Judiciary, State.Under the constitution (Art. III, Sec. 1) the judicial power of the state is vested "in a supreme court, district courts, probate courts, justices of the peace, and such other courts, inferior to the supreme court, as may be provided by law," and all judicial officers are elected by the people. The supreme court consists of seven judges; the judges of the district courts are elected for four years, in districts arranged by the legislature; there is a probate court in each county, with a judge whose term of office is two years, and who holds his court at such times and receives for his compensation such fees or salary as may be prescribed by law; there is a clerk for the district court in each county; "two justices of the peace shall be elected in each township, whose term of office shall be two years, and whose powers and duties shall be prescribed by law," and the number in each township may be increased by law. There is an attorney-general of the state and district attorneys.
The constitution divided the state into five districts, to be increased in number by the legislature as necessary, and the district judges chosen at the first election were: William C. McDowell, A. L. Lee, Jacob Safford, Solon O. Thatcher and O. E. Learnard. The judges of the district courts in 1910 were as follows: First district, William Dill, Leavenworth; Second, William A. Jackson, Atchison; Third, Alston W. Dana, Topeka; Fourth, Charles A. Smart, Ottawa; Fifth, Frederick A. Meckel, Cottonwood Falls; Sixth, John C. Cannon, Mound City; Seventh, James W. Finley, Chanute; Eighth, Roswell L. King, Marion; Ninth, Charles E. Branine, Newton; Tenth, Jabez O. Rankin, Paola; Eleventh, Corb A. McNeill, Columbus; Twelfth, William T. Dillon, Belleville; Thirteenth, Granville P. Aikman, El Dorado; Fourteenth, Thomas J. Flannelly, Independence; Fifteenth, Richard M. Pickler, Smith Center; Sixteenth, Elmer C. Clark, Oswego; Seventeenth, William H. Pratt, Philipsburg; Eighteenth, Thomas C. Wilson, Wichita; Nineteenth, Carroll L. Swarts, Winfield; Twentieth, Jermain W. Brinckerhoff, Lyons; Twenty-first, Sam Kimble, Manhattan; Twenty-second, William I. Stuart, Troy; Twenty-third, Jacob C. Ruppenthal, Russell; Twenty-fourth, Preston B. Gillett, Kingman; Twenty-ninth, Edward L. Fischer and Lewis C. True, Kansas City; Thirtieth, Rollin R. Rees, Minneapolis; Thirty-first, Gordon L. Finley, Dodge City; Thirty-second, William H. Thompson, Garden City; Thirty-third, Charles E. Lobdell, Larned; Thirty-fourth, Charles W. Smith, Stockton; Thirty-fifth, Robert C. Heizer, Osage City; Thirty-sixth, Oscar Raines, Oskaloosa; Thirty-seventh, Oscar Foust, Iola; Thirty-eighth, Arthur Fuller, Pittsburg.
In addition to these district courts, Wyandotte county has a court of common pleas, the judge of whom in 1910 was Hugh J. Smith, of Argentine. The jurisdiction, powers and duties of justices of the peace are such as are prescribed by law. In civil cases it is coextensive within the county where they reside. A justice of the peace may render judgment for any balance found due in a matter of controversy, not exceeding $300, and in actions founded upon an undertaking in any civil proceeding he has jurisdiction when the sum due or demanded does not exceed $500, and in actions for trespass upon real estate, when damages demanded do not exceed $100.
The legislature of 1895 passed a law creating a court of appeals, consisting of six judges and divided into northern and southern divisions. This court remained in existence until the second Monday in Jan., 1901, when it expired by reason of the limitation contained in the act creating it, and all cases then pending and undetermined therein were certified to the supreme court.Pages 39-40 from volume II of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed July 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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