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Kansas case touches on high court’s power, judicial funding

Associated Press - December 10, 2015 5:58 pm

The Kansas Supreme Court says a man serving about 54 years in prison after being convicted in a 1999 rape and robbery case in Lawrence may be entitled to a few more days in court.

Attorneys on both sides of a lawsuit dealing with the Kansas Supreme Court’s administrative power are conceding that legislators have some say in judicial operations.

The high court heard arguments Thursday about a 2014 law that strips it of its authority to appoint the chief judges in the state’s 31 judicial districts and gives it to local judges.

The Legislature passed another law earlier this year nullifying the court system’s entire budget if the policy change is struck down.

Attorney Pedro Irigonegaray represents a chief judge who sued over last year’s law and said it interferes with the Supreme Court’s power under the state constitution to administer the courts.

But Irigonegaray acknowledged that lawmakers had the authority to create chief judgeships and even describe their general duties.