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TOPEKA—The 10th Judicial District Nominating Commission will convene by videoconference at 8 a.m. Wednesday, July 8, to interview nominees to fill a district judge vacancy in Johnson County created by the July 1 retirement of Judge Sara Welch.

The meeting will be broadcast live on the Kansas judicial branch YouTube channel at

The commission originally planned to meet in person at the Johnson County Administration Building, but that plan changed when two nominees learned they may have had contact with someone who either has COVID-19 or been exposed to COVID-19. 

The 10th Judicial District is composed of Johnson County.

Public comment

The commission will accept public comment about the nominees a few minutes after 8 a.m. Anyone who wants to make comment must email to ask for instructions. 

Interview schedule

The interview schedule is as follows: 

9 a.m. 
Joshua K. Allen, Prairie Village, city prosecutor for several cities.

9:30 a.m.
Jenifer J. Ashford, Olathe, district magistrate judge in Johnson County.

10 a.m.
Krishnan Christopher Jayaram, Overland Park, private practice.

10:30 a.m.
Michael F. McCulloch, Olathe, Johnson County chief public defender.

11 a.m.
Michael Richard-Tel Parrett, Shawnee, private practice.

11:30 a.m.

1 p.m.
Vanessa M. Riebli, Olathe, Johnson County district attorney’s office section chief.

1:30 p.m.
Jacquelyn E. Rokusek, Shawnee, private practice.

2 p.m.
Karen L. Torline, Shawnee, municipal court judge for several cities.

2:30 p.m.
Gary J. Willnauer, Stilwell, private practice.

Eligibility requirements

A nominee 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 Johnson County at the time of taking office and while holding office.

Nominees to governor

The commission will select from three to five nominees whose names will be submitted to the governor to fill the position according to statutory qualification and residency requirements.If there are not three nominees who reside in the district who are deemed qualified by the commission, the commission may consider nominees who reside outside the judicial district.

The governor has 60 days after receiving the names to decide whom to appoint.

Term of office

After serving one year in office, the 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.

Nominting commission

The 10th Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Wilson as the nonvoting chair; Thomas Bath, John Parisi, and Samuel Turner Sr., Leawood; Joe Beveridge, Stephene Moore, and Annabeth Surbaugh, Lenexa; Laura McConwell, Mission; Doug Brownlee, James Griffith, and Stephen Tatum, Olathe; Rick Guinn, Kevin Moriarty, and Greg Musil, Overland Park; and Josie Herrera, Shawnee.

Find out more about the nominating commission at

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