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Kansas Commission on Judicial Qualifications

Room 374, Kansas Judicial Center

301 SWTenthAvenue

Topek~ Kansas 66612 785-296-2913

Complaint against a judge


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describes the functions of the Commission on Judicial Qualifications. Note in particular the
examples of functions which the Commission cannot perform.

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The Kansas Commission

on Judicial Qualifications

Page 2

Complaint against a judge

Details and specifics of complaint: Please state all specific facts and circumstances which you
believe constitute judicial misconduct or disability. Include any details, names, dates, places,
addresses, and telephone numbers which will assist the Commission in its evaluation and
investigation of this complaint Identify the name and address of any witnesses. If there are
documents, letters, or any other materials directly related to the complaint, please include them. Do
not include documents which do not directly support or relate to the complaint, for example,
documents only generally related to the litigation. Keep a copy of everything you submit for your
records.

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If additional space is required, use additional pages as needed and attach them to this page.

I certify that the allegations and statements of fact set forth above are true and correct to the best of
my knowledge, information and belief.

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Signature

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I am making this complaint with the Commission on Judicial Qualifications on Judge Janice
Russell, Kansas Senior Judge. I have had Judge Russell on many different cases in Crawford
County District Court over the past year or so. I think Judge Russell has done a good job of
following CANON 2 RULE 2.6 "Ensuring the Right to be Heard" because she does allow
me to speak before she makes a decision. I wanted to make that point before I proceed
with my complaint because I have been in front of Judge A.J. Wachter and he does not even
allow that before he cuts people off.
JUDICIAL MISCONDUCT HISTORY
Judge Janice Russell has previously been found guilty by the judicial ethics committee for
violating Kansas Code of Judicial Conduct in particular for her Ex Parte conversation in
Subway Restaurant, Inc. v. Kessler, 266 kan. 433, 970 P.2d 526 (1998).
It should also be noted that this specific judicial misconduct by Judge Janice Russell has
been cited several times in the old version of the Judicial Code of Judicial Conduct
publication [Rule 601A (Prior 03/01/2009)]
as an example of judicial misconduct.
In particular Judge Janice Russell violated CANON ONE: A Judge Shall Uphold the
Integrity and Independence of the Judiciary and her misconduct is cited first in the
Case Annotations (see page #1 of exhibit #1). Judge Janice Russell also violated CANON
TWO: A Judge Shall Avoid Impropriety and the Appearance of Impropriety in All of
the Judge's Activities and her misconduct, again, is cited first in the Case Annotations
(see page #1 to #3 of exhibit #1). Judge Janice Russell additionally violated CANON
THREE: A Judge Shall Perform the Duties of Judicial Office Impartially and
Diligently and her misconduct, again, is cited third in the Case Annotations (see page #3
and #4 of exhibit #1).
REPEAT EX PARTE COMMUNICATION COMPLAINT
On May 31st, 2011 in Crawford County District Court case number llCV82P JULIE S.
STOVER vs. CITIMORTGAGE, INC (a subsidiary of Citigroup Inc) I was in court when Judge
Janice Russell stated, on the record, in open court that she had an ex parte conversation
with the Defendant CITIMORTGAGE, INC. late one business day before a scheduled hearing.
See exhibit #2 page #2 and page #3 (highlighted areas) which is an excerpt of the hearing
transcript. I believe this ex parte conversation by Judge Russell is in violation of
Kansas Judicial Conduct Canon one, two and three as noted above.
It is important to note that had Judge Janice Russell not made this ex parte communication
that JULIE STOVER could have had a default judgment as CITIMORTGAGE was counting on
a continuance or a default judgment win. This improper ex parte communication [a
violation of CANON TWO, Rule 2.9(A)(1)(a)J gained a substantial tactical advantage to
the defendant CITIMORTGAGE. Judge Janice Russell also made no provision to promptly
notify JULIE STOVER of the substance of the ex parte communication, and did not give
JULIE STOVER an opportunity to respond in violation of CANON TWO, Rule
2.9(A)(1)(b)].
It is worth noting that the Plaintiff (Julie S. Stover) and Defendant (CITIMORTGAGE, Inc)
were already in settlement talks before Judge Russell's ex parte communication. Settlement
talks continued even after Judge Janice Russell denied Plaintiff's JULIES STOVE'S petition
during the May 31st 2011 hearing for monetary compensation from CITIMORTGAGE. Even
after winning the court case, thanks to Judge Janice Russell, CITIMORTGAGE opted to settle

114Pages

'.

with JULIES STOVER in the amount of $1800 when she brought up Judge Russell's judicial
misconduct ex parte communication. The question is why?

