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TOPEKA—The Kansas District Judges Association presented its Award for Judicial Excellence to Chief Judge Michael Powers of Marion during a recent virtual statewide conference for judges.

Powers is chief judge of the 8th Judicial District, composed of Dickinson, Geary, Marion, and Morris counties.

“Kansas is fortunate to have a great judicial system with outstanding women and men serving as judges," Powers said. "I am proud to be associated with this group and honored to receive this award from my colleagues."

Powers became a judge in 1991 and chief judge in 1994. He received a bachelor's degree from Emporia State University and a law degree from the University of Kansas School of Law. He was county attorney in Morris County and in private practice before becoming a judge.

Chief Judge Daniel Creitz of the 31st Judicial District nominated Powers for the award. Creitz is the incoming president of the Kansas District Judges Association.

Criteria for the award include:

  • knowledge of the law and appropriate application of it to the issues and cases that come before the court;

  • considerate and mindful treatment of attorneys, litigants, witnesses, and the general public in daily performance of judicial duties; and

  • reputation and respect among peers, attorneys, litigants, and the general public.

"Judge Powers has served the judiciary and all Kansans with integrity, humility, dignity, fairness, excellence, and honor. In his uniquely affable manner, he has conscientiously and actively performed his duties to promote and elevate confidence and trust in the judicial branch," Creitz said.

Chief Justice Marla Luckert spoke of the judge's qualifications in presenting the award.

"Judge Powers epitomizes and practices all the unique qualities of judicial excellence. He is well-deserving of this award," she said.

Luckert noted Powers has had a key role in the judicial branch's modernization efforts.

Powers serves on the Kansas Supreme Court's eCourt Steering Committee, which is overseeing the implementation of a statewide centralized case management system that will complete the conversion from local, paper-driven processes to a statewide electronic one.

Powers’ 8th Judicial District was the first of two districts to adopt the new centralized case management system.

Powers also chairs the eCourt Steering Committee's Workshare Subcommittee, which looks at how judicial branch employees can work more efficiently. State courts in all 105 counties will eventually operate on the same platform, providing standardization, efficiency, and accountability. Standardized processes will enable courts across Kansas to share work and provide a baseline for attorneys who practice in multiple state court jurisdictions.

In 2017, Powers was a member of the Juvenile Justice Subcommittee of the Supreme Court Intermediate Intervention Program. He served on the Supreme Court Task Force on Permanency Planning from 1995 to 2006 and chair the task force from 1997 to 1998. The task force advises the Supreme Court on ways to provide and improve the care of children who are under jurisdiction of the court.

Powers also has been active in civic and community organizations.

“Being involved with both professional organizations and local projects can be difficult for a judge," Powers said. "However, I feel it’s important to be active in your community just as you are in your career. To me this is award is a sign that to some extent I’ve successfully balanced both obligations.”

Powers and his wife, Judy, have five children and eight grandchildren.

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