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Kansas Court Records

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What Do You Do if You Are On Trial For a Crime in Kansas?

Following an arrest in Kansas, the defendant makes a first appearance before a judge. In this appearance, a defendant is informed of the charges and constitutional rights, such as the right to be represented by legal counsel and right to a preliminary hearing (for felony cases). Also, the judge will ask the defendant to enter a plea and may set a bond based on the severity of the crime and the defendant’s prior record. A defendant who cannot post bond remains in custody and is transferred to a county jail until further notice. Typically, a trial date is scheduled for any defendant who enters a not-guilty plea. However, before a trial commences, a defendant will be required to attend some hearings or conferences and negotiate plea deals.

What Percentage of Criminal Cases go to Trial in Kansas?

According to the 2019 Kansas Municipal Courts Annual Report, the court tried 4.6% of the Municipal Courts’ cases. Prior years—2015, 2016, 2017, 2018—recorded 7%, 7%, 5.5%, and 6.1%, respectively. Therefore, approximately 6% of criminal cases in the Municipal Courts go to trial.

In the Kansas District Courts, 0.2% of felony cases were tried by the court and 1.6% by jury in 2019. That same year, the court tried 1.9% of misdemeanor cases and 0.4% by jury. Compared to the 2017/2018 annual report, bench and jury trials for felony cases were 0.3% and 1.6%, respectively. In comparison, 1.6% of misdemeanor cases were tried by the court and 0.4% by jury. From this data, only about 1% of felony cases and misdemeanor cases actually go to trial in the District Courts.

When does a Criminal Defendant Have the Right to a Trial?

In Kansas, each criminal defendant has the constitutional right to a trial under the state’s criminal laws. This trial may be before a judge or jury, usually taking place in a court with jurisdiction over the specific crime. Major criminal offenses are tried by the District Courts and minor offenses by the Municipal Courts. The law does not indicate any exclusions to a defendant’s right to trial. During a criminal prosecution, the defendant is scheduled for trial if the defendant pleads not guilty to a criminal charge

What are the Stages of a Criminal Trial in Kansas?

The order or stages of a criminal trial in Kansas is outlined in K. S.A 22–3414 and include:

  • Opening statements
  • State’s case
  • Defense’s case
  • Jury instructions
  • Closing arguments
  • Jury deliberations and verdict

How Long Does it Take For a Case to Go to Trial in Kansas?

As denoted in K. S.A 22–3401, anyone charged with a crime in Kansas must be tried without unnecessary delay. K. S.A 22–3402 specifies time limits within which a defendant must be brought to trial or have the charges dismissed. Under this law, any charged individual held in custody must be brought to trial within 150 days of arraignment. Also, any person on whom an appearance bond has been ordered must be brought to trial within 180 of the arraignment. Otherwise, the court discharges the defendants from future liability for the offense unless the defendant caused the delay, or the court extends the trial time due to the reasons outlined in K. S.A 22–3402(e), including:

  • If the defendant is incompetent to stand trial
  • If there is material evidence that is unavailable
  • If a mistrial is announced
  • If the court grants a delay requested by the defendant, the defendant’s attorney, or the State of Kansas

What Happens When a Court Case Goes to Trial in Kansas?

A criminal trial may be held before a judge or jury in Kansas. In a trial, the burden of proving, beyond a reasonable doubt, that an alleged crime was committed rests on the State of Kansas (prosecution). When the crime is a felony, the trial is held by a jury, while misdemeanors are handled by a bench trial. Misdemeanor defendants also have the right to request a jury trial. A jury in a felony case consists of 12 persons while a jury in a misdemeanor case consists of 6 persons.

  • Opening statements: When a trial begins, the prosecuting attorney, having the burden of proof, must make an opening statement first. The defense may make an opening statement after the prosecution, at the conclusion of the state’s case, or not at all. In the opening statement, both parties state what they hope to prove to the jury by the method of evidence.
  • State’s or prosecution’s case: The prosecuting attorney presents evidence and witnesses to establish the defendant’s guilt. The prosecutor questions witnesses by direct examination, after which the defense attorney may cross-examine the prosecutor’s witnesses. After the cross-examination, the prosecution may question any witness again. This is referred to as a “redirect examination.”
  • Defense’s case: After the state presents evidence, the attorney representing the defendant may present witnesses and evidence. However, the defense may choose not to present any evidence as the state has the burden of proof. Also, it is not a legal requirement that a defendant testifies in the trial.
  • Jury instructions: When both sides rest their cases, the judge instructs the jury on the law and facts of the case
  • Closing arguments: The prosecution and defense present their closing arguments. These arguments are summaries of all evidence presented in the trial in favor of their clients.
  • Jury deliberations and verdict: The jury retires to the jury room to make a decision on the defendant’s guilt or innocence by considering the evidence presented during the trial. Once a unanimous verdict is reached, the jury returns to the courtroom, and the verdict is announced. If the jury cannot agree on a singular verdict, the judge declares a mistrial, and a new trial, before a different jury, is set for another date. In 2019, there were 13 mistrials declared in felony trials and two mistrials declared in misdemeanor trials.

