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Gov. Kelly makes judicial appointment for 30th Judicial District

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Published: Nov. 26, 2020 at 10:32 AM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Governor Laura Kelly has made an appointment to fill a district court vacancy in the 30th Judicial District.

Governor Laura Kelly says she has appointed Gaten T. Wood, of Sharon, to the 30th Judicial District vacancy that was created by the retirement of Judge R. Scott. McQuin.

“I am confident that Gaten will be an excellent judge in the 30th Judicial District because as a resident for most of his life, he knows the District inside and out,” Governor Kelly said. “But more than that, Gaten has dedicated his professional life to public service. At every turn in his career, he has worked to improve our law enforcement and criminal justice systems, and he has distinguished himself as a lawyer with impeccable integrity and skill.”

According to Gov. Kelly, Wood has been the County Attorney for Barber County and the County Counselor since 2013. She said he prosecutes criminal cases while providing legal counsel to Barber Co. She said he served various jurisdictions throughout his career as a Special Prosecutor and worked as Special Legal Counsel for multiple government agencies and has also served as a Special Assistant Attorney General. She said he is a Commissioner of the Kansas Commission on Peace Officer’s Standards and Training, serves as the chair of the appeals committee and has trained law enforcement officials throughout his career. She said Wood has also served as a municipal judge for Medicine Lodge from May 2011 to October 2013 and has maintained a private law practice since 2009.

Gov. Kelly said Wood graduated from Oklahoma City University School of Law in 2008 and earned his undergraduate degree in Sociology/Criminology from Kansas State University in 2003.

“I am honored to be able to continue serving my state and community as a district judge, and I thank Governor Kelly for entrusting me with this important responsibility,” Wood said. “As a judge, my highest obligation will be to make sure that every person who appears before me is treated fairly. That means whether you’re a prosecutor, a defendant charged with a serious crime, an individual alleging you’ve been injured, a spouse going through a divorce, or a business enforcing a contract, a judge’s obligation to follow the law and treat people fairly is the same. I will work every day to make sure I meet that obligation.”

According to Gov. Kelly, district court judges in the 30th Judicial District are appointed by the governor and selected from nominees chosen by a district nominating commission. She said judges in nominating commission districts are subject to retention elections every four years.

Gov. Kelly said the three other nominees selected by the district nominating commission were Timothy J. Henry, a retired Wichita public defender, Chrystal L. Krier, a private practice lawyer, and Shawn R. DeJarnett, a city attorney for the cities of Wellington and Derby and private practice lawyer.

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