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TOPEKA—The Kansas Supreme Court has appointed District Judge Laura Lewis as chief judge of the 16th Judicial District effective June 1 through December 31, 2021.

Lewis will succeed Chief Judge E. Leigh Hood, who will retire June 1.

The 16th Judicial District is composed of Clark, Comanche, Ford, Gray, Kiowa, and Meade counties

“We appreciate that Judge Lewis is willing to take on the additional responsibilities of chief judge and provide continuity in capable leadership in the 16th Judicial District,” said Marla Luckert, chief justice of the Supreme Court. “We look forward to working with her in this new capacity.”

Lewis was appointed a district judge in January 2019.

“I am certain I can count on my fellow colleagues on the bench as we work to make our legal system work as efficiently and fairly as possible,” Lewis said.

Before she became a judge, Lewis was county attorney and county counselor in Meade County for 10 years. She also had a private law practice and served as a domestic and civil mediator and limited case manager. She is a fourth-generation Meade County farmer and rancher.

Lewis attended Dodge City Community College and Washburn University where she received her undergraduate degree in English with a writing emphasis. After graduating from Washburn University School of Law in December 2003, she rejoined her family in Meade County. She has a son, Tristin, who is completing his undergraduate studies at Washburn and plans to attend law school.

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.

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