Topeka Attorney Barbara Kay Huff of Lawrence was selected Friday by Gov. Mark Parkinson as a state district court judge in Douglas County.
“It is a privilege to serve and I look forward to serving the people of Douglas County,” Huff said.
Huff, 53, will replace Judge Jean Shepherd, who is retiring next month. Huff called Shepherd “irreplaceable.”
Huff has been in private practice since 1991, handling federal and state criminal cases in trial and appellate court, as well as civil matters. She had been a finalist in 2008 when then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius appointed Sally Pokorny to replace retiring Judge Jack Murphy.
Huff has also taught at the Kansas University School of Law for the Defender Project, where she supervised students in federal parole matters and post-conviction remedies.
“With Kay’s wide range of experience, she has gained the needed perspective that will be beneficial to the bench in Douglas County,” Parkinson said. “She understands the importance of objectiveness and impartiality in determining the outcome of a case, and I am honored to name her to the Seventh District Court.”
Before starting her private practice she served as a public defender in Olathe and as a criminal appeals attorney in New York from 1985 to 1988.
Huff’s career started in 1982 as an attorney with the central staff of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. She earned her bachelor’s degree in 1979 from Reed College in Portland, Ore., and her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1982.
She grew up on a farm in northwest Missouri and moved to Lawrence in 1988.
Thirteen Lawrence attorneys had applied for the position and a nominating commission had recommended to Parkinson, Huff, James MaCabria, an assistant Douglas County district attorney, and Angela Wilson, a former Douglas County prosecutor and now a deputy attorney general.
Shepherd, the current judge, was appointed in 1984 and primarily handles family law and juvenile cases.