Kansas

"Citizenfour" filmmakers move to dismiss federal lawsuit

Tom Isler | Commentary | February 13, 2015
Commentary
February 13, 2015

The makers of Citizenfour, the Oscar-nominated documentary film about Edward Snowden, have moved to dismiss a federal civil lawsuit that alleges they aided and abetted the “illegal and morally wrongful acts” of Snowden.

Author

Overview

Kansas

Mike Kautsch, professor
School of Law
University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS 66045
Phone: (785) 864-5377
Fax: (785) 864-5054
E-mail: mkautsch@ku.edu

 

F. Suggested resources on courts in the jurisdiction

Overview

Kansas

A primary source of information is the Kansas Judicial Branch Web site, http://www.kscourts.org/.  The Web site includes the following resources:

Justice in Kansas (a video about the structure and function of the Kansas Judicial Branch). http://www.kscourts.org/programs/educational-services/Justice-in-Kansas/default.asp

You and the Courts of Kansas (an online pamphlet about the state’s court system), http://www.kscourts.org/kansas-courts/general-information/you-and-the-courts/default.asp

E. Tips on decorum in courts within the jurisdiction

Overview

Kansas

Under Kansas Supreme Court Rule 1001 on media coverage of court proceedings, judges are responsible for the “integrity” of proceedings,” and they maintain control over all activities in the courtroom and to some extent outside of it.  In sections (c)(1) and (2), the rule allows observers in the courtroom to possess laptops, cell phones and other devices, as long as they are turned off and put away out of sight.  Possession of the devices is a qualified privilege, though.  Under section (e)(3), a judge is authorized to disallow possession by any observer during a proceeding.  Moreover, observers are prohibited from activating and using the devices unless specifically permitted by the judge under sections (e)(1) and (2).  Kan. Sup. Ct. R.

D. Covering high-profile cases in the jurisdiction

Overview

Kansas

The Information-Education office of the Kansas Judicial Branch is a source of information and advice to media on high-profile case requirements as they develop.  Procedures for coverage of high-profile cases historically have been set up on an ad hoc basis, with no set protocol, according to Ron Keefover, former Kansas Judicial Branch information-education officer.  See XIII. Tips for covering courts in the jurisdiction/B. Contact information for courts in the jurisdictions, supra.

C. Obtaining transcripts

Overview

Kansas

Once transcripts are filed with an office of the clerk of district courts, copies should be made available pursuant to the Kansas Open Records Act, which restricts charges to a reasonable amount. The amount has been 25 cents per page.  There is a provision for an hourly staff charge in instances requiring long periods of copying.  The charge has been $12 per hour, the lowest salary of a court employee.  See Kansas Judicial Branch, A Guide to Judicial Branch Open Records Requests, http://www.kscourts.org/rules-procedures-forms/open-records-procedures/explanatory-information.asp

B. Contact information for courts in the jurisdictions

Overview

Kansas

A primary source of information about the state’s courts is:

Education-Information Office
Kansas Judicial Center
301 W. 10th
Topeka, KS 66612
(785) 296-4872
Fax (785) 296-7076

An alternative contact is:

Office of Judicial Administration
Telephone:  785.296.2256
Fax:  785.296.7076
Email: info@kscourts.org
Web: http://www.kscourts.org/default.asp

A. Structure of the court system

Overview

Kansas

Municipal court cases involve violations of city ordinances, mainly traffic and other minor offenses.

District courts have general original jurisdiction over criminal cases, as well as civil cases, including divorce, probate and administration of estates, guardianships, conservatorships, care of the mentally ill, juvenile matters, and small claims.  District courts also hear appeals from municipal courts.  In addition, district courts review administrative actions as provided by law.  The courts operate in 31 judicial districts in 105 counties.

Appeals from district courts are heard by the Court of Appeals, except for cases that by law must be appealed directly to Supreme Court or that are reviewable in district court.  The Court of Appeals has original jurisdiction in habeas corpus and reviews administrative actions as provided by law.  Thirteen judges sit on the Court of Appeals.

XIII. Tips for covering courts in the jurisdiction

Overview

Kansas

A source of tips for covering Kansas courts is the Kansas Judicial Branch’s public information/education office.  See XIII. Tips for covering courts in the jurisdiction/B. Contact information courts in the jurisdiction, infra.

E. Restriction on interviews on courthouse grounds

Overview

Kansas

Kansas judges have not limited interviews on courthouse grounds, so far as can be determined.  Judges, however, have been known to impose restrictions on interviews in hallways adjacent to courtrooms.  Kansa Supreme Court Rule 1001 on media coverage of judicial proceedings specifically prohibits use of electronic equipment to record interviews in a location that would interfere with passage in and out of a courtroom or be a distraction to those inside.  See XI. Cameras and other technology in the courtroom/C. Limitations on use of footage, supra.   Regarding limitations on access to grand juries, see VII. Jury and grand jury access/F. Interviewing petit jurors and grand jurors, supra.  See also Kan. Sup. Ct. R. 1001, Media Coverage of Judicial Proceedings, http://www.kscourts.org/rules/Media_Coverage/Rule%201001.pdf