QUESTIONABLE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN JUDGE AND SURPRISE ATTORNEY


During the May 31st, 2011 trial in Crawford County District Court case number 11CV82P
JULIE S. STOVER vs. CITIMORTGAGE, INC the defendant was represented by an attorney by
the name Christopher C. Grenz. There is a question of fact as to the potential relationship
between Judge Janice Russell and Christopher Grenz and how Christopher Grenz became to
be CITIMORTGAGE, INC's attorney in the case seemingly overnight when CITIMORTGAGE,
INC's indicated they had not retained an attorney (and had actually improperly and with
unauthorized practice of law filed a motion to continue through its paralegal Michael Pritchard - See exhibit #2 page #2 line 15 through 20) and were looking to settle
the case out of court - which they eventually did even after they 'officially' won the case.
Christopher Grenz has admitted that he knows Judge Russell, in part, because he covered
her 'The Merits of Merit selection' article(s) for years when he was a reporter for various
newspaper outfits. See Exhibit #3 where Christopher Grenz admits in an email that he has
written about Judge Russell or / and her work for years.
RESPONDING TO LAWYER MISCONDUCT
During the trial it should be noted that Judge Russell failed to follow Kansas statutes on
attorney behavior as Christopher Grenz remained comfortably sited at all times when he
addressed the court. Christopher Grenz did not stand when addressed by Judge Russell or when
speaking to the judge and leave was never granted by Judge Janice Russell for Christopher Grenz to
remain seated in clear violation of Kansas Supreme Court Rule 161 which states in part; "An
attorney must always stand when addressed by the judge or when speaking to the judge. Unless the
. judge specifically prescribes otherwise, an attorney must stand when interrogating a witness ...rr

Judge Janice Russell did not this is in clear violation of Canon RULE 2.15 "Responding to
Judicial and Lawyer Misconduct" by not confronting Christopher Grenz on why he was
not standing when addressing the court.
As already pointed out earlier before law school, Christopher Grenz was for years a reporter
for The Kansas City Business Journal, a Statehouse Correspondent for Harris News Service,
and the Statehouse Bureau Chief for The Topeka Capital-Journal where he covered judicial
issues including numerous articles concerning the judicial section process and including
articles on Judge Russell's "merit selection" system.
Again, there is a question of fact as to Judge Janice Russell's relationship
that needs to be answered.

with Chris Grenz

On that very same day I lost my cases against {:itiBank N.A. (a subsidiary of
CitigrouD, Inc.) and Citibank N.A. attorney's Berman & Rabin P.A. in Crawford District
Court Cases number 2010-LM-00781P and 201O-SC-000151-P respectively. I believe this ex
parte conversation by Judge Russell is in violation of Rules Adopted by the Supreme Court
(Rules Relating to Judicial Conduct) in particular CANON RULE 2.2 "Impartiality and
fairness" and CANON RULE 2.3 "Bias, Prejudice, and Harassment" as Judge Russell
had an ex parte conversation with "CITI" without revealing this disturbing fact during my
court cases.

