Governor Kelly signs bill suspending provisions of speedy trial statute

Sedgwick County Courthouse
Sedgwick County Courthouse
Published: Mar. 31, 2021 at 11:54 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (KWCH) - Gov. Laura Kelly signed several bills on Wednesday including House Bill 2078. The bill suspends the provisions of the speedy trial statute in the Kansas Code of Criminal Procedure until Mar 1, 2023, in all criminal cases.

The bill also removes a provision in the statute authorizing the Chief Justice to issue an order to extend or suspend any deadlines or time limitations and requiring trials to be scheduled within 150 days of termination of such order. The bill also adds a provision requiring trial courts to consider relevant factors when prioritizing cases for trial, as detailed in the bill.

Tuesday evening, Chief Justice Marla Luckert issued Administrative Order 2021-PR-020 reinstating most time limitations and deadlines for court proceedings effective April 15. Luckert’s order continues suspensions on statutory speedy trial deadlines, statutory trial and hearing deadlines, time requirements for filing actions and time requirements for a defendant’s appearance in limited action cases.

Luckert also issued orders authorizing the use of two-way audio-visual communication. One applies to appellate and district court proceedings and the other to municipal court proceedings.

“Between current public health trends and legislation allowing virtual court hearings after March 31, most time limitations and deadlines can be safely reinstated April 15,” Luckert said.

She stressed that once time limitations and deadlines are reinstated, courts, attorneys, and self-represented parties must be ready to move cases forward. Missing deadlines or statutes of limitations can cause cases to be dismissed.

Courts are following public health guidance to protect the health and safety of court users, judges, and employees. And courts will continue to offer many services remotely, including hearings. Courts also have adopted procedures to provide remote access for attorneys and self-represented parties to hearings and services. These remote services and hearings promote safety, as well as expeditious case handling.

Constitutional speedy trial protections remain in place.

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