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TOPEKA—The 5th Judicial District Nominating Commission is seeking nominations to fill a district judge vacancy. 
The vacancy will be created when Chief Judge Merlin Wheeler retires September 3.  
The 5th Judicial District is composed of Chase and Lyon counties.  

Justice Melissa Standridge, the Supreme Court departmental justice responsible for the 5th Judicial District, said individuals can apply or be nominated, but nominations must be made in writing on the 5th Judicial District's official nomination form and include the nominee's signature.  

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.

Nomination process 

Nominations must be accompanied by a nomination form available from the clerk of the district court in Chase or Lyons counties, the clerk of the appellate courts at the Kansas Judicial Center in Topeka, or online at

Nominations must be submitted by paper copy. The deadline to submit a nomination with supporting documents is noon Monday, August 1.
Paper submissions require one original and ten copies to be sent to:
Office of Justice Melissa Standridge
ATTN: Shelby Hardtarfer
Kansas Judicial Center
Room 389
301 SW 10th Ave.
Topeka KS 66612
Public interviews
The nominating commission will convene to interview nominees at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, August 11, at the Lyon County Courthouse, 420 Commercial St., Room 201. Interviews are open to the public.

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: 
ADA Coordinator
TTY at 711 

Nominees to the governor  
The nominating commission will interview nominees for the district judge position 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.
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 5th Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Supreme Court Justice Melissa Standridge as the nonvoting chair; Leigh Ann Crofoot of Cottonwood Falls; Greg Bachman, Michael Helbert, Deanne Korsak, and Robert Symmonds of Emporia; Cynthia Hoedel of Matfield Green; Stephen Atherton of Olpe; and Charles Rayl of Strong City. 

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