March 17, 1907

Circuit Judges Decide on New
Method of Assigning Cases

There is a change in the manner of assiging cases in the circuit court. The judges of the court held a meeting at the court house yesterday and decided informally on the general outline of the plan. There are now five divisions of the circuit court here at Kansas City. Years before any certain judge had the privelege and the judge who had the most friends among the lawyers caught the most cases, the result being that one or two judges were loaded up with cases. Then somebody evolved the plan of the wheel. In the wheel, which was a small imitation of a jury wheel, there were placed numbers up to 25. When a lawyer filed a case the wheel was spun and whichever division number was drawn, became the number of the division in which the case was tried. All of the circuit judges heard motions and pleadings.

The method is to be entirely changed, if the court makes a decision of yesterday good by formal action. There will be one judge for each term who shall be known as the assignment judge. "It will be his duty to pass on all motions and each day to assign for trial all cases to go to trial that day. No lawyer or client will know in the morning in what division his case is to come up. All the witnesses for all the divisions will assemble in one room and on a blackboard in that room each day will be written the number of the division in which the case is to come up.

Lawyers believe that this plan will expedite matters greatly in the circuit court, as it will make it possible for an assignment of cases each day that will not give one lawyer cases in two or more different courts in one day, as is possible now and often happens.