3rd Judicial District Nominating Commission to interview nominees for vacancy

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The 3rd Judicial District Nominating Commission will meet Friday, Aug. 23 to interview nominees to fill a district judge position in Shawnee County. The position was vacated July 31 by Judge Franklin Theis.

The nominees are:

  • Jay Befort, Topeka, deputy general counsel, Kansas Department of Revenue
  • Kevin Cook, Topeka, private practice, Cook Law Office, Topeka
  • Jessica Domme, Tecumseh, assistant attorney general, Kansas Attorney General’s Office
  • Lori Dougherty-Bichsel, Silver Lake, administrative judge and department director, Topeka Municipal Court
  • Sarah Loquist-Berry, Topeka, general counsel, Sedgwick County Area Educational Services Interlocal Cooperative
  • Penny Moylan, Topeka, deputy disciplinary administrator, Kansas judicial branch
  • Rachel Pickering, Topeka, assistant solicitor general, Kansas Attorney General’s Office
  • Amy Raymond, Topeka, director of trial court programs, Office of Judicial Administration, Kansas judicial branch
  • Steven Roth, Topeka, administrative law judge, Kansas Department of Labor, Workers Compensation Division
  • Jennifer Martin Smith, Topeka, private practice, Alderson, Alderson, Conklin, Crow & Slinkard, Topeka
  • Todd Thornburg, Topeka, staff attorney and special assistant attorney general, Kansas Department of Labor
  • Kelly Trussell, Topeka, private practice, Sloan, Eisenbarth, Glassman, McEntire & Jarboe, Topeka
  • John Paul Washburn, Tecumseh, private practice, Washburn Law Office, Topeka
  • Brett Watson, Topeka, deputy district attorney, Shawnee County District Attorney’s Office

Three to five nominees will be picked by the commission. Those names will then be submitted to Gov. Laura Kelly to fill the position according to statutory qualification and residency requirements. The governor has 60 days to decide whom to appoint.

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 Shawnee County at the time of taking office and while holding office.

The commission will meet at 9 a.m. August 23 in the Shawnee County Courthouse at 200 SE 7th St. Interviews are open to the public.

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