214Pages

Additionally, in the wake of massive national and very public foreclosure "Robosigning"
fallout (and given the fact that the Kansas Attorney General has joined other 49 U.s.
Corporation state attorney general's in investigating this very issue) Judge Janice Russell
possibly violated RULE 2.15 by not scheduling an evidentiary hearing even when I brought
to her attention an undisputed and an uncontested genuine issue of material fact as to the
validity of an alleged assignment that seems to questionable on its face in Crawford County
District Court Case No. 10-LM-00781P. Here again we see that Judge Russell possibly
violated RULE 2.15 "Responding to Judicial and Lawyer Misconduct".
Unlike Judge Janice Russell (where she did done nothing as per RULE 2.15 when alerted of
potential or blatant fraud on her court room) the Comptroller of Currency took the SAME
information and launched an investigation immediately. The investigation is still going on.
As a member of the public and given the national, if not world, headlines on recent massive
unprecedented documentation I "robosigning" fraud by major banks Judge Janice Russell
might be in violation of RULE 1.2 "Promoting Confidence in the Judiciary" because she
does not seem alerted or concerned that the potential national foreclosure fraud could NOW
be in her court room. She did nothing about it even when I produced for her enough
evidence to cause doubt in any ordinary persons mind (just like the Comptroller of currency
found it compelling enough to launch an investigation) and I even requested an evidentiary
hearing to which she ignored. This does not make me feel like she is "Promoting
Confidence in the Judiciary" in violation of RULE 1.2 especially when given that K.S.A
60-212(b)&(c) allows a judge to consider matters outside the pleadings. As shown in HM
of Topeka v. Indian Country Mini Mart (100055) " ...stnce the district court considered
matters outside the pleadings, we treat the district court's decision as one granting
summary judgment rather than a motion to dismiss. K.S.A. 60-212(b); see Odette Family
Ltd. Partnership v. Agco Finance, 35 Kan. App. 2d 1, 5, 129 P.3d 95 (2005)."
ASSEMBLY LINE
On May 31st, 2011 Judge Janice Russell was the presiding Judge in three of my cases that
day; all scheduled by Judge Russell to take place between 10:00 AM and 11:00 AM. All cases
were set within the limited spaceof one (1) hour.
My Crawford County District Court cases as scheduled by Judge Janice Russell were as
follows:
A complex foreclosure case was set for case management hearing on May 31, 2011
at 10:00 AM titled JPMORGANCHASE BANK N.A. vs. ERIC M. MUATHE Case No. 10CV-00218P.
A complex foreclosure I promissory note case was set for hearing on May 31, 2011
at 10:30 AM titled CITIBANK N.A. vs. ERIC M. MUATHE Case No. 10-LM-00781P.
An involving small claims trial with subpoenaed witnesses was set for hearing on May
31,2011 at 11:00 AM titled ERIC M. MUATHE vs. Berman & Rabin P.A. Case No.
2010-SC-000151-P.

I filed objections, prior to court, to the Assembly Line Scheduling format since the nature of
such scheduling was in violation of RULE Three (3) as per rules adopted by the Supreme
Court in relation to Rules Relating to District Courts [which states that): "The ultimate
judicial goal should be justice, not speed, in the disposition of cases. Cases should be
determined on an individual basis, not on an assembly line. Litigants and counsel should be
afforded a reasonable time to prepare and present their cases. "

3/4Pages

Judge Janice Russell refused to reschedule after my objections and insisted that the
scheduling was done as a 'convenience' (sic) to me.
I am also aware of a website called ripoffreport.com (just google 'Judge Janice Russell' and
you will see it almost at the top of the page) which highlights corrupt-biased-judges and it
has a report on Judge Janice Russell. It says -- and this was submitted on Monday October
23, 2000 -- that" Judge Janice Russell of Olathe Kansas is known as a biased prejudiced
Judge and it appears the focal government "Committee For Judicial Ethics" has found her
guilty, but she is still practicing."
After I read this website and realized she was the judge I had, I immediately feel as though
she violated once again RULE 1.2 Promoting Confidence in the Judiciary because there
is no way I or any member of the public could ever feel comfortable with her as a judge
after reading something like that (would you?).
I respectively request that anyone with a conflict of interest kindly disqualify
themselves from any committee that might investigate this complaint.
Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing back from you on this complaint.
Sincerely,

By: Eric M Muathe, Agent


ALL RIGHTS RESERVED/ WITHOUT PREJUDICEUCC 1-207, UCC 1-103.6

414Pages

JUDICIAL CONDUcr

649

"Third degree of relationship," The following persons are' relatives


within the third degree of relatio~hip: great-grandparent, grandparent,
parent, uncle, aunt, brother, sister, child, grandchild, great-grandchild.
nephew or niece. See Section 3E(I).
[History: Terminology section Am. effective July 15, 1996; Am. effective
january 1,2002.]

