11th Judicial District Nominating Commission sends candidate names to governor

TOPEKA - On July 6, the 11th Judicial District Nomination Commission sent the names of three candidates for Labette County district court judge to Gov. Sam Brownback.

The governor has 60 days to decide who will fill the vacancy created by the July 14 retirement of Labette County District Judge Robert J. Fleming, who has held the position since 1996.

The three candidates are: Oswego attorney Fred W. Johnson Jr.; Parsons attorney David K. Markham; Cherokee County District Magistrate Judge Samuel J. Marsh, Columbus.

Other candidates interviewed were attorneys Michael Gayoso Jr., Baxter Springs; Timothy Joseph Grillot, Parsons; and Stephen Jones, Altamont. The six were interviewed on July 6, at the Labette County Judicial Center in Parsons by members of the nominating commission.

In merit selection judicial districts such as the 11th, a district judge is selected by the governor from a slate of candidates forwarded by a nominating commission. Once appointed, judges stand for retention vote every four years beginning with the first general election after they have been in office for one year.

Candidates for district judge must be lawyers admitted to practice in Kansas and have been engaged in the practice of law for at least five years, as a lawyer, judge, or full-time teacher at an accredited law school. Candidates also must be residents of the judicial district—the 11th is composed of Labette, Crawford and Cherokee counties—at the time of taking office and maintain that residency while holding office.

Kansas Supreme Court Justice Lee A. Johnson is the nonvoting chair of the 11th Judicial District Nominating Commission. Attorney members are Sara S. Beezley of Pittsburg, District Judge Oliver K. Lynch of Baxter Springs, and Richard G. Tucker of Parsons. Nonattorney members, who are selected by their respective county commissions, are John W. Lehman of Girard, Charles W. Sweeton of Baxter Springs, and James K. Cook of Parsons.