Archive for Friday, February 11, 2011

Lawrence attorney Scott Miller to replace retiring Judge Randy McGrath on municipal court bench

February 11, 2011, 1:41 p.m. Updated February 11, 2011, 6:14 p.m.

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Scott Miller, a staff attorney for the city’s legal department, will take over for longtime Judge Randy McGrath, who is retiring in March.

Scott Miller, a staff attorney for the city’s legal department, will take over for longtime Judge Randy McGrath, who is retiring in March.

A City Hall staff attorney and a former prosecutor will become Lawrence’s next municipal court judge.

Scott Miller, a staff attorney for the city’s legal department, will take over for longtime Judge Randy McGrath, who is retiring in March.

“I’m honored to be appointed to the position,” Miller said. “I’ll do my best to uphold the public’s trust.”

City Manager David Corliss announced the selection Friday. “Mr. Miller will bring a strong legal background to this position,” he said. “I’m very pleased with this selection.”

As municipal court judge, Miller will preside over criminal cases such as DUIs and other nonfelony offenses, as well as traffic, zoning and other city code violations.

Miller, 41, has been an attorney with the city since 2005 and has been responsible for crafting many of the city’s newer criminal ordinances and codes. Before coming to Lawrence, he served as a prosecutor for the city of Overland Park and as an assistant county attorney in Ellis County. He has his undergraduate degree from Kansas State University and his law degree from Kansas University.

Miller said that because of his previous position with the city, he may have to recuse himself from some cases. He said he will step aside from any cases that he had an involvement in prior to being appointed to the bench. He also said that if anyone were to challenge the constitutionality of a city ordinance that he helped craft, he would step aside.

“But I think the experience I’ve had with the city of Lawrence will end up being invaluable,” Miller said.

Corliss said the city interviewed several candidates. Corliss asked Douglas County District Chief Judge Robert Fairchild and Charles Briscoe, director of Douglas County Legal Aid, to participate in the final interviews.

Comments

MrClean 4 years, 3 months ago

his condescending attitude will be great for the bench!

jade 4 years, 3 months ago

Where's the investigation, Chad? Corliss appoints his buddy who has zero judicial experience and you don't ask how that happened? I cannot believe in the pool of applicants there was no one who has sat on the bench! This is outrageous.

Bob Forer 4 years, 3 months ago

Its very rare to find someone with prior judicial experience. Once appointed to the bench, most judges remain until they retire. Its not like there are a lot of former judges out there looking for a job.

jade 4 years, 3 months ago

uh, no. They advertised on the Kansas Municipal Court Judge website. There are judges who want to move to a better location and there are plenty of attorneys with pro-tempore experience, especially these days when legislatures are cutting funding for the judiciary at the same time court backlogs are growing.

Bob Forer 4 years, 3 months ago

Whoops, forgot about municipal judges. however, with the exception of big cities, most municipal judges are part-time and serve to supplement their private practice income. they would have to quit their practices to accept the Lawrence position, which doesn't pay as well as private practice income. And if you have ever practiced in front of a small -town municipal court you would understand that the quality of those judges is typically mediocre to poor.

Trial experience, preferably in criminal law, is just s good.

And perhaps the most important qualification is judicial sound temperament, which is something that cannot be taught nor learned through experience. You either have it or you don't.

july241983 4 years, 3 months ago

I wonder if he will recuse himself when there is a legal challenge to any of the ordinances that he drafted.

notyourmom 4 years, 3 months ago

He also said if anyone were to challenge the constitutionality of a city ordinance that he helped craft, he would step aside.

Yup.

Jim Phillips 4 years, 3 months ago

I've heard some of his interpretations of statutes. I believe his decisions might be appealed regularly.

jade 4 years, 3 months ago

Considering how poorly qualified Miller is for the job, I'd like to know where his salary starts. Those are our tax dollars going to shore up Corliss's fiefdom. Wildgen couldn't have done it any better.

Bob Forer 4 years, 3 months ago

Before his appointment in 1998, retiring Municipal Judge Randy McGrath was engaged in the private practice of law handling mostly criminal cases and bankruptcy. He turned out to be a fairly good judge, in my opinion. Miller has like qualifications. Other than what is stated in the LJW, I know nothing more about the guy. However, I don't think he is woefully unqualified for the job. I would love to hear any evidence folks have that may indicate Miller is a poor choice. But lets cut out the unsubstantiated complaints that he is unqualified and/or a Corliss "crony." Could be? But if you're going to complain, show me the beef.

Bug 4 years, 3 months ago

Scott is a stand up guy, hardworking and extremely bright. He'll make a fine municipal court judge.

Gary Denning 4 years, 3 months ago

It's Municipal Court, folks, not District Court or Federal District Court. And I'm guessing the pay is less than the average income of attorneys in Lawrence.

And I've never heard of a community hiring a Municipal Court judge with prior experience in a smaller jurisdiction. Most smaller communities have a part time judge who does the judicial job on the side.

Lastly, being a Muni Court judge is not a good stepping stone to securing a better job, like a District Judge position.

mrjcg2 4 years, 3 months ago

Although time will tell, I believe this was a very good hire. I don't know him persoanlly, but reading about his qualifications, and having practiced in Municipal Court a bit, I think he'll be great (I hope he's ready for all of the late night on call duties). Good luck Mr. Miller.

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