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10th Judicial District Nominating Commission to meet October 18

TOPEKA—The 10th Judicial District Nominating Commission will meet by videoconference at 8 a.m. Tuesday, October 18, to review nominations for one district judge and two magistrate judge vacancies. 

The vacancies are due to three retirements. District Judge Paul Gurney will retire September 30, District Magistrate Judge Daniel Vokins will retire December 9, and District Magistrate Judge James Phelan will retire December 31. 

The 10th Judicial District is composed of Johnson County. 

Public access 

The meeting is open to the public. It will take place via videoconference and will be livestreamed on the Kansas judicial branch YouTube channel.  
To comment:  

Public interviews 

The nominating commission will meet to interview nominees at 9 a.m. November 17 and 18. Interviews are open to the public. They will take place at:  
Johnson County Courthouse  
150 W Santa Fe St.  
Olathe, KS  
The interview schedule will be announced once it’s finalized.  
The nominees are:  

  • Jenifer Ashford, Prairie Village, district magistrate judge, 10th Judicial District  

  • Stefanie Benson-Hebberd, Overland Park, attorney, Jerold A. Bressel, Chartered  

  • Jason Billam, Olathe, Billam & Henderson LLC  

  • Natalie Chalmers, Lenexa, assistant solicitor general, Kansas Attorney General’s Office 

  • Stephanie Goodenow, Lenexa, Goodenow Law 

  • Jadh Kerr, Lenexa, partner, Speer and Holiday, LLP 

  • Michael McCulloch, Olathe, chief public defender, 10th Judicial District Public Defender Office 

  • John McEntee Jr., Leawood, senior trial attorney, Nationwide Insurance 

  • Elizabeth Mellor, Overland Park, Law Office of Elizabeth Mellor 

  • William Meyer, Overland Park, senior attorney, South Law, P.C. 

  • Michelle O’Malley, Shawnee, counsel, Sandberg Phoenix, & von Gontard P.C 

  • Tel Parrett, Shawnee, Law Offices of Tel Parrett 

  • Curtis Sample, Olathe, The Law Office of Curtis M. Sample, LLC 

  • Katherine Sinatra, Mission Hills, general counsel, eMoney USA Holdings, LLC 

  • Wayne Smith, Overland Park, managing attorney, Legal Aid of Western Missouri 

  • Catherine Triplett, Desoto, Triplett Law Firm, LLC 

  • Joann Woltman, Overland Park, case smart counsel, Littler Mendelson 

ADA accommodation 
Any person with a disability who requires accommodation to access the nominating commission meeting should notify the judicial branch ADA coordinator as early as possible: 
ADA Coordinator  
TTY at 711 
District judge appointment process 
To be considered for district judge, a nominee 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 nominating commission selects three to five people whose names are submitted to the governor to fill the position according to statutory qualification and residency requirements. 
The governor has 60 days after receiving the names to decide whom to appoint. 
District magistrate judge appointment process 
To be considered for district magistrate judge, a nominee must be: 

  • a resident of Johnson County at the time of taking office and while holding office; 

  • a graduate of a high school, a secondary school, or the equivalent; and 

  • either a lawyer admitted to practice in Kansas or able to pass an examination to become certified within 18 months. 

The nominating commission selects whom to appoint to fill magistrate judge positions.

Term of office 

After serving one year in office, a 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. 

Nominating commission

The 10th Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Justice Evelyn Wilson as the nonvoting chair; Thomas Bath and Samuel Turner Sr., Leawood; James A.C. Griffith, Stephene Moore, and Annabeth Surbaugh, Lenexa; Laura McConwell, Mission; Doug Brownlee, District Judge Thomas Kelly Ryan, and Stephen Tatum, Olathe; and Janine Estrada-Lopez, Rick Guinn, Kevin Moriarty, Greg Musil, and Chris Talarico, Overland Park.