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TOPEKA—The 2nd Judicial District Nominating Commission will convene at 9 a.m. Tuesday, November 17, at the Kansas Judicial Center in Topeka to interview nominees to fill vacancies for a district judge and a district magistrate judge.

The vacancies are the result of two retirements. Chief Judge Gary Nafziger of Jefferson County will retire January 11. District Magistrate Judge Blaine Carter of Wabaunsee County will retire December 8

The 2nd Judicial District is composed of Jackson, Jefferson, Pottawatomie, and Wabaunsee counties.

Interview process

Nominees can choose to be interviewed in person at the Judicial Center, 301 SW 10th Ave., or by videoconference. Interviews are open to the public.

The interviews will be livestreamed on the Kansas judicial branch YouTube channel.

The commission will break for lunch at 12:30 p.m. and reconvene at 1:15 p.m.

Anyone attending the interviews must follow public health requirements for Judicial Center visitors. These include answering questions at check-in about symptoms of or possible exposure to COVID-19, wearing a face mask while in the building, and maintaining 6 feet of physical distance from others. 

Any person with a disability who requires accommodation to access the nominating commission meeting should notify the judicial branch ADA coordinator as early as possible, preferably 10 working days before the meeting date:

ADA Coordinator
TTY at 711

District judge interview schedule

9:30 a.m.

Amy Crawford (also interviewing for district magistrate judge), Salina, former assistant county attorney for Dickinson County

9:45 a.m.

Christopher Etzel, Havensville, private practice lawyer and city attorney for Onaga, Havensville, and Wheaton

10 a.m.

Shawna Miller, Holton, county attorney for Jackson County and municipal judge for Hoyt and Mayetta

10:15 a.m.

Joshua Ney, Lawrence, county attorney for Jefferson County

10:30 a.m.


10:45 a.m.

Darla Ottensmeier, Oskaloosa, private practice lawyer

11 a.m.

Stephen Phillips, Perry, assistant attorney general for Kansas Attorney General's Office

11:15 a.m.

Ted Smith, Lawrence, attorney for Kansas Department of Revenue

11:30 a.m.

Douglas Hager, Valley Falls, attorney for Kansas Department of Labor

District judge eligibility requirements

Nominees 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 the judicial district at the time of taking office and while holding office.

The nominating commission will interview nominees and then select from three to five people whose names will be submitted to the governor to fill the position according to statutory qualification and residency requirements. The governor has 60 days after receiving the names to decide whom to appoint.

If there are not three nominees who reside in the judicial district who are deemed qualified by the commission, the commission may consider nominees who reside outside the district.

District magistrate judge interview schedule

1:45 p.m.

Angela Anderson, Alma, clerk of the district court for Wabaunsee County

2 p.m.

Michael Clark, Wamego, court services probation officer for Pottawatomie County

2:15 p.m.

Ralph Dunn, Alma, sergeant, Wabaunsee County Sheriff's Office

2:30 p.m.

Jonathan Ehrlich, Oskaloosa, law clerk for Jefferson County Attorney's Office

2:45 p.m.


3 p.m.

Joel Fager, Alma, EMT-paramedic, Topeka

3:15 p.m.

Luka Henderson, Alma, master trooper, Kansas Highway Patrol

3:30 p.m.

Eric Kirsch, Alma, chief of police for Maple Hill and detective for Wabaunsee County Sheriff's Office

District magistrate judge eligibility requirements

Nominees for district magistrate judge must be:

  • a resident of Wabaunsee County at the time of taking office and while holding office;

  • a graduate of a high school, a secondary school, or the equivalent; and

  • either a lawyer admitted to practice in Kansas or able to pass an examination given by the Supreme Court to become certified within 18 months.

The nominating commission will interview nominees and then appoint a district magistrate judge.

Term of office

After serving one year in office, a 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.

Nominating Commission

The 2nd Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Supreme Court Justice Caleb Stegall as the nonvoting chair; David Allen, Circleville; Charles Waugh, Eskridge; J. Richard Lake, Holton; D. Max Fuller, Maple Hill; Norma Dunnaway, Perry; and Edward Pugh, Eugene Scherer, and John Watt, Wamego.

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