Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Comments? Questions?

If you would like to leave a comment or ask me a question, this would be the place to do it. I'll try to respond to all of the posts, although there may be some questions I can't answer.

Criminal Department Statistics

The following statistics are taken directly from Sedgwick County records. The only judge I will identify by name is Judge Owens, who is Judge A.
These statistics only compare trial judges within the criminal department. The numbers reflect how many matters each judge heard during that 6 month period. These matters include jury trials, bench trials, preliminary hearings, sentencings, probation violation hearings, motions and pleas.

2008 January 1 - June 30

1. Pilshaw 1,090
2. Judge A 714
3. Judge E 684
4. Judge B 679
5. Judge C 583
6. Judge D 533

2007 January 1 - June 30

1. Judge A 719
2. Judge F 533
3. Pilshaw 509
4. Judge B 484
5. Judge C 431
6. Judge E 273
7. Judge L 265

2007 July 31 - December 31

1. Judge A 532
2. Pilshaw 579
3. Judge B 566
4. Judge E 532
5. Judge F 293
6. Judge H 265
7. Judge C 227

2006--Judge Pilshaw served in the Family Law Department

2005 January 1 - June 30

1. Pilshaw 819
2. Judge A 789
3. Judge G 551
4. Judge L 459
5. Judge D 416
6. Judge F 413
7. Judge L 202

2005 July 1 - December 31

1. Judge A 1101
2. Pilshaw 828
3. Judge B 450
4. Judge C 434
5. Judge G 412
6. Judge L 394
7. Judge I 277

2004 January 1 - June 30

1. Judge A 796
2. Judge K 508
3. Judge G 505
4. Judge F 455
5. Pilshaw 394
6. Judge I 268
7. Judge C 275

2004 July 1 - December 31

1. Pilshaw 870
2. Judge A 838
3. Judge K/D 471
4. Judge E 448
5. Judge G 355
6. Judge B 350
7. Judge J 186

2003 Judge Pilshaw served in the Traffic Departmen

Records only go back to 2003

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Eagle survey

I was very surprised that the Eagle would only publish 2 sentences of my response to them. It would seem to me that perhaps they have a conflict where this survey is concerned. It is their survey so they have a vested interest in having it appear to be accurate.

For those who are interested, this was my complete response:

Fortunately, objective data exists that disproves the results of several questions in this survey.

I am proud to have been affirmed in 94% of the 415 written opinions issued by the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. That clearly demonstrates that my knowledge of the law is excellent and that I apply the law appropriately. So why would 72 lawyers question my knowledge of the law and 85 claim that I do not apply the law appropriately? Perhaps they simply don’t like the way I ruled in their case or maybe their own knowledge of the law should be questioned.

I am actually shocked by the number of lawyers (108) who claim that my work ethic is lacking. The objective facts show the exact opposite. Using records that go back to 1998, I average 25 jury trials each year that I am serving as a trial judge. That is higher than any other trial judge in Sedgwick County. Court records show that I am consistently one of the top producers in whichever department I am serving. For example, from January 1, 2008 to June 30, 2008 I handled 1,090 matters. This includes jury trials, bench trials, preliminary hearings, sentencings, probation violation hearings, pleas and pre-trial motions. The other judges serving in the same department range from 533 to 714 matters. These are facts, not opinions. Our computer records go back to 2003 and I have compiled the statistics for each of those years. The results can be found on my website,

I do not believe that the anonymous opinions of lawyers should be the standard used to measure a judge’s worth. The public must be reminded that this is not a scientific survey. This is not a random sampling of lawyers who are held accountable for their responses. Any lawyer with the time and the desire can answer this survey and the responses are all anonymous. The last thing a judge should be is accountable to the lawyers. I serve the public, not the lawyers. Over 5000 prospective jurors have come through my court in the last 15 years, countless witnesses as well, but the survey does not seek their opinions. If the public wants to know how hard I work, it would be better to ask the clerks and the court guards, those who actually observe what I do on a daily basis.

I have served this community for 15 years now. I wasn’t perfect when I took the bench and unfortunately I am not perfect now. But the verifiable facts show that I work hard and I work smart. I will continue to do so if the voters see fit.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Michael Gaines sentencing

I really thought that Thursday afternoon would be pretty uneventful. I had a few sentencings and probation violation hearings, no big deal I thought. Was I ever wrong!

Michael Gaines was convicted last month of Battery of a Law Enforcement Officer. During an altercation in the jail clinic he spit on two detention deputies. The officers were extremely concerned because Mr. Gaines is HIV positive.

When I gave Mr. Gaines his opportunity for allocution he was quite agitated, shouting and claiming that he was innocent and that he was attacked by "rogue" deputies. When he was done, as I began to talk to him, make my findings, he began shouting at me and started using some extremely foul language toward me. I won't repeat all of it but he did say that I am nothing but a "bitch in a robe." Nice. I honestly couldn't believe it. Here he was being accused of disrespecting authority and he starts in with the cussing and the insults. Then he started with the verbal attacks on Mr. O'Connor, the Deputy District Attorney. He called him many names, "maggot" is the only one I can type out here, also told him that he should have been still born.

Honestly, the whole thing was so surreal that I actually laughed before I had the court guards remove him from the courtroom. I still was not finished sentencing him and I thought about bringing him back to finish the sentencing but we were all concerned that he would start spitting. I ultimately finished his sentencing by video and he was completely silent throughout.

You never know what will happen when you go into court.