CANON!
A Judge Shall Uphold the ~tegrity and Independence
.
of the Judiciary
An. independent and hon~rable judiciary is indispensable to justice in
our society. A judge should participate in establishing. maintaining and
enforcing high standards of conduct, and shall personally observe those
standards so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary will be
preserved The provlslons of this Code are to be construed and applied
to further that objective .
.Commentary: .
.
Deference to the judgments and rulings of courts depends upon public confidence in the
integrity and independence of judges. The integrity and. independence of judges depends
in turn upon their acting without fear or favor. Although judges should be independent,
they must comply with the law. including the provisions of this Code. Public confldence in
. the impartiality of the judicimy is maintained by the adherence of each judge to this responsibility. Conversely, violation of this Code diminishes public confidence in the judiciaIy
and thereby does injwy to the system of government wider law.
Case AnnotatioDS
1. Judge's ex parte conversation with her long-time attorney friend regarding the pending
case was found inappropriate under Rule SOlA, Canons 1,2A. and 3B(7). Subway Resttzu.trlJ'Jt$, Inc. 1:1. Kessler, 266 Kan. 433, 970 P.2d 526 (1998).
2. Judge found to have violated Canons I, 2A, 3B. 3C, 3E, and 3F; by signing th~ cease
and desist order. judge agreed to accept theCommission's conclusions that he violat;ed the
Canons per Rule 611; public -ceBSUre per rule 620. In re Platt, 269 Kan.. 509,'8 P.3d 686
(2000).
3. Judge found to have violated Canons I, 2A. 2B, and3G(1). (2) and (4};judge stipulated
. to evidence; Commission recommends public censure; public censure per Rule 620, In re
Gronemtm. 272 Kan. 1345, 38 P.3d 735 (2002).
.4. Judge found to have violated Canons I, 2, and 4A(2) of the Code of Judicial Conduct;
Commission assigned panel to conduct investigation per Rule 609; since respondent failed
to file exceptions, the Commission's findings and conclusions are conclusive per Rule 623;
removal &om office per Rule 620{a). In re Robertson, 280 Kan 266, 120 P.3d 790 (2005). .
J

CANON 2
A Judge ShaD Avoid Impropriety and the Appearance
or Jmp~priety in AD or the Judge's Activities
. A. A judge shall respect and comply with the law and shall act at all
times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and
impartiality of the judiciary.

650

RULES ADoPTED BY THE SUPREME COURT

Commentary:
Public confidence in the judiciary is eroded by irresponsible

or improper conduct by

judgeS. A judge must avoid an impropriety ~d appearance of impropriefj. A judge must


expect to be the subject of constant pUblic scrutiny. A judge must therefore accept restrictions on the judge's conduct that Dnght be viewed as burdensome by the ordinary citizen
and should do so freely and'willmgly.
The prohibition against behaving with impropriety or the appearance of iinpropriety applies to both the professional and personal condoct of a judge. Because it is not practicable
to list aU prohibited actS. the proscription is necessarily cast in general terms that extend to
conduct by judges that is hannful altbongh not specifically mentioned in the Code. Actual
improprieties under this standard jpclude violations of law, court rules or other specific
provisions of this Code. The test for .appearance, of impropriety is whether the conduct
would create in reasonable minds a perception that the judge's ability to carty out judicial
responsibiIitie
with integrity. impartiality and competence is impaired.
.

B. A judge shall not allow family. social, political or other relationships


to influence the judge's judicial conduct or judgment. A judge shall not
lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interests of the
judge or others; nor shall a judge convey or permit others to convey the
impression that they are in a special position to influence the judge. A
judge shall not testify voluntarily as a character witness.
Commeutary:
Maintaining the prestige of judicial office is essential to a system of government in which
the judiciary functions independently of the executive and legislative branches. Respect for
the judicial office facilitates the orderly conduct of legitimate judicial functions. Judges
should distinguish between proper and improper use of the prestige of office in all of-their
activities. For example, it would be improper for a judge to allude to his or her judgeship
to gain a personal advantBge such as deferential treatment when stopped by a police officer
for a traflie offense ..S~,
judicialletterbead
must not be used for non-official matters
of any kind
'
,
A judge must avoid lending the prestige of judicial office for the advancement of the
private interests of others. For example. a judge must not use the judge'sjudi~
position
to gain advantage in cMl suit involving a member of the judge's family. In contracts for
p~lication of a judge's writings. a judge should retain control over the advertising to avoid
exploitation of the judge's office. As to the acceptance of aWards, see Section 4(D)(5)(a) and
Commentmy'.
Although a judge should 'be sensitive to possible abuse of ~e prestige of office, a judge
may, based on the judge's personal knowledge. serve as a reference or provide a letter of
recommendation.
Judges may participate in the process of judicial selection by cooperating with appointing
autho4ties, nominating commissions and screening committees seeking names for consideration, and by responding to official inquiries concerning a person being considered for a
judgeship. See also Canon 5 regarding use of a judge's name in politicaf 'activities.
A judge must not testify voluntarily as a character witness' because to do so may lend the
prestige of the judici3I office in support of the party for whom the judge testiJles. Moreover.
when a judge testifies as a witness. a lawyeTwho regularly appears before the judge may be
placed in the awkward position of cross-examiningtbe judge. A judge may. however, testify
when properly summoned. Except in unusual circumstances where the demands of ~

