TOPEKA, Kan. (Legal Newsline) - Former Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Davis, who announced his retirement Tuesday from the bench after serving for 17 years on the state's highest court, died Wednesday at age 70.
Davis, who had served as chief justice since January 2009, announced his retirement in a letter to Gov. Mark Parkinson, citing medical issues as a reason.
He had been on medical leave this spring and summer, but, during that time, had continued working on court administrative matters and his caseload as his health allowed. No cause of death has been released yet.
"I have truly loved my judicial career in this dedicated court system, and will miss working with the district courts and with my colleagues on the Kansas Supreme Court, whose members without doubt comprise one of the best appellate courts in the country. I wish them and everyone in the courts all the best," Davis' letter said.
In his letter, Davis said that he was grateful to have been a part of the many accomplishments and court improvements through the years that have given national recognition to Kansas Courts as a leader in court reform.
"I cannot say enough about how proud I am of the dedicated Kansas judges and non-judicial employees who have worked hand-in-hand to administer justice in a timely and fair manner, often under extremely adverse economic conditions," Davis wrote.
Davis authored 351 majority opinions, 21 dissents and six concurring opinions during his tenure on the Supreme Court.
Before his appointment to the Supreme Court in 1993, Davis served for eight years on the State Court of Appeals. Prior to that, he was a Leavenworth County District Court judge and served a term as Leavenworth County Attorney.
In addition to his service on the court, Davis was a member of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps, serving as trial counsel in the Republic of Korea and as a government appellate counsel in Washington, D.C., from 1964-1967.
He earned a bachelor's degree from Creighton University and his law degree from Georgetown University.