Archive for Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Three attorneys nominated to replace Judge Jean Shepherd; decision now rests with Gov. Parkinson

November 10, 2010


A nominating commission on Wednesday sent the names of two prosecutors and a Lawrence defense attorney as finalists to Gov. Mark Parkinson to replace Douglas County District Judge Jean Shepherd, who is retiring.

After interviews Monday and Tuesday, the committee’s short list includes private practice attorney Barbara Kay Huff, a past judicial finalist; James R. McCabria, an assistant Douglas County district attorney; and Angela M. Wilson, a former Douglas County prosecutor who now is a deputy Kansas attorney general.

The three were selected among 13 Lawrence attorneys who applied for the vacancy. Shepherd, the county’s first female judge, has decided to retire when her term ends in January.

The nominating panel includes three lawyers and three nonlawyers. Kansas Supreme Court Justice Eric Rosen is a nonvoting member and chairman.

Shepherd was appointed in 1984 and primarily handles family law and juvenile cases. Chief Judge Robert Fairchild said the district’s judges will see whom the governor appoints before deciding how to assign the family law caseload.

The governor has 30 days to appoint one of these finalists to the position:

Barbara Kay Huff

Huff has had her own Lawrence law practice since 1991 and taught part time as a clinical professor at the Kansas University School of Law from 1992 to 1997.

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.

Huff was also finalist in 2008, the last time a Douglas County judicial position came open. Then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius selected Sally Pokorny to replace retiring Judge Jack Murphy.

James McCabria

Before becoming an assistant Douglas County district attorney in 2006, McCabria served as an assistant Kansas attorney general from 2001 to 2006. Before, he was in private practice beginning in 1994 after he earned a law degree from the University of Tulsa. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1991 in criminal science from Ohio State University.

McCabria helped prosecute the retrial in 2008 of Lafayette Cosby after the Kansas Supreme Court sent back the original 2004 first-degree murder conviction in the case. Cosby was again convicted of first-degree murder for shooting and killing Robert Martin at a party at a Lawrence apartment.

Angela Wilson

Wilson moved to the attorney general’s office in 2008 after serving 10 years as an assistant Douglas County attorney. Before that, she worked in private practice with a Topeka law firm after graduating in 1997 from law school at KU. She has also served as a central staff member of the Kansas Court of Appeals before becoming a prosecutor.

In Douglas County in 2005, Wilson helped prosecute and win a conviction in the case of Kansas State University professor Thomas Murray who was accused in the 2003 murder of his ex-wife, Carmin Ross, at her home northwest of Lawrence. Wilson also represented the state later when the Kansas Supreme Court upheld Murray’s conviction.


sandrat83 7 years, 6 months ago

Let James have the job. He will do the best job for the people of Douglas co. He is very fair and very honest. Congrads James. Hope you get it.

sandrat83 7 years, 6 months ago

I don't work with James but I know he is the tuff one in the DA office. I know all the lawyers who made the final and James is the ticket. He would make a great attorney general. He was a ast AG. But he would make a great judge or AG too.

equalaccessprivacy 7 years, 6 months ago

Why consider prosecutors for a family law judge position? To me it totally looks like the game is rigged if James McCabria is on the short-list. He dishonestly buys into the poisonous , southern-justice abuse of the legal system in Lawrence and at KU that prosecutes victims by cruelly and corruptly misrepresenting them as perpetrators.

If anyone has dirty hands, I'd say it's James McCabria. A family law judge should respect the spirit as well as the letter of the law. Plenty of corrupt judges are already behind the bench in Douglas County. I'd still be sorry to see another moral sellout join them.

somebodynew 7 years, 6 months ago

Well (not)equalaccess - just who would YOU recommend, since you think everyone of them is already corrupt???

ModerateOne 7 years, 6 months ago

EAP: obviously James put you or one of your loved ones behind bars. Which is it?

Sounds like he is a pretty good lawyer to me.

bearded_gnome 7 years, 6 months ago

the TV show sure couldn't hurt Wilson's chances, eh?

I just hope and pray that the person who becomes judg here actually knows that juvie offenders can and should go to jail for violent crimes!

Judge Shepherd sure was happy to dismiss charges against one who assaulted me!

Bob Forer 7 years, 6 months ago

Sorry, but the law does not allow jail for "juvy offenders." ,,,But then again, Gnome's ignorance is well known as he typically comments without an ounce of knowledge on the subject. A high school dropout, perhaps.

Shelley Bock 7 years, 6 months ago

I'm just glad that the selection committee selected all who have practiced in Douglas County, not anyone who lives in Lawrence but works elsewhere.

I know all three individuals nominated and believe that each would be very qualified for the position. Although Wilson and McCabria have been prosecutors, they understand what justice is and can be fair to the Defendant. Huff shares those qualities, but as a defense counsel. She will would be fair to the prosecution.

Unfortunately, James George was not included in the final list. He is extremely qualified.

Douglas County is fortunate to have such qualified individuals in the selection pool for judicial candidates. It is also my understanding, that this judge won't automatically become the "juvenile" judge, but the judges will reassess their interests and skills to make assignments once the selection process is completed.

truckfan 7 years, 6 months ago

Angela Wilson is excellent. top-notch lawyer. very bright.

bearded_gnome 7 years, 6 months ago

thepsychofan: of knowledge on the subject. A high school dropout, perhaps.

---sorry, I'm probably better educated than you, and yes juvie offenders do get remanded, held behand bars. I'm sorry that my generic use of "jail" for "incarceration" confused your leftist addled neuroblast.

bearded_gnome 7 years, 6 months ago

Because, to repeat, many violent juvie offenders should be behind bars! going easy on them helps no one.

unfortunately, it is people like thepsychofant who promote the lax judges who think it would bruise the little sweetpies' self-esteems too much if they were thrown into incarceration [also known as jail].

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