TOPEKA – The nomination commission for the 8th judicial district reports that 13 people have applied to fill two vacant district judges’ positions in the district.
The positions are due to two retirements. Judge Steven Hornbaker, who served in Geary County, retired June 1. Chief Judge Michael Powers will retire on August 20th. His location is in Marion County.
The 8th judicial district consists of Dickinson, Geary, Marion, and Morris counties.
Samantha Angell, lawyer in her own practice.
Krista Blaisdell, Geary District Attorney.
Keith Collett, Dickinson County District Judge.
Amy Coppola, Geary District District Judge.
Joel Ensey, Marion County Attorney.
Bobby Hiebert, Assistant District Attorney, Geary County.
Douglas Jones, District Judge, 5th Judicial District.
Valorie Leblanc, District Judge, 6th Judicial District.
Jason Oxford, Assistant District Attorney, Geary County.
Susan Robson, an attorney in private practice.
United Kingdom Stites, City Attorney, Junction City.
Laura Viar, Morris County District Attorney.
Jennifer Wyatt, lawyer in her own practice
The nomination committee will meet on August 18th at 9:00 am to interview the nominees. The interviews will take place at the Geary County Courthouse, 138 E Eighth Street, Junction City.
The interview schedule will be announced after completion.
Everyone who takes part in the interviews must follow minimum standard health protocols set by the Supreme Court. This includes answering questions at check-in about symptoms or possible exposure to COVID-19, wearing a face mask around the building, and keeping a physical distance of 6 feet from others.
Any person with a disability who requires accommodation to attend the Nominations Committee meeting should notify the ADA Justice Department Coordinator as early as possible, preferably 10 working days prior to the meeting date:
TTY at 711
Candidates for the district judge must be:
at least 30 years old;
a Kansas licensed attorney who has served as an attorney, judge, or full-time teacher in a recognized law school for at least five years; and
Meet location-specific requirements.
Candidates for the Hornbaker position must be resident in the judicial district at the time of taking office and during the term of office.
Candidates for the Powers position must be residents of Marion County at the time of taking office and during their tenure.
Candidate for governor
The nomination committee will interview the nominees and then select three to five people whose names will be presented to the governor to fill the position according to legal qualification and residency requirements. The governor has 60 days after receiving the names to decide who to appoint.
If there are not three candidates resident in the judicial district who are deemed qualified by the commission, the commission may consider candidates residing outside the judicial district.
Term of office
After a year in office, the new judge must run for a majority in the next general election in order to remain in office. In the event of retention, the incumbent will have a four-year term.
The 8th District Judiciary Nominations Committee consists of Judge Caleb Stegall of the Kansas Supreme Court as the non-voting chairman; Kevin Harris and Douglas Thompson, Abilene; Ashley Iverson, Ratshain; Darrell Miller, Dwight; Keith Henry, Junction City; Daryl Enos and Edwin Wheeler Jr., Marion; and Eric Coffman, Milford.
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