TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – KSNT 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 what changes she wants to implement.
Luckert has been in her new position since December. She says the new position has been very busy so far, but that it has also gone well. During her 17 years of experience in the Supreme Court, she has rotated through many administrative roles and has become very 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 implementing technology to the court’s records and files to modernize the system.
“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.
Creating treatment courts in the state is another service Luckert hopes to provide. These courts would help prevent offenders from repeating 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 this with both parties of litigation due to the court’s ethical system.