TOPEKA—District Magistrate Judge Mary Thrower will retire August 14 after serving 14 years in the 28th Judicial District.
Thrower manages the juvenile offender and child in need of care dockets in the 28th Judicial District, which is composed of Ottawa and Saline counties.
"These are some of the most trying cases, no doubt," she said. "We are often dealing not only with the youth but also with parents and extended family."
Thrower finds the work rewarding, however.
"I arrived at work a few weeks ago and was be greeted by a young lady who wanted to make sure I knew she graduated from high school. A parent recently congratulated me on my retirement and thanked me for 'being there' as the family worked through the offender process," she said. "Seeing young people like this succeed is one of the most satisfying parts of this job. Knowing they recognize I do care and do want them to do well is important."
During her work as a judge, Thrower also heard criminal cases, civil cases such as divorces, probate and estates, guardianships, child abuse and neglect, and adoptions.
Thrower earned an associate degree in administration of justice from Wichita State University and a bachelor's degree in sociology from Emporia State University. She worked as a court services officer in the 28th Judicial District for four years before moving to Colorado, where she was a pretrial specialist for the El Paso County Sheriff's Department.
She graduated in 1992 from the University of Denver College of Law and practiced law for several years in Colorado. After returning to Kansas, she worked for the county attorney's office in Saline County before becoming a judge in 2006.
Thrower served on the Supreme Court Task Force for Permanency Planning for eight years and the Kansas Juvenile Justice Workgroup in 2015. She currently serves on the Commission on Judicial Conduct.
In 2013, Thrower received the American Bar Association's Franklin N. Flaschner Award, which is given to a judge who "embodies the high ideals, personal character, and competence in performing judicial duties that were exemplified by the late Chief Justice Franklin N. Flaschner of Massachusetts." She was nominated by then-Chief Justice Lawton Nuss for her significant contributions on local and state levels for improving the quality of justice in courts with special and limited jurisdiction.
District magistrate judges in the 28th Judicial District are appointed following a merit selection process. State statute requires a nominating commission to accept nominations, interview nominees, and appoint a replacement. After serving one year in office, the new magistrate 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.