and other things needed to prevent them from repeating the crime or escalating to worse crimes.

“It’s always been a problem in Kansas and it doesn’t seem, perhaps, that we’re making the progress that I think we could make,” Luckert said. “I think all of Kansas would be in a better situation of course if we could reduce the crime rate.”

Other states have implemented treatment courts, and Luckert said it has had “incredible results.”

A lawsuit filed by seven trial-court judges was served to the Legislature on Tuesday. In the lawsuit, the judges ask the Legislature to increase funding to the court system. The judges allege that the Legislature has underfinanced the state’s judicial system. This comes after the Kansas Supreme Court proposed an $18 million increase to their budget, with many of the funds going towards the salaries of judges and court staff.

“So we have presented our budget to the Legislature at this point and we will deal with it as things progress,” Luckert said.

The lawsuit has caused Luckert to cancel the State of Judiciary speech originally scheduled for Jan. 15. Luckert says this is due to the majority of the speech focusing on the budget, and that she cannot discuss it with both parties of litigation due to the court’s ethical system.

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