TOPEKA, Kan. - Fifteen area attorneys sat in the hot seat Tuesday, vying for an opportunity to take a seat at the bench when Judge Matthew Dowd retires September 1st.
The Shawnee County District Court Nominating Commission interviewed all 15 applicants Tuesday, July 15.
Commission Chair Justice Marla Luckert says the goal is to send the best two or three candidates' names to Governor Kathleen Sebelius (D-Kan.) for final selection.
"Each commission member has probably a different set of criteria of what they're seeking in the judicial candidates," said Luckert. "But the goal is to send the two or three best candidates to the governor for selection: someone that will be able to serve the community and the state of Kansas in the judicial position."
The commission recessed after Tuesday's interviews. They will reconvene after Gov. Sebelius chooses someone later this month to fill an already open position made available when Judge Conklin retires.
"With the two positions open at this time, it's a little unusual - the staggering of the process," said Luckert.
After the governor selects Judge Conklin's replacement, the commission will submit two or three of the candidates as Judge Dowd's replacement.
The chosen candidate will serve as a general jurisdiction judge, meaning they could hear any kind of case that would come before a district court in Shawnee County; from a traffic ticket to a death penalty case.
"This person will be serving until the next general election after their appointment and that will be the point in time where the electorate has the opportunity to vote whether to retain that judge or not," Luckert said.