Can you be Put on Trial Twice for the Same Crime in Kansas?

No. Under the United States Constitution (Fifth Amendment Law),, no one who is accused of a crime in any U.S may be put on trial twice for the same crime. This double jeopardy law is adopted in the State of Kansas under K. S.A 21–5110. However, the law does not apply to civil remedies or rights, as given by K. S.A 21–5105.

How Do I Lookup a Criminal Court Case in Kansas?

Using the Kansas District Court Public Access Portal, it is possible to look up criminal court cases handled by the Kansas District Courts. Information on ongoing and concluded criminal cases, including a register of actions, is available to the public by entering a case number or party’s name (first, middle, and last). This information is also available through third-party sites such as KansasCourtRecords.us.

How to Access Electronic Court Records in Kansas

Interested individuals may access electronic court records in Kansas through public access terminals located in district courthouses. While the Public Access Portal provides only basic criminal case information, the terminals display additional information on a case. There is no fee to use this service. It should be noted that the information provided is only for cases that are not exempt from disclosure to the public under the Kansas Open Records Act, K. S. A. 45–221, and Supreme Court Rule 22. Exempted records include expunged criminal records, certain criminal investigation records, trial exhibits, unexecuted arrest/search/bench warrants, and grand jury proceedings.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How Do I Remove Public Court Records in Kansas?

Public court records of criminal cases can be removed by expungement. Kansas’ criminal expungement laws are denoted under the following statutes:

  • K. S. A. 12–4516: certain convictions, arrest records, and diversion agreements (municipal courts)
  • K. S. A. 21–6614: certain convictions, arrest records, and diversion agreements
  • K. S. A. 22–2410: arrest records.
  • K. S. A. 38–2312: juvenile records

These statutes outline expungement requirements, including convictions and arrest records eligible for expungement and waiting periods before an expungement petition may be filed. Some ineligible convictions include index violent crimes. For waiting periods, crimes including misdemeanors, class D or E felonies, traffic infractions, DUIs (1st offense), and drug crimes (level of severity: 6–10) are eligible for expungement after three years from the completion of a sentence. Whereas crimes such as vehicular homicide, class A, B, or C felonies; perjury; and drug crimes (level of severity: 1–3) are expugnable after five years.

To apply for an expungement, an eligible individual must file an expungement petition in the court with jurisdiction over the case. The expungement process for a conviction or diversion is as follows:

  • Complete all necessary forms, including a Criminal Cover Sheet Form, and complete and sign a Petition for Expungement of Conviction or Diversion Form
  • File the forms with the Clerk of Court in the county of arrest. Petitioners must pay the assessed docket fee. It is important to ask the Clerk how many copies must be filed. Also, have an attorney review all completed forms to avoid any errors.
  • Ask for the hearing date: After the petition is filed, the petitioner may contact the Clerk of Court or judge’s Administrative Assistant to obtain information on the hearing date and time.
  • Complete the Notice of Hearing Form: Petitioners must complete this form, make two copies of the form, and file the original form and copies with the Clerk of Court. This form is sent to the office of the prosecuting attorney and law enforcement agency that made the arrest.
  • Complete the Order Denying Expungement of Conviction or Diversion Form (just in case)
  • Attend the hearing: Petitioners must attend the hearing for expungement and come with the Order of Expungement of Conviction or Diversion Cover Sheet, Order for Expungement of Conviction or Diversion, and Order Denying Expungement of Conviction or Diversion Forms

All forms are available on the Kansas judicial council’s website.

The process for applying for an expungement of an arrest record is similar to that of a conviction or diversion agreement. However, the applicable expungement forms are different. All forms required to file a petition for an expungement of an arrest record may be found on the Kansas judicial council’s website.

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