TOPEKA — Chief Judge A.J. Wachter of the 11th Judicial District has announced his retirement Dec. 18, 2017.

Wachter, who oversees the district from the Crawford County Judicial Center in Pittsburg, has been a district court judge since 2002 and chief judge since 2013. The 11th Judicial District is composed of Cherokee, Labette, and Crawford counties.

Before being named to the bench, Wachter was in private law practice from 1969 to 2002. He graduated from Pittsburg State University and Washburn University School of Law. He served in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1961 to 1969. He is a former president of the Crawford County Bar Association.

Judges in the 11th Judicial District are appointed through a nonpartisan, merit-based selection system. The district's judicial nominating commission will announce when it is accepting applications for Wachter's successor. After interviewing candidates, the commission will forward the names of three to five finalists to the governor, who will appoint the next judge.

Each of Kansas' 31 judicial districts has a chief judge who, in addition to his or her judicial responsibilities, has general control over case assignments within the district, as well as general supervisory authority over the administrative and clerical functions of the court. They are appointed to two-year terms. The Kansas Supreme Court will name a new chief judge for the 11th. Wachter's term as chief judge ends Dec. 31.