At the recommendation of the District of Kansas’ Criminal Task Force, the Kansas City and Topeka federal judges recently adopted new procedures to help alleviate congested criminal trial dockets in Kansas City and Topeka. The Task Force recommended two new standardized orders. Pretrial Order 1 KC and Pretrial Order 1 Topeka will be entered by the magistrate judge at arraignment and is similar to the existing “General Order Concerning Discovery and Scheduling.” More importantly, it sets the stage for the parties and counsel to confer and deal head-on with Speedy Trial Act compliance issues very soon after arraignment, and also to develop a firm but realistic case management schedule.
Pretrial Order No. 2, will be entered at a status conference convened either by the magistrate judge or the presiding district judge typically three weeks after arraignment. This order will implement the case management schedule with input by counsel much in the same way the court has traditionally handled civil cases. Most notably, this second order provides for a firm trial setting, which is believed to be the single most effective way to promote earlier changes of pleas and in turn alleviate the congested trial dockets.
The procedures are in effect and the Pretrial Order templates are available on our website on the Forms page under “Criminal Forms.” Comments regarding the new procedures may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.