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TOPEKA—District Magistrate Judge Charles Zimmerman of Geary County will retire January 11 after serving 14 years.

He was appointed judge in 2007. Geary County is part of the 8th Judicial District, which also includes Dickinson, Marion, and Morris counties.

Before becoming a judge, Zimmerman was city attorney for Junction City for 19 years and a U.S Army judge advocate for 20 years.

"After a full career of practicing public law, I wanted the opportunity to continue to serve, and becoming a magistrate judge was the ideal way to do so," Zimmerman said.

He finds it rewarding to be a judge because he helps solve problems, but he said there are some lifestyle limitations because of the impartiality judges must maintain.

"Your charity work is limited to donating rather than being active in fund raising," he said, "and personal relationships are somewhat curtailed."

Zimmerman said he has supported judicial branch efforts to receive more state funding to increase court employee salaries.

"I wish people knew how poorly our administrative staff is paid. They do numerous, difficult tasks and receive grossly inadequate compensation," he said.

Zimmerman earned a bachelor's degree from Bucknell University in 1964 and a law degree from Rutgers University in 1967.

District magistrate judges in the 8th 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.

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