Archive for Saturday, August 22, 1998


August 22, 1998


Randy McGrath's no longer a substitute.

McGrath, a Lawrence attorney, will become the city's permanent municipal court judge Oct. 1, filling a job he's handled on a substitute basis since 1989. He will take over for George Catt, who is retiring.

McGrath figures he's served as the municipal court's pro-tem judge about 50 times a year. Including his stints in Douglas County District Court, he's presided over about 200 trials.

``And as a private attorney I have quite a bit of criminal experience,'' said McGrath, who handles criminal cases, bankruptcies and some civil litigation when he's not on the bench. ``I feel pretty comfortable.''

City Manager Mike Wildgen announced McGrath's hiring Friday, culminating a search that attracted a dozen applicants. A screening committee chaired by local attorney Andy Ramirez pared the list to six for interviews, then recommended three for final review by Wildgen and other city administrators.

Municipal court, 1008 N.H., is expected to handle 40,000 cases next year involving misdemeanors such as battery and theft, as well as driving under the influence, driving with a suspended license and other traffic infractions.

The municipal court judge is a part-time job, and McGrath will continue to operate his private practice.

McGrath, 49, started practicing law in Lawrence 18 years ago, after receiving his master's degree in business administration from Kansas University.

He graduated from KU's law school in 1975, has been a president of the Douglas County Bar Assn. and is a member of the Kansas Bar Assn. and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

He also coached KU's tennis team in 1980-82.

-- Mark Fagan's phone message number is 832-7188. His e-mail address is

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