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1st Judicial District Nominating Commission to interview nominees for district judge vacancy

The 1st Judicial District Nominating Commission will convene at 9 a.m. August 8 to interview nominees to fill a district judge vacancy in Leavenworth County created by the June 16 retirement of Judge Gunnar Sundby. Interviews are open to the public. They will take place at Leavenworth County Justice Center, 601 S. Third St., Leavenworth. The 1st Judicial District is composed of Atchison and Leavenworth counties. 

The nominees are: Pamela Campbell Burton, Leavenworth, attorney and owner, Murray, Tillotson & Burton. Amy C. Coppola, Abilene, assistant county attorney, Dickinson County. Terri L. Harris, Basehor, attorney and partner, Harris & Henderson. Michael G. Jones, Lansing, county attorney, Leavenworth County. Christopher J. Kellogg, Leavenworth, administrative law judge, Kansas Department of Administration. Keyta D. Kelly, Leavenworth, attorney and partner, Kelly Law Office. Gerald R. Kuckelman, Atchison, county attorney, Atchison County. Joan M. Lowdon, Bonner Springs, deputy county attorney, Leavenworth County. Geoffrey C. Sonntag, Tonganoxie, attorney and owner, Sonntag Law Office. The commission will select from three to five nominees whose names will be submitted to the governor to fill the position according to statutory qualification and residency requirements.

If there are not three nominees who reside in the judicial district who are deemed qualified by the commission, the commission may consider nominees who reside outside the district. The governor has 60 days after receiving the names to decide whom to appoint. After serving one year in office, the new judge must stand for a retention vote in the next general election to remain in the position. If retained, the incumbent will serve a four-year term.

Nominees for district judge must be: at least 30 years old; a lawyer admitted to practice in Kansas and engaged in the practice of law for at least five years, whether as a lawyer, judge, or full-time teacher at an accredited law school; and a resident of the judicial district at the time of taking office and while holding office.

The 1st Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Justice Eric Rosen of the Kansas Supreme Court as the nonvoting chair; G. Ronald Bates, Leavenworth; Julie Clem, Atchison; Lois Meadows, Tonganoxie; Rosemary Nies, Atchison; Mark Preisinger, Leavenworth; Kevin Reardon, Leavenworth; Todd Thompson, Basehor; and Douglas Waters Jr., Lansing.

Mary Shultz