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TOPEKA—The 3rd Judicial District Nominating Commission will convene at 9 a.m. Monday, April 3, to interview nominees for a district judge vacancy created by Judge Rachel Pickering’s swearing-in to the Court of Appeals.
The 3rd Judicial District is Shawnee County.

Interview schedule

9:30 a.m. 

Jay Befort, Topeka, general counsel, Kansas Department of Revenue

9:45 a.m. 

Kate Duncan Butler, Topeka, private practice, Barber Emerson L.C.

10 a.m. 

Christopher Gunn, Topeka, private practice, Beck & Gunn Law Office

10:15 a.m. 

Andrew Holmes, Berryton, deputy district attorney, Shawnee County

10:30 a.m. 

Ashley Long, Topeka, public defender, 3rd Judicial District Public Defender Office

10:45 a.m. 


10:55 a.m. 

Kai Mann, Topeka, assistant appellate defender, Kansas Appellate Defender Office

11:10 a.m. 

Jason McIlrath, Topeka, deputy district attorney, Shawnee County

11:25 a.m. 

Jonathon Noble, Topeka, chief public defender, NE Kansas Conflicts Office

11:40 a.m. 

Matthew Spurgin, Topeka, administrative law judge, Kansas Office of Administrative Hearings

11:55 a.m. 

Todd Thornburg, Topeka, deputy chief counsel, Kansas Department of Labor

Public access
Interviews are open to the public. They will take place at:
Shawnee County Courthouse
200 SE 7th St
Topeka, KS 

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
Eligibility requirements
A nominee 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 seeks nominations and then meets to interview nominees. Interviews are open to the public.  
Nominees to governor
The nominating commission will select three to five people whose names will be submitted to the governor to fill this 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 sufficient nominees who reside in the judicial district who are deemed qualified by the commission, the commission may consider nominees who reside outside the district.
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 3rd Judicial District Nominating Commission consists of Justice Caleb Stegall as the nonvoting chair; Toby McCullough, Rossville; and Whitney Casement, Thomas Lemon, Randall Phillips, Rebecca Sanders, and Eric Stafford, Topeka. 

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