The Wyandotte County District Court will reopen its offices today, June 1, to the public, according to Chief Judge Robert P. Burns.
The plan for reopening district court offices located in the courthouse and the court services building follows Phase 2 of Gov. Laura Kelly’s Ad Astra Reopening Plan, which has been adopted by the Unified Government.
The reopening plan was reviewed and approved by Wyandotte County health officers.
“I am pleased that we will be able offer access to the district court which has been limited during this unprecedented crisis,” Judge Burns said in a news release. “The courts have continued to handle both the essential and non-essential functions as ordered by the Kansas Supreme Court but this phased approach will allow more individuals to take care of their official court business as we progress toward increased operations.”
The district court offices which will be open on June 1 include limited actions, civil, criminal, traffic, probate, court trustee, juvenile and marriage license.
During Phase 2, most district court hearings will continue to be held remotely. Those with court appearances which were canceled during the shutdown have or will be contacted with a new court date, according to a spokesman. This will include traffic, DUI, limited actions, small claims, paternity, child support, PFA/PFS orders and other types of cases. Litigants can also contact court administration at 913-573-2940 for assistance in determining their new court date.
The district court will transition to Phase 3 of the reopening plan no sooner than June 8, according to a spokesman. This phase will include court dockets with limited in-court appearances and some evidentiary hearings at the discretion of the assigned judge.
No sooner than June 22, and with the requisite approval by local health officials, the court system will enter the Phase Out portion of its reopening plan, the spokesman stated. This phase will allow the court to conduct most of its normal operations. A notable exception is that jury trials will not be held for several more months as the best procedure to do so is reviewed by a statewide task force and a plan to conduct jury trials is submitted to and approved by the Kansas Supreme Court.
All visitors to the courthouse and court services building will have their temperature taken and will be checked for any symptoms of COVID-19 in addition to normal security screening before being allowed to enter the buildings. Visitors will also be asked to wear a mask while in the courthouse and observe proper social distancing.
“We have implemented several measures which will provide a safe and healthy working environment for our court staff but will also allow access to the district court for our citizens,” Judge Burns said.
Additional details are set forth in Administrative Order MV-0078 issued by Judge Burns which can be found on the Wyandotte County District Court website at www.wycokck.org/DC.aspx. Kansas Supreme Court Administrative Orders 2020-PR-44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 54, 55, 56, 57 and 58 are also available at www.wycokck.org/DC.aspx