Topeka Court of Appeals Judge David S. Knudson plans to retire Aug. 1.
Knudson, who has served on the appellate court since November 1995, issued a brief statement Tuesday, without elaborating on his reasons for stepping down. He was out of town and not available for comment.
"He just wanted to retire and work fewer hours," said Ron Keefover, public information officer for the appellate courts.
Keefover said Knudson, 61, still plans to hear cases, however. A program started by the Supreme Court allows retired judges and justices to participate in appellate decisions, to prevent a backlog of cases.
Knudson was a longtime friend of then-Gov. Bill Graves when Graves appointed him to the Court of Appeals. Their relationship was strengthened by long-distance running, and Graves acknowledged at the time that they had competed in some of the same races.
A Goodland native, Knudson had served 14 years as a Saline County District Court judge when Graves picked him. Before becoming a judge in 1981, he had practiced law in Salina, Graves' hometown, for 14 years.
Knudson now lives in Topeka. He is a 1966 graduate of the Washburn University Law School.
The Supreme Court Nominating Commission plans to take applications for Knudson's position until July 31, then interview candidates on Aug. 21 and 22. The commission will forward the names of three finalists to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who will then have 60 days to make the appointment.
It will be Sebelius' second appointment to the Court of Appeals. In April, she named Richard D. Greene, a Wichita attorney, to replace Judge Robert Gernon, who was appointed to the Kansas Supreme Court.