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________ ~------J~UD~.-I~~~C-O-N-D-U-CT----------------65--1
require. a ju(ige should discourage a party from requiring the judge to testify as a character
witness.

c. A judge

shall refrain from speech, gestures or other conduct that


could be perceived by a reasonable. person as harassment based upon
race, color. religion, gender. national origin. age. disability, or sexual orientation, and shall require the same standard of conduct of others subject
to the judge's direction and control.
Commentary:
"Harassment" is verbal or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion
toward an individual because of hislher race, color, religion, gender. national origin, age.
disabili1}' or sexual orientation or that of hislher relatives, friends, or associates.

"Harassing conduct" includes, but is not limited to, the following:


. (i) Epithets. slurs. negative stereotyping, or threatening. intimidating
or hostile acts that relate to race, color. religion, gender. national
origin, age, disability or sexual orientation and
(ii) Written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility or
aversion-toward an individual or group because of gender and that
is placed on walls. 'bulletin boards, or elsewhere on the premises
. or circulated in the workplace. and
.
(ill) sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or
physical. conduct of a sexual nature that are unwelcome, regardless
. 'of gender,
[History: Am. C. effective July 14, 2000.]
Case Annotations

.)

~. Judge's ex parte conversation wi~ her long-time attorney friend regarding the pending
case was found in~ropriate
under Rule 6OlA, Canons 1. 2A, and 3B(7). Subway Re.sta1lrants. Inc. v. KesslM. 266 Kan. 433. 970 P.2d 526 (1998).
2. Court disapproves of the sentencing judge's crude and ~dignified comments in violations of Supreme Court Rule 60lA Cannons 2A and 3B(4); dissent would vacate the'
sentence imposed because the judge's comments show partiality, prejudice. and oppression
a.gamst female victims of sex crimes. State e, Sampsel. 268 Kan. 264, 997 ~ .2d 664 (2000).
3. Judge found to have violated Canons I, 2A, 3B. sc, 3E. and 3F; by signing the cease
and desist order. judge agreed to accept the Commission's conclusions that he violated the
Canons per Rule 611; public censure per rule 620. In re Plott, 269 Kan. 509. 8 p.3d 686
(2000):
.
4. Judge found to have violated Canons I, 2A. 2B. and 3C(1). (.2) and (4); judge stipulated
to eviaence; Commission recommends public censure; public Censure per Rule 620. In re
Groneman.272 Kan.. 1345, 38 P.3d 735 (2002) ..
5. Court 'disapproves of the biaI judge's statements and comments as violations of Supreme Court Rule 60lA Canons 2 and 3; defendant's conviction reversed and case remanded
for new trial before different judge. State o. Miller. 274 Kan. 113. 49 P.3d 458 (2002).
6. Judge found to have violated Canons 1. 2, and 4A(2) of the Code of Judicial Conduct;
Commission assigned panel to conduct investigation per Rule 609; since respondent failed
to Ie exceptionS. the Commission's findings and conclusions are conclusive per Rule 623;
removal from office per Rule 62O(a). In re Robertson. 280 ~
266. 120 P.3d 790 (2005).

652

RULES ADOPTED

BY THE SUPREME COURT

7. Judge's actions d.uring a jury trial violated Canon 2A and 3B(3) of the Kansas Code of
Judicial Conduct; findings of fact and conclusions oflaw deemed admitted per Rule 623(d) .
since respondent failed to
exceptions; CoIIUDission finds violation of the Code of Judicial
, Conduct by clear and convincing evidence per Rule 620; review of record supports the
. Commission's recommenaation that respondent be publicly censured. In re Pi1shGw, 286
Kan. 574, 186 P.3d 708 (2008)~

me

CANOl'{3
A Judge shaD Perform the Duties of
Judicial Office Impartially and Diligently
A. Judicial Duties in General. 'The judicial duties of a judge take pree
edence over all the judge's other activities. The judge'S judicial duties
include all the duties of the judge's office prescribed by law." In the
perfonnance of these duties, the follOwing standards' apply.
B. Adjudicative ResponSibilities. '
,
,(1) A judge shall hear and decide matters assigned to the judge
except those in which disqualification is required.
(2) A judge'shall he faithful to the law" and maintain professional
competence in it. A judge shall not be 'swayed by partisan
interests, public clamor or fear of criticism.
(3) A judge shall require" order and decorum in proceedings 00.
fore the judge.
(4) A judge shall be patient. dignified, and courteous to litigants,
jurors. witnesses, lawyers and others with whom the judge
deals in an official capacity, and shall require similar conduct
of lawyers. and of staff, court officials and others subject to
the judge'S direction and control.
Commentary;

The duty to hear all proceedings fairly and With patience is not in~t
with the duty
.to dispose promptly of the business of the court. Judges Can be efficient and businesslike
while being patient and deliberate,

'J

(5) ~ judge shall perform judicial duties without bias or prejudice.


~ judge shall not, in the performance of judicial duties, by
-r0rds or conduct manifest bias or prejudice, including but
not limited to bias or prejudice based upon race, sex, religion.
national origin. disability, age, sexual orientation or soeioec?nomic status, and shall not permit staff, court officials and
?thers subject to the judge'S direction and control to do so.
'Commemary;

or

refrain from speech. gestures


other conduct that could reasonably be
perceived as sexual harassment and must require the same standard of conduct of others
subject to the judge's direction and controL
, A judge m~

658

RULES ADoPTED

BY THE SUPREME CoURT

Commentary:
- The fact that a lawyer in a proceeding is affiliated with a law firm with which a re.1ative
_ofthe judge is affiljated does 'not of itself disqualify the judge. Under appropriate ~
-stances, the fact that "the judge's impartiality might reasonably be questioned" under Section 3E{l), or that the relative is known by the judge to have an interest in the law fum that .
could be "substantially affected by the outcome- bf the proceeding" under Section
3E(1)(d)(iii) may require the judge's disquali6cation.
-

(2) A judge shall keep informed about the judge'spersonal and


fiduciary" economic interests," and make a reasonable effort
to keep informed about the personal economic interests of
the judge's spouse and minor children residing in the judge's
household
F. Remittal of Disqualification. A judge disqualified by the terms of.
Section 3E may disclose on the record the basis of the judge's disqualification and may ask the parties and their lawyers to consider, out of the
presence of the judge. whether to waive disqualification: If following disclosure of any basis for disquali.cation other than personal bias or prejudice concerning a party. the parties -and lawyers, without participation
by the judge. all agree that the judge should not be disqualified. and the
judge is then willing to participate, the judge may participate in the proceeding. The agreement shall be incorporated in the record of the proceeding.
Commen~
A remittal procedure provides the parties an opportunity to proceed without delay if they
wish to waive the disqualification. To assure that consideration of the question of remittal
is made independently of the judge, a judge must not solicit. seek or hear comment on
possible remittal or waiver of the disqualification unless the lawyers jointly propose remittal
after consultation as provided in the 'rule, A party may act ~gh
counsel if counsel represents on the record that the party has been consulted and consents. As a practical matter,
a judge may wish to have all parties and their lawyers sign the remittal agreement. -

Case Annotations

'J

1. Judg~'s duty to recuse discussed fu test to determine if defendant received fair trial
. without due process rights vio~n.
StDte e, Alderson, 260 Kan. 445, 922 P.2d 435 (1996).
2: Judge's ex parte meeting with the family of homicide victi.ui and ex parte consideration
. of petition requesting imposition of harsh pmris~ent denied defendant a_air sentencing
hearing; Rule 601, Canon 3A(4) and Rule 6OlA. Canon 3B(7) cited. State e, Scoles, 261
!Can. 734. 933 P.2d 737 (1997)-.
3. Two-part test in deciding whether to vacate a judgment because of a judge's failure to
recuse discussed. Subway Restaurants, Inc. o. Kessler; 266 Kan. 433, 970 P.2d52:6 (1998).
4.. Judge's ex parte conversation with her long-time attorney friend regarding the pending
case was found inappropriate under Rule 6OlA. Canons 1, 2A. ~d 3B('D. SubwaY Restau-

rants, Inc.

433, 970 P.2d 526 (1998).


5. Court disapproves of the sentencing judge's crude and undignified comments in viotl.

Kesskr, 266 ~

lations of Supreme Court Rule 60lA Canons 2A and 3B(4}, dissent would vacate the sen-

1
2

DISTRICT

.."

s.

-'-::?"
../~-::-.:.

COURT OF CRAWFORD

KANSAS

STOVER,

Plaintiff,

4
5

COUNTY,

CASE NO. llCV82P


::?=~.JORTGAGE, INC.,

Defendant.

7
8

TRANSCRIPT

10

?ROCEEDINGS

OF PROCEEDINGS

had before

11

\..:,-S.:CE

12

cf C~awford

13

~~e 31st day of MaYj 2011.

RUSSELL,

Assigned

County,

the Honorable

Judge of the District

Kansas,

at Pittsburg,

Court

Kansas,

on

14
15

APPEARANCES:

16

The Plaintiff

appearing

in person

The Defendant

appearing

by and through

17
18

and pro

s:.

19

its counsel, Mr. Christopher

20

LLP, One kansas City Place, 1200 Main Street,

21

3500, Kansas City, MO 64105-2100.

22
23
24
25

C. Grenz of Bryan Cave,

Suite

THE COURT:

Well, you have to establish

amount that goes with these damages.

is that?

MS. STOVER:

I originally

What

a dollar

is -- what

had $3,950.00

which was

almost the maximum

added the service

105 and this appeal was $173.50 and I felt like

appropriate

was two half days I've missed

10

for Small Claims Court and then I


fees which for the Small Claims

relief,

aside of that, was $243.34,

THE COURT:

12

you want to tell me?

13

MS. STOVER:

All right.

Yes.

My small claims

dismissed

15

some questions

16

an e-mail on my Yahoo account

17

from CitiMortgage

18

I just happened

19

one sentence

20

certificate

and I subpoenaed

Timothy

and then Wednesday

asking

evening

from Michael

to ask him
I received
Pritchard

to continue

to check my Yahoo e-mail,

for the motion

else

case was

Fielder

for a motion

to continue

but

and there is

and no

of service.

So I have an objection

22

which,

23

Grenz is here representing

25

at work to come to

Is there anything

14

24

which

Court.

11

21

was

obviously,

THE COURT:

to the motion

to continue

we are not going to need if Mr.


CitiMortgage.

I think that is moot.

forget about the motion

to continue.

Let's just
I had -- he

faxed or mai."!.e.:!
::-::e
a copy of this motion
but I called ~:.:::.
a::'ci tld

to continue

him it had been received

too

late and woulci:-.c-:


oe granted.
Okay.

I ~~~ers~and

what you are complaining

about, about nc~ ge~-::'ng released


r

But what do yc~ -:~~~~ is the legal basis


compelling

therr -:~ re~ease

MS. STOVER:

release

~~~r Honor, I don't feel like it

!:.

..:..:)

for me to get my

of liabili.-=;' na.sket from them.

rates back then were ~ nercent

for

you from the mortgage?

should have took ::-;e~-:y-two


months

:'3

from the mortgage.

interest

rate I have

percent,

the interest

C~

When interest

or lower and the

~y current home is 6.25

rate my ex-husband

and I had was

6.5 percent.
So that could haie saved us quite a bit of money
and interest

over the :ast almost two years, had we

had the packet back :.~ July when we requested


=-8

-,

or asked

how to get my name o=f of the mortgage.


THE COURT:

Cross-examination?

MR. GRENZ:

I \-.7ill
be kind of informal

here.

Do

you mind if I just stay seated here?


THE COURT:

Can you catch his statements?

the podium is between


i4

MR. GRENZ:

the two of them.

I will just go from here then.


CROSS-EXAMINATION

I know

1
1
2

IN THE DISTRICT

COURT OF CRAWFORD

JULIE S. STOVER,

COUNTY,

KANSAS

)
)

Plaintiff,

)
)

vs.

CITIMORTGAGE,

) CASE NO. l1CV82P


)

INC.,

)
)

Defendant.

7
8
9

----~

TRANSCRIPT

PROCEEDINGS

10

OF PROCEEDINGS

had before

11

JANICE RUSSELL,

12

of Crawford

13

the 31st day of May, 2011.

Assigned

County,

the Honorable

Judge of the District

Kansas,

at Pittsburg,

Court

Kansas,

on

14
15

APPEARANCES:

16

The Plaintiff

17
18

appearing

The Defendant

appearing by and
Christopher C. Grenz of

its counsel, Mr.

20

LLP, One kansas City Place,

21

3500, Kansas City, MO 64105-2100.

23
24
25

and pro

se.

19

22

in person

through
Bryan Cave,

1200 Main Street,

Suite

THE COURT:

Well, you have to establish

amount that goes with these damages.

is that?

MS. STOVER:

I originally

almost the maximum

added the service

105 and this appeal was $173.50

appropriate

was two half days I've missed

10

fees which for the Small Claims

relief,

12

you want to tell me?

13

MS. STOVER:

and I felt like

aside of that, was $243.34,

All right.

which

at work to come to

Yes.

Is there anything

My small claims

14

dismissed

15

some questions

16

an e-mail on my Yahoo account

17

from CitiMortgage

18

I just happened

19

one sentence

20

certificate

and I subpoenaed

Timothy

and then Wednesday

asking

Fielder

to ask him

evening 'r received

from Michael

for a motion

for the motion

else

case was

Pritchard

to continue

to check my Yahoo e-mail,


to continue

but

and there is

and no

of service.

So I have an objection

22

which, obviously,

23

Grenz is here representing

25

was

Court.
THE COURT:

24

which was

for Small Claims Court and then I

11

21

What is -- what

had $3,950.00

a dollar

THE COURT:

to the motion

to continue

we are not going to need if Mr.


CitiMortgage.

I think that is moot.

Let's

just

faxed or mailed me a copy of this motion


2
3

but I called him and told him it had been received


late and would not be granted.
Okay.

I understand

what you are complaining

about, about not getting

But what do you think is the legal basis

compelling

released

them to release

MS. STOVER:

from the mortgage.


for

you from the mortgage?

Your Honor,

I don't feel like it

should have took twenty-two

months

10

release

from them.

11

rates back then were 4 percent

12

interest

rate I have on my current home is 6.25

13

percent,

the interest

14

6.5 percent.

15

too

.-------------------------------------------------------------

to continue

of liability

packet

for me to get my

or lower

rate my ex-husband

When interest
and the

and I had was

So that could have saved us quite a bit of money

16

and interest

over the last almost two years, had we

17

had the packet back in July when we requested

18

how to get my name off of the mortgage.


THE COURT:

Cross-examination?

MR. GRENZ:

I will be kind of informal

or asked

here.

Do

you mind if I just stay seated here?


THE COURT:
the podium

Can you catch his statements?

is between

MR. GRENZ:

the two of them.

I will just go from here then.


CROSS-EXAMINATION

I know

Print

_ 6/10/2011

Print - Close Window

':;bJ~~tRE:Y~~'2005Artfl~-:~'Cctf~-q~~~tb~j)~~~~~tf;;;j~ctY-~~bigh'~~~I
r'rom;
To:
Date:

Grenz, Chris (Chris.Grenz@bryancave.com)


danielgillen66@yahoo.com;
Too, 07 Jm2011 14:55:46

lli,Dan:
Thanks for your note. I'm flattered that you read my worle and took the time to look me up.
I was aware that Prof Ware bad cited my work :inat least one ofhis articles. Prof Ware was actually my
contracts professor when I was a student at the University of Kansas School of Law. He had a tradition of taking
groups of students to lunch so that he could get to know us better. We got to talking about my background as a
newspaper reporter, and he suddenly realized that he had quoted me in his article. It was an amusing moment!
I can't say for certain why Justice Russell didn't cite my work :inher response, but my guess is that it didn't
support her premise. She was making an argument, and she was of course welcome to cite (or not cite) whatever
she wished. I have no quahns with that I wrote many stories about that issue over the years. Prof Ware didnt
cite the stories I wrote refuting many of the points he made. And that was also his choice to make.
Jnfortunately, I won't be writing any follow up stories about it for a couple reasons. First, I have left journalism
behind and am now a practicing attorney. I no longer write for any newspaper. Second, now that I'm no longer a
journalist, I'm free to have my own personal opinions -- something that is stillnew to me! I've actually studied
the issue quite extensively (and written a fair amount about it). After considering all the arguments, I believe that
the merit selection system Kansas bas :inplace now serves the state well There is no such thing as a perfect
system, but we seem to be getting qualified candidates. The good-old-boy network of the past no longer seems
to be the controlling factor in selecting justices. I've conveyed this opinion to my state representative and senator,
and I hope the Kansas Legislature maintains the merit-based approach that is currently in place.
(As an aside, one of Prof Ware's chief complaints is that the nominating corrnnittee has a narrow majority of
attorneys. If there were a proposal to change the committee to a majority of lay rather than attorney members,
that might be worth considering. But I don't think.the entire system we have now is so deeply flawed that it
should be scrapped -- and scrapped for one that, to me, seems to only ampliiYthe politics in play. )
Thanks aga:infor writing.
Take care,
Chris
Christopher C. Grenz
Associate Attorney
Bryan Ca\e LLP
One Kansas City Place
1200 Main Street, Suite